Iran: April 20, 2005

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Unrest continues among the Arab population along the Iraqi border. Iran is actually a multi-ethnic empire, with a core of ethnic Iranians surrounded by other minorities. North of the Arabs are Kurds and Turks (Azeris). In Western Iran there are Afghans and Baluchis. These minorities comprise over a third of the population. The Arab minority, however, is special, as they sit on top of most of Iran's oil. Saddam Hussein thought these Arabs would would rise in rebellion when invading Iraqi troops entered the area in 1980. Didn't happen. But the Arab-Iranians do maintain their culture, and the Iranian majority has never been happy with this. The current unrest was caused by government efforts to control Arab language press. A lot of this censorship is not just being hard on Arab media, but the continuing efforts of the Islamic conservatives to stamp out dissident media. There is no press freedom in Iran, and hasn't been any for over two decades. Iran is blaming foreign media, and, of course, the United States, for the unrest. Al Jazeera operations in Iran have been shut down, and other foreign media threatened.

 

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