Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Iran's Ahvaz Region Boycotts Regime

The Media Line:
Arab opposition groups in Iran's Ahvaz region began a 'full boycott' on Monday against what they called the "Iranian occupier." Ahwaz is a region located in western Iran on the border with Iraq, populated mainly by the Arab minority. Opposition groups claim the central regime is illegally occupying their lands and inflicting discriminating policies against them.

They called on the Arab citizens of the region to "boycott all political, economic, social, and cultural cooperation with the occupying enemy." The groups listed a variety of Iranian goods they demanded to boycott, and asked the region's merchants to provide the citizens with alternative merchandise.

This move comes one week after clashes erupted in the region between local citizens and agents of the State Security Forces (SSF). As large crowds gathered, agents of the SSF were brought in to prevent an escalation of the protests. The citizens threw stones at government buildings and vehicles belonging to the SSF, and burned tires in the streets, residents reported. READ MORE

Earlier this month, bomb attacks on oil installations caused Iran to lose thousands of barrels of oil output. Five oil wells outside Ahwaz City were closed down due to damage caused by the explosions. Each well produced around 1,000 barrels of oil per day for export. The amount lost represents a fraction of the production in the oil-rich but restive region, which is the homeland of some five million Ahwazi Arabs.

The worst violence in the region occurred in 2002, after the conservative-controlled judiciary in the province ordered the security forces to close down shops distributing video tapes and cassettes, popular dances and music in Arabic. At least 300 people were detained at the time after street fights with the police.