Kuwaiti Columnist Calls for Arming Iranian Minority Groups Against ‘Fascist’ Regime
A columnist for Kuwaiti government newspaper Al Watan on Sunday called for the arming of Iranian minority groups to confront the Iranian regime.
Columnist Abdullah Al-Hadlaq — a staunch critic of Iran and its meddling in Gulf countries — said Arab nations needed to bring their confrontation with their powerful Persian neighbor to the north “into their own home, financing and arming non-Persian ethnic groups, such as the Arab minority in southeastern Ahvaz, the Baluchi people (up to 2 million people or about 2% of the Iranian population), Iranian Turkmen, who live mostly in northern and northeastern Iran, Iranian Armenians and Iranian Azerbaijanis — Hadlaq does not mention the 12-million strong Kurdish minority group, concentrated mostly near the border with Turkey and Iraq.
He called on these groups to rise up and overthrow what he called the “fascist” regime in Tehran and “turn Iran into a democratic country that respects human rights and the dignity of Iranian people.”
He concluded by demanding Iran respect the sovereignty of its neighbors too, many of which have accused Tehran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard of exporting the “Islamic Revolution” through violent proxies in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia — among other countries.
Hadlaq noted a 2012 court case in which an Iranian spy circuit was discovered to have been collecting information on Kuwaiti and U.S. military installations, as well as the Gulf nation’s lucrative oil infrastructure in the north of the country.
Gulf countries are highly suspicious of Iran, and though the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council welcomed the nuclear deal agreed last month between world powers and Iran, many are concerned Iran will expand efforts to spread its influence throughout the Middle East.
Iran’s ethnic minorities are largely concentrated in the border regions of the Middle East’s second largest nation; Iran shares borders with nine other countries. According to U.S. foreign policy think tank the Council on Foreign Affairs, many of Iran’s ethnic minorities have claimed to face discrimination and neglect from Tehran, including the denial of government jobs and conditions that lead to above-average unemployment.
Though Iran promised reforms under the ostensibly moderate President Hassan Rouhani, according to Amnesty International’s 2014 report on Iran “Rouhani’s appointment of a special adviser on ethnic and religious minorities did not result in a reduction in the pervasive discrimination against Iran’s ethnic minority communities, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijanis, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen, or against religious minorities, including Ahl-e Haq, Baha’is, Christian converts, Sufis and Sunni Muslims.”
Ethnic minorities in Iran have been forbidden from teaching their mother tongues in the classroom, and were apparently denied the tools to learn their languages themselves.
Additionally, some minorities face unfair trials, such as at least eight Ahvazi Arabs, who “were convicted on charges that included ‘enmity against God’ after grossly unfair trials, and refused to hand over their bodies to their families,” according to Amnesty International.
Armed Baluchi separatists in Iran formed an uprising in 2010 but the group was mostly suppressed after its leader was arrested and killed.