İRAN SAHTE ÜLKE – THE FAKE STATE IRAN

İran`da Türk`ün hali sömürülmekten beterdi.

Sözde İslam Devrimi parfümlenmiş eterdi.

Amaç milli bilinci köreltip uyutmaktı.

Türk soylu çoğunluğu esarette tutmaktı.

İran Şiası için baş emel aryanizmdi.*

Sözde İslam Devrimi maskelenmiş faşizmdi.

Her insan her yaratık Allahın ayetidir.

Dinde sömürü ise şeytanın lanetidir.

 

*Arı ırkın üstünlüğü iddiası ile ırkçı politika izleme, Fars ırkçılığı

 

Muzaffer ÖZDAĞ

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Why ethnic issues are not popular among Iranian/Persian?

The Azerbaijani Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Baluches, Turkmens, Lors issues are not popular subjects, in Iranian/Persian community.

 Because since the establishment of Pahlavi dynasty [in 1925, after  the fall of the Qajar dynasty] non-Persians have been treated as  second-class citizens and there have always been a lack of political and individual rights for them. There is deep and wide racism against  non-Persian ethnic groups. They are subjected to racism and  discrimination by not only the Iranian government but also by the  Persian society.

So it’s not surprising Persian media doesn’t cover the issue, and if they do they represent the government’s point of view.

In August 2010, the UN anti-racism panel called on Iran to counter  racism and ethnic discrimination, including incitement to hatred by  officials and “double discrimination suffered by women from minorities.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed  concern at the exclusion of Arab, Azeri, Balochi, Kurdish and Bahai  communities in areas such as housing, education, health, jobs and “from  public life”.

southaz.blogspot.com

Pan-Farsism/Pan-Iranism and Persian Chauvinism

RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION IS THRIVING IN FAKE STATE IRAN AGAINST, AZERBAIJANI TURKS, BALUCH, ARAB-ALAHWAZ, SOUTH  TURKMENISTAN (TURKMENSAHRA) AND  KURDS.

THE FREEDOM AND LİBERTY ARE THE BEST SOLUTİON FOR THE FİVE NATİONS AND THEİR OWN  TERRİTORİES İN THE FAKE STATE İRAN.

THE FIVE NATIONS AND TERRITORIES ARE:

1.  SOUTH AZERBAIJAN, AZERBAIJANI TURKS PEOPLE (NORTH WEST OF IRAN)

2. ARAB AL-AHWAZ, ARAB PEOPLE (SOUTH WEST OF IRAN, RICH OIL REGION)

3. SOUTH TURKMENISTAN, TURKMEN TURKS PEOPLE (NORTH EAST OF IRAN)

4. BALUCHISTAN, BALUCHI PEOPLE (SOUTH EAST OF IRAN)

5. KURDISTAN, KURT PEOPLE (WEST OF IRAN)

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 ARAB AL-AHWAZ, ARAB PEOPLE (SOUTH WEST OF IRAN, RICH OIL REGION)

Ahwazi

STATISTICS

Status: Indigenous Arab people within the province of Al-Ahwaz (officially known as Khuzestan) are a national, ethnic, linguistic and a cultural minority.

Population: Al-Ahwaz: 5.7 million (according 2009 estimate based on 2002 government census) whith approx 4 million are Arabs. There are about 2 million Ahwazi Arab war (Iran-Iraq) refugees in other provinces. Capital City: Ahwaz

Area: 89,000km2

 Language: Arabic

Religion: Shi’a 70%, Sunni 24%, others 1%

Ethnic Groups: Arab (75%), Persian, Lurs, Jewish, Christian

UNPO REPRESENTATION: Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz

The Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz (DSPA) is the representative of the region of Al-Ahwaz in the UNPO. It aims to create a socially and politically dynamic civil society promoting the right of the Ahwazis as a minority in Iran.  The DSPA is striving for the recognition of Ahwazi Arabs in the region. The DSPA was admitted to the UNPO on 14 November, 2003.
OVERVIEW

The Ahwazi Arabs are one of the largest minority groups within Iran and are predominantly situated in the Al-Ahwaz province.  Al-Ahwaz, also known as Arabistan or Khuzestan, is situated in the southwestern part of Iran.  It borders Basra province, Iraq in the west, the Gulf, Shat al-Arab Waterway, and the province of Dashestan in the south, and the mountains of Lurestan and Kurdistan in the north and east respectively.  Its capital is the city of Ahwaz.  Nearly 90% of Iran’s oil originates from Al-Ahwaz, due to its location at the tip of the Gulf and the Shat al-Arab waterway. The Karoun River, Iran’s largest river, flows through Al-Ahwaz into the  Gulf and is a major means of transportation through Iran. The Al-Ahwaz providence is one of the most lucrative provinces because of its natural resources and shipping ability. However, despite this wealth the Ahwazi Arabs of Al-Ahwaz receive very little of the profits and many are forced to relocate due to Iranian oil and dam develop
In addition to not being compensated for the loss of their lands, the Ahwazi Arabs face continued violence and repression by the Iranian government. Since the 1980s the Iranian government has imposed several discriminatory ethnic and religious policies that have banned Sunni Ahwazi Arabs from participating in government, limited their access to education and resources, and forcing them into abject poverty. In order to silence opposition, Iranian authorities have persecuted the Ahwazi Arabs through arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, deportation and destruction of property. The United Nations, European Union, and state governments have condemned the discriminatory and violent methods the Iranian government has taken against the Ahwazi Arabs. While Iran has faced severe criticism by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Council more recently for its treatment of Iranian religious and ethnic minorities it remains to be seen whether change is forthcoming.

POLITICAL SITUATION

In 2005 it was revealed that the central government had been pursuing a plan of requisitioning land from Arabs in Al-Ahwaz and selling it to ethnic Persians and non-Arab businesses with zero percent loans.  The displaced Ahwazis remain undercompensated, and have been forced to relocate to shanty towns in the regional capital, Ahwaz. Some Ahwazis have even been deported across the country to the northeastern city of Mashhad. A government document revealing these plans and other “Persianisation” methods was discovered in 2005 and led to massive protests and unrest in Al-Ahwaz.  The government backlash was severe and led to hundreds of arrests and dozens of executions. Since 2005 every year around the anniversary of the protests there have been preemptive arrests and executions. Since January 2009, between 30 and 100 Ahwazi (the former estimate is  according to official government reports, the latter to human rights groups) have been executed for purported crimes varying from drug trafficking to Mohareb: “being enemies of God”. Mohareb’s interpretation is itself ambiguous and subjective and has been extended to cover a range of crimes, from petty theft to acts of terrorism. The majority of the people targeted for these arrests and the resultant executions are young men, many of whom have been involved in political activism.

In addition to being forced from their native lands the Ahwazi Arabs have experienced severe repression through the Iranian gozinesh law, passed in 1988, which makes access to education, employment, military and governmental services conditional upon a rigorous ideological screening to assure a devotion to the state’s official ideology of Islam. Both Sunni and Shia Ahwazi Arabs suffer under this discriminatory policy as they are seen as enemies to the Iranian state and not true practitioners of Islam. Many have been denied access to basic services, while several among them have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and imprisonment.
The elections that took place on June 12th, 2009 and the Iranian government’s aggressive response against protestors is a pressing concern for the Ahwazi Arabs. In Al-Ahwaz several Ahwazi Arab homes were raided after the elections and many individuals were subject to torture and wrongful arrests. The censoring of dissidents by the Iranian government through the removal of media outlets, arrest of news reporters and use of force, rape, property destruction and imprisonment of political activists continues to plague all those who voice their political opposition.
UNPO PERSPECTIVE
UNPO supports Ahwazi calls for the Iranian authorities to observe their international legal commitments to human rights and to pay greater respect to the individual culture and environment of Al-Ahwaz.
The question of democracy, human rights, and development are key to the wellbeing of Iran’s society and nationalities, and are as important to Al-Ahwaz as elsewhere. The centralized theocracy that emerged in 1979 has refused to address these issues.
UNPO believes that realizing these aims can be best accomplished by the granting of greater regional autonomy to the region of Al-Ahwaz.  This process should be driven by all Iranians, as part of peaceful domestic reform. UNPO condemns the denial of Ahwazi national and cultural identity by the Islamic Republic.
UNPO MEMBER PERSPECTIVE
The Democratic Solidarity Part of Ahwaz (DSPA) aims to create a socially and politically dynamic civil society promoting the rights of the Ahwazis as a minority nationality in Iran. The DSPA does not dispute  the territorial integrity of  Iran but it believes Iran is a multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-cultural state. It believes in peaceful reform of the current system of governance, and the establishment of a secular, federal democratic republic in which all minorities are represented and given a voice.
DSPA is a member of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran, an organisation of 16 regional and ethnic minorities in Iran peacefully campaigning for the autonomy of Iran’s regions within a democratic federal system.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
ARAB PERIOD
Before the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century, many Arab tribes have lived in different parts of Iran, each one retaining their own identity through language, culture and religion. According to Kasravi, a well respected Iranian contemporary historian, in his book titled “500 years history of Khuzestan” and to Tabari, the first Muslim historian, the Ahwazi-Arabs have lived in Khuzestan and other parts of southern Iran since the Parthian era, 4000 years ago. In 639 AD the Islamic conquest of Persia brought Islam to the area.  Control of the region of Al-Ahwaz changed from Arab to Persian control multiple times, but throughout history the region maintained a majority Arab population. Muhammad Ibn Faalah Mashaasha independently ruled Al-Ahwaz from the 15th to the second half of the 19th century.  The king of Iran during the time, Nasser al-Din Shah, acknowledged the autonomy and independence of the region,
It was from 1503 onward that Al-Ahwaz came to be known as Arabestan, signifying its Arab character as well as its Arab inhabitants. During this time the Al-Ahwaz enjoyed considerable autonomy as they were separated from the imperial power by the Zagros mountain chain. The local Arab sheiks were largely independent and the region was ethnically distinct from the rest of Persia.
PAHLAVI DYNASTY
By the end of the 18th century, the Bani Kaab tribe replaced the Mashaashaid as the new rulers of Khuzestan. Bani-Kaab ruled Arabistan until Sheikh Khazaal, the last Arab ruler, was removed from power in 1925. With the support of British officials,Reza Shah was placed into power. Reza Shah immediately began to forcibly settle the tribal groups of Al-Ahwaz, which presented a considerable conflict as the groups were traditionally semi-nomadic.  Tehran commenced a heavy centralization process, imposing Farsi as the official language and banning the teaching of Arabic in schools. This centralization was exacerbated in 1936 when Al-Ahwaz was renamed Khuzestan by the central Iranian government, further attempting to deny the Arab identity of the province. Thus the Iranian government was able to put an end to the last autonomous province and emirate in the area and bring Arabistan (Al-Ahwaz) under its control.

ISLAMIC REVOLUTION AND THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR

Due to the endemic corruption and autocratic rule of the government, the Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown and replaced by the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran.  However, the policies of the Islamic Republic, like its predecessor, were based on the elimination of the national identity of Ahwazi-Arabs and other nationalities such as the Turks, Kurds, Baloch and Turkmen. Upon its ascendance to power, the Islamic government responded severely and immediately cracked down on all federalist movements.  Many ethnic minorities, including the Ahwazi, used this occasion to demand better representation and more autonomy from the new government. Systematic human rights breaches followed, on one day following the 1979 revolution, more than 800 unarmed Arab Ahwazis were killed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Islamic Republic did not alter the previous regime’s centralist policies towards Al-Ahwaz, and the Ahwazi Arab people have remained under political, cultural, social and economic control ever since.
In September 1980, following a long history of border disputes, fear of Shia terrorism and the desire of Iraq to become the dominant  Gulf state, the Iran-Iraq War began with Iraqi forces invading Al-Ahwazi. While non-local inhabitants of Khuzestan escaped the war ravaged province to their original homeland, Ahwazis were subjected to the destruction of their homes, farms and lived under bombardments for eight years. Throughout this time the United Nations Security Council worked for a ceasefire, but it was not until 1988 that this was achieved and the last prisoners of war were not exchanged until 2003.
It is estimated that over a half of a million Iraqi and Iranian solders as well as civilians are believed to have died in the war with many more injured or wounded. At least 12,000 Ahwazi Arab conscripted soldiers in the Iranian Army died defending Iran’s border from the Iraqi invasion. However, despite their service and opposition to the Iraqi invasion, the Ahwazi Arabs have been labeled as terrorists and enemies to the Iranian state. The Iranian gozinesh law that was passed in 1988 was a direct effort by the Iranian government to weaken and repress the Arab minority within the state. Since then the Ahwazi Arabs have faced continued harassment, terror and discrimination by the Iranian government.
2009 IRANIAN ELECTIONS
On June 12th 2009 Iran held its tenth presidential election in which the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was set against three challengers. The months preceding the vote saw increased repression, particularly against members of Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities, students, trade unions, and women’s rights activists. The censuring of the population created an intense situation leading up to the election. Presidential debates and information were restricted to only the state media. Many candidates were disqualified from running, leaving just four to contest for the presidency. Despite the limitations imposed by the Iranian government to discourage people, many individuals went out and voted. By the next morning the Islamic Republic News Agency, the official state news agency, announced that with only two-thirds of the votes counted, Ahmadinejad had won the election with 62% of the vote. However, within hours of the announcement outrage had erupted on the streets amongst widespread claims of voting fraud. The three defeated candidates alleged that President Ahmadinejad had ordered the fraud and voting discrimination. The government’s response was swift and severe with the blocking of satellite transmissions, internet access, banning of foreign journalists, and the severing of telecommunications infrastructure.

