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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.


Iran’s Ethnic Tinderbox Print

John R. Bradley*

Only roughly one-half of Iran’s 70 million people are ethnic Persians, the rest being Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Baluchis, and Lors. In the eyes of many observers, this unusual diversity makes Iran not so much a nation-state as a multinational empire dominated by Persians, much as the Soviet Union once was dominated by Russians. Iran’s ethnic minori-ties share a widespread sense of discrimination and deprivation toward the central Tehran government.
In Search of a Global Soul: Azerbaijan and the Challenge of Multiple Identities Print
Alireza Asgharzadeh* 


This article focuses on emerging Azerbaijani identity and its competing versions in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Iran, and in the diaspora. The Republic of Azerbaijan has over eight million people compared with more than 20 million Azeris in Iran. The two groups have ethnic, linguistic, and historical ties but also different experiences, giving them both a common identity contradicted by other factors.

Iran’s Azeri Question: What Does Iran’s Largest Ethnic Minority Want? Print

 Afshin Molavi

Shaffer describes a cultural reawakening among Iranian Azeris, calls Iran’s national and ethnic-minority policy unjust and suggests that Iranian support for Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute stems from a fear of the Republic of Azerbaijan becoming strong and, as she said in a recent London lecture, emerging as "a source of attraction to [Iran’s] own Azerbaijanis."

Iran: Stifling the Azeri Minority Print

Karl Rahder

Trouble is brewing in Iran's 'Southern Azerbaijan' as the government targets Azeri human rights activists and cracks down on what some view as the Azeri ethnic minority's struggle for more democracy and human rights, and what others call separatism.

Iranian Azerbaijan: A Brewing Hotspot Print

Svante Cornell*

Iran’s ethnic Azerbaijani community is seldom in the news, but is gradually becoming an increasingly important factor in the domestic politics of Iran as well as in the regional politics of the so-called Northern Tier of the Middle East, where Iran meets the South Caucasus and Turkey. Both domestic political developments in the Islamic Republic and the larger environment surrounding the region are contributing to making the Azerbaijani community in Iran a potential hotspot. 

Education in Mother Tongue for Children of Iranian Azerbaijan Print

Habib Azarsina

Children learn best when they are educated in their first language, their mother tongue. In the case of children in Iran, this is true for about half of the school-aged children whose mother tongue is Persian, the official language of Iran. The other half speaks a language other than Persian at home. The focus of this article is the shock experienced by elementary school kids in some parts of