The Islamic Republic Sentenced Six Arab Political Prisoners to Death

Zamaneh Media
3 min readMar 7, 2023

by Zamaneh Media — 7March2023

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judiciary announced that a death sentence was issued to six Arab Ahwazi prisoners.

Top from right: Adnan Gheibshawi, Salem Mousavi, and Ali Majdam Bottom: Mohammad Reza Moghadam, Habib Deris, and Moin Khanfari

According to the judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Majdam, Mohammad Reza Moghadam, Moin Khanfari, Habib Deris, Adnan Gheibshawi, and Salem Mousavi have been tried and sentenced to death for being members of the military branch of “The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz” and “participating in terrorist operations.”

HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, reported that the individuals were arrested in “winter 2019,” which coincides with widespread labor protests that took place in Khuzestan Province during that time.

In the verdict against the prisoners, Ali Majdam and Mohammad Reza Moghadam were accused of “leadership of and membership [in] the group’s military branch “Harakat al-Nidhal” inside Iran.

“Harakat al-Nidhal,” or “The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz,” is an Arab nationalist and separatist insurgent group that advocates for the secession of Khuzestan Province from Iran. The group is currently classified as a terrorist organization by the Iranian government.

Moin Khanfari, Habib Deris, Adnan Gheibshawi, and Salem Mousavi, who are also accused of being members of “Harakat al-Nidhal,” have also been sentenced to death.

The six prisoners have been accused of “armed confrontation with Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The Ahwaz (Ahvaz) Revolutionary Court declared that the decision is not final and the verdict can be appealed in the Supreme Judicial Court.

Iran’s judiciary has accused the defendants of the “assassination” of Ali Salehi Majd and Yunus Bahri, two Basij members, and Allah Safar Nazari and Mohammad Reza Rafiei Nasab, two police officers, in Khuzestan.

In February 2019, the Iranian media reported that nine people had been arrested concerning the “assassination” of two Basij members in Abadan and two policemen in Mahshahr. The media did not, however, reveal the identities of the detained.

The Suppression of Arabs in Iran

In the Judiciary’s report, Farajullah Chaab (Habib Osayvad) is also mentioned as one of the leaders of “Harakat al-Nidhal” or “The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz” and as a liaison with the accused who have been sentenced to death. Habib Chaab was an Iranian-Swedish dissident and was apparently “lured” to Turkey by Iranian intelligence agents.

The security forces of the Islamic Republic kidnapped Habib Chaab from Turkey in the fall of 2020 and took him to Iran. In November 2020, he appeared on Iranian state television. According to the Iranian judiciary, Chaab was accused of “managing and leading a terrorist group” and “planning numerous bombings and terrorist operations” in Khuzestan.

The prosecutor’s representative requested a death sentence for Habib Osayvad , a Swedish citizen.

Harakat al-Nidhal is a separatist group. The Islamic Republic of Iran accuses this group of having close connections to Saudi Arabia. Based on reports by the Danish police, the Islamic Republic has attempted to assassinate some of its members. A Danish court in 2020 sentenced a Norwegian-Iranian to seven years for his role in the assassination plot.

During the presidency of Mohammad Khatami the Arabs of Ahvaz (Ahwazi) in Iran revealed a governmental security plan to demographically engineer parts of Khuzestan Province. Iran has denied this claim, but in the past three decades it has punished Arab activists with imprisonment, torture, and execution.

From the 2000’s Khuzestan Province has been one of the most important centers of the labor union and environmental protests. In April 2022, the “Hunger Rebellion” started in some cities of Khuzestan. Before that, there were widespread protests in the summer of 2021 against the water allocation policies in many cities of Khuzestan.

In November 2019, Mahshahr in Khuzestan Province experienced some of the bloodiest repression.

In 2018, the protests of the workers of the National Industrial Group of Iran Steel (Ahvaz Steel) and Haft Tepeh Sugarcane Company turned Ahvaz and Sush into two centers of radical labor protests.

Before that, in December 2017, there were widespread protests against high prices and the cost of living in the cities of Khuzestan Province.

On 21 February 2023, Iran’s judicial system executed Hassan Obayat, a political prisoner imprisoned since 2011, on charges of being a member of an opposition group.

+Zamaneh Media

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Zamaneh Media

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