By the end of that week Iran’s Supreme Leader had ordered security forces to use violence and arbitrary arrests to suppress opposition. At this time ethnic minorities became targets of the Iranian military crackdown. Hundreds of Ahwazi Arab homes were raided and many innocent Ahwazis were taken into custody. It is estimated that at least 4,000 people were arrested during post-election unrest in Tehran, however several other arrests were recorded in Al-Ahwaz. The majority of those arrested were soon released, but many were held for weeks and some are still being held. It is still unknown how many Ahwazi Arabs were arrested and detained as the Iranian government continues to censure this information. According to international and local human rights groups, including Ahwaz Human Rights Organization, at least 780 Ahwazi-Arab known political organizers remain in prison from the 2009 elections.
CURRENT ISSUES

  1. Economic Situation
According to the Iranian government, Al-Ahwaz ranks third in Iran’s provinces in terms of GDP, largely due to its oil. The Yadavaran Field, one of the richest oil reserves in Iran, is located in Al-Ahwaz. The field is estimated to have up to 17 billion barrels of oil. In 2009 the Iranian government negotiated a 70 billion dollar deal with the Chinese company, Sinopec, in which the company would hold a 51% stake in the field’s development and the Chinese government would agree to buy 10 million metric tons of natural gas from the Iran. In 2007 development in the Yadavaran Field finally began and it is already estimated to make up to 185,000 barrels per day. However, the benefits of the rich natural resources of Al-Ahwaz do not reach the average Ahwazi citizen.  Ahwazi Arab unemployment rates are officially between 15-20%, and illiteracy is above 50%.  A million of the roughly 4 million Ahwazi Arabs live in urban slums, and more Ahwazi houses are destroyed every year by authorities to make room for government-sponsored business projects.
Several Ahwazi Arab oil and gas workers have also been victims to the discriminatory policies of the Iranian administration. It has been reported that since 2009, the Iranian government started discharging all mid and high level Ahwazi Arabs from oil, gas, petrochemical and steel industries in Khuzestan to further intimidate Arabs and discourage their solidarity with the Kurdish, Baloch Human Rights movements in Tehran. Firings have been reported in several oil, gas, chemical and steel refineries, such as Abadan Petrochemical Complex, Razi Chemical (Bandar Imam Petrochemical), the Ahwaz Steel Plant, Ahwaz Carbon Black Plants and many others.
In addition to oil Al-Ahwaz is known as one of the agriculturally richest regions in Iran. The Karoun River flows directly through the province offering a renewable source of fresh water as well as shipping and trading routes through Iran and into the Persian Gulf. However, one of the greatest threats to the Ahwazi people has been the diversion of the Karoun River by the Iranian government in order to fuel massive oil and factory developments with hydro-electric energy and water. The diversion of the Karoun River has caused massive ecological devastation to the already impoverished countryside as marshlands have been turned into saltwater fields and the land has become desert. The loss of usable agricultural land has led to the severe malnutrition and high infant mortality rates in the Ahwazi population.
2. Human Rights
Like most human rights activists in Iran, those in Al-Ahwaz face constant oppression from the government, including arrests where torture and ill-treatment are routine and trial without access to legal representation.  Moreover, due to their ethnicity, some are also falsely identified as separatists by the central government, which has maintained a suspicious stance towards Ahwazi Arabs ever since the Iran-Iraq war, despite the thousands that gave their lives during that war.  Tehran still perceives them as being disloyal and infiltrated by foreign countries trying to destabilize Iran. In this sense, the mobilization of minority representation has been considered secessionist and strongly resisted by the authorities, despite the fact that Iran is a multi-ethnic country and the repeated Ahwazi affirmations to respect the territorial integrity of Iran.
Since the mass demonstrations in Al-Ahwaz in 2005 there have been multiple instances of Ahwazi activists being imprisoned with little explanation, charged with mohareb, “being enemies of God”.  They are generally denied legal representation, and even in instances where lawyers are consulted, Iranian law is not properly followed. In many of these cases, the prisoners have been executed without any prior notification, contrary to the law stating that a prisoner and their legal counsel are entitled to 48 hours notification, and further objection, before execution.
Many Ahwazi living abroad have applied for refugee status from UNHCR and have received permission to travel to safe countries. There have been many instances in the past five years where Ahwazis granted refugee status living in Syria and Lebanon have been deported back to Iran to face criminal charges. Many of them have been detained indefinitely or executed. There are no official figures recorded of Ahwazi refugees put in this situation.  The DSPA and other Ahwazi organizations have called for the Geneva Convention principle of non-refoulement to be applied when nations are working with Ahwazi refugees.
According to the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation (AHRO), since the 2005 Ahwazi Intifada began, over 5,000 Ahwazis have been arrested, at least 131 have been killed and over 150 have disappeared.

3. Land Appropriation
In the years during the Iran-Iraq war, the central government confiscated some of the land in order to secure the region against the Iraqi invasion. However, 22 years after the end of the war, those lands have not been reallocated to the Ahwazi Arabs who are still waiting for their return.  According to the Special Reporter on Adequate Housing, in his report in 2005, there were reports of approximately 200,000 to 250,000 Arabs being displaced in Al-Ahwaz region due to the development projects being carried out by the central government. He specified that there was no prior consultation with the Ahwazi Arabs about those projects and there was no adequate resettlement or compensation. 4. Living Conditions Despite Al-Ahwaz being one of the richest regions for natural resources in Iran and generates a large amount of profits for the Iranian government, the Ahwazi Arabs continue to live in deplorable conditions. Due to the discriminatory laws put in place by the Iranian government, that limits Ahwazi Arabs access to social services they remain one of the poorest population groups within the state. One third of the urban population lives in shanty towns that are scattered throughout Al-Ahwaz.
Many Ahwazi Arabs live in areas where unemployment can reach up to 50%. The area of Dashte-Azadegan, where the majority of the inhabitants are indigenous Ahwazi Arabs, has the highest incidence of malnutrition among children in Iran. About 80% of children in Dashte-Azadegan suffer from malnutrition, leaving them with the consequences of stunted growth, health complications, and early mortality. Meanwhile in other areas of Al-Ahwaz hundreds of Ahwazis suffer from disease and poor living conditions due to Iranian discrimination and repression. Several Ahwazi Arabs have lost their homes and farmlands to oil mining and water developments projects in the region, leaving many in a desperate state unable to support their families.
The majority of Ahwazi villages lack schools and over 70% of Ahwazi Arab students drop out from secondary school due to not being able to learn in their native language. In addition to this, vast stretches of Al-Ahwaz continue to be riddled with explosive mines and bombs left behind from the Iran-Iraq War. Several local Ahwazi people, including children, have been tragic victims to these land mines. According to a 2003 Landmine Monitoring Report by the Human Rights Watch, Khuzestan remains the “most landmine infested area” in Iran. While the Ahwazi Arabs have appealed to the Iranian government to de-mine the area, their pleas continue to be ignored.
KEY QUESTIONS 1. How long have Ahwazi Arabs lived in Iran?
Ahwazi Arabs were an indigenous population in Al-Ahwaz before 639 AD. Throughout the centuries the region switched from Arab to Persian control; however the local Ahwazi population has remained consistent. Before Al-Ahwaz was officially renamed Khuzestan in 1936 the region was titled Arabistan which was meant to be a representative of the large local Arab population. The Ahwazi Arabs consider themselves to be native inhabitants of Al-Ahwaz and wish for their indigenous rights of culture, language, human rights and land to be respected and protected by the Iranian government.

2. Are Ahwazi Arabs connected to extremists and separatists?
The Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz do not consider themselves separatists. During the Iran-Iraq War the majority of the Ahwazi Arabs despite their opposition to the Islamic Republic, opposed the Iraqi invasion. Despite the accusations by the Iranian government that the Ahwazi Arabs are attached to Sunni extremists, agents working on behalf of the Israeli, US or Saudi governments, the Ahwazi Arabs have had no connection to radical extremism or violence towards the Iranian government. The goal of the Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz is to gain greater autonomy of Iran’s regions and transform Iran into a truly democratic federal state in which ethnic and religious minorities are equally represented and protected.
3. How has the International Community responded to the human rights situation in Al-Ahwaz?
The situation of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority has remained a topic of concern for human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, as well as the European Parliament, The United Nations, the US Department of State and the International Federation for Human Rights. Since 2005 several reports have been published by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarding the ethnic genocide of Ahwazi Arabs by the Iranian government. Recently the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned the actions of the Iranian government during the 2009 elections and its aftermath. While the plight of the Ahwazi Arabs has received greater international attention, the Iranian government has consistently refused to recognize Iranian Arab rights and instead continues to harshly repress them.
CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT

LANGUAGE
The people of Al-Ahwaz historically speak a dialect of Arabic identical to that spoken in Iraq.  Ever since Reza Shah’s centralization and annexation of Al-Ahwaz in 1925, Farsi (Persian) has been the official language of the state and no other languages are taught in school or used by the government.  Many Ahwazi Arabs drop out of school because they are forced to learn Farsi, and access to government positions is limited for native-Arab speakers from Al-Ahwaz.

RELIGION
Currently it is estimated that about  70-80% of Ahwazi Arabs are Shia and 20-30% are Sunni. However, there is no religious sectarianism between the two denominations among the Ahwazi, as the society is based more on tribal divisions than religious ones.  There are also small numbers of Jews, Christians, and Mandaeans in Al-Ahwaz. Unemployment rates in Al-Ahwaz are very high due to the restriction on Ahwazi Arabic in the region.
ENVIRONMENT

Al-Ahwaz is famous in Iran for its natural beauty and its wealth of natural resources. Being situated in the mountainous regions north of the Ahwaz Ridge and the plains and marshlands of the south, the region has an abundance of rivers and rich deposits of oil and minerals. It is because of this that for centuries individuals have inhabited the area and the land is scattered with valuable archeological structures and artifacts. The Ahwazi Arabs have inhabited the area of Al-Ahwaz since 639 AD. However, the relatively recent oil mining, industrial and hydro-electric developments, coupled with the increased land confiscation by the Iranian government have spelled ecological and social disaster for the Ahwazi Arabs.

Oil mining and industrial development have radically transformed the Al-Ahwaz landscape as local mountains and river beds have been leveled in order to accommodate them. Local wildlife, such as the endangered Asiatic Cheetah and the Persian Fallow Deer, have had their populations severely reduced due to loss of  habitat.
Fish populations as well have suffered as toxic runoff from the mines and factories pollute the local waterways. Recent research has shown high levels of mercury in the surrounding water supplies coming from the Bandar Imam Petrochemical complex. Local bird populations, especially the endangered falcons have shown extraordinary high levels of mercury in their bloodstreams. Signs of mercury poisoning are also evidenced in the indigenous Ahwazi Arab population in the form of birth defects, mental retardation, and a sharp rise in skin and respiratory diseases.

One the greatest threats to the Ahwazi people is the proposed diversion of the Karoun River by the Iranian government. The diversion project will hit the province’s Arab majority hard, exacerbating endemic poverty in the region by reducing water availability. The region also contains extensive marshes and rivers that support endangered species of fish and migratory birds. In January 2006, local members of parliament threatened to resign their seats in protest at the diversion of the Karoun. They claimed that it would seriously undermine water security and the livelihoods of many farmers in the Arab-majority province. In December 2005, some Khuzestan MPs launched a petition to impeach Energy Minister Parviz Fatah over the project.

