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On May 12, 2006, Iran Daily, an official state newspaper published a cartoon degrading and humiliating Azerbaijanis. This caused peaceful demonstrations of Azerbaijanis against the cartoon. In May 22, 2006 hundreds thousands of people in Tabriz took to the streets to condemn the cartoon. The peaceful demonstration of the people was pushed down bloody with Iran authorities. The deadly protests occurred in the city of Naghadeh, and followed widespread demonstrations in Ardabil, Zenjan, Urmiya and other cities.

At least 27 people were killed and more than 100 people were injured in demonstrations in the Azerbaijani region, northwest of Iran. The large numbers of people attending the demonstrations were arrested. Most of the Azerbaijani cultural and human rights activists were threaten to not attend the protests or not invite people to participate in the protests. The detained activists, which were taken to Iran Intelligence Service, were tortured and forced to sign papers to not participate in the same activities.

The event was not only protests against the cartoon. It is more than 80 years that the policy of assimilation against non-Persian ethnics is followed by Iran regimes, both Pahlavi dynasty and the Islamist regime. Azerbaijanis are faced with the fundamental human rights violations. The Azerbaijani people have no political right to represent themselves in the country with their own ethnic identity. They are deprived of education in their own language, noting that Azerbaijanis constitute more than 30 percent of Iran population.

This year also before May 22 Iran authorities have started the detentions of the cultural and human rights activists. Also the threats have begun to prevent people from organizing demonstrations and participating in the protests. People have the right to organize any peaceful demonstrations even according to Iran Constitution, but authorities do not let people to use their constitutional right.

Threatening, detentions and tortures do not stop the movement of the Azerbaijani people in the way of demanding their basic cultural and political rights. The ethnic demands become stronger in Iran, and along with Azerbaijanis other ethnic groups also have started their movements to gain their rights.

Iran authorities refusing the demands of ethnics are taking the country into a probable ethnic volatile. If Iran regime wants to protect the unity of the country the only way is giving the rights of the ethnics. Any other solution may bring greater problems which may take Iran to ethnic clashes.


Lake Urmiyah Is Draying

140 km-long Lake Urumiyah, which is an attraction center for swimming, water sports and boat activities, is at a great stake. Lake Urumiyah attracts a lot of people in summer with its beautiful beaches and salty water. Depending on its water containing many minerals, Lake Urumiyah has made its region one of the most beautiful and unique places of the world for the water therapy systems. This lake is unfortunately under the danger of extinction.


Within the borders of the West Azerbaijan, in the Lake Urumiyah National Park, which is under a “so-called” protection and which contains islands, coasts, various kinds of plants and animals, and the area of 4810 hectares some kind of ecologic problems, depending on the increase in the saltiness level due to the decrease of the water level, are experienced. A meeting was hold in Tabriz in November 16 – 17, 2007 on this issue.


In the above-mentioned meeting, to which relevant individuals and experts were attended from the cities of Tabriz and Urumiyah, it was declared that “the negativities seen in Lake Urumiyah were mentioned to the relevant authorities in the year 2005, however no appropriate researches and studies were conducted on this issue.”  In addition to this, it is reported that in the meeting, some points as “as of November 300 milligram salt in one liter lake water was measured, and the reason for this is the decrease in the waters of the rivers flowing to the Lake Urumiyah, the future of the lake would be in danger if any measures do not taken, and the people living around would be affected negatively because of this reason” are discussed.


According to the experts, although the individuals attending to the meeting could not express the following facts openly, “they point out that the central government is indifferent to the Azerbaijani States and insensitive to the problems of the region”. In addition to this, the experts underline that the area’s biological variety draws attention internationally and because of that reason the area was declared as a national park and taken under protection as “a biosphere region” by UNESCO. It is suggested that the Government of Iran’s unconcerned attitude towards Lake Urumiyah would also set environmental organizations in motion.

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 Akhbar Rooz



  Azad Tribun

 Azar Tabriz


 Urmu Bir Olmalı