In a conference organized by the United Nations Human Rights Council and held in Geneva this week, representatives of Iranian minority groups said that the Iranian regime persecutes non-Persians and deprives them of their national rights even the ones granted to them by the post-revolution constitution.
Iranian authorities, they added, use national security concerns as a pretext for their discriminatory practices against minorities.
The conference was attended by delegations from Arab, Kurdish, Baluch, Turkmen, and Azeri minorities in Iran, the U.N. website reported.
The conference opened Wednesday with a speech delivered by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who called for putting an end to discrimination against minorities across the globe and stressed his committed to initiatives launched to this end.
Arab representatives from the predominantly Arab oil-rich province of Khuzestan, commonly known as Arabstan, said the Iranian regime is launching an “ethnic cleansing” campaign against Arab Iranians, also known as Ahwazis.
Arabs, they explained, are being expelled from their homes in an attempt to change the demographic makeup of the north bank of the Arabian Gulf.
Karim Obeidan, head of the Ahwazi delegation, said that his speech at the conference focused on the way Iranian authorities considers their demands for equality a threat to national security.
“The authorities are also kicking Ahwazis out of their homes in order to replace them with Persians,” he told Al Arabiya in a phone interview. “This is a flagrant violation of International Law.”
Obeidan called upon the International Community to put pressure on the Iranian regime to abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which grants minorities their full rights.
“The policies of the Iranian regime do not only violate international treaties, but also the Iranian constitution which, for example, allows minorities to teach their native language.”
Obeidan added that although Khuzestan is home to 90 percent of Iranian oil, its residents are living in abject poverty and are deprived of the natural resources of their province.
Saleh al-Humaid, representative of the Ahwazi Human Rights Organization, said that Ahwazis are deprived all their rights.
“Ahwazis do not get any of their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights,” he said. “The Iranian regime is doing its best to erase the Ahwazi identity.”
According to Amir al-Saadi, representative of the Center for Ahwazi Studies, Ahwazis are also suffering of poor services in their province.
“A large number of Ahwazis in Khuzestan contracted diseases because of contaminated water,” he told Al Arabiya in a phone interview. “And the Iranian regime does not provide them with the required medical care.”
Saadi added that the Iranian regime is objecting to the planned visit of U.N. rapporteur Ahmed Shahid to investigate the situation of minorities.
“They are worried he would expose the violations committed by the regime against Ahwazis.”
The head of the Zagros Center and representative of Iranian Kurds in the conference, said that the Iranian regime does not grant any ethnic minority its basic rights.
“Kurds are persecuted in Iran and I call upon the U.N. to send a delegation to investigate the violations committed against Kurdish Iranians.”
Mounira Suleimani, representative of the Baluch minority in Iran, said the Iranian regime is discriminating against her ethnic group.
“Members of the Baluch minority in Iran face racial and religious discrimination,” she said. “They are also deprived of their right to freedom of expression”