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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.


Iranian Minority Caught In Iran-U.S. Bind Print

Daria Vaisman

When ethnic Azeris take to the streets of northern Iran on Tuesday, they'll be closely watched for signs of a growing nationalist movement — one that may be getting caught up in a larger tussle between Washington and Tehran.

General Communication1: Iranian Suspect Governance in Southern Azerbaijan Print

The Committee for the Defence of the Rights of World Azerbaijanis

Now we are living in the age of human rights where the quality of the governance is judged by the integrity of human rights and arresting the environmental degradation and improving it through decision making by participation. The evidence provided below is a glimpse of the Iranian governance over Southern Azerbaijan hardly reflecting any norm of decision-making by participation or fermenting the culture of human rights but full of ill-intentions beyond mismanagement.
Ethnic tensions could crack Iran's firm resolve against the world Print

Abbas William Samii

Tehran's method of dealing with the ethnic issue will ultimately backfire. It can successfully employ overwhelming force against geographically isolated groups, but it would be much more difficult to handle angry Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, and other minorities if they act against the state simultaneously

The Anatomy of Iranian Racism Print

Alireza Asgharzadeh

For over 80 years, the role of the central government in Iran has been one of denying and dismissing ethnic and linguistic diversity in the country. Just as the Pahlavi regime focused on annihilation of cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences in the country, so too the current Islamic Republic has continued with the politics of assimilation, exclusion, and racism. 

Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and Autonomy in Twentieth-Century Iran by Touraj Atabaki Print

Nayereh Tohidi
Book Review)

Frequently referred to as the Azerbaijan "crisis," the democratic movement that led to the establishment of the short-lived autonomous government of Azerbaijan in 1945-46 occupies an important place not only in modern Iranian history, but also in the history of the cold war.

Iran's Challenges from Within: An Overview of Ethno-Sectarian Unrest Print

Chris Zambelis

Ethnic Kurds, Baloch, Arabs, Azeris and Turkmen in Iran also share ethnic, linguistic and cultural links with their kin in neighboring states such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. This leaves them susceptible to the influence of social and political currents outside of Iran, especially nationalism.

Ethnic Azeris Demand Cultural Rights Print

Habib Azarsina

Ethnic Azeris inside Iran, advocating for their cultural rights, use every opportunity to make their demands known. Resentment toward local and state authorities, who had persistently ignored Azeri demands for ethnic rights, finally erupted in mass rallies and riots in cities and towns of Iranian Azerbaijan in May 2006.

“You Can Detain Anyone for Anything” Iran’s Broadening Clampdown on Independent Activism Print

Human Rights Watch

Individuals from an ever widening range of groups in Iran are subject to arrest on security grounds for political activism and peaceful dissent against the government. Those arrested are frequently detained in facilities operating outside the regular prison administration, most notoriously in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison, where they may be subjected to torture and abusive interrogation.

The Formation of Azerbaijani collective Identity in Iran Print

Brenda Shaffer

Iran is a multi-ethnic society in which approximately 50% of its citizens are of non-Persian origin, yet researchers commonly use the terms Persians and Iranians interchangeably, neglecting the supra-ethnic meaning of the term Iranian for many of the non-Persians in Iran.

Tehran Reminds Azerbaijan to Keep Distance from Washington Print

Fariz Ismailzade

This high concentration of ethnic Azeris in northern Iran is the main reason that Iranian-Azerbaijani relations have been at odds for much of the 1990s. Iran, fearing a secessionist movement among ethnic Azeris, has prohibited education in the Azerbaijani language and limited human rights.

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