Iran has arrested hundreds in Ahvaz, Khoramshahr, Sosangerd, and Abadan following an attack on a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan province.
Despite a September 24 statement by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence stating that only 22 people were arrested with links to the attack on the military parade, reports indicate that hundreds of people have been arbitrarily detained. The Ministry also published a video showing the detainees with blindfolds facing a wall.
Reports indicate that some of the arrests incorporated whole families with even children being detained. Security forces raided the homes of citizens during the crackdown confiscating their personal belongings before making the arrests.
Human rights groups have said that the arrests were arbitrary and illegal as security forces did not have arrest warrants. The families of the detainees have not been told where their loved ones were being held and reports indicate that they have been transferred to unknown locations.
According to human rights sources, a large number of Arab political and cultural activists were also detained in the crackdown.
One family said that their son was detained without any explanation by security forces, adding that he was not involved in any political activities and was an environmental activist.
Some human rights news websites have said that around 300 people were detained adding that the government was using the attack on the military parade to crack down on Arab activists. There was no way to confirm the identities of all the detainees. Many of the detainees had previous arrest records which show that security forces are randomly arresting activists without any leads and affiliation with the military parade attack.
Reports also indicate that the government was carrying out heavy security measures in southern Khuzestan, where mostly Arab Iranians live.
On September 22, gunmen who fired on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz killed more than two dozen people and wounded more than 50 others. Iranian state media said 25 people, including civilians and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, had been killed while at least 60 others were wounded.