Nevertheless, in June 2007, Fatah rejected the United Nation Environment Program’s (UNEP) concerns over the environmental impact of the government’s diversion project, despite claims that it will create an environmental disaster. According to local media reports, Fatah said that the government would instead step up its river diversion program, claiming that it “will not damage any part of the country and will not reduce the quota of water of any province.” He said that Khuzestan would benefit from hydroelectric power stations that form part of the river diversion project.
According to the UNEP, the Hor al-Azeem marsh has transformed from one of the biggest marshes in the Middle East to a barren wasteland with soil that is too salty to sustain any plants. The marsh lies at the mouth of the Karkeh River on the Iran-Iraq border and also receives water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Iran’s current project of transferring the waters of the Karoun River to decertified Iranian provinces will have major consequences for the marshland, according to environmental activists. Ahwazi Arabs in Khuzestan already suffer from poor health, low life expectancy, high rates of unemployment and pollution from the oil and petrochemical industries. The diversion of the Karoun would be a disaster for their livelihoods and well-being.


RELEVANT LINKS

The Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz http://www.alahwaz.info/site/?lang=ar
Amnesty International Report: “Defending Minority Rights: The Ahwazi Arabs.” http://www.amnesty.org
British Ahwazi Friendship Society http://www.ahwaz.org.uk/news.html
CIA World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization www.ahwazhumanrights.org
Medya News “The living conditions of Iran’s Arab population” http://medyanews.com/english/?p=1366

www.unpo.org

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Do You Know ALAHWAZ?

We had lands by the name of of Al-Sous, Naisan, and Alahwaz or Arabistan-the Arab land-as called by Iranians . The last ruler of Al-Ahwaz was named prince Kazaal Alkaaby(1861-1936) who struggled and tried to keep his country self-governed even though his neighbors big countries such as Iran and the Usmanies but the scales of interests has changed.

The battle between the west and the east started and the world was divided to two divisions thus friends became enemies and the neighbor became oppressive over his other neighbors and by that the Iranian government governed by the racist Reza Khan started to invade Al-ahwaz in April 1925 in special international and local circumstances. He entered with force and aggression and occupied my homeland.

They captivated the prince Khazaal and transported him to Tehran and then assassinated him in the year of 1936. He dropped all human rights and took over all of Al-ahwaz and started persianlizing both the people, land, identity,and culture, He changed the arabic names replacing them with Persian names and that did not just include city and country names but also humans. Where Ahwazians were given a list of names and had limits to which names to choose for their new born children. They rubbed the land and water after possesing the oil and transporting it. They built habitation and transported hundreds and thousands of non-arab to Al-ahwaz and forced Arab Ahwazies to migrate to other Iranian cities or even to outside of Iran.

This strategy has been carried out by former regime deliberately and it has been developed to worse against Ahwazi Arab people during the current fanatic Islamic regime of Iran. Our nation lived oppressed and anguished by the injustice, poverty, and deprivation, not fiding bread to feed on or even a simple job when Ahwaz is considered the second largest reserve fro oil in the world where Iran gets near 5 million Barrel of petrol daily. It is from this wealth and fortune that Iran builds its military forces and nuclear power. It is my Nation’s wealth that Iran confiscated, it is my piece of bread of my Children’s that has been stolen. It is from my petrol and oil that was found in 1911 only 14 years before the occupation of my homeland

While my people lived under poverty and deprivation, it is also forbidden to speak its Arabic language. They are also forbidden to wear their traditional Arabic clothing and forbidden even from building libraries and clubs. They are also forbidden to introduce or talk about their history, culture, past civilization and identity, and the reason for that is the Iranian Islamic regime killing them, and the executions are in the context of a brutal clamp-down on Ahwazi Arabs protesting against Iranian discrimination and persecution – designed to intimidate them into submission.

Most charges against most Arab activists include those who struggling for Self Determination and independent of al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan)

is also converting from Shia to Suni and being Mohareb or enemies of God, which carries a death sentence. Other unsubstantiated charges allege destabilizing the country, attempting to overthrow the government.
ahwazarabic.maktoobblog.com

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FOR MORE İNFORMATİON ON AHWAZ, PLEASE SEE THE BELOW LINKS:

http://www.al-ahwaz.com

http://www.m.guardian.co.au/world/2011/apr/18/iranian/sunni-protesters-killed?cat=world&type=article

www.alahwaz.info

www.ahwazstudies.org

www.arabistan.org

http://www.bahrainviews.com/?p=2693

                                          

 

                                                                                                                                                            

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SOUTH TURKMENISTAN, TURKMEN TURKS PEOPLE (NORTH EAST OF IRAN)

Southern Turkmenistan (Iran)

Güney Türkmenistan,Turkmenlik, Turkmensahra Liberation Organization,Turkmen

In 1881, the Treaty of Alkhal divided the Turkmen territories between Russia, Persia and Afghanistan. The Turkmen in present-day Iran number about 1,100,000 and live in what is called Turkmensahra or Southern Turkmenistan, in and around Gondbad Kavus (center of Turkmensahra), Bandar Turkmen, Aq-Qala and Gomishan, all, roughly, along the Iran-Turkmenistan border from the Caspian Sea up to the town of Sarakhs, from below the sea level to the mountain peaks of more than 3,000 m high. The main tribes of the Iranian Turkmen are Yomut Tribe (subdivided into Jafarbay, Atabay and Agh-Atabay), Nokhorli Tribe, Goklen Tribe, Teke Tribe. Most of Iranian Turkmen are Sunnis of the Hanafi branch, but some follow the Naqshbandieh Sufism. They have also a history of the opposition to the central governments.

 

TURKMENSAHRA LIBERATION ORGANIZATION CENTRAL SHURA MEETING:

Emphasis was put on the continuation of the struggle until the Turkmensahra people gain their freedom as well as on keeping detached to foreign powers.

 The Turkmensahra Liberation Organization held its Central Shura Meeting last week onAugust 10, 2007in a nearby village of Gonbad-e Kavoos.

All the members of the Organization’s Central Council together with Bandar-e Turkmen, Gomish Tappeh, Kalaleh, Minudasht, Aq Qala, Gonbad-e Kavoos, Gorgan as well as delegates from cities and provinces such asNorth KhorasanandTehranattended the meeting. With this meeting, the Turkmensahra Liberation Organization aimed at setting its course of action and policies for  the next period.

The Turkmensahra Liberation Organization is an organization based in Turkmensahra, which strives for the freedom of the Turkmen people. The members of this organization, who are active in cities with a Turkmen population, will continue their struggle until it frees the Turkmen people – who currently suffer a captive life in three provinces – from the Islamic Republic of the Devil.

The Central Shura Meeting took start with statements from members regarding the organization’s course of action followed by consultations on short and long term objectives. Afterwards, delegates from various cities submitted a report to theCentral Shuraon their activities and the recent situation in their home cities.

The important decisions taken in the Turkmensahra Liberation Organization’s Central Shura Meeting are as follows:

1-  The Turkmensahra Liberation Organization is an organization that does not have any connection outside Turkmensahra and shall never be attached to any foreign movement. The Organization has flourished from the heart of Turkmensahra and shall continue to follow the course of its divine destination, relying on its people and without receiving any kind of assistance from foreign powers

2- The Turkmensahra Liberation Organization shall pursue its struggle in line with its objectives until the Turkmen people gain all their rights and are entitled to absolute freedom.

3- Active cooperation shall continue with those who endure torment, especially with the Azerbaijani Turks, the Baluchis, the Arabs and the other striving people as well as the Sunnites and people from the other sects.

4- The Organization shall adopt a disarmed method of struggle for the time being.

5- The meetings of the Turkmensahra Liberation Organization shall be held every three months in a Turkmensahra region, with a consideration on the security situation.

6- The statements of the Organization shall be published in Turkmensahra and shall also be posted on its official website Azatlyk.

In this meeting, a Turkmensahra Constitution Preparation Group was also formed. The Constitution to be formulated will be made public after consultations with other Turkmen organizations and groups.   سازمان آزادیبخش ترکمن صحرا – تورکمن صحرا آزادلیق قوراماسی

 TURKMENSAHRA AZADLYK GURAMASY

 TURKMENSAHRA LIBERATION ORGANIZATION

THE ONLY SOLUTION IS TO ESTABLISH THE TURKMEN NATIONAL FRONT

The Regime of Islamic Republic, who has been tyrannized over and slaughtered the Iranian people by using the name of God and religion for thirty years, has approached to its end. The revolutionary people of Iran understood after thirty years that this regime would never improve and therefore everything should be damaged and rebuilt.

The Turkmen observe the recent developments with anxiety, since they are concerned that the incidents that had been experienced during the first years of the Regime could be reiterated and once again the region could be damaged irreversibly. The people of Turkmensahra, understood the character of the Regime by observing the Vali-ye Faqih government and displayed disobedience toward it. In this direction, various Turkmen youth were martyred, arrested and exiled.

Without doubt, the fire of the revenge that would be taken from the activists of Islamic Republic inflames the hearts of the brave Turkmen youth. When the proper time comes, the Turkmen will respond to the ones who seized the land that had been inherited from their ancestors and the killers that had slaughter their heroes. However, for decades, some significant changes have been experienced in the opinions of above-mentioned people. The Turkmens prefer independent activities that have a spirit of unity and they would never let the organizations out of Turkmensahra to infiltrate into the region and take the people’s movement under their own control and command.

Some individual leftist and national parties that attempt to penetrate into the Turkmensahra could not find any support within the Turkmens because of the fact that they know this would split Turkmens and create conflicts among them. Today the only way to ensure unity and monophony is to establish a national aim and national policy.

In the previous years, the balances of the region have changed due to the Turkish Republics’ being independent. This situation affected the Iranian Turkmen as well. The Azerbaijan and Khorasan Turks, who were deceived by the Shiite characteristic of Persian chauvinism at the very beginning of the Islamic revolution, have commenced to claim their own identities today. Most of the Turkish community living in Iran today, talk about the unity of Turks. Without doubt, like Azerbaijanis, the Turkmensahra Turkmen being the descent of Oghuz could not be ruled out of these developments. If coordination can be established between the Iranian Turks, more than half the Iranian population will be on the same side as an unconquerable circle. This situation would increase the power of Turkmen in the face of Persian chauvinism and Sistanis who had seized their lands. Therefore, the movements that would harm the unity of Turks should be avoided.

We believe that the leftist and Turkmen revolutionary powers from the beginning of the revolution have come to the same conclusion due to their political experience. If the four martyred leaders of the Turkmen had been alive, they would have chosen nothing but this.

Yes. This time, we should deal with the previous incidents and political movements with reason and smartness. We should not let the national and regional organizations with which we do not have any common historical and national elements determine our destiny. We should not forget the fact that the Turkmen could establish a unity based only on a national aim. If a Turkmen National Front is established, it could bring the revolutionary powers of the region together. 

سازمان آزادیبخش ترکمن صحرا – تورکمن صحرا آزادلیق قوراماسی

 TURKMENSAHRA AZADLYK GURAMASY

                                  TURKMENSAHRA LIBERATION ORGANIZATION

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TURKMEN MUSIC

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BALUCHISTAN, BALUCHI PEOPLE (SOUTH EAST OF IRAN)

West Balochistan

 

STATISTICS

Status: West Balochistan is an occupied territory, annexed in 1928 to Iran in the Reza Shah Pahlavi era.

Population: Since many parts of Balochistan land after occupation has been partitioned into neighbouring Persian Provinces of Kerman, Khorasaan and Hormozgaan, Baloch population inclusively is about 4.8 million.

Capital of Province: Zahidan

Area: Total Baloch inhabited landscape is 690,000 km², of which 280,000 km² is occupied by Iran, 350,000 km² occupied by Pakistan and 60,000 km² by Afghanistan.

 Language: Balochi and Brahui

Religion: The majority of Baloch are Hanafi Sunnis. There is also a community of zikri Baloch and a small population of Shia.

UNPO REPRESENTATION: Balochistan People’s Party

The Baloch people in Western Balochistan are represented at the UNPO by Balochistan People’s Party (BPP).They became a member of the UNPO on 26 June 2005

OVERVIEW

Twenty percent of the Baloch population lives in southeastern Iran in the area known as ‘West Balochistan’ the majority live in East Balochistan (Pakistan) and a small number are located in Afghanistan.  The Balochistan People’s Party represents only the Baloch’s in Iran and not the larger Baloch community that resides in Pakistan and Afghanistan also known as ‘Greater Balochistan.  Parts of West Balochistan have been partitioned to three neighboring provinces in the south east of Iran: Khorasan, Kerman and Hormozgan.   There has been some migration of Baloch throughout in Iran as they seek employment opportunities particularly in Tehran The Baloch population in Iran consists of approximately 4 million people although there are no independent census figures. While the CIA Factbook estimates that they account for 2% of Iran’s population (total 66,429,284 July 2009 estimate) in reality this represents an underestimation.  The majority of Iran’s Baloch are Sunni Muslims with small minorities of Shia and Zekri.  The national language is Balochi and the second-most commonly spoken language is Brahui, a language of unknown origins with Iranic loanwords.

