While the attack did result in civilian casualties, which should be unequivocally condemned, we should always look at the reason for the attack, especially when Iran’s suppression and violence against native Arabs looks set to continue for as long as the Regime is in power.
While Iran makes many promises about democracy, coexistence, and good neighbourliness, these all fall flat when you look at the Regime’s behaviour, which is based on the principle of ‘Vali-e-faqih’, meaning that the Supreme Leader of Iran is believed to have the divine right to rule.
Furthermore, the militarised state that has built up as a result of the Regime has given a lot of power in Iran to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), who not only act as the chief security force, i.e. suppressing protests and launching attacks on other countries, but also controlling a great deal of the economy and the political force.
The Iranian Regime wants to silence opposition, stifle dissent, abuse power, and encourage extremism and xenophobia. Is it any wonder that the victims of their abuse want to fight back?
Iran has been quick to blame foreign enemies for the attack in Ahwaz, which has the highest concentration of Arab people in Iran, but this is not the truth. In fact, it’s a way for the Regime to achieve three goals with just one accusation.
Iran wants to increase nationalism in Iran and rally the people against ‘the foreign enemy’, to refute claims of mistreatment of ‘non-Iranian’ minorities, and to justify their future abuse of the Arab population (and other ethnic minorities).
Eyad Abu Shakra, former senior editor of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, wrote: “In the very heart of what such movement are fighting against are the policies of ‘demographic engineering’ aiming at turning the Ahvazi Arabs into a minority, sequestration of Arab lands, banishing Arabs from the political and cultural scenes, and depriving them of the resources and equal opportunities compared to Iran’s other ethnicities.”
Iran has long boasted of its dominance over Arab countries in the Middle East, but this has only been tragic for the people that live there; Iraq and Lebanon have been turned into subservient authorities, Syria and Yemen are in the midst of bloody wars, and the Palestinian Territories’ united voice has been destroyed.
Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.