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HRW Criticizes Iranian Arrests Of Arab Minority

A petrochemical plant in Khuzestan Province

A petrochemical plant in Khuzestan Province

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Iranian authorities have detained more than 65 Arab residents of Iran as part of alleged "security sweeps" in Iran's Arab-majority Khuzestan Province since late 2011.

In a statement, HRW calls on Iranian authorities to investigate the reported deaths of two of the detainees in Intelligence Ministry facilities.

Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at Human Rights Watch, called on Iranian authorities to immediately explain the reasons for the arrests, give detainees access to family members and lawyers, and bring all detainees promptly before a judge.

Human Rights Watch says members of the large Arab population of oil-rich Khuzestan have long complained about the lack of socioeconomic development in the region.

They allege that Tehran has systematically discriminated against them.

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