POLITICAL SITUATION

The British and Persian Empires divided Balochistan into spheres of influence when Balochistan was partitioned during the 19th century. In 1928 West Balochistan was annexed into Iran by Reza shah Pahlavi, who took over the power from Qajar dynasty through a British backed military coup soon after the famous historical “constitutional revolution” in the early 20th century.  The Pahlavi dynasty in Iran marked the beginning of a centralized state based on Persian national features, where the Persian language and Shiite religion were given prominence leaving Baloch people struggling to defend their rights under Iranian Rule. Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced into exile. The new regime outlawed political organizations and in 1981, began a major assault on political activists in the form of persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution and assassination. Baloch people in Iran are deprived of their cultural, social and economic rights leaving them feeling like third class citizens.  They face discrimination, particularly with regard to political participation and the job market. The punishment for dissemination of Baloch culture and language is a declared act of treason against the state and assimilation policies carried out by the Persian state mean that the Baloch are rapidly losing their identity. Baloch people face systematic intimidation, harassment arrests, and torture.

UNPO PERSPECTIVE

UNPO condemns the unwarranted military operation against Baloch people which has resulted in mass displacement, killings, disappearances and mass imprisonment in Balochistan. UNPO deplores the discrimination against Balochs, particularly in economic and political sphere.   In addition, UNPO condemns the denial of linguistic rights to speak and be educated in their mother tongue.  UNPO supports the Balochistan Peoples Party in their campaign to develop Baloch culture and promote the organization of people on the basis of a national Baloch identity.

UNPO MEMBER PERSPECTIVE

The Balochistan Peoples Party is a national democratic movement which is struggling to achieve sovereignty for the Baloch people within a secular, federal and democratic republic in Iran. BPP is one of the founding and most active members of “The Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran” (CNFI). The CNFI consists of parties and organizations representing Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Balochs, Kurds and Turkmen. CNFI seeks to establish a secular, democratic republic with a federal structure based on parity of its constituent parts.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

EARLY HISTORY

Balochistan is the location of some of the earliest human civilizations and the Baloch were mentioned in Arabic chronicles from 10th century AD. Mehrgar the earliest civilization known to mankind is located in Eastern Balochistan and the Kech civilization in central Makuran dates back to 4000 BC. The Arab invasion of Balochistan in the seventh century AD was amongst the most significant incursions in terms of the extensive social, religious, economic and political impacts. The Arab army controlled by Hakam, defeated the combined forces of Makuran and Sindh in 644 AD. During the anarchic and chaotic last phases of Arab rule, the Baloch tribes established their own semi-independent tribal confederacies, which were frequently threatened and overwhelmed by the stronger forces and dynasties of surrounding areas. This period brought Islam to the area which was gradually embraced by Baloch tribes.

The Selijuq suppression of the Baloch was epitomized with the invasion of Kerman in 11th century AD which stimulated the eastward migration of the Baloch. The Selijuq ruler, Qaward, also sent an expedition against the Kufichis.

The Safavid rule ran from 1501-1736. The British occupation of Kalat state was a turning point which had had severe consequences for the Baloch who suffered the partition of their land and perpetual occupation by foreign forces.  By the 18th century, Kalat was the dominant power in Balochistan and the Khan of Kalat was the ruler of Balochistan.

The British first came to Balochistan in 1839 when they sought safe passage and they signed a treaty with Kalat state in 1841. The British annexed Sindh in 1843 from the Talpur Mirs, a Baloch dynasty. Another treaty was imposed on the Baloch in 1876 when the British forced the Khan of Kalat to lease Quetta city to them. The Khan’s authority over Balochistan still applied but under the watchful eye of a British minister.

In 1849, an Iranian army defeated Baloch forces in Kerman and captured Bumpur. The Baloch people became further marginalized during the Anglo-Afghan wars and subsequent events in Persia, particularly in light of “the great game” between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire.

West Balochistan was conquered by Iran in the 19th century and the partition of Balochistan by British and Persian Empires dramatically changed Balochistan’s political status as it was divided into spheres of influence.  The border that splits Iranian and Pakistani Balochistan was fixed in 1872 by a British colonial official, ceding territory to Iran’s rulers in a bid to win Tehran’s support against Czarist Russia.

Baloch rebellions against dominations occurred throughout the 19th century, including the revolt of Jask in 1873, the revolt of Sarhad in 1888 and the general uprising in 1889.  A major uprising under Baloch chieftain Sardar Hussein Narui in 1896 provoked a joint Anglo-Persian expeditionary force to crush the struggle of Baloch. Baloch resistance was defeated after two years.

The reign of the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran was the beginning of a centralized state with Persian national identity based features which ruled Iran from the crowning of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925.  Western Balochistan was annexed by Iran in 1928 after the defeat of Baloch forces by Reza Shah’s Army.  Reza Shah Pahlavi was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in September 1941 when his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, became the emperor of Iran.

RECENT HISTORY

During the 1970s the Iranian government began to assist settlement and economic development by building dams and power plants but these efforts ceased abruptly following political changes at the end of the decade.

The Baloch Nationalist Movement in Iran was a relatively insignificant force compared to the movement in Eastern or Pakistani Balochistan until the overthrow of the Shah in the Iranian Revolution 1979 when there was resurgence of nationalist activities.  Iraq attempted to destroy the Revolution in its infancy and invaded Iran marking the beginning of a bloody, indecisive war between 1980 and 88.

The death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 marked a shift in Iran foreign policy from the idealistic post-revolutionary hardline during the Iran-Iraq. Iran became more pragmatic and improved relations with its non-revolutionary Muslim neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia.

After the destruction of a Sunni mosque, there were a series of riots in 1994 in Zahidan which were quelled when Revolutionary Guards fired live ammunition into the crowd. In response to popular dissatisfaction, political reform was initiated following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad Khatami in 1997.

In the 1990s Baloch political activists set about founding a new political party, facilitated by the post cold war climate which favored oppressed nations struggle for self-determination and sovereignty. Conservatives were able to regain power during municipal elections in 2003 and Majles elections in 2004, which culminated in the August 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud Ahmadinejad as president who returned Iranian policy to reflect Islamic revolutionary policies.  The president was re-elected in the controversial elections in June 2009.

CURRENT ISSUES

1. Human Rights Violations

There are serious allegations about Iran’s military operation including mass arrests, harassment of Baloch people and the execution of innocent Baloch civilians in Zahidan. The recent escalation in the number military exercises conducted in Balochistan has resulted in an increasing death toll. In most cases however there is little or no investigation into the incidents, and consequently little in the way of justice for the victims.

Despite being prohibited from entering Iran, Amnesty International has received reports of gross human rights violations at the hands of security forces (see their 2007 report) During 2006-7, numerous Baloch were shot dead in the street, including an 11 year old on 16 May 2007 killed by the Law Enforcement Force.  There are examples of forced disappearances, such as Vahid Mir Baluchzahi, aged 23, who went missing in February 2007 and was found dead in June later that year. In June 2009, 17 young Baloch were killed in street clashes with security forces and over 500 arrested after a demostration in the streets of Zahidan.

There is a heavy military presence in the east of the country, the base for the branch of the military called Mersad is located in Zahidan. One of the leaders is reported to have said, “We have not been given orders to arrest and hand over those who carry weapons. On the basis of a directive we have received, we will execute any bandits, wherever we capture them.” The use of the death penalty represents a major concern, particularly since there is sparse information available about the trials of some Balochs who are often arrested, tried and executed within days. It is unclear how many Baloch have been executed over the years, but in 2006 it is known the number rose dramatically when at least 32 and possibly 50 Balochs were executed.  In 2007, the Ayyaran newspaper reported that 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan Balochistan. In the aftermath of the presidential election in May 2009 19 Baloch prisoners were executed after short trials in closed-door court rooms without having access to defence lawyers.

The system of trying suspected criminals in Iran is inherently unfair. Defendants only have access to lawyer after investigations have been completed and they have been formally charged.  Lawyers can be imprisoned if they protest unfair proceedings.  Judges have powers to refuse a public trial if the case is incompatible with ‘morality or public order’ and they have discretionary powers to exclude lawyers in sensitive cases.  The lack of separation of powers of investigator prosecutor and judge mean that their functions remain merged, making an impartial hearing impossible.  Confessions to certain crimes may be used as sole means of proving defense under Islamic penal code.  Amnesty International has expressed concern about torture and ill treatment in pre trial detention, particularly the allowing confessions extracted under duress to be used.

Members of civil society organisations face oppression and are prevented from carrying out their activities. A Baloch youth group were only granted permission after much difficulty to stage first cultural music conference in 2005 and permission to stage a similar concert by another group refused in 2006. Six members of Voice of Justice Youth Association were arrested for their activities in 2007. The following year, the head of the organisation, Mr. Mehrnehad was subjected torture and executed.

2. Political Representation and Discrimination

The Baloch are unrepresented at the central government in Tehran which has led to marginalization of Balochi people. There is a lack of meaningful dialogue on a domestic scale between interstate and state leaders about the desire for greater autonomy and self-determination. In Iran, there is an ideological selection procedure called gozinesh which requires state officials and employees to demonstrate allegiance to Islam and the Islamic republic of Iran including velayat-e faqih (Rule of Jurisconsult). This is in conflict with Sunni beliefs meaning that equality of opportunity in employment both in the public, parastatal sector (e.g. Bonyads or Foundations) and sometimes in the private sector is severely impaired. Gozinesh excludes non-Shi’a from certain state positions such as the President and restricts access to higher education.

3. Governmental dismissal of Baloch Culture

Baloch people have been reduced to a minority in their own homeland by demographic manipulations at the hands of a succession of Iranian governments and systematic assimilation policy severely threatens the continuation of Baloch identity.  For instance non-Baloch are able to purchase land at reduced prices enabling them to set up businesses.

On June 30 2005, a community of Baloch were reportedly forcibly evicted from homes in Chabhar when their huts were demolished by security forces. Protesters were injured and no compensation or re-housing was offered.  Despite provisions in Iran’s constitution under article 15 that ‘the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media as well as for teaching of their literature in schools is allowed in addition to Farsi’ the Baloch’s language is subject to elimination and assimilation by Iranian rulers.

Although Balochi publications were allowed for the first time after 1979, the following year the government closed down 3 Balochi publications (Mahtak, Graand and Roshanal) and today Balochi publications are banned. There is a state radio station with a few Balochi programmes, but no Balochi appears on television. Balochi is forbidden in formal and public places and Baloch children are deprived of using their mother tongue as the medium of instruction at schools.

4. Socio-economic Rights

According to UN 2003 indicators, Balochistan is the poorest region in Iran with the worst indicators for life expectancy, adult literacy, primary school enrolment and access to improve water and sanitation and infant and child mortality.  This is despite the region’s natural wealth: Balochistan produces 40% of Iran’s energy, yet only 5-6% population have a gas connection.  After the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, many Balochs were reportedly forced from their jobs.

KEY QUESTIONS

1. Does Balochistan seek autonomy?

The Balochistan Peoples Party believes in non-violent and peaceful means of seeking national self-determination and popular sovereignty for Baloch people within Iran.  It is campaigning to achieve this sovereignty within a federal Democratic Republic of Iran based on parity of its constituent parts. It seeks to create a liberal democratic system based on political pluralism, secularism and social welfare free from discrimination. BPP seeks to work in co-operation with Iranian nations in a peaceful co-existence based on parity and mutual respect.  It also seeks to develop peaceful relations with neighbouring countries.   BPP aims to support and guide grassroots Baloch organisations which are emerging in civil society inside Balochistan in Iran.

2. Does West Balochistan want to unite with Balochistan in Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Iranian Baloch identify with their kin in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan where communities are also engaged in their own struggle for greater rights and self determination. Baloch regions are referred to in their entirety as “Greater Balochistan” and are united by historic persecution at the hands of imperial powers.  The circumstance of a nation divided without a state of its own pervades the Baloch national consciousness.  The truth of the Baloch National question is the existence of a unified Baloch nation with one homeland.

3. Why is a wall being built dividing Pakistani and Iranian Balochistan?

Iran has started constructing a 700km concrete wall along the border that has divided Baloch people into Pakistan and Iran from Taftan to Mand.  The Iranian government claims that 3 feet thick and 10 feet high concrete wall is being constructed to stop illegal border crossings and stem the flow of drugs.  The BPP strongly believe that construction of the wall serves political goals of the Iranian regime which is to divide the Baloch people and to suppress opposition voices claiming a unified Baloch nation. Close relatives live on both sides on the border and the wall will divide community politically and socially and seriously impede trade and social activities of the Baloch.

  CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Iranian Baloch see themselves as the heirs of an ancient and proud tradition distinct from Iran’s ethnic Persian population. They have a distinct language one of the oldest living languages of the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European languages, which is among the oldest and constructive in the region.  They prefer to use the Nastaliq script which is a variant of Arabic. The Baloch have close ties with populations in Pakistan and Afghanistan because of family or tribal links. Baloch live in a stratified society and historically have administered themselves as a loose tribal confederacy. Each tribe (tuman) consists of several clans and acknowledge one Sardar or hakim (leader) who has traditional social ties with his retinue (who include pastoralists, farmers, lower level leaders and hizmatkar).

ECONOMY

The Baloch are traditionally nomads but increasingly they are converting their farming practices to settled agriculture. In the coastal area, fishing represents a major income source. Although Balochistan is rich in gas, oil, gold and other minerals and marine resources occupation of their land and lack of trust from occupant regimes means that the people of Balochistan do not benefiting from their vast resources.  Hence Baloch live in some of the poorest conditions in South East Asia.

RELIGION

The majority of Baloch are Sunni Muslims whereas approximately 90% of the Iranian population are Shi’a. There is also a community of zikri Baloch and a small population of Shia.

NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT
The dry season in Balochistan runs for 8 months of the year, Sistan Balochistan being the driest region in Iran. Seasonal winds visit the province including the 120-day wind of Sistan known as Levar. Erosion is a serious problem as precipitation is scarce but mostly falls in violent rainstorms which cause heavy flooding. In the centre of the region there is abundant groundwater and streams, such as the Māshkīd and the Konārī rivers.  Storms in 2007 causing widespread flooding and damage to property killed 23 people and threatened the health of thousands. The iconic Mudy Mountain towers over Chahbahar, Balochistan, Iran and the unique Mudy volcano is located in northwestern Chabahar city.  Each eruption involves a loud gunshot sound with an explosion of gas and mud.  Sistan Baluchistan Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department has proposed mud volcano be registered on UNESCO World Heritage List.

RELEVANT LINKS

Amnesty International 2007 Report: ‘Iran: Human Rights Abuses Against The Baluchi Minority’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/104/2007/en/160fb9c4-d370-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/mde131042007en.html Amnesty International 2009 Report on Iran http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/iran/report-2009 Balochistan Peoples Party http://eng.balochpeople.org/ http://www.ostomaan.org/ Baloch Unity http://www.balochunity.org

LITERATURE

Selig S. Harrison, ‘In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baloch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, Carnegie Endowment for Peace’ New York 1981. Shahid Fiaz, ‘Peace Audit Report 3: The Peace Question in Balochistan’ South Asia Forum for Human Rights Katmandu 2003. Inayatullah Baloch, ‘The Problem of Greater Balochistan’ Stener Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH Stuttgart 1987 Khan, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan ‘Inside Balochsitan’ Maaref Printers Karachi, 1975. ‘Farhang- e Iran Zamin’ compiled and edited by: Iraj Afshar, Tehran 1990. Dr Naseer Dashti, ‘Baloch in Iran: What Option they have’ Balochunity.org.

www.unpo.org

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Iranian theocratic regime opens fire on peaceful rally, 2 women killed

( Iranian Occupied Balochistan) Pashamg: Firing resulted in killing of 2 innocent Baloch women and wounding 3 others including 2 children

Two innocent Baloch women killed and 3 wounded when Iranian occupying forces opened fire on a peaceful rally in Western Balochistan. The peaceful protest was organized by local women demanding basic rights.

According to details the peaceful women protest rally was going through the streets of Pashamg when the brutal forces of occupying Iranian theocratic regime showed up and opened indiscriminate fire on the participants. Two Baloch women died on the spot while 3 including 2 young children left badly wounded. Others managed to escape the firing.

More details not known as any means of communication in the area is almost nil due to very strict Mullah regime policies on its oppressed people.

It is to be noted Iranian regime’s staunch attitude towards Baloch have take an extremely brutal behavior after a bill in favor of Baloch people’s right of self-determination landed in US Congress a few days back. The bill also stated Balochistan is divided into three different parts which are currently under Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iranian rule, thus legitimizes the Baloch demand of right of self-determination.

The bill was presented by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Rep.) who also chaired a Congressional hearing on Balochistan issue on February 8th in which world humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International along with others testified on the ongoing human rights violations in Balochistan committed by Pakistan army. Courtesy of Baloch Johd

             

March  2012

vancouverbalochcommunity.blogspot.com

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    baluchsarmacha                                                                     

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ARABIAN GULF AND OCCUPATION OF THREE UAE`S ISLANDS BY IRAN IN 1971

IT IS ARABIAN GULF, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ARABIAN GULF, AND IT WILL ALWAYS REMAIN ARABIAN GULF.

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Occupation of the Three Islands

The Government of the UAE has sought, with considerable success, to consolidate international support for its continuing diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iranian occupation in 1971 of the three islands of Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa. While the UAE, like other member states of the AGCC, seeks to develop bilateral economic and political links with Iran, there is a clearly defined and agreed policy, both in the UAE and at the AGCC level, that such development will not take place at the expense of the UAE’s sovereignty over the islands. It is now 31 years since Iran forcibly seized Greater and Lesser Tunb on the night of 30 November 1971. At that time, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Iran and Sharjah, to allow for both to administer part of the island of Abu Musa, without prejudice to their continuing claims of sovereignty. Since then and most particularly since 1994, Iran has continually been in breach of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, interfering with free access, building military installations and placing military equipment on the island and moving in settlers whose presence has demonstrably and significantly altered the demographic structure of the population of Abu Musa. It has also, in contravention of the Memorandum of Understanding, imposed its control over areas of Abu Musa which were reserved under the agreement to Sharjah. UAE suggestions for resolution The Government of the UAE has consistently reaffirmed its right to sovereignty over the islands, protesting at the military occupation and subsequent fortification of the Tunbs and at the overt breach of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Abu Musa. At the same time, while continuing to assert its sovereignty over the islands, the UAE has offered two suggestions to Iran as ways of seeking to find a solution to the political impasse. The first is for the two parties to engage in direct bilateral discussions on the resolution of issues arising out of the Iranian occupation of the three islands, including both the proper implementation of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Abu Musa and the broader, but related, question of sovereignty. The UAE has set no preconditions on the offer to hold such discussions, apart from stating the necessity of laying down a fixed time limit for their conclusion. The second option is for the issue of sovereignty to be submitted to international arbitration or referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the UAE agreeing to be bound in advance to accept any ruling made by the Court. The Government of Iran has rejected both options. Since the ICJ can only exercise its jurisdiction if both parties agree to referral of a dispute, this effectively means that Iran has rejected the good offices of the world’s primary legal body, which would examine in detail any documentation put forward by the parties. The refusal of Iran to agree to a process which would require the submission of legal documentation must, inevitably, cast doubt on the legal validity of its claims. The Government of Iran has agreed to enter into bilateral discussions and has said that these would be without preconditions. At the same time, Iranian officials have refused to discuss the question of sovereignty over the three islands, referring only to the need to resolve ‘misunderstandings’. Frequent Iranian statements have reaffirmed claim to sovereignty over the islands, refusing in particular to enter into any discussion with relation to Greater and Lesser Tunb. While, in the opinion of the Government of the UAE, its claim to sovereignty over the islands is fully justified, it is willing to allow the issue to be settled through bilateral discussions, through international arbitration, or by the ICJ, and is prepared to submit documentation to be evaluated within the framework of international law. Legal issues International law states clearly that sovereignty cannot be acquired by invasion, military force or coercion. In the case of Greater and Lesser Tunb, the Iranian invasion in 1971 in which a number of Ras al-Khaimah policemen were killed, is a matter of historical fact. In the case of the Memorandum of Understanding on Abu Musa, the Government of Sharjah specifically reserved its rights to sovereignty. Quite apart from the fact that the Memorandum was signed only under the threat of invasion, amounting to coercion, it has subsequently been breached substantially and consistently in such a way as to indicate that the Government of Iran has no intention of abiding by its terms. Arab rulers since 1330 Aside from the legal issues outlined above there is a wealth of historical documentation to support the UAE’s claim to sovereignty over the islands. Apart from short and interrupted periods in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the three islands have been governed by Arab rulers since 1330. From then until 1622 they were part of the Arab-ruled Kingdom of Hormuz, based on the island of the same name, which also included much of what is now the UAE and Oman. From the middle of the eighteenth century the islands were ruled by the Al Qawasim dynasty which today provides the sheikhs of Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah. At that time the State of the Al Qawasim included not only much of the northern UAE and the three islands but also extended along the southern coast of Iran to include the port of Bandar Lingeh. Treaties signed with the British in the early nineteenth century acknowledged that the Al Qasimi dominions extended to both sides of the Arabian Gulf and, at the same time, represented an acknowledgement of their sovereignty under prevailing international law. Bandar Lingeh remained under the rule of an Al Qasimi sheikh until 1886, at which time it was absorbed by Iran, regardless of the fact that it had by then been part of the Al Qasimi state for over a century. In 1887 Iran occupied a fourth island, Sirri, also part of the Al Qasimi dominions although administered by the Bandar Lingeh branch of the family. In a protest to Tehran, the British Government, which had been in treaty relations with the Emirates since 1820, noted that Sirri, as well as the other islands, ‘formed part of the hereditary estates of the Jowasimi (Qasimi) Arab Sheikhs’. Many of Sirri’s inhabitants, rejecting the occupation, then moved to Abu Musa, which remained uncontested as part of the Al Qasimi state. As late as 1903 the British Political Resident in the Gulf was able to state that, as far as he was aware, Iran had made no claim to the Tunbs. The next year, however, Iranian customs officials landed on both Abu Musa and Greater Tunb, although, after protests from the Ruler of Sharjah (which then included Ras al-Khaimah) and from Britain, they withdrew. At the time the Government of Iran failed to respond to a request from Britain that it should produce documentation in support of its claim to the islands. Al Qasimi state divided In 1920 the Al Qasimi state divided into two, with Abu Musa becoming part of Sharjah, and Greater and Lesser Tunb becoming part of R as al-Khaimah.  Shortly afterwards in 1923, Iran once again put forward a claim to sovereignty over the three islands, but following protests from Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah and Britain, the claim was dropped. Further incidents of Iranian interference took place, prompting more protests. In 1926 the Iranian customs were instructed by Tehran ‘not to take any steps in Abu Musa or Tamb (the Tunbs), pending reply from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding status of these islands’, a clear indication that Iran was unsure of the legal validity of its claims. The weakness of the Iranian position, in terms of international law, was underlined during negotiations between Iran and Britain in the late 1920s. Iran first offered to withdraw its claim to Abu Musa if its title over the Tunbs was recognised. Failing in that objective, in itself an acknowledgement that its claim to Abu Musa had no validity, Iran then offered to buy the Tunbs. The offer was rejected in 1930 by the Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah with the support of his colleague, the Ruler of Sharjah, following which Iran then offered to lease the Tunbs for a period of 50 years. Once again no agreement was reached. Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah continued to exercise their sovereignty over the three islands unchallenged until the late 1960s. British withdrawal prompts renewed claims Following the announcement in 1968 by Britain of its intention to withdraw from the Arabian Gulf by the end of 1971 the Government of Iran put forward a claim to the whole of the island of Bahrain. In the wake of a referendum conducted on Bahrain under UN supervision, Iran was obliged to abandon its claim which had no legal basis. It promptly revived its then-dormant claim to Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb. It is significant, in terms of international law, that it did so not on the basis of providing historical evidence of its claim to sovereignty but through threat of coercion. On 28 September 1971 the Shah of Iran stated in an interview with the London Guardian that: ‘we need them [the islands]; we shall have them; no power on earth shall stop us’. Attempts by Britain to resolve the problem had mixed results. Sharjah, reserving its claim to sovereignty over Abu Musa but concerned about the obvious coercion from Iran, agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding. In the case of Greater and Lesser Tunb, Ras al-Khaimah declined to agree to any form of Iranian presence, with the result that Iran invaded and occupied them. The Iranian presence on the three islands today is based in the case of the Tunbs on military occupation undertaken in contravention of international law. In the case of Abu Musa, threats and coercion, which are themselves illegal under international law, were used by Iran to obtain agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding which has then been constantly breached in such a manner and to such an extent as to render open to question the continuing validity of the Memorandum itself. In effect, therefore, particularly in the light of Iran’s militarisation of those areas of Abu Musa in which it is present, Abu Musa too is under Iranian military occupation. UAE keen to pursue peaceful option Notwithstanding the illegal nature of the Iranian presence on the three islands the Government of the UAE is keen to pursue any peaceful option that may lead to a resolution of the issue. The UAE’s offer to submit the case to the ICJ or to international arbitration having been rejected by Iran the UAE has suggested once again, with the support of its AGCC partners and with backing from resolutions passed by a number of regional and international organisations, that the two states should engage in bilateral negotiations without preconditions, apart from the setting of a timetable for their completion. That offer remains on the table. During the past year the Iranian Government has stated, as it has done before, that it wishes to improve relations with the Arab states of the Gulf. The view of the UAE and of its AGCC colleagues is that such talk from Iran cannot be taken seriously until such time as it is supported by concrete and positive steps to deal with the issue of the islands. Their future remains a key factor in intra-Gulf relations.

