Iran: Information on an Iranian group called "The Arab Nation" (Khalaghe Arab) whose goal it is to create an independent state of Khuzistan; evidence of human rights abuses by the government against this group, or other groups with similar aims
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 November 1989|
|Citation / Document Symbol||IRN2530|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Information on an Iranian group called "The Arab Nation" (Khalaghe Arab) whose goal it is to create an independent state of Khuzistan; evidence of human rights abuses by the government against this group, or other groups with similar aims, 1 November 1989, IRN2530, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab5d60.html [accessed 19 September 2014]|
Following the revolution in February 1979, the first challenges to the new Iranian regime arose from regional nationalists first the Kurds, a month later, from the Arabs and the Baluchis. [ Dilip Hiro, Iran Under the Ayatollahs, (New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987), pp. 111-114, attached.] According to Dilip Hiro, author of a book entitled Iran Under the Ayatollahs, representatives of the Arab minority concentrated in the state of Khuzistan (about one half million people) demanded greater economic, language and employment rights. In World Minorities in the Eighties, the author adds that the Arabs were interested in more military appointments and in greater participation in the local administration. [ "Iran: Two Revolutions and Iranian Minorities", World Minorities in the Eighties, ed. Georgina Ashworth, Sunbury: Quartermaine House Ltd., p. 60.] The spokesperson for the Arab nationalists, Ayatollah Muhammad Taher Khaqani, asked for a reduction in the powers of the local Revolutionary Komitehs in Khuzistan, and on 26 April 1979, 100,000 Arabs in Khorramshahr demonstrated for regional autonomy in support of Khaqani. [ Hiro, pp. 112-113.]
Militant Arabs attacked oil installations and central forces. When Arab nationalists called a demonstration on 30 May 1979, government troops were ordered to fire on the crowd, which resulted in the deaths of from 21 to 100 persons. [ Hiro, p. 113.] Arab demonstrators in Abadan in July 1979 were also dispersed forcefully.
When the Iraqi forces invaded, Khuzistani Arab separatist sentiment appeared to revert to Iranian patriotism, and the Iraqi forces met with resistance. [ Hiro, p. 169.]
Please refer to the attached pages from:
- Dilip Hiro, Iran Under the Ayatollahs, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987;
which describe these events in slightly more detail. Further corroborating evidence of Arab nationalist movements is not currently available to the IRBDC. Nor does this source refer to the Arab nationalists as "Khalaghe Arab". Kurdish separatist movements in the region have been put down with much force. If you require more information on Kurdish separatist movements or incidents of human rights abuses against the Kurdish population, please advise.
Another source contacted through the auspices of the Institute for Islamic Studies at McGill University, Bill Millwood, was not familiar with the name "Khalaghe Arab", though he mentioned that the chief Ayatollah of the Shi'a Arabs of Khuzistan was treated badly (surveillance, house arrest, etc.) by the regime during the mid-1980s. [ Bill Millwood, Academic, 8 November 1989.] No corroborating documentation regarding this information is available to the IRBDC at this time.