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62 killed, hundreds wounded in six-day Khuzistan uprising

ImageOver 1,000 arrested, taken to undisclosed locations

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, issued a statement inside Iran today, which said in part, "At least 62 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in widespread demonstrations and clashes between enraged residents and the suppressive forces that began on April 15 in the cities of Ahwaz, Mahshahr, Abadan and Shush (in the southwestern province of Khuzistan)."
The statement added: Clashes occurred in different parts of Ahwaz, including Zergan, Kut Abdullah, Hamideih, Kian Abad, Siahi, Kian Pars, Khashayar, Kourosh, Zeitoun Kargari, Molashieh, Taleqani Township, Khalaf-Abad and Shelang-Abad.

In Hamideih, residents clashed with the suppressive forces and overran State Security Forces (SFF) bases in that region. Young people took control of Ahwaz highway to Abadan. Residents of Molashieh attacked the SSF base in the district and killed the base’s commander and his deputy.

During the demonstration angry residents set fire to the clerical regime’s centers and buildings and shattered their windows. Witnesses describe Ahwaz as a war-torn city. The clerical regime cordoned off the city’s airport and cut off water, electricity and telephone lines in Lashgar-Abad and Dayereh to intimidate the people.

Some 55 people have been killed and at least 400 wounded so far during clashes in Ahwaz. Most of those slain were between 18 and 22 years old. Hundreds of young people have been arrested and taken to Karoun Prison. Arrests are continuing in Mahshahr, Abadan, Shish and other cities in the province.

To date, 1,000 people have been arrested and many transferred to undisclosed locations. The security forces continued dispersing the demonstrators by opening fire and using tear gas canisters. The Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence Ministry agents prevented any assistance to those wounded.

Despite brutal attacks by the suppressive forces, the chants of "down to the clerical regime," "death to Khamenei, death to Khatami" echoed throughout Ahwaz.

In Old-Mahshar, residents and young people engaged in armed clashes with the anti-riot forces. Fearing the spread of the protests, the clerical regime dispatched reinforcements from other provinces to the city. Angry residents destroyed a large number of government buildings and set fire to government vehicles. Seven people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the clashes so far.

Reports indicate that 500 residents have been arrested and no information was available on their fate. Three of those slain were named Asgari, Ghargholi and Alboughobeish. The latter’s family had to give 50 million rials to government agents in order to get burial permission for their son.

The clashes spread to Masjid Soleiman, Dezful and Howeizeh. This morning, residents in Masjed Soleiman held a rally to voice support for demonstrators elsewhere in the province. They also changed anti-government slogans. All schools in the city were closed down and the security forces used tear gas and live fire to disperse the crowds.

Clashes have been reported in Dezful and Howeizeh as well.

The security forces prevented domestic and foreign journalists from entering the province to report on the uprising. The regime has also disrupted telephone lines in those cities.

In an attempt to undermine the expanding uprising, the clerical regime described the demonstrations as "suspicious and malicious actions by the enemies to incite ethnic riots." It also described the protesters, whose cry was freedom, as secessionists in order to justify the crackdown.

In its statement, the PMOI referred to the call by the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi to all Iranians to rush to the aid of the oppressed Arab people of Khuzistan and to expand that heroic uprising to the rest of the country.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

April 21, 2005