Where the World's Views of America Come into Focus
April 21, 2005
Tehran: Public unrest in Khuzestan Province in response to a fake letter, advising the Arab minority of the province that the government wished to move them north, drew an immediate reaction from the White House.
The government rejected the letter as forged and not having been prepared by official offices.
"We are very concerned by reports from Khuzestan in Iran of unrest in which several people have been killed and many more, perhaps even hundreds, have been arrested," Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters.
"The United States calls upon the Iranian authorities to exercise restraint" in dealing with the ethnic Arabs in Khuzestan and "to respect the peaceful exercise by the Iranian people of their democratic rights," he said.
Ereli said the unrest and arrests in the province involved "the denial of rights of minority groups in Iran" and "that suppression of minority rights is obviously to be denounced.
"And it is not the first time that Iran has practiced this kind of human rights violations," he said.
The statement of the White House was yet another example of U.S. interference in Iran's domestic affairs, and the immediate reaction of the mob in the province fosters the idea the White House officials have adopted the worst kind of approach toward Iran, despite the United States' recent overture that it would follow logic in its relations with Iran.
[Iranian] government officials said that the incident would be examined from two perspectives; legitimate public grievances about the state of affairs; and the question of whether “certain agents” exploited the situation to agitate the mob for political gain.
At the same time, al-Jazeera TV's emotional coverage of a domestic incident in Iran showed how our Arab neighbors are looking for an opportunity to vent the humiliation they feel over their current situation in Iran's direction.— Iranian TV: Friday Sermon in Kerman City, Iran: 'If Jesus Were Alive He Would Not Justify America's Atrocities,' Apr. 17, MEMRI, 00:02:16