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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.

   

At the Dawn of the Cold War: The Soviet-American Crisis over Iranian Azerbaijan, 1941–1946

Jamil Hasanli1

The 21-Azar (1324/1945) is an important day in the history of Iranian Azerbaijanis. At that point in history, Southern Azerbaijanis established their autonomous national Parliament (Milli Majlis) under the leadership of "Demokrat Firqesi", only to be toppled a year later (1325/1946) by the brute military forces of the central government (Pahlavi's Regime). Thousands of Southern Azerbaijanis were either killed, executed or forced to flee to the neighboring countries and hope for democracy and self determination was vanished.


 
Independent South Azerbaijan 1945-1946

Mir Jafar Pishavari South Azerbaijan Democratic Government Leader

In Southern Azerbaijan, the Turkish language was banned from schools and government offices.  Since the Turkish language press shared the same fate, there were no Turkish newspaper or magazines published. Students were forced to speak in Persian at schools, in the face of using their mother language they were fined and whipped by their teachers or principles.
 
Ethnic diversity and territorial integrity of Iran: Domestic harmony and regional Challenges

Touraj Atabaki*

The Qizilbash formed the main body of the army under the Safavids (1500–1736), guarding the country’s borders against the constant threat of the Ottoman Empire. Nadir Afshar (1736–47) was himself from the Turkmen Afshar tribe and enjoyed the support of the tribal communities. Karim Khan Zand (1750–79), the founder of the Zand dynasty, was raised as a Lori tribesman, and the subsequent Qajar dynasty was founded by a Turkic tribal chief, Aqa Muhammad Khan. All these men, Isma’il (the first Safavid monarch), Nadir, Karim Khan, and Aqa Muhammad Khan, who reigned over Iran from 1500 A.D. to 1797 A.D., utilized tribal forces effectively to neutralize their rivals and maintain the boundaries of their kingdom.


 
Iran-Turkey Relations: Balance, Rivalry and Mutual Dependence

Arif Keskin

It is clearly evident that the period of antagonism in Turkey-Iran relations has come to an end. Efforts are being made to minimize problems. Existing problems are kept under control without harming bilateral relations and there is an obvious effort to refrain from criticizing one another.


 
Will Iran’s ethnic clampdown backfire?

Daniel Brett

Iran has begun a campaign to intimidate, imprison and even execute writers and journalists from non-Persian ethnic groups in an attempt to remove the ethnic issue off the political agenda ahead of next year’s presidential elections. Yet, Tehran’s actions against these moderate campaigning journalists could spur the very separatist sentiment it seeks to repress.
 
Rights of Ethnic Minorities Routinely Violated

19 Azerbaijanis Arbitrarily Arrested

(17 September 2008)  Intelligence Ministry agents arrested 19 prominent members of the Azerbaijani minority at a private Ramadan celebration on the evening of 10 September 2008, and detained them in Evin Prison where nine are still being held without charge, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.


 
Amnesty International Report 2008, State of Iran’s Human Ritghts

Amnesty International

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.

 
Minorities Suffering In Iran
 
On September 10th, security agents arrested more than nineteen Azeri-Iranians -- journalists, university instructors, and poets -- gathered in a private home in Tehran for an Iftar celebration, the meal breaking the fast during Ramadan. Among them were the wife and children of jailed Azeri-Iranian minority rights activist Abbas Lisani.
 
Azerbaijani Movements in Iran