Iran’s intelligence pursues Stalinist interrogation tactics against Ahwazi prisoners

19 mins read

by Rahim Hamid and Irina Tsukerman

The secret killing of political prisoners is a method widely used by the Iranian regime, increasing in frequency in recent years.

A 37-year-old man, named as Abdullah Batrani, has become the latest known Ahwazi victim of the Iranian regime’s brutality, with regime intelligence thugs subjecting him to two days of torture in front of his young son in a detention centre in Ahwaz city, where he died on Sunday 22 May.

Amongst the injuries inflicted on the victim during the barbaric torture sessions, his eyeballs were gouged out, his testicles were crushed, his back and legs were burnt, five of his teeth were pulled out, and both his eardrums were ruptured. 

Human rights activists in the Ahwaz region in south and southwest Iran reported that Abdullah, a married father of two from the regional capital’s Al-Thawra neighbourhood, was detained along with his son by personnel from the regime’s Intelligence and Public Security Police from their home in the city’s 20 Azadi Street two days before his death. No reason was given for their arrest.

Abdullah’s widow told the activists that during the raid, carried out with no arrest warrant or any charges being stated, as is usual for the regime, the arresting officers had demanded that Abdullah pay them a bribe in order to secure his and his son’s release. Abdullah, who didn’t have the money they wanted, retorted by asking why he was being arrested and demanding to know why he should pay them extortion money.

The regime agents were apparently angered by Abdullah’s courage in refusing to be cowed by their criminal actions, with his widow recalling that he told them, “It’s not my business to compensate for your financial failings – it would be better to ask your police department to raise your salaries rather than trying to extort money from ordinary people with threats.”

She added that the agents threatened that if he refused to pay their bribe, even though he lacked the money to do so, they would “send him to Hell.”

After subjecting Abdullah to a vicious beating in his home and detaining him and his son, the police security forces forced his son to watch while they brutally tortured him, particularly targeting his head and body, in a detention centre run by the Intelligence and Public Security Police division, known as NAJA, for two consecutive days.

The Intelligence and Public Security Police (in Farsi: Pelis-e Atlâ’at-e vâ Aminit-e ‘mumi or simply Security Police (Persian: Pelis Aminit), abbreviated as PAVA, is an infamous domestic security agency and law enforcement agency. The agency, a subdivision of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Law Enforcement Force, is part of the Council for Intelligence Coordination.

Human rights NGOs silent on Islamic Republic’s brutal torture of Ahwazis

Human rights activists revealed that Abdullah’s son, who’s still terrified and traumatised by being forced to watch his father being savagely beaten and tortured for two days, had noted the PAVA agents carrying out the torture were incensed that his father had dared to reprimand them and their colleagues for raiding his home, with the boy reporting that throughout the torture sessions the agents kept shouting at Abdullah: “How dare you yell and scream at us!”

Doctors who carried out the autopsy on Abdullah’s body and detailed the horrific injuries told his family that the likely cause of death was a stroke induced by massive internal bleeding in his brain caused by crushing blows to his head inflicted with a heavy object.

Iranian regime authorities haven’t yet given any reason for the arrest of Abdullah and his son, though a security official purportedly told his widow verbally that the police agent responsible for his arrest and torture has been arrested and is under investigation. His family is considering legal action over his death, although they are sceptical that this will have any effect since no regime official has ever been prosecuted to date for deaths by torture, which is common in regime prisons, with many Ahwazi victims ‘disappearing’. 

The systemic nature of the regime’s use of lethal torture means Abdullah Batrani’s death is not an anomaly but only the latest such incident in a long record of torture killings of Ahwazi detainees in detention centres and prisons run by the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence services or police intelligence services, with targets ranging from human rights activists to political dissidents, poets, protesters and often ordinary civilians.

As noted above, the efforts of victims’ families to obtain justice for their loved ones are fruitless, with families likely to be persecuted themselves for any campaign to raise awareness of these cases. Even in the worst and most blatant cases of torture killings in regime detention, families will receive no compensation for their loved ones’ murder; the ‘best’ they can hope for is to receive notification from regime officials that the officers responsible have been arrested, put under investigation, dismissed or exiled to distant areas as punishment; many suspect that these claims are false and simply an effort to placate relatives and deter any further complaints.

