Saudi Envoy to UN Slams Iran’s Persecution of Ahwazi People

The Saudi envoy to the United Nations has condemned Iran’s longstanding persecution of the Arab Ahwazi people, saying that the regime has shown no indication that it “intends to address the oppression and persecution suffered by the Arab people of Ahwaz, such as the outlawing of their Arab identity and their civil rights,” CNN in Arabic reports.

Khalid Manzlawi, Saudi Arabia’s Acting Permanent Representative to the UN, said that Iran “seeks to divert the world’s attention from the abhorrent human rights situation [in Iran] by creating chaos and destabilizing security and stability in the region through spreading a discourse of hatred and sectarianism.”

Manzlawi strongly condemned Iran’s human rights violation, saying that the Iranian people “have reaped the fruits of their government’s hostile policy towards the world.”

He added that rather than choosing to use its financial resources for domestic development, Iran chose instead “to ignite strife outside its geographical borders, supporting terrorist operations around the world and destabilizing the security and stability of neighboring countries.”

“It is clear to all that Iran has a black record in the field of human rights and disrespect for international conventions and treaties and its international obligations,” and accused Iran of practicing “racial and religious discrimination against non-Persian people, such as Ahwazis, Kurds, Turks, and Baluchis,” the envoy asserted in the statement cited by the official Saudi Press Agency.

This is regarded as the second official stand by Saudi Arabia in denouncing Iran’s crimes in the Arab Ahwaz region.

Back in November 2016, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Mouallimi, strongly condemned Iran concerning Ahwazi Arabs, Sunni Muslims, and other minorities in the country. During the voting session for the third meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the committee members unanimously approved a draft resolution condemning Iran’s grotesque human rights violations. Despite Ahwaz being the home to around 95 percent of Iran’s oil and gas reserves, the vast majority of the Ahwazi live in poverty and squalor, often without running water, electricity or the most basic sanitation.

On October 26, the United Nations special rapporteur on Human Rights, Asma Jahangir, confirmed in a report that Iran continues to commit various human rights violations. Jahangir said the UN continues to be concerned about the increasing amount of torture, executions, and abuses of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran. She also expressed concern over increasing security activities restricting freedoms of human rights activists.

The Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights welcomed the report of Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran on the persecution and discrimination that taken and continuously happening in al-Ahwaz.

ACHR also welcomed the position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and considers its statement based on its commitment to the UN principles of human rights, the support of oppressed peoples, and the condemnation of oppression against Ahwazi Arabs and other non-Persian nations and religious minorities by the Iranian regime, which uses al-Ahwaz’s wealth to support terrorism, regionally and globally.

While these public condemnations raise public awareness of Iran’s long history of human rights violations, it is imperative these words be followed up with punitive actions. As long as Iran is allowed to continue its crimes with relative impunity, minority groups will continue to suffer. It is time for Iran to see some actions aimed at deterring such future criminal activities.