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Iran Police Arrests Fourteen On Charges Of Separatism In Southern City

Police Chief of Khuzestan Province Brigadier General Heydar Abbaszadeh

The Law Enforcement Commander of Khuzestan Province on Wednesday said the security police of Mahshahr Port has arrested "fourteen agents of Takfiri and separatist groups".

Brigadier General Heydar Abbaszadeh said those who have been arrested had shot bullets at police and Basij headquarters, hoisted "the fake flag of Al-Ahvaziyoun group around the city, and sent video clips showing that to foreign [media]".

The Police Chief also claimed that the accused "have confessed to the crimes they committed".

Al-Ahvaziyoun is a general term used by Iranian security officials to refer to dissident groups in Khuzestan including the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA). Iranian officials also use Takfiri as a vague umbrella term to refer to Sunni dissident groups and individuals.

Iran has classified ASMLA as a terrorist group. The group has taken responsibility for several bombings in the city of Ahvaz including four bombs which killed eight people and injured seventy-five in June 2005. Two other bombings in January 2006 killed nine Revolutionary Guards and injured forty-six.

The group advocates a separate Arab state in Iran's oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under Persian occupation and want independence or autonomy.

A former leading member of ASMLA, the 52-year-old Ahmad Mola Nissi, was shot to death on November 8, 2017 in front of his home in the Hague, Netherlands. The Dutch government accused Iran of hiring local criminals to carry out the assassination.

Danish Security and Intelligence Service (DSIS) also accused Iran of planning the assassination of the leader of the Danish branch of ASMLA on Danish soil in October 2018.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden in connection with the plot and extradited to Denmark, Swedish security police said.

Iran has vehemently denied all these allegations but the EU imposed some sanctions against Iranian intelligence services for killings and attempted killings in Denmark, the Netherlands and France in January 2019.

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    Maryam Sinaiee

    Maryam Sinaiee is a British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National, who contributes to Radio Farda.