In Ahwaz, the regime’s security police personnel mainly use two types of extrajudicial killing to terrorise and subjugate the indigenous Ahwazi people; the first of these is killing under torture in various detention cells. The second is killing by random shootings at close range in the streets, usually carried out while the victims are driving a motorcycle or vehicle.

DUSC has documented several cases of both types of extrajudicial killings by the regime. Here we first list some of the cases of victims killed under brutal torture, then in a separate investigative report will address the several cases of those murdered by shooting, with both types of murder primarily committed by police security forces who act with complete impunity, knowing they will face no punishment.

Ali Cheldawi case

On 9 December 2007, a young Ahwazi man named Ali Cheldawi died following two months of torture by intelligence services in a detention centre in Ahwaz city. Security forces arrested Mr Cheldawi on 13 October 2007, during peaceful protests against regime injustice which took place that day following the Eid al-Fitr Prayer in the town of Hamidieh.

As is common practice, security services forbade Mr Cheldawi’s family from conducting public burial and mourning rituals for him, forcing them to bury him in an unmarked grave in the infamous La’natabad[‘Cursed’] Cemetery in Ahwaz, so-named by the regime in reference to the Ahwazi prisoners buried there who are killed or executed for their dissent or political activities against the Iranian regime. All the graves there are unmarked, a further insult from the regime to its victims and their families.

The impunity conferred by the world’s silence means that the regime freely victimises and targets Ahwazis randomly, often simply to intimidate others and underline the IRI’s absolute power and the absence of any justice.

Ali Batrani case

Intelligence service personnel routinely abduct activists without any formal arrest procedures, take them to one of the black site prisons and torture them to death before simply dumping the victims’ bodies in nearby rivers. This was the horrific fate of another man, also named Ali Batrani, from the regional capital, who was arrested there during the protests of 15 April 2005. Three days later, on 18 April 2005, his body was found floating in the Karoon (Karun) River.

Speaking to Amnesty International about his case, his family reported that his horrifically tortured body, still bearing the marks of handcuffs, had not been returned to them until 10 May, almost a month after it was recovered from the river, recalling torture marks like a hole in his knee and heavy bruising to his face and the soles of his feet showed he had been subjected to ferocious beating. Even after receiving his body, his grieving family then had to pay a fee to the regime that murdered their son to receive permission to bury him.

Gheiban Abidawi case

Another victim, 38-year-old Gheiban Abidawi, a married father-of-four from the town of Hamidieh who worked at a dairy goods manufacturing centre in Ahwaz City, was arrested by regime security forces during the post-Eid al-Fitr prayers in his home town on Friday, 13 October 2007.

According to a family friend, Gheiban’s family received no news of him for close to three months, as the regime predictably refused to issue any information on his whereabouts or even on the reason for his arrest despite their desperate pleas. Finally, after three months, an official at the Ahwaz Information Office called the family to inform them that he had been registered as dead on 31 December 2007, with security agents taking his son and brother to the morgue in the city to see his body, which they said showed clear signs of torture. Adding further insult to injury, the family was not allowed to take the body for burial or even to be informed of where he would be buried, and they too were forbidden from conducting the customary mourning and burial rituals.

Mohammed Cheldawi case

Another victim is 17-year-old Mohammed Cheldawi who was an activist on social media platforms. He was in contact with several human rights activists overseas and was reporting the news of the Ahwazi prisoners in Ahwaz to the human rights organisations. He was arrested in mid of January 2009 by the intelligence. Two months later, the intelligence agencies contacted his family, telling them that Mohammed has died.

The intelligence agency told his family that they shouldn’t establish any consolation gatherings if they want to take back their son’s body and that he should be buried on the watch of the intelligence personnel. When his family received his body, they said that gruesome torture appeared unambiguously on his body. He had evident burns on his chest and back. Yet, the intelligence personnel warned Mohammed’s family in March against sharing news of his death with outside entities. The intelligence told the family that if they do so, they would be arrested.

Reza Maghamsi case

On Sunday, 27 March 2011, an Ahwazi rights activist named Reza Maghamsi, a resident of Dezful, was tortured to death in detention by agents of Intelligence services. He was killed by severe blows to the pelvis and spinal cord and by internal bleeding in his ruptured intestine.

