Iran Human RightsWhite House rips Iran on Arab treatment

White House rips Iran on Arab treatment

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AP: The Bush administration accused Iran on Tuesday of violating the rights of Arabs and other minority groups and urged restraint in dealing with them. “It is not the first time that Iran has practiced this kind of human rights violations,” spokesman Adam Ereli said of a recent crackdown against Arab protesters. Associated Press

BARRY SCHWEID

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration accused Iran on Tuesday of violating the rights of Arabs and other minority groups and urged restraint in dealing with them.

“It is not the first time that Iran has practiced this kind of human rights violations,” spokesman Adam Ereli said of a recent crackdown against Arab protesters.

He called on Iran to respect the rights of peaceful demonstrators.

Last weekend, at least one demonstrator died and eight others were injured in protests in the largely Arab city of Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran.

A political activist said more than 250 people had been arrested in the area after demonstrations against a reported plan to decrease the proportion of Arabs there.

A letter allegedly signed by former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi outlining a plan to relocate non-Arabs to the city to make them the majority population was circulated.

Ereli said several people may have been killed in riots in Khuzestan and perhaps hundreds arrested.

“In our view, this unrest and these arrests involve the denial of rights of minority groups in Iran,” he said.

The United States calls upon Iranian authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with the Arab minority and to “respect the peaceful exercise by the Iranian people of their democratic rights,” Ereli said.

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