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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.


Racisim in contemporaty Iran: an interview with Alireza Asgharzadeh Print

Interviewer: Farzin Farzad 

How is the racist order produced, maintained, and perpetuated in contemporary Iran? How do the acts of othering, misrepresentation, and racism take place through works of literature, history, religion, and other textual/discursive means? What role does language play throughout the processes of ‘otherization,’ foreignization, cultural annihilation, and assimilation in contemporary Iran? What are the ramifications of Aryanist racism for Iran’s non-Persian ethnic groups? How do the victims of this racism engage in acts of resistance against the ongoing racial/ethnic oppression? What role can the intellectuals, scholars, social activists, and the education system play in helping to eliminate racism in Iranian society?

A Look at Hegemony, Racism, and Center-Periphery Relations in Contemporary Iran Print

Alireza Asgharzadeh

Paper presented in a seminar on Race and Racism, University of Toronto

Towards the end of 1991, after the disintegration of Soviet Union, the formation of an independent Azerbaijani nation was declared north of the Iranian borders. Realizing the importance of such an event to the southern Azerbaijanis, the Iranian regime pursued a hostile relationship with the Republic of Azerbaijan. Aryanization and Persianization of socializing agents such as the education system took a new turn, accelerating with the passage of time.

Iran: Azeris caution about supporting native son Mousavi in Tehran political fight Print

Shahin Abbasov

In general, many areas with high concentrations of ethnic minorities -- not just East and West Azerbaijan, but also Kurdistan, Baluchistan and Khuzestan -- have been quiet amid the post-election tumult in Tehran. Minority groups, including Azeris, Arabs, Kurds and Baluchis, have long resented systematic discrimination carried out by authorities in Tehran, in particular restrictions on cultural and linguistic rights. But they don’t see the present crisis as an opportunity to seek redress for their grievances.

The State of the world’s Human rights-Islamic Republic of Iran Print

 Amnesty International Report-2008

Hundreds of Iranian Azerbaijani activists were arrested in connection with a peaceful demonstration on International Mother Language Day, 21 February. The demonstrators called for their own language to be used in schools and other education institutions in the areas of north-west Iran where most Iranian Azerbaijanis reside.

Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Internat Print

Speech of Fakhteh Zamani

Azerbaijani-Iranian Mohammad-Reza Avaz-Pour, who is just 17, will soon start serving his 15-month prison sentence. This young activist is no stranger to detention, imprisonment, and torture. Since the age of 13, he has been arrested and tortured repeatedly for the simple non-violent act of stating that his mother tongue will not die.

The Azerbaijani Culture in the West Print

Ihar Lalkoŭ

One shouldn’t underestimate the role of the scientific activities of Alexander Chodzko (1804-1891)1 in the unveiling of the Azerbaijani culture in the West, and in that way, in the history of development of the Azerbaijani nation.

Evolution of the Azerbaijani Language and Identity Print

Javad Heyet

In the 19th century (1812) the northern part of Azerbaijan was separated from Iran and annexed to the Russian Empire, but the linguistic process continued in the northern part, and the morphology acquired its present day, uniform characteristics.

Baku Looks South Print

David Nissman

The historic homeland of Azerbaijan was divided between Russia and Persia by the Treaty of Turkmenchai in 1828, and the borders set by that treaty remain in force today. While Soviet historians routinely argued that this treaty divided the Azerbaijani people, in reality the new line was more political than cultural. The northern part of the Azerbaijani territory became subject to Russian rather than Persian tax collectors and other bureaucrats, but there was not yet any sense of a national awakening. That took place only during the second world war, when Moscow occupied northern Iran under the terms of the 1921 Soviet-Iranian treaty.

Vancouver woman risks her life to expose the persecution of Azerbaijani Iranians Print