Following are excerpts from an interview with Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi, the leader of the anti-Iranian Arab Ahwazi opposition, which aired on May 2, 2010.
Interviewer: On the 85th anniversary of Iran’s annexation of the Ahwaz region, we are hosting Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi of the Arab Popular Democratic Front [APDF] of Al-Ahwaz. He will talk about the situation in Al-Ahwaz and its people’s hopes, as well as about the Iranian policy in this region, which is considered occupied by its people, who say it must be returned to the Arabs.
Is your opposition today political, focusing on TV and other media, or is it an armed opposition as well?
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: We are not an opposition. We are liberators. An opposition would be an Iranian group that wants to change the regime.
Interviewer: So you are a liberation movement, not an opposition.
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: Yes. We want to rid our country of the [Iranian] occupation. We want to restore the rights of our people – our cultural, economic, political, and social rights. Everything is denied us.
Interviewer: What are your demands?
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: We demand our full rights on the land of Al-Ahwaz in its entirety. This is the right of the Arabs.
Interviewer: So you demand separation?
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: Independence, not separation. We have never been a part of Iran, so how can we separate from it? We were a free people even before Iran was liberated.
Interviewer: But some goals are feasible, while others are impossible.
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: What goals are feasible?
Interviewer: It is feasible to demand an improvement in your social and political circumstances, but demanding independence means denying Iran 90% of its natural resources.
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: Sir, I am not denying Iran its resources. I want to regain my own resources. If political negotiations with the Iranian regime were at all possible, our predecessors would have negotiated. If only the viewers could have seen all the executions, the torture, the killing of innocent women and children, the infliction of starvation, the draining of rivers, the destruction of the agriculture, the plundering of oil, natural gas, and other resources.
We’ve tried. I personally said this many times on TV. We cooperated with the current regime in toppling the regime of the Shah, but three months later, they launched their first attack on us, and there were more than 500 Ahwazi martyrs.
To this day, the APDF has not turned to arms. We operate on the political front, by organizing activity at home and abroad, and by promoting the Ahwazi cause in all forums. However, by no means do we rule out the use of arms. Armed resistance is the right of the Arab people of Al-Ahwaz, and we support any other organization that does bear arms. According to its strategy, the APDF may, at any moment, resort to armed resistance against the Iranian regime.
We are neutral. We want Iran to be attacked, because we don’t want it to become nuclear.
Interviewer: You want Iran to be attacked?!
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: We don’t want Iran to become nuclear, because if it does, it will take over the region, and it will attack and oppress us even more than now.
Interviewer: But you will lose Arab support for your cause, because many Arabs say they will support Iran in the event of any attack.
Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Ahwazi: It is essential to stop the Iranian nuclear project, and any Arab who thinks otherwise is wrong. Stopping the Iranian nuclear project is in the interests of the Arab nations, and especially in the interest of the neighboring Arab countries.