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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.


ADAPP Calls on Iranian Authorities to Respect the Freedom of Assembly

Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran

At the anniversary of the May, 2006 demonstrations by Azerbaijani Iranians against the publication of a cartoon degrading and threatening them as an ethnic group, the Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) calls on Iranian authorities to be respectful of all citizens’ constitutional rights, to stop the arrest and torture of Azerbaijani activists and to release Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience. The Association also calls on human rights organizations and democratic countries to join them in pressuring Iran to respect the freedom of assembly.

Ethnic Tensions Over Cartoon Set Off Riots in Northwest Iran

“In the aniversary of the May 2006 demonstrations of the South Azerbaijanis against ethnic discriminations in Iran”

Nazila Fathi

TEHRAN, May 28 2006 — Four people were killed and 70 were injured in riots last week in the Azeri region northwest of here, according to local news reports, as tensions spread after the publication of a cartoon that has outraged Iran's Azeri population.

Iran's Volatile Ethnic Mix

 “In the aniversary of the May 2006 demonstrations of the South Azerbaijanis against ethnic discriminations in Iran”

Brenda Shaffer

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts: Several northwestern cities in Iran have recently been rocked by demonstrations and riots by ethnic Azerbaijani citizens. They were protesting a cartoon published in an official government newspaper that depicted the Azerbaijani minority as a cockroach and instructed people to deny it food until it learns to speak Persian.

The “Cartoon Crisis” in Iranian Azerbaijan: Is Azeri Nationalism Underestimated?

“In the aniversary of the May 2006 demonstrations of the South Azerbaijanis against ethnic discriminations in Iran”

Emil Souleimanov

Blood spilled in violence is not forgotten, and the thoughts that have awakened the Azeri masses from their lethargy will not disappear overnight. Since the days of Sattar Khans Constitutional Revolution (1906-1911), in which he led the masses primarily in southern Azerbaijan against the Shah, the current events represent a significant experience of common resistance and mutual suffering. 

The Position of Mother Tongue in Human Societies

Hamid Dadizadeh

“Identity”, as P. Krostrity suggests, “is defined as the linguistic construction of membership in one or more social groups or categories”. (1999)4 Identity is the tool by which every human being identifies himself or herself on the planet earth.

Seyid Ali Seyid Mahammed oglu Imameddin Nasimi (1369,Shamakhi-1417,Halab)-Azerbaijani poet, great thinker. He is well-known as ''Imameddin Nasimi ''. He has received his early education in Shamakhi, learned sciences of that time, history of religions,logics, mathematics and astronomy.

Sheykh Mohammad Khiyabani
Khiyabani, speaking on human rights and freedoms in his speeches promoted the world outlook development of Tabriz population and said always: "the right is not granted, it is to be mastered." And Khiyabani transmuted his pulpit in the mosque into propaganda rostrum with the purpose of dissemination of freedom and democracy ideas.
Human Rights in Iranian Azerbaijan: A Year in Review

Ensafali Hedayat

After Norouz, one can look back and review the past year’s events. This brief survey focuses on human rights and societal and cultural issues of the Azeri people in Iran. It examines daily predicaments that have plagued the lives of Azeri people and the intentional and unintentional circumstances that undermine their culture and identity.

In defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners, Speech of Fakhteh Zamani in U.S. Congress
The Azerbaijanis, with a population of over 20 million, make up the largest minority in Iran. They are located mainly in the North and Northwest of Iran. The Azerbaijani language is also spoken in Northeast and Central Iran, as well as in the capital city of Tehran. All of these people live under the Iranian Islamic regime, with severe violations of their social, economic or political rights.
Ethnical Varieties; Threat or Opportunity

Yusof Azizi Banitorof (Translated By: Naser Noori)

During Qajar era, the system of Iran was been called the "protected countries system" and indeed Qajar empire  was formed from several large states or countries like Arabia state, Kordestan state, Azerbaijan state, Gilan state , Khorasan state. These states all show ethnic variety of Iran during that era.

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