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Arrests Increase in Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view shows Tehran’s skyline at night with the Milad tower, the sixth tallest tower in the world, Iran May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Marius Bosch

London – Iranian authorities continue to arrest Azeri people days after the crisis following the publication of an article mocking the ethnic group in a newspaper.

The minority group of Turkish descents Qashqai joined the anti-racist protests in the four Azeri districts to the north of Iran.

The protests increased after an article was published in Tarhe-No newspaper mocking the Azeri ethnic group.

Azeri sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the authorities arrested over 25 activists in the last 24 hours in the southern Azeri cities. The arrests also happened in Tehran, Ardabil and Zanjan.

Member of the National Movement of the Southern Azerbaijan Salih Kamrani told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that this is not the first time offensive remarks have been made, and surely won’t be the last.

Kamrani said that every week abusive and offensive remarks are made against Turks in Iranian media outlets.

According to Kamrani, since its formation in 1925, Iran worked on eradicating the Turkish identity and culture and destroying the political, language and social structure of the Turks.

He added that the state worked on changing the names of places and cities and resorted to economic discrimination.

Member of National Movement said that the recent protests in Azeri cities are not enough. He explained that a drastic change should be applied to the Iranian racist system.

Kamrani expected that the Turks will be stronger and hold more to their identity and culture. Over 40% of the Iranian population are Turks and they create a challenge to the racist regime.

Kamrani also predicted that conflicts will increase between the Turks and the Iranian regime due to the fact that the Iranian regime is not democratic and there is no hope of changing it.

For its part, Center for Combating Racism and Discrimination Against Arabs in Iran issued a statement condemning the discriminations and arrests. The center warned of a dark future awaiting the Iranian community if discrimination and racist acts are not stopped.

The statement also added that Persians categorize people ethnically and politically according to the Shahnameh epic that despises non-Persians.

All of this happened amid media blackout despite the continuous arrest and public protests.