un.int

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IRAN`S TWIN DILEMMA: THE JUGGERNAUT OF PERSIAN NATIONALISM AND THE PROBLEMATIC OF UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Dr. Alireza Asgharzadeh

As the struggle for democracy and humane living conditions in Iran continues, irreparable cracks begin to appear in the once seemingly unbreakable and undisturbed panorama of the Islamic Republic. The events leading to the tenth presidential election (12 June, 2009) and its aftermath, from the revelatory TV debates down to the mass demonstrations on the streets of Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan, coupled with antiracist struggle of diverse ethnic groups and nationalities in Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Baluchistan, Khuzistan, Turkmensahra and elsewhere, strip bare the realities of a country in the throes of political, economic, environmental and moral collapse. Amidst government brutality, the people’s struggle has unleashed refreshing debates and scrutinizing discussions hitherto unprecedented in the thirty-years-plus history of the Islamic Republic. Among other things, this resurgent oppositional discourse has transparently demonstrated the Islamic regime’s metamorphosis from theocracy to plutocracy, from the rule of ‘the jurisprudence’ to that of a dictator. For the first time, the majority of people in Iran, in the Middle East and the world are able to clearly see that the Islamic regime is not the heavenly image of piety, godliness and religious justice it falsely has been projecting of itself; they can now see this regime for what it is: a bricolage of power-hungry mullahs mixed with brutal security forces and greedy technocrats willing to commit any crime to maintain their positions of supremacy and privilege. Like a pack of hungry wolves, the core elements of the regime have now turned on each other: the supreme leader on his hand-picked president; the powerful Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (once considered as the second pillar of the Islamic Republic) against the supreme leader and his president; the Revolutionary Guards Corps (who now controls huge segments of the economy) against everyone else, and so forth. Regardless of how one may view the widening antagonism between the core elements of the regime, the fact remains that the people’s struggle is driving a wedge into the heart of Iran’s theocratic pantheon. Meanwhile, a democratic grassroots movement is emerging around gender equality, freedom of expression, secularism, antiracism, environmentalism and universal human rights.

Since the June 12, 2009 elections, the Islamic regime has been displaying the sheer cruelty and savagery of a brute force by which it rules the country. In hyperbole after hyperbole, the leaders of the regime have been pulling up the famous weapons of ‘national security’ and ‘territorial integrity’ to legitimize their gross violations of the basic human rights of Iran’s diverse populations. These are the most frequently used weapons in the arsenal of Iranian nationalism: to label the demonstrators as ‘agents of foreign governments’ and as ‘traitors to Iran’s territorial integrity.’ Since the post-election unrest, the official Iranian media have been showcasing various scenes of recanting and repenting on the part of supposedly captured members of the opposition. These ‘repenters’ confess colourful tales of how they were seduced and influenced by ‘the satanic west and its corrupt media’ to stage a ‘velvet revolution’ in Iran. In the current Islamic Republic of Iran, just as in the previous Pahlavi regime, notions such as ‘national security’ and ‘territorial integrity’ are used in conjunction with a ‘foreign influence’ discourse to silence the voice of dissent. These are always used as inseparable components of a discourse of Iranian nationalism not only by various government apparatuses but also by many Iranian nationalist scholars and intellectuals. They have been using these slogans to silence, criminalize and further marginalize two groups in particular: the traditional left and the human rights activists of non-Persian communities. In fact, the post-9/11 environment has greatly emboldened the dominant oppressive groups in many Muslim-majority societies to silence the voice of the other under the pretext of fighting terrorism on some occasions, and maintaining national security, territorial integrity, national identity,’ ‘national culture,’ official religion and official language, on others. In current Iranian cases, however, in addition to regular victims (the left and the non-Persians), the targets are also some members of the ruling elite who themselves have had their fair share of silencing others with these same fascistic weapons. In effect, they are now getting a taste of their own medicine.
NECROPHILIA versus BIOPHILIA
On June 20, 2009 a young woman named Neda Aqa Soltan was shot dead by the government forces. The scene of her tragic death was captured on camera and broadcast to the entire world. For millions of people throughout the world, young Neda’s death symbolized the fight between the Islamic regime’s necrophilia and the people’s desire for biophilia, for life, democracy and happiness. Neda’s tragic death soon came to symbolize the struggle of two important segments of Iranian population against theocracy: the youth and the female sex. Iranian youths and females have both been utterly oppressed by the regime ever since its inception in 1979. The regime’s infatuation with eschatology, with a culture of death, mourning, mortification, torture and necrophilia has found its logical expression in crippling and incapacitating signs and symptoms of growth, rejuvenation, happiness and joy—youth and youthfulness.
Having had one of the youngest populations in the world, Iran of the ayatollahs is increasingly becoming incapable of meeting the demands of its young and diverse citizens. As a result, it resorts to medieval forms of punishment and segregation to suppress, discipline and regulate the desire to life of its vibrant population. Therefore, it is no wonder to see women and the youth at the forefront of this struggle against theocracy. To this end, they have chosen a discourse of democracy and human rights vis-à-vis Khomeinism and fundamentalism. At its current embryonic stage, this discourse is fraught with limitations of all sorts. First and foremost, this discourse of biophilia needs to liberate itself from the narrow definitions of Iranian nationalism and be inclusive of not only progressive rights of women and sexual minorities, but also of Iran’s diverse multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural character. To this end, the dominant discourse and praxis of Iranian/Persian nationalism ought to be deconstructed, so that new spaces are opened for fresh articulations of democracy and human rights for all Iranians—not just for members of the Persian community.
THE GREENS versus the GOVERNMENT: MUTATIS MUTANDIS?
There are many oxymoronic aspects to Iran’s ‘Islamic Republic.’ How can there be a modern, 21st century ‘Republic’ ruled by an absolute mullah with absolute powers? What kind of political rights and freedoms do the citizens of this so-called ‘Republic’ have if they cannot choose their own leaders? What kind of a republic is this where people have no say in choosing their own mode of dress, mode of speech, method of friendship, intimacy and sexual relations? Ayatollah Khomeini managed to silence many critics of his theocracy through his hotchpotch theory of ‘Velayat-e Faqih’ (the rule of an absolute Faqih/Ayatollah), where a supreme Ayatollah would preside over an Islamic Republic in which people presumably had the power to elect the president and members of the parliament—that is, after their candidacy and legitimacy were approved by what is referred to as ‘the Assembly of Experts,’ a bunch of mullahs handpicked by the supreme mullah! After Khomeini’s death in 1989, the mishmash and contradictory aspects of his theocracy turned into a source of struggle for power among powerful mullahs and various branches of the cleric establishment. On June 4th, 1989, Ali Khamenei became the supreme leader, replacing Khomeini. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and others were left with the leftover: the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of the polity. Having enjoyed his absolute power for over two decades, it has been speculated that Khamenei may be geared towards dismantling the Republican dimension of Iranian theocracy in its entirety: first, by getting rid of the presidency apparatus; second, by preparing perhaps the scene for his eldest son, Mojtaba Hosseini Khamenei, to take over after him. Hashemi Rafsanjani and his camp, on the other hand, are on the side of Republicanism. This camp also includes many elements of the now famous Green Movement.
Despite the increasing animosity between the two camps, many analysts do not see much difference amongst their constituent parts. To begin with, many elements of both camps consider themselves as devout followers of ‘Imam Khomeini,’ the founder of the Islamic Republic after the 1978-79 revolution. They both firmly believe in Khomeinism: a fundamentalist interpretation of Shi’ism mixed with Persian nationalism. They also share a disdain for secularism while believing in the maintenance of the Islamic Republic and its core principles such as the rule of jurisprudence, a militaristic sense of nationalism, and the privileged status of Persian identity as Iran’s only authentic national identity. In this respect, to many Iranians–and the non-Persian majority in particular– the choice between the two camps is a choice between Scylla and Charybdis.
PERSIAN NATIONALISM: AN OBSTACLE TO UNITY
While the phenomenon of Iranian nationalism has received some attention in recent years, its interpretation has been limited to two main areas: 1) the issue of ‘nuclear energy’ and how it has become a matter of ‘national pride’ for Iranians and their leaders; 2) the rhetoric of ‘foreign interference’ and ‘foreign involvement’ conspiracy theory used by the government to tarnish its opposition’s image. There can be no question that these are important aspects of Iranian nationalism. There, however, is a third dimension to this nationalism that is entirely absent from the current discourse: the dominant hegemonic discourse of Persian nationalism and its role in regulating politics and practices of identity in Iran.
Persian nationalism is an aggressive ethnic nationalism that masquerades under the general rubric of ‘Iranian nationalism.’ This so-called ‘Iranian nationalism’ is deeply engrained with identity politics. Ever since the establishment of modern Iranian nation-state in the mid-1920s, the identity of Persian ethnic group, comprising about 37% of the total population of Iran, has been adopted by successive Iranian governments as the only authentic and legitimate identity of an extremely multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural Iran. The aggressive implementation of ‘Persian nationalism’ in multi-national Iran goes back to early 1920s, when an army trooper named Reza Khan staged a coup d’état against the ruling Qajar Dynasty, and having overthrown it, came to consolidate his rule in accordance with the ideology of Persian nationalism: the officialization of ‘Persian language,’ Persian culture and Persian identity on one hand, and foreignization/monsterization of all other languages, cultures and narratives, on the other. These ‘Othererd’ communities comprise over 70% of Iran’s population.
Much of the scholarship focusing on democracy and human rights in Iran fails to provide a comprehensive analysis on these topics for one main reason: neglecting the oppressive role of Persian nationalism. Persian nationalism normally masquerades under ‘Iranian nationalism’ and includes at least three different, and at times seemingly oppositional, strata: 1) the intelligentsia linked to the ruling government; 2) the intelligentsia (and intellectuals) linked to groups in opposition to the ruling regime; 3) the so-called ‘independent/impartial’ intellectuals.
PERSIAN NATIONALISM’S ‘GOVERNING INTELLIGENTSIA’
In the context of Iranian/Persian nationalism, the Governing Intelligentsia refers to all custodians and maintainers of ‘official knowledge,’ ‘official culture,’ ‘official history,’ ‘official language,’ and ‘official identity.’ This stratum includes all or most individuals and the intelligentsia working in various ideological state apparatuses, e.g., the education system, the national/official media and press, ministries of culture, national heritage, and their numerous offshoots. While there may exist some degree of differences of opinion among different individuals in these institutions, when it comes to human rights issues and the rights of Iran’s marginalized communities, there is striking similarity between their approach and that of the ruling regime of which they are a part.
In effect, they all form what Louis Althusser has called ‘ideological apparatuses’ of the ruling group. These ideological apparatuses view human rights demands of racialized and marginalized communities as suspicious and help to suppress them under the pretext of maintaining ‘the national security’ and ‘territorial integrity’ of the country. Suppression of ethnic-based demands takes place under the pretext of fighting the so-called ‘foreign elements’ seeking to break up Iran. In short, the minority rights activists are seen as spies and agents of foreign governments. As a matter of fact, the official branch of Persian nationalism has time and again clarified that issues pertaining to ethnic diversity and human rights concerns of the non-Persian communities are not normal socio-political and cultural issues open to debate; they are a matter of Iran’s national security that have always been dealt through the security organs of the Islamic republic.
A clear example of resorting to ‘foreign elements’ factor to suppress human rights demands of the marginalized communities was manifested in the way the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei interpreted the Azerbaijani anti-racist resistance in the wake of events following the publication of racist cartoons in May 2006. In an address to Iran’s parliament on May 28, 2006, instead of addressing the grievances and demands of a subaltern community whose members were depicted as cockroaches in an official newspaper, the supreme leader labelled the victims of this racism as ‘agents of foreign governments.’ The labelling of minority rights activists as foreign elements is an old notion that has been used by the dominant group for the past 80 years in Iran. Not only the officials and government authorities have consistently used this and similar labels, many individuals, writers, and intellectuals outside the governing circles have also been using such labels to discredit the legitimate demands for racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious equality in the country.
PERSIAN NATIONALISM’S ‘OPPOSITIONAL INTELLIGENTSIA’
In an Iranian context, the ‘Oppositional Intelligentsia’ includes the majority of political organizations, groups and individuals who are openly opposed to the current Islamic government and seek to replace it with their desired political system. Interestingly enough, when it comes to issues of diversity and ethnic/linguistic equality in the country, the majority of these groups and organizations not only take stances similar to those of the ruling regime but some of them even exhibit racist and undemocratic tendencies much more repressive and reactionary than those of the current government.
For instance, when back in 2003 some government officials entertained the possibility of decentralizing the design of school curriculum in the country so that it would reflect some aspects of non-Persian local cultures and environments, many nationalist oppositional groups and intellectuals found such an initiative treacherous and identified the officials involved as ‘traitors to Iran’s territorial integrity.’ A glaring case in point was the position of a well-established political organization named Iran’s National Front (Jebhe-ye Melli-ye Iran). By way of an open letter, this organization warned the authorities that such a decision “can be interpreted as an attack on Iran’s territorial integrity and on the roots of the existence of the great Iranian nation” (Asgharzadeh, 2007, p. 145).
PERSIAN NATIONALISM’S ‘INDEPENDENT INTELLIGENTSIA’
The so-called ‘Independent Intelligentsia’ includes elites and intellectuals who may not support any particular political group but who have strong sense of allegiance to ‘the nation,’ ‘the homeland,’ its culture, identity, etc. Using a notion of ‘methodological nationalism,’ they contribute to silencing and misrepresentation of the subaltern stratum, and in so doing commit epistemic violence against marginalized and oppressed communities. For instance, an academic and writer named Javad Sheikhol-islami may be considered a representative of such intelligentsia. During the Iran-Iraq war (1980–1988), this gentleman kept reminding the government authorities that under no condition should the regime refrain from supplanting the languages of non-Persian communities by Farsi. In fact, he considered the Iran-Iraq war as a positive occurrence in that the war had provided Persians with ample opportunity to take in homeless Arabic-speaking Khuzistani children and teach them “proper Farsi” (Asgharzadeh, 2007, p. 147).
Another clear example of this kind of so-called ‘impartial’ Iranian intellectuals and their animosity with human rights demands of the non-Persian communities was illustrated in an open letter to Ayatollah Mehdi Karroubi, one of the presidential candidates in June 2009 elections, published on June 9th, 2009. In response to the flexibility shown on the part of Mr Karroubi to the human rights demands of non-Persian communities, over one-hundred scholars and elites of Iranian universities showered him with derogatory labels such as “extremely irresponsible,” “ill-informed about the authentic identity of Iranian nation,” “against Iran’s national interest and national security,” paying attention to “reactionary and deviant tribal issues” and so on and so forth (Bayaaniyye-ye E’terazi, 2010).
Paralleling the suppression of non-Persian communities inside Iran, the Persian nationalists abroad use every opportunity to misrepresent the identity, language, culture, even the size and number of non-Persian communities in Iran. For instance, “Ethnologue: Languages of the World” is an international resource pertaining to world’s languages. Its publishers have been under intense pressure by Iranian nationalists to reduce the size of Iran’s non-Persian communities to the advantage of the Persian ethnic group. In a recent Open Letter to the site’s manager, many scholars and human rights activists from non-Persian communities complained about this issue and expressed their hope “that the editors and researchers of Ethnologue will not cave in to various ultranationalist bullying, and will not allow Ethnologue’s scholarly reputation to be tarnished by ideologically motivated hyperboles”.
The letter warned the Ethnologue editors that:
“Care must be taken that in estimating the number of each ethnic community, the views of local community leaders, scholars, and human rights activists are taken into full account. In particular, an objective researcher must be cognizant to the fact that, due to lack of respect for human rights and the rights of minorities in Iran, both ruling governments and many scholars of the dominant group have always presented a distorted view regarding the size and status of minoritized communities in the country.” (Azerbaijani Scholars’ Letter, 2009).
These so-called ‘impartial’ nationalist intellectuals continue to defend and safeguard a host of what Michel Foucault has called “the regimes of truth.” In a Foucauldian sense, these are discursive constructs about the supposed ‘truth’ that discipline and regulate individuals’ behaviour in various societies and environments. In an Iranian context, these ‘regimes of truth’ include aspects such as:
·‘Persio-centrism’: an unwavering defence of the supremacy and ‘superiority’ of Persian ethnic group throughout Iran;
· Demonization of the Non-Persian Other: a firm commitment to erase, demonize and monsterize histories, identities, languages and even size and numbers of non-Persian ethnic groups in Iran;
· Invisibilization of Persian nationalism and its pervasive hegemony: stubbornly insisting that there is not and there has never been such a thing as ‘Persian nation,’ Persian nationalism, ‘Persian ethnic group’ and even ‘Persian ethnicity’ in Iran. We are all Iranians; have always been and will always be!
This former case is a reminiscence of the invisibility of whiteness in Euro-western contexts: whereas all non-whites are identified as ‘people of colour;’ it is only the whites who do not seem to possess any colour. Being rooted in histories of privilege and injustice, the white skin colour has gained the status of colourlessness/invisibility. Critical gay/lesbian/queer studies have shed similar light on heterosexuality and homosexuality binarism. Whereas heterosexuality is taken to be the norm and hence needless of definition and identification; homosexuality is seen as a visible identity, and an ‘abnormal’ one at that. Similarly, Fars/Persian identity has masqueraded itself under the generic term Iranian, a category which is defined based on Persian language and identity but at the same time one that renders ‘Persian identity’ invisible. These nationalist scholars working from both inside Iran and abroad use various outlets such as Iranian/Middle Eastern studies journals, newspapers, the satellite TV and the internet to propagate their ideology.
In addition to above factors, Persian nationalism utilizes the services of a host of colonialist/Orientalist facilities abroad. The colonial and imperialist forces have supported the oppressive Persian nationalism in at least two distinct areas: discursive/ideological and physical/practical. Physical and practical legacy of imperialism can be manifested through such acts as the bloody suppression and overthrow of autonomous governments of Azerbaijan and Kurdistan in 1946; and also through the infamous coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.
Discursive/ideological legacy of imperialism is translated into acts of racism and exclusion based on an interpretation of ‘Iran as the land of Aryans;’ rendition of narratives in support of the ‘superiority of Aryan race’ thesis; equation of Persian ethnic group with ‘Aryan race;’ identification of Persian language as an Aryan and hence superior language; doxological ideas about ‘Cyrus the Great’ and a supposedly marvellous pre-Islamic ancient civilization of Iran; propagation and teaching of Orientalist historiography where Iranian is used synonymously with Persian and where Afro-Asiatic, Semitic and other non-Indo-European traits of Iran’s history are erased.
THE CUL-DE-SAC: UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1978-79 Islamic revolution, successfully managed to bring diverse communities of difference under the rallying cry of ‘one Islamic community’ –an umma- unified against the real or imagined enemies of Islam and Iran. Hence his all too often repeated catchphrase in a uniquely Persian accent: “Hamah baa ham/All-Together.” What this Islamic panacea meant was that ‘we are all the same and should constitute a unified community as the Iranian nation.’ While Iran’s communities of difference, for the most part, bought into this rhetoric of unity, the practical aspect of solidarity found its expression in every community’s submission to demands and requirements of Persian nationalism. That kind of Khomeinist call for unity was inimical to difference. It was also very different than the all too familiar notion of ‘one for all, all for one’, in that, in Khomeini’s version of unity and solidarity everyone was for Persian nationalism and Persian nationalism was for no one! Khomeini’s notion of unity, however, has outlived its usefulness. Commitment to this kind of superficial unity showed that a blind dedication to solidarity can easily subsume difference and suffocate diversity under a single group’s national-fascism. Learning from this experience, Iran’s non-Persian communities have now reached a degree of political maturity to pose their collective demands from the standpoint of their own human rights and to make their participation in any kind of solidarity with the dominant Persian group conditional to this group’s acknowledgement of the basic human rights of non-Persian communities: e.g., condemnation of Persian/Aryanist racism; acknowledgment of linguistic, cultural and spiritual freedom for non-Persian communities; commitment to social justice in such areas as cultural and historical representation, linguistic and religious equality, equality in allocation of economic resources and opportunities for different regions of the country, and so forth.
In Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson (2005) show the degree to which Michel Foucault was deceived by the initial gestures of Khomeini’s Shiism, erroneously thinking that political Islam would offer better conditions for marginalized groups in general, and the sexual minorities in particular. How naïve this Foucauldian assumption was, is self-explanatory. Just as a much more mature Foucault came to regret his naive assumptions about ‘the political Islam,’ so too have Iran’s diverse racialized and marginalized communities. The emergent antagonism between and amongst various social forces in Iran has tarnished the sacred mantra of the Islamic rule and is shifting the pendulum of public opinion against theocracy and in favour of democracy.
What is needed is a commitment to diversity, transsectionality, intersectionality, and an understanding of the interlocking nature of systems of oppression. Sites such as race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, language, religion, geography, citizenship, and so forth have been working with and through each other to produce and reproduce oppression. Those Iranian/Persian intellectuals who studiously avoid discussions of difference and diversity can hardly touch the surface of oppressive and exclusionary power relationships in contemporary Iran. They are likely to offer at best partial, at worst misleading contributions to the struggle for democracy. Their constant talk of democracy and human rights are nothing more than ideological slogans serving as a façade for power and privilege. Iran’s Islamic regime has been the archetype that has influenced all subsequent fundamentalisms. A dismantling of such archetypical fundamentalism would strike a crushing blow to all fundamentalist movements and fascistic tendencies. The conundrum, thus far unanswered, is to see why the non-Persian communities are not willing to join the dominant Persian group in putting an end to Iran’s theocracy. This is the cul-de-sac all the paths end into: unity in diversity. The challenge is to see how this unity can be achieved without subsuming difference and suffocating diversity.
 
