Iranian Nobel Laureate Warns Against “State Violence” After Ahvaz Terrorist Attack
Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi has warned against state retaliation against innocent people “in the name of fighting terrorism” following the terrorist attack against a military parade in southwestern Iran.
“The merciless massacre on September 22 in Ahvaz cannot be described as anything but blind terrorism, no matter who or what organization carried it out,” Ebadi said in a statement published by the Defenders of Human Rights Center on September 24, 2018.
“Such actions lead to the justification of state violence and the arrest of many opponents in the name of fighting terrorism,” she added.
Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), also cautioned the Iranian government against using the attack as an excuse to violently crackdown on activists in the region.
“Terrorism and violence in any form should be condemned in the strongest terms,” Ghaemi said. “Such acts of violence should not become an excuse for state violence to suppress peaceful opposition.”
The terrorist attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, the capital of Iran’s Khuzestan Province, left at least 25 military men and civilians dead, including a four-year-old boy. More than 70 others were wounded.
A separatist group called the Ahvaz National Resistance and the Islamic State terrorist organization, also known as ISIS, both announced they were behind the attack the day it occurred. Iranian authorities have meanwhile accused foreign powers of funding the groups and have threatened retaliation.
“In these backbreaking economic times and this suffocating climate of political repression, what the country needs more than anything is tranquility,” Ebadi said.
The attack triggered debates among Iranians on social media about its roots and causes.
Reformist Member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi urged the government to pay more attention to the grievances of its ethnic minorities. (Ethnic Arabs populate Khuzestan and the province is marred by high unemployment and lacking development.)
“Khuzestan has sacrificed the most in the face of aggressors and the people still carry the scars of the [1980-88 Iran-Iraq] war throughout the province,” Sadeghi tweeted on September 22.
“We need to allocate resources to the province properly and fairly in order to give the people, especially the honorable and oppressed Arabs, what is rightfully theirs and remove any excuses that could be used by separatists,” he added.