6 Deaths in Iranian Protest

The situation in Iran continues to excalate in violence. From Iran Focus..

Anti-government protests erupted yesterday through the night in the city of Ahwaz, southwest Khuzestan province in Iran, leaving at least six people dead and hundreds injured or arrested.

Ahwaz, close to the Iraqi border, is a major hub of Iranian ethnic minority groups, and its largely Arab population has faced brutal repression undere clerical rule.

Fierce fighting occurred when Iran’s State Security Forces were dispatched to quell angry residents who were complaining of government plans to redefine the ethnic make-up of the province.

Some 3,000 residents gathered in Kurdvani Square on Friday morning and thousands more in Sheling-Abad, Malashiya, Ameri, and Kut Abdollah districts of the city of Ahwaz, demanding the authorities stop what they called “ethnic cleansing”.

In the ensuing chaos officials of the SSF at first fired tear gas at the demonstrators and then went on to shoot at protestors. Demonstrators ransacked a number of government buildings, police stations, and set fire to the Agriculture Bank.

At least 300 hundred people are believed to be injured after the SSF shot at demonstrators.

The Khaleej Times is also reporting on the protests…

Fierce fighting has flared between ethnic Arabs and Iranian security forces in a province bordering Iraq, media reports said yesterday, with some saying three people had been killed.

Iran’s official Irna news agency said clashes erupted on Friday in the Arab-majority oil-rich province of Kuzestahn over reported plans to change the ethnic make-up of the area.

Qatar-based satellite television Al Jazeera said three Arabs were killed, many more injured and as many as 250 arrested after banks and police stations were set ablaze. There was no official confirmation of the incident.

Turks.us describes the proposed “cleansing” of the population that had the locals protesting…

The London-based front said there will be forcible relocation of about 3 million ethnically Arab Iranians from the Ahwaz region to other areas inside the republic.

“This is a form of ethnic cleansing to ensure Iran’s national security interests,” the group said.

A copy of a letter allegedly signed by former Vice President Muhammad Ali Abtahi outlines a plan for changing the population composition in Ahwaz by relocating non-Arabs to the city to make them the majority.

The letter was widely circulated in Ahwaz and other cities in Khuzestan, an oil-rich province that borders Iraq.

Arabs make up more than 3% of Iran’s population; Persians account for 51% of the population thought to be more than 70 million.

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