Bibliography:
Asgharzadeh, A. (2007). Iran and the challenge of diversity: Aryanist racism, Islamic fundamentalism, and democratic struggles. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bayaaniyye-ye E’terazi Fa’alan (September 20, 2010).
بیانیه اعتراضی فعالان اجتماعی و فرهنگی به اختلاف افکنی ستاد شیخ مهدی کروبی در میان اقوام ایرانی
Azerbaijani Scholars’ Letter to Ethnologue (October 25, 2009).
Afary, J. and K.B. Anderson. (2005). Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism. University of Chicago Press.
Source: http://pensouthazerbaijan.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79%3Airans-twin-dilemma-&catid=38%3Aarticles&Itemid=1

southaz.blogspot.com

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İRAN VƏ QLOBALLAŞMA QAÇILMAZLIĞI

İslamı dünyada gözdən salan, həyat tərzini dini-fantastik süjetlərlə quran, elmin az qala ancaq Quran təfsirlərindən ibarət olduğu İran adlı bir dövlət artıq bəşəriyyət üçün dözülməz olmuşdur. Bu dövlət müharibələrlə dolu olan tarixi ilə mütəkəbbir görsənməkdə, mədəni dünyanı hədələməkdə davam edir.

Müasir İran – asanlıqla dağılası mifdir.

İsraili yer üzündən silməyə çağıran, nəhəng kəşfləri ilə bəşəriyyəti gələcəyə tullamış, peyğəmbərlər milləti yəhudilərə daim nifrət aşılayan, Nürnberqdə Beynəlxalq Hərbi Tribunalın, hətta indiyəcən yəhudilərə təzminat ödəyən almanların da, tanıdığı Holokostu heç cür tanımaq istəməyən, imam Mehdi sahib-əz Zamanı İran ərazisində şəxsən özü qarşılamağa hazırlaşan bir dövlət başçısına, konkret olaraq Mahmud Əhmədinejada, ya bahar bayramı Novruzu islama uyğun saymayan, edam olunandan sonra təqsirsizliyi-günahsızlığı bilinənlərin birbaşa cənnətə gedəcəyini bəyan edən, qadına boşanmaq hüququnu yalnız kişinin cinsi alətinin yoxluğu sübuta yetirildiyi halda tanıyan, inkişafı çoxarvadlılıq yolu ilə – çoxalmaqda görən, öz millətlərinin belə yazıb-oxumaq haqqını tapdalayan dini ölkə rəhbərlərinə qətiyyən ağıl sahibi demək olmaz. Teokratiyaya insanlıq çoxdan yox deyib; bu sayaq mübahisələrə yüzillərdir nöqtə qoyulub. Çağdaş dünyada teokratik dövlət eybəcər və qorxuncdur. Şəriət qanunları sivil hüquqla dissonans təşkil edir. İran öz ambisiyaları ilə mədəni dünyada təcrid vəziyyətindədir. Təəssüf, əldə olunacağı təqdirdə atom silahını da yuxular, ya vəhylərlə idarə edəsi İran

mədəniyyətlə yox, artıq yalnız vəhşiliklərlə dünya üzünə çıxmaqdadır. Daha bilmirlər ki, indi ən nəhəng vəhşiliklər də ram ediləndir. İnsanlıq dünyəvi ədalət istehsal edən gücə malikdir. Müstəqil Azərbaycan Respublikasına İrandan gələn təhdidlər gülünc görsənir. Kobud bir məsəl: eşşəyə gücü çatmır, palanı döyür. Dediyim kimi, İran bizi barı korşalmış bir mədəniyyətləsə də yox, zoru ilə təəccübləndirir. Cənnət-cəhənnəm tərbiyəsi görmüş mənəviyyat yoğun bağırsaq kimi buynuzlu soxulcanlar yetirər. *** İran kimi totalitar dövlətlər yada düşdükcə, qloballaşmanın vacibliyinə, onun qaçılmazlığına bir daha əmin olursan. Qloballaşma artıq fəsadlar törətməkdə olan mədəniyyətləri lüzumsuz edir. İrandakı hərbi təkəbbür doğuran, insanları təhdid edən mədəniyyət bəşər sivilizasiyası üçün atavizm sayılmalıdır. Qloballaşma bütün dünyada inkişafı ləngidən milli ənənələrin ləğvi demək olardı. “Yer kürəsi bəşəriyyətin təkotaqlı mənzilidir,” – bir vaxt mən yazmışdım. Dünyadakı bütün insanlar yerdaşlardır. Qloballaşma totalitarlığı istisna edir. Qloballaşmada dinlər Allah adından yalanlar kimi üzə çıxır, rahat və təhlükəsiz həyatı şərtləndirən açıq cəmiyyətlər bütün dünyada bərqərar olur, insanlar bir-biri ilə asanlıqla anlaşır. Dünyanın yalnız elmi dərki vacib görsənir. Milli-dini naqisliklər birdəfəlik tarixin arxivinə gömülür. Ziyanlı tarixi biliklər utilə çevrilmiş olur. Yeri gəlmişkən, tarix qarı düşmənçilik mənbəyidir. …Gəlsənə, qloballaşmanın nəfinə fikirlər yürüdək.
Noyabr 2011
Rafiq Tağı

