The demonstrators were calling on the United Nations to stop the Iranian authorities from discriminating against Arabs living in Iran, as showcased by the protest signs – in Arabic, English, and Ahvazi – that were visible in videos and pictures shared on social media and shown on local Ahvaz TV channels.
They called for the release of political prisoners, an end to the marginalization of the Arab Ahvaz, an end to demographic changes that favour of migrants over Arabs, and improved efforts by the Regime to tackle pressing political issues like poverty, unemployment, and pollution that are harming the Iranian people, including the Arab population, according to the Ahvaz Human Rights Organization.
They also wanted that the Arab League to recognise the Arab-Ahvazi problem.
These protests had reached their fourth day, when the Iranian Regime sent in its criminal thugs to shut it down. The protest continued until the early hours of Sunday morning, even as police closed the main streets around the demonstration.
Iran’s persecution of Arabs
The Iranian Regime has a long history of persecuting Arab people who live in the predominantly Persian country and evidence suggests that this has gotten even worse under the so-called ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani.
In 2005, a peaceful protest against the discrimination and persecution against the indigenous Arabs of southwest Iran was met with brutality. At least 130 unarmed protesters were shot dead by Regime authorities and 2,000 were arrested, with some being executed or killed under torture in prison. Still, this has not deterred the Arab residents from rightly seeking equality.
Rouhani promised during his first presidential campaign back in 2013 that he would address the demands of Iran’s Arab population, but he has not only failed to do that, things have gotten worse.
Protests in Iran
These protests by the Arab population in Iran are part of a nationwide anti-regime protest that sprung up in December, sparked because of a draft budget that stole from the poor and gave to the war effort.
The protest quickly became about the overall sentiment against the Regime and the need for all Iranians to live free and not under the Regime.