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Kuwait summons Iran ambassador for detaining its nationals

Ahwazi Arabs protest Iran's oil exploitation & human rights abuses outside the London offices of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on 3 July 2016 [Peter Tatchell Foundation]
Ahwazi Arabs protest Iran's oil exploitation & human rights abuses outside the London offices of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on 3 July 2016 [Peter Tatchell Foundation]

Kuwait's foreign ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to demand the release of four Kuwaiti nationals detained in the western Ahvaz region of Iran, it said in a statement published by state news agency KUNA yesterday.

The ministry was coordinating with Iranian security authorities to press for visits to the men and to facilitate their release, the statement said. It did not elaborate on who the men were or why they were being held.

Arab activists tend to provide help, support and aid to the predominantly Arab population of Ahvaz, a major city in Khuzestan province, known as Arabistan to local Ahwazi Arabs and the wider Arab world.

The Kuwaiti nationals could have been detained by Iranian security forces after they may have been in contact with the oppressed Arab minority.

Ahwazi Arabs have suffered persecution at the hands of the predominantly ethnic Persian government. This has been documented by many prominent international humanitarian organisations.

Kuwait joined other Gulf states in pulling its ambassador out from Tehran last year, rallying behind regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia after the kingdom's embassy in Tehran was torched by protesters.

However, unlike Saudi Arabia, it stopped short of severing ties altogether and continues to maintain an embassy in Tehran.

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