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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.

   

Movements for Democracy and Recent Obstacles: The Case of Iran Print

Alireza Asgharzadeh

Speech at the Italian Parliament, Sponsored by UNPO, Rome, June 29, 2010

As such, I like to conclude this speech by highlighting the importance of the need for an open and transparent conversation: One which is not afraid of speaking truth to power; which boldly interrogates antiquated and degenerative notions of ‘Aryan race,’ monolingualism, monoculturalism, heteronormativity, racism, abelism, sexism and homophobia. This requires a crossing of boundaries, not only of race, gender, class and sexuality, but also of ways of thinking and acting.


 
Campaigners fear Lake Urmia drying up Print

Sam Khosravifard*

 A group of environmental activists gathered at Lake Urmia on the 13th day of the Persian new year – April 2 – a day when it is customary for Iranians to spend time with nature. Some poured water into the lake from bottles and pitchers in a symbolic move to protest against what they call the inaction of the authorities about the lake drying up.


 
Nation as the imagined community Print

Benedict Anderson

"The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest of them encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind. The most messianic nationalists do not dream of a day when all the members of the human race will join their nation in the way that it was possible, in certain epochs, for, say, Christians to dream of a wholly Christian planet.


 
Persian nationalism and the campaign for language purification Print

Kia  Mehrdad

In the battle they waged against Islam and the Shiite religious hierarchy for domination over the spiritual domain, these Persian nationalists transformed history, culture and language into ideological tools for building a modern homogenized national identity which was Persian rather than Islamic, secular rather than religious.


 
Urmia Lake (Northwest Iran): a brief review Print

Amin Eimanifar

The present paper is an attempt to provide a brief review on various aspects of the lake. Urmia Lake, located in northwestern Iran, is an oligotrophic lake of thalassohaline origin with a total surface area between 4750 and 6100 km2 and a maximum depth of 16 m at an altitude of 1250 m. The lake is divided into north and south parts separated by a causeway in which a 1500-m gap provides little exchange of water between the two parts.


 
Lake Urmiyah Is Draying Print

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.


 
Mother tongue matters: local language as a key to effective learning Print

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Several concerns converge on the issue of using local or minority languages in formal education. One of these has to do with increasing awareness of the value of the world’s linguistic and cultural diversity. Many of the world’s languages and cultures are in danger of disappearing in the coming decades for a variety of political, economic and social reasons.


 
Bilingual Children's Mother Tongue: Why Is It Important for Education? Print

Jim Cummins*

The term globalization is never far from the front pages of newspapers these days. It evokes strong positive or negative feelings depending upon whether it is being praised by the business community for opening up world markets to more extensive trade or condemned by those who associate the term with the dramatically widening gap between rich and poor nations and people.

 
Iran’s Election and Unrest: What’s behind the silence of the Azerbaijanis in Iran? Print

Nadir Ghazanfari

Any new proposal tabled by the opposition movement on the issue of ethnic minority rights needs to be convincing and support measures such as formally recognizing the decades of discrimination that ethnic communities in Iran have had to endure; acknowledging Azeri and other language and cultural rights; and introducing institutional mechanisms to allow ethnic groups to participate in a more representative and pluralistic political system in Iran.


 
Festival of Babek: The living soul of Azerbaijan’s history Print

Alireza Asgharzadeh

This magnificent festival is not just about dance and poetry, though. There is more to it than meets the eye. People come here with their musical instruments, songs, dances, and poems to redefine themselves by means of their own culture, their own language, on their own terms.


 
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