Reza had been detained for participating in protests at the Mirza Kuchak Khan Sugarcane company, over its dumping of toxic industrial waste in the Dez river, polluting its water, the primary source of drinking water for local Ahwazi people, and making it undrinkable. He had also protested at similar actions by the state-owned oil, gas and petrochemical companies over discharging their toxic waste into local waterways and land, destroying local people’s farmlands and denying Ahwazis any type of jobs.

Nasser Alboshokeh Darfshan case

In another case, on 1 February 2012, 19- year- old Nasser Alboshokeh Darfshan was arrested by the agents of Ahwaz Intelligence Office in his shop. He was accused of participating in protests and writing graffiti in support of the Arab Spring, and calling for a boycott of the Iranian regime’s parliamentary elections.

Around a month later, the Ahwaz Intelligence Office contacted Nasser’s parents and requested that they come and pick up their son. His parents quickly prepared food, thinking their son would be hungry after his ordeal, and brought a property document to serve as funds for his bail in the hope they could secure his freedom; instead when they reached the detention centre, they found their son’s battered, maimed and heavily bruised body in an ambulance which was preparing to take it to the morgue in Golestan Hospital, where it was held for 11 days with his family not allowed to retrieve it. 

The grief-stricken parents were first told by regime authorities that their fit, healthy young son had died of natural causes; having seen his maimed body, they dismissed this claim. Another regime official told a family member that Nasser had committed suicide, another ludicrous and insulting claim intended to deny the regime’s culpability.

Following their ordeal, Nasser’s parents filed a lawsuit over their son’s death. Despite the family’s request, the forensic pathologist who carried out the autopsy on his body refused to provide the family with a certificate giving the cause of death, having informed them verbally that Nasser had been killed by a combination of suffocation and internal bleeding, with the pathologist fearing for his own safety if he appeared to publicly report the truth of the case. Despite numerous attempts to pursue the case through the legal system, the case, like all those filed against regime authorities, was ultimately dropped, with nobody held responsible for Nasser’s detention, torture and death.

Mohammad Kaabi Case

In mid-January 2012, another young Ahwazi man, Mohammad Kaabi, from Susa city, was detained by regime intelligence forces after organising nightly protests and writing graffiti and slogans on street walls in the city calling for protest and the boycotting of Iranian parliamentary elections. A few weeks later, on 2 February, intelligence agents informed his family that he had died. They were instructed to collect his body from the morgue, but forbidden from holding any mourning ceremonies for him. The battered and mutilated state of his body showed that he had been tortured to death in one of the regime’s secret detention centres.

Ali Reza Ghobeishawi case

On Monday, August 2012, the family of 37-year-old cultural activist Ali Reza Ghobeishawi, from Khalafiyeh city, was notified by regime authorities that he had died after being arrested a few days before by Iranian intelligence agents and detained in Ahwaz city.

The horrendous wounds on his body made it clear that he had been tortured to death, with Ali Reza’s family members reporting that his jaw and ribs had been broken while his nose and forehead were horribly bruised and swollen.

Ali Reza’s ‘crime’ was to be active in raising awareness of the importance of preserving Ahwazi culture and tradition and encouraging his fellow Ahwazis to teach the Arabic language to their children – another fundamental human right forbidden to Ahwazis by Iran’s regime. As in other cases, regime agents prevented his family from holding a funeral ceremony or mourning rituals for their son.

Jameel Suwaidi case

Three months later, on 5 November 2012, a 45-year-old Ahwazi man named Jameel Suwaidi, a welding worker in the capital city of Ahwaz, was abducted by Iranian intelligence agents in front of his home in al-Nahda neighbourhood (Lashkarbad in Farsi). For thirty days, his family desperately tried to locate him, to no avail. Finally, a friend of the family who was working at the local morgue told them that to stop searching for Jameel in jails as he was already dead, with his body transferred to the central morgue in Ahwaz by regime intelligence services. The family confirmed that his entire body showed signs of torture, including multiple puncture wounds, broken cheekbones, a smashed nose, teeth pulled out and the skin of his genitals, horrifically burnt and peeled off.

Jameel’s ‘crime’ was taking part in nightly protests in Ahwaz and organising cultural activities in his home.

Satar Sayahi case  

A few days later, on 11 November 2012, the celebrated Ahwazi poet, Satar Sayahi, known as Abu Srour, died in a solitary confinement cell in one of the infamous detention centres run by regime intelligence services in Ahwaz city. Regime agents told his family he had died of a heart attack, but his family said that his doctor found some traces of poisonous substances in his blood test.