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European Parliament: Double discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in Iran

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İRANİAN/PERSİAN’S FAKE HİSTORY – İRAN/FARSLARIN UYDURMA TARİHLERİ

Here is a documental film about real history of Persepolis and Achaemenid. The hole story of Achaemenid is fake, the Persepolis never been complete and nobody in the period of time use it for his palace.

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2009 youtube

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The Mystery of the Persian Mummy

persianmummy

First shown: BBC Two 9.00pm Thursday 20 September 2001

In November 2000, the international press reported an amazing find: a mummy, which was claimed to be that of an ancient Persian princess, over 2,600 years old. She was encased in a carved stone coffin, inside a wooden sarcophagus and was wearing an exquisite golden crown and mask.

Her cloth-bound body was dressed with golden artefacts, with an inscription on her breastplate that read, “I am the daughter of the great King Xerxes, I am Rhodugune.” All the internal organs had been taken out of her body, in the same way that the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead. It was the find of a lifetime, one of the most magnificent ancient treasures ever to be unearthed in the area.

A fake

When the curator from the Karachi National Museum, Dr Asma Ibrahim, began her investigations into the mummy, a different story began to emerge. Horizon follows the story as forensic experts all over the globe analyse the mummy and her magnificent trappings and discover that she is an elaborate fake with a terrible secret.

Police raid

The mummy was found in a house in the desert region of Pakistan during a police raid, after a tip-off that it was to be illegally sold on the antiquities black market for $20m, and smuggled out of Pakistan. The Persian princess was immediately hailed as a major archaeological discovery. In fact, no Persian mummy had ever been found before, let alone a royal mummy. Mummification to preserve bodies had always been thought to be unique to the ancient Egyptians.

False evidence

However, there were some strange puzzles about this beautiful princess. The inscriptions on the mummy’s breastplate had some grammatical errors. And there were peculiarities in the way she had been mummified. Several detailed operations common to Egyptian mummifications had been omitted. So it began to look like the mummy was not the princess she was supposed to be; perhaps she was a more ordinary ancient mummy dressed up to be a Persian princess by forgers trying to increase her value.

Murderous trail

As scientists investigated more closely, it became clear that this mummy had an even darker history. Computerised tomography (CT) scans and X-ray photographs of the body inside the mummy revealed that this was no ancient corpse but a woman who had died in the recent past, and that her neck was broken. An autopsy confirmed that this woman may indeed have been murdered to provide a body for the fakers to mummify – a body they intended to pass off as an ancient mummy for millions of dollars on the international art black market. And, finally there is evidence to suggest that they have done this not once but three times, raising the spectre of a mummy factory and the terrifying thought of yet more victims.

Ocak 2014

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/persianmummy.shtml

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British Library seeks £300,000 damages from book vandal

• Academic cut and stole pages from rare works
• Civil claim against Iranian jailed for two years
, crime correspondent
the Guardian, Saturday 17 January 2009
Farhad-Hakimzadeh-was-giv-001
Farhad Hakimzadeh was given two years’ jail for cutting out pages from priceless library books. Photograph: Metropolitan police/PA

The British Library is claiming damages of more than £300,000 from an Iranian academic who was jailed for two years for stripping pages out of ancient books, the Guardian understands.

Farhad Hakimzadeh, 60, used a scalpel to remove leaves from the priceless books, which date back to the 16th Century and chart the travels of westerners in the Middle East. Appearing at Wood Green crown court in London for sentencing yesterday, Hakimzadeh, who lives in a £3m home in Knightsbridge, south-west London, claimed he suffered from an obsessive compulsive disorder which forced him to remove the pages to complete his own extensive collection.

The court heard that his obsession was such that he left his marital bed on his wedding night to polish his books, but that he also made monetary gain, selling one of his own books with a stolen page inserted into it for more than £2,000.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Ader told Hakimzadeh: “I have no doubt you were stealing for gain in order to enhance your library and your collection. It seems to me it was a kind of vanity that you wanted to have the best library in your field.”

The court heard that Hakimzadeh’s own library was the fourth best in the world in its field. “You should have known better,” the judge said. “Once a unique book is damaged it is damaged forever. What you did was a gross breach of trust.”

Hakimzadeh, the director of a publishing firm, nodded as the judge said he would spend a year in prison before release would be considered. He was ordered to pay £7,500 in costs after admitting 14 counts of theft and asking for 20 other offences to be taken into consideration.

The court heard he had stolen 94 items from the Royal Asiatic Society in 1998, but paid the library £75,000 as compensation. The British Library is pursuing its own civil claim for damages in excess of £300,000 from Hakimzadeh. The claim takes into account the priceless nature of some of the books he damaged which cannot be restored.

Christopher Amor, prosecuting, said in 2006 a reader at the British Library had noticed several leaves had been removed from a 17th-century book by the traveller and historian Sir Thomas Herbert. “This began an inquiry, whereby it was discovered a number of pages and maps had been removed from books in the library.”

The library recovered 30 items from Hakimzadeh’s flat, some of which were inserted into his copies of the same books. More than 100 pages from the ancient books have not been found. Hakimzadeh’s haul over a seven-year period included a 500-year-old map painted by Henry Vlll’s court artist, Hans Holbein, which was worth £32,000. Hakimzadeh also stole from the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

When police searched his flat and found some of the missing pages, Hakimzadeh claimed he had bought them in Portobello market. Amor said: “Quite clearly, as far as these thefts are concerned, they strike at the heart of two major libraries, making the vandalism particularly harmful. And he is an author himself with a profound knowledge. That only makes the situation worse, because he of all people knew the importance of what he was mutilating.”

Kristian Jensen, the head of British collections at the library, said that the books from which Hakimzadeh had stolen were mainly about the British colonisation and exploration of the Middle East. “This is the targeted mutilation, over a number of years, and an attack on the nation’s collective memory of its past,” he added.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Cobb, of the Metropolitan police, said: “[Hakimzadeh] chose unique and rare editions and was therefore able to go undetected for some time. Following the discovery of damage to one volume, an audit of Hakimzadeh’s activities at the libraries revealed the extent of his offending.”

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/jan/17/british-library-damaged-books

03 Ocak 2014

Aran ERDEBİLLİ

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The thief who stole pages from history

 

By Mario Cacciottolo
BBC News

Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

 

Farhad-Hakimzadeh-was-giv-001

Farhad Hakimzadeh is a wealthy businessman from Knightsbridge

Wealthy businessman Farhad Hakimzadeh has been jailed for two years for stealing pages from rare books in the British Library.

To staff at the British Library, Farhad Hakimzadeh seemed like just the kind of person who might pay this world-famous establishment a visit.

He is a published author, a collector of rare books, and described as “evidently extremely knowledgeable” according to one expert.

He is a former director of the Iran Heritage Foundation, which promotes Iran’s cultural heritage, and is director of a company that publishes books on the Middle East.

Hakimzadeh is also an extremely wealthy man, married and living in a large property in London’s Knightsbridge.         

We extend a bond of trust to our readers, and Hakimzadeh has fundamentally broken that trust
Dr Kristian Jensen

He was described by the British Library as “eminently characteristic of our group of readers”.

But despite his outward appearance, Hakimzadeh was a thief who mutilated the very precious texts he professed an admiration for.

The alarm was first raised by another reader in the library, who saw that one text had a page cut out of it.

This sparked a widespread internal audit by the library, which examined all 842 books that Hakimzadeh, among others, had looked at between 1997 and 2005.

This audit, carried out over months by two groups of experts, was made possible by the fact that a book in the library can only be looked at in its reading rooms after a person provides two forms of identification, which allows access. 

Dr Kristian Jensen
Dr Kristian Jensen examines a book that had a page cut out

The list of those who had viewed these particular texts was not extensive, given their rarity, and the Iranian-born British national was not the only person to have asked to see them.

However, as the Metropolitan Police put it, Hakimzadeh was the sole common denominator between all those 150 texts that were eventually found to be damaged by having some pages removed.

These texts were mainly 16th, 17th and 18th Century items, with a few from the 19th and 20th Century – books that only experts would recognise.

The subject area was the engagement by West European travellers with Mesopotamia, Persia and the Mogul empire – roughly the area from modern Syria to Bangladesh.

When police visited Hakimzadeh at his Knightsbridge home, they found matching copies of the same texts he had looked at in the British Library.

A painstaking examination, involving the inspection of such elements as the gilt edging of pages, water stains, and even worm holes, revealed pages from British Library texts that were either fixed or loosely inserted into books owned by Hakimzadeh.

This world map was taken from a British Library book by Hakimzadeh

It seems he often used a scalpel to cut pages out and had managed to evade CCTV cameras when doing so, employing “skill and deceit”, the library said.

For example, police found a book at his home which contained an engraving of a world map by Hans Holbein the Younger, an artist employed by King Henry VIII.

The rare sixteenth century map – taken from the British Library – was visibly foreign to Hakimzadeh’s copy of the book, because it had gilt edges unlike the rest of the pages.

That document alone is worth about £30,000.

Further thefts from the Bodleian, in the University of Oxford, dated back to 2003.

Dr Kristian Jensen, head of British and Early Printed Collections at the British Library, said he was “extremely angry” at what Hakimzadeh had done, describing the vandalism as “an attack on the nation’s collective memory of its own past”.

When asked if Hakimzadeh was a respected scholar, Dr Jensen replied: “Not by me.”

He added: “We extend a bond of trust to our readers, and Hakimzadeh has fundamentally broken that trust.

“What he did was very difficult to detect and not always visible to the naked eye.

“What he has damaged is our historical record with how this country has engaged in that part of the world.”

Improved security

Dr Jensen went on to say that these books play a part in demonstrating how the UK has engaged with that Middle Eastern region.

“He has a profound knowledge of the field. So in a sense from my point of view that makes it worse because he actually knew the importance of what he was damaging.”         

The plot has only thickened by Hakimzadeh’s refusal to explain his actions.

Certainly the cost of the damage is substantial – the 10 British Library books alone that he has admitted to damaging are valued at £71,000.

The businessman first told police he had bought the books second hand, but then later refused to answer any questions as the bigger picture emerged.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Cobb, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “It proved extremely difficult for the libraries to detect the absence of these pages as Hakimzadeh took care to select material that only an expert would be able to identify.

“He chose unique and rare editions and was therefore able to go undetected for some time.

“Some of the stolen pages were recovered at his home address but many more have been lost forever.”

After pleading guilty in May at Wood Lane Crown Court to 14 charges of theft, he has now been sentenced to two years in prison.

The British Library has since improved its security as a result of this case, with a “massive” increase in its CCTV cameras, and in the number of staff who walk around the library’s reading room floor.

And the library is also pursuing a civil case against Hakimzadeh, in an attempt to recover further items and to seek financial compensation.

But the actual reasons why this wealthy and cultured man defaced the very things he cherished may never be known.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7739953.stm

03 Ocak 2014

Aran ERDEBİLLİ