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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.


The Roots of Ethnic Diversity Print

Pelle Ahlerup, Ola Olsson

The level of ethnic diversity is believed to have major consequences for economic and political development within countries. In this article, we provide a systematic theoretical and empirical analysis of the determinants of ethnic diversity in the world. Our main finding is that the duration of human settlements has a strong positive association with ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity decreases with the length of state experience and with distance from the equator. Both ’primordial’ and ’constructivist’ hypotheses of ethnic fractionalization thus receive some support by our analysis.

Iran: A Country Divided Print

Sami Shorosh

Iran constitutes one of the most diverse countries in the Middle East in terms of ethnic and religious composition. This state, which has preserved its geographical and historical structure, in addition to its borders – at least since the 19th Century without any significant change by virtue of not participating in the two world wars – has a widely diverse internal fabric of races, religions and creeds.
'Borders and Brethren' Reveals the Dilemmas of Ethnic Politics in Iran Print

An interview with Brenda Shaffer conducted by: Konul Khalilova

Brenda Shaffer examines trends in Azerbaijani collective identity from the period of the Islamic Revolution in Iran through the Soviet breakup and the beginnigs of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1979-2000). She analyzes how Azerbaijanis have maintained their identity and how that identity has assumed different forms in the former Soviet Union and Iran. In addition to contributing to the study of ethnic identity, the book reveals the dilemmas of ethnic politics in Iran.

Ethnicity Versus Theocracy Print

The Islamic Majlis Centre for Research, a parliamentary think tank, recently warned in a report that Iran could face serious internal conflict and unrest unless the government addresses the needs of its ethnic minorities.

The Mother-Tongue Dilemma Print

United nation educational, scientific and cultural organization

Studies show that we learn better in our mother tongue. But then it has to be taught in school, which is not the case of all minority languages. More convinced than ever of the value of multilingualism, certain countries are trying to promote learning in a number of languages. However, the political and economic obstacles are enormous.
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 Latest Ethnic Revolt Print

Amir Taheri

Yet that seems to be happening in Golestan, one of Iran's 30 provinces, with the ethnic Turkmen community seething with anger against Tehran. It all started on Jan. 4, when a gunboat of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot and killed a 20-year-old Turkmen fisherman in the coastal waters of the Caspian Sea.

Iran: Ethnic Unrest Signals Greater Problem Print

Bill Samii

There are conflicting reports on the number of casualties and the reason for the clashes. Regardless of the specifics in this case, all the country's minorities -- Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, or Turkmen -- have grievances that relate to the regime's policies. If allowed to fester, ethnic problems could have serious repercussions for the regime.

Ethnic Opposition on the rise in Iran Print

David Eshel

Roughly one out of every four Iranians is Azeri, making it Iran’s largest ethnic minority at over eighteen million. The Turkic-speaking Azeri community is Shiite and resides mainly in northwest Iran along the border with Azerbaijan.
Language, Education and Development: Case Studies from the Southern Contexts Print

George J. Sefa Dei and Alireza Asgharzadeh

Born into an Azerbaijani family in north-western Iran, Alireza Asgharzadeh completed his primary and secondary education in southern (Iranian) Azerbaijan during the Pahlavi monarchism. Since to read and write in Azeri language was prohibited in Iran, he was forced to complete his education in the dominant Persian language. Like millions of other non-Persian citizens of Iran, from the very beginning he learned the pain and agony of not being able to read and write in his own mother tongue. In essence, like the majority of Iran’s citizens, he became a ‘linguistic orphan’ (Baraheni, 1977), a speaker of an ‘orphan tongue’ (Anzaldua, 1987).

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