Hossien Aramshi(Jaderi) case

In October 2013, the family of 37-year-old Hossein Aramshi (Jaderi)received notification from a pathologist that his body had been transferred to a morgue. The distressing call came a week after he was arrested over taking part in a peaceful protest against the regime’s racist and discriminatory employment policies against Ahwazis.

His family said that the effects of torture were clear from his battered and mutilated body, which bore fractures to his ribs, jaw and skull, as well as a gunshot wound to one arm inflicted during his arrest. It is still unclear which regime security agency was responsible for Hossein’s arrest, with the forensic pathologist fearful of giving accurate information to the bereaved family in case he should be targeted in retaliation.

Speaking to DUSC, Hossein’s family said it would not make much difference to them to receive information about who arrested him, where he was taken and who was responsible for his torture and death since there is no way for them to bring his torturers and killers to trial given the Iranian regime’s system, which makes it more likely that the victim’s family will be targeted for seeking justice than that justice will be done over his death, particularly in the case of Ahwazis, where protesting at the regime’s racism, oppression, brutality and systemic injustice is seen as cause for persecuting and killing the protesters.  Anyone participating in demonstrations is automatically accused of threatening national security.

Mohammad Hamadi Case

On Friday, 27 November 2015, 35-year-old Mohammad Hamadi, a 35-year-old Ahwazi political prisoner and father of a young child, died in suspicious circumstances in Sheyban prison in Ahwaz, where he had been languishing for seven years for the ‘crime’ of supporting justice and freedom for Ahwazis. His family said that he was completely healthy when he was imprisoned, adding that they had been told by fellow inmates that he was already dead when he was rushed to the Molla Sani Infirmary near Ahwaz, a medical facility controlled by the IRGC. Prison officials claimed that this political prisoner had died of a stroke.

Mohammed, who was an electrician engineer by trade, had been arrested in 2008 by regime intelligence officials, subjected to torture, and sentenced to 10 years in prison for acting against the country’s security for his political and cultural activities, such as organising a celebration of the UN’s Mother Language Day. He spent most of his prison term in Sepidar Prison of Ahwaz and was transferred a few months before his death to Sheyban Prison.

The secret killing of political prisoners is a method widely used by the Iranian regime, increasing in frequency in recent years.

Ali Sawari case

On Monday, 26 March 2018, the body of 50-year-old Ali Sawari, an Ahwazi prisoner, was returned to his family in the Sepidar neighbourhood of Ahwaz city, by officers from the Sheyban Prison near the regional capital after he was murdered under torture aimed at extracting confessions from him.

Hatem Marmadi case

A few months later, in June 2018, 20-year-old Hatem Marmadi from the city of Khafajiyeh, died under torture in a regime prison in the capital city, Ahwaz. Marmadi had been abducted a year earlier from his family’s home by regime intelligence agents, and charged with participating in political and cultural activism. In this case too, the regime refused to hand over his body to his grieving family or to inform them of his burial place.

Ahmad Heydari & Adnan Sawari cases

 On 13 November 2018, the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO) issued a statement quoting ‘reliable local sources’ who reported that two Ahwazi political detainees identified as 28-year-old Ahmad Heydari and 34-year-old Adnan Sawari had been tortured to death by the regime’s intelligence agency in Ahwaz.

According to the AHRO, sources close to Ahmadi Heydari’s family told the organisation that the intelligence service’s press office informed them the next day that their son had been killed. They claimed that he had died in a clash with investigators, a claim his family did not believe. 

Benyamin Alboghbiesh case

On 26 June 2019, 26-year-old Benyamin Alboghbiesh young Ahwazi activist died under torture in an Iranian regime prison, three months after he was arrested along with his brother. 

Benyamin was arrested by officers from the Iranian regime’s infamous intelligence service in a raid on their home in the Zaytoun Karmandi neighbourhood of the regional capital, Ahwaz City, on 15 March 2019, along with his brother Mohammad Ali Alboghbiesh, aged 29.

 Benyamin’s family reportedly received a brief phone call from a regime official on the day of his death to inform them that he had died at one of the intelligence service’s notorious detention centres.

These are only some of the reported cases of Ahwazis killed in Iranian regime custody or assassinated by police. It’s believed that many more such deaths take place but are never reported, with the victims simply ‘disappeared’ into the regime’s vast network of prisons and torture centres, their bodies disposed of in unmarked graves, and their families too scared to ask questions about their whereabouts for fear of possible further punishment for their imprisoned loved ones or for themselves.

