0401 GMT January 21, 2018
The first planeload shipment of Iran's humanitarian aid was sent on Friday for the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar but it would be delivered to Bangladesh since the government of Myanmar did not accept to deliver the cargo and distribute it among the country's Muslim community, IRNA reported.
The shipment comprised of necessary materials, food staff, medical and health care equipment.
“The aid was sent to Bangladesh with the collaboration of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran Air Force,” Salimi told reporters.
Prior to the 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis and the military crackdown in 2016 and 2017, the Rohingya population in Myanmar was around 1.1 to 1.3 million. They reside mainly in the northern Rakhine townships.
Myanmar's Muslim community has long faced discrimination in that country and is denied citizenship, despite the fact that many of them have lived there for generations.
The government of Myanmar began ‘clearance operations’ against the country's Rohingya Muslims since August 25.
According to media reports, the fleeing Rohingya said security forces shot indiscriminately, burned their homes and threatened them with death. The government said hundreds died, mostly Rohingya, and that 176 out of 471 Rohingya villages are now abandoned.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday described the violence against Rohingya as ‘ethnic cleansing’ — a term that describes an organized effort to rid an area of an ethnic group by displacement, deportation or killing.
Amnesty International said Thursday it has evidence of an ‘orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings” by Myanmar's security forces targeting dozens of Rohingya villages over the past three weeks.
Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in an address on September 12 urged world Muslim states to take 'practical measures' to end the genocide in Myanmar.
“The Muslim countries should put more political and economic pressures” on the government of Myanmar, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.