DEBKAfile - Ethnic Arab Intifada Targets Richest Iranian Oil Resource:
On the march against the Tehran regime since April, the ethnic Arab rebels of Iran’s southwest province of Khuzestan have for the first time struck an Iranian oil target. This attack, revealed here by DEBKAfile’s Exclusive Iranian sources, took place Wednesday, June 8. The guerrillas struck the new petrochemical installations of the Karoun Oil and Gas Production’s drilling and well services, east of the provincial capital of Ahwaz.
Saturday night, June 11, President Mohammed Khatami flew in to the restive region which supplies 80% of Iran’s oil output to assess the damage.
Four hours after he returned to Tehran, Arab guerrillas detonated four bombs in Ahwaz – one at least by a suicide bomber - against the Iranian planning ministry near the governor’s seat, the central post office, the housing ministry and the home of the Tehran-appointed director of the local television station. At least eight people were killed, up to 35 injured
Later Sunday, June 12, a busy Tehran square was the scene of another bombing attack, the first the Iranian capital had experienced in a decade. One person was killed, according to the Iranian interior ministry.
The Khuzestan Arab guerrillas, calling their movement Nahda (Renaissance), hit the two Iranians cities five days before the June 17 presidential election. They brought to a climax bombing attacks for weeks against trains, banks and government buildings - and most recently nightly shooting attacks on the Ahwaz campaign offices of presidential candidates Hashemi Rafshanjani and former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsein Rezai. Nahda appears to represent a coalition of Khuzestan’s at least eight anti-government groups.
The ethnic Arabs of Khuzestan, some 3% of Iran’s 67 million inhabitants, are now threatening to boycott next Thursday’s election. This organized protest by the 2 million Shiite Arab inhabitants of Iran’s most abundant oil center would be a severe blow for the Islamic regime.
Teheran has accused US and British intelligence of engineering Arab unrest in Khuzestan from across the border in Iraq. Iraq Kurds are also believed to be assisting the rebels. The Iranians countered two weeks ago by halting all Iranian pilgrimage to Iraqi Shiite shrines, virtually shutting their borders with Iraq. Iranian Arabs, mostly Shiites, had been making regular pilgrimages to Najef and Karbala in the last two years. Officials in Tehran accused US and Iraqi intelligence of recruiting these pilgrims and sending them back home trained for anti-government guerrilla action.
On April 22, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 203 lead article explored the Khuzestan Arab Spring offensive. On May 6, DNW 204 revealed that April 23, the Khuzestan Front’s No. 2 leader Said Taher Naamahad paid a secret visit to the White House. "