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Police Chief In Iran Says 6,000 Weapons Taken From People In Oil-Rich Province

Protests against the unexpected increase in gasoline prices in Behbahan, Khuzestan. November 16, 2019

The police commander in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan Province says that in the last 12 months the government confiscated more than 6,000 illegal weapons.

The police chief Haydar Abbasszadeh added that “an abundance of weapons” is one of the serious threats in the province, the official news agency IRNA reported on Friday, April 17.

Khuzestan has a substantial Arab-speaking population which is disgruntled with perceived discrimination by the government and lack of investments, when the province provides the biggest chunk of income to the rest of the country. In addition, residents in the province have the usual grievances that has led to widespread protests in Iran in the past 28 months.

Abbasszadeh made his remarks on Thursday during the inauguration of a police station in the port city of Khorramshahr. He complained of “a lot of illegal weapons in the hands of some people”. He also said security forces have arrested many people for firing weapons and people who disrupted public order; a possible reference to protesters.

During widespread unrest last November, Khuzestan was a hotbed of protests. Security forces in one city of Mahshahr reportedly killed dozens of people by opening machinegun fire on marches they were hiding to avoid an attack by the Revolutionary Guard troops.