Like its totalitarian peers past and present, Iran’s regime can only get away with its crimes due to the tireless appeasement of the supposedly pro-democracy ‘international community’, whose leaders enjoy making speeches about human rights, but not taking action to uphold them.

Several issues are evident upon examining this chain of events and extrajudicial murders. First, the cases of Ahwazis being brutalised, murdered under torture, or assassinated span various categories and include individual of all ages and backgrounds. Some are cultural heritage activists, others are just young people who had ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, still others are peaceful political protesters, and finally, in some extreme examples, they are individuals who stood up to the organised crime tactics of the regime intelligence thugs and rejected extortion. But regardless of the reason for the atrocities committed against this broad spectrum of Ahwazis, it is clear that they have committed no crime nor engaged in any subversive activity that would be considered against the law in any normal country. 

This is an important issue to emphasise for the sake of addressing the unjust treatment of these human rights cases by the international human rights community, because Iran and its propaganda machinery have succeeded in painting an impression of all Ahwazis as separatists, secessionists, or terrorists.

Tehran has terrorised Europe in particular with the spectre of another refugee crisis in the event of Ahwaz separation, and strove to portray even minors, children, and women’s rights activists as dangerous subversives. Tehran’s anti-Ahwaz messaging reached a point where the legitimate human rights defenders of a helpless population standing up for equal rights and protections as citizens have been equated to terrorism, ideological extremism, and an agenda of regional mayhem. 

The regime has succeeded in protecting the very chaos, division, and disintegration it has spread across the Middle East and beyond through militias onto a portion of the people suffering from well documented and systematic oppression, with random murders and cases severe tortures now meeting impunity and silence from the international human rights community which hides behind the mantra of Iran’s propaganda.

Ironically, this level of inaction and excuse has manifested itself in other areas, whereupon regime apologists have claimed that any pressure on Iran with respect to human rights or any other issue would result in a “war” behind Iran and the Western states. On the contrary, however, when faced with impunity, Iran tends to escalate its oppressive measures. Indeed, Iran has merely presented human rights activists around the world with convenient excuse to focus on far less challenging causes and to excuse inability to make progress by blaming the victims.

The international media and human rights NGO blackout is related to other factors as well. The Ahwaz cause has only started to become prominent in the last few years, thanks to the concerted efforts of activists in the West. In the past, and around the time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, New York Times, and other major publications have covered or at least mentioned the plight of “minorities” in Iran, but since then, the conversation has faded into the background thanks to the fact that many of the activists did not speak English, and Iran has targeted Kurdish, Ahwazi, and other activists abroad with assassinations, using terror, bribery, and disinformation to tarnish the potential for coverage in the media until the stories of these non-Persian groups were nearly forgotten even by the Arab states, much less by the Western audiences.

Furthermore, the ignorance around the issues was perpetuated by the fact that pro-Iran officials and journalists referred to relevant regions by Persian names; therefore, even in cases when demonstrations, uprisings, or human rights abuses were brought up to the international attention, they were lumped in with other Iranian causes and were not distinguished in any way.

None of that, however, ultimately absolves the international community and human rights group from the responsibility to hold Iran responsible for oppressing the Ahwazi people who are victimised twice over – first, as any Iranians increasingly oppressed and ignored by the regime which has misappropriated funding and humanitarian aid and squandered public resources on wars and funding of terrorism.

Second, Ahwazis are clearly targeted on the basis of their ethnic and cultural identity, as many of the cases of seemingly random extrajudicial assassinations and arbitrary detainments and tortures show.

Regardless of the political dimensions related to any potential territorial disputes, no government has a right to engage in extrajudicial killings, to deny its citizens the right to due process, or to engage in torture, brutality, and extortions. Iran’s violation of international laws, treaties, and basic civil norms should compel every self-respecting human rights organisation to take up detailed reports chronicling both the general and the specific issues involved, as well as to stage campaigns highlighting the individual cases even as commemoration of untimely deaths.  

These campaigns and reports are used by presiding government bodies in Western countries to inform administrations and lawmakers about the human rights situation in Iran, and have the power to affect policy, including issues of sanctions, direct negotiations, and diplomatic relationships. By suppressing the relevant information from public and diplomatic discourse, these NGOs have denied both the public and the relevant officials the opportunity to examine evidence and to construct informed opinions and policy that could help the people in need and pressure the regime into changing its course. By abdicating their responsibility to help address these injustices in a transparent manner, these NGOs have empowered the oppressive powers and have contributed to the denial of justice to victims, survivors, and their families. 

There is a cynical aspect to this self-perpetuating situation: the more the information about Ahwazis is suppressed, the lesser known these issues in the public and the less interest it generates.

Human rights NGOs thrive on popular causes, which is why some, often far lesser deserving issues project infinite resources devoted to their perpetuation and remain forevermore in the public eye, while others, such as the oppression of Ahwazis, evades scrutiny.

Lesser-known causes do not generate fundraising appeal; furthermore, with many human rights NGOs are aligned with political causes that favour reconciliation with Iran. They view the highlighting of certain issues deemed controversial by the regime as an obstacle to larger diplomatic efforts or as “triggering” a potential opposition to these efforts among the Western public. Therefore, these agencies appear to pursue agendas that are not directly in line with their stated mission. Is it any wonder then that only Amnesty International has given a brief amount of attention to Ahwazi human rights cases, and that over all the amount of attention devoted to these issues have been far less than what has been allotted to other issues?

Brutal tortures and forced confessions are generally are highly emotional issues that generate sympathy even among people not familiar with regions and causes. But some situations have entire industries dedicated to the “marketing” and promotions of these stories, while the Ahwaz cause is being actively silent.

Another concern is the apparent conflict of interest between the general Iranian diasporas, who tend to subvert the conversation about Ahwazi human rights by politicising the issue of the underlying territorial dispute and thus implicitly legitimising the Iran regime’s response to the activism related to that cause.

 The victims’ families have no legal recourse inside the country, nor do they have the financial means to appeal the case before international courts. These campaigns require independent support, but siding with Iran and turning a blind eye to its abuses and iniquities has become the political mood of the day. Between the Iranian diaspora and the funding of the Iran regime lobbies, it is easy for the human rights organisations to turn a blind eye to the genuinely voiceless and the powerless.

Finally, there is also the issue of possibly corrupt international mechanisms for addressing these cases. The UN has an official position of a rapporteur to deal with extrajudicial cases; the most recent appointee in that position has done nothing for the Ahwaz cause, and before becoming the head of Amnesty International, has been implicated in speaking against some countries while ignoring far broader issues in countries like Iran, and refusing to engage with the diaspora of the affected communities. This individual was caught participating in discredited and debunked smear campaigns that pass for human rights activism with the relevant public, but refused to answer questions or address the issue of extrajudicial killings of Ahwazis. Because apparently, it was not high profile enough and because the “client” was indigent.

This woeful inaction violates the duty of someone appointed to that position to hold all parties equally responsible pursuant to the articles of the UNHCR and applicable measures of the international law. Such double standards incapacitate victims, and paralyse any movement towards highlighting these violations.

As a member of the UN, Iran’s abuses are frequently excused and ignored; and it occasionally gains seats on human rights committees despite having a track record of severe abuses in every imaginable area. As a result of complete disenfranchisement in that respect, the Ahwazis are isolated from the international human rights community and have no recourse in appealing for their cases.

Only Ahwazi human rights groups speak out on behalf of their own issues. The isolation of the Ahwazi human rights groups is a double “punishment” – first, they are denied resources to address their problems, and second, as a result of having no allies, they are perceived as having no legitimacy or credibility.

 If no one will stand with the Ahwazis, the public opinion seems to say, then how legitimate and relevant is their cause? Iran regime’s meddling in human rights organisations and the media censors the voices of the victims, and prevents them from building relationships with potential allies.

This extension of Iran’s human rights abuses abroad needs to stop as it violates the sovereignty of independent states where the Ahwazi diaspora resides. Social corruption has allowed Iran to inflict double standards globally; however, ultimately, Iran’s ability to shut down discussion about situations that most challenge the Islamic Republic’s political legitimacy hurt those states as much as they hurt the powerless Ahwazis.

Article first published on Dur-Un-Tash Studies Center.

Rahim Hamid is an Ahwazi author, freelance journalist and human rights advocate. He tweets under @Samireza42.

Irina Tsukerman is a New-York based Human Rights Lawyer, National Security Analyst. She can be followed under @irinatsukerman.

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