Ahwaz, April 21, IRNA-Iranian Defense Minister Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, who has been in Ahwaz and its peripheral areas to seek for the roots of the past few days' unfortunate events says, "The people of Khuzestan have decided to organize a grand solidarity gathering." Rear Admiral Shamkhani who has travelled to the region on behalf of President Khatami's cabinet has been engaged in talks with political circles, tribal heads, and analysts during the past two days, says, "Every one I talked to in the province seemed determined to avoid the expansion of tribal, ethnic and racial disputes, and all agreed that staging a grand solidarity rally would be a useful measure in that regard."
He added, "Although the recent chaotic conditions were not deep-rooted, the government is not seeking a permanent solution to hem, believing that comprehensive surveys are to be launched." He Referred to rapid release of the people detained during Ahwaz clashes with the disciplinary forces and the government's efforts aimed at soothing the families whose members were injured in the clashes.
Rear Admiral Shamkhani, who has an Arabic-Iranian origin himself, added, "Iranian Arabs enjoy a high status in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I assure you any other type of political system, but the Islamic Republic, would have sought ways for uprooting them, just as the ousted Shah's regime moved in that direction."
The defense minister added, "The system has no negative feelings about the Arabs, and I myself, who am an Iranian Arab, have paved my way to the highest administrative levels of the system, for instance." He said, "I am present in most secret meetings of the system, and believe, like my fellow citizens in Khuzestan Province, that this revolution belongs to all Iranians, and preserving the province's security is a matter related to ourselves."
Shamkhani reiterated at the end, "Khuzestan is currently ntangled with underdevelopment and war destruction problems, and such acute issues need to be tackled relying on deep-rooted solutions, and the government, too, believes so."
Wide scale Publication and distribution of a forged letter, attributed to the previous head of presidential office, in which Hojjatoleslam Abtahi had allegedly directed the head of the country's Budget and Planning Organization to provide for changing the ethnic combination of the province intrigued the people's feelings and led to the recent unrests in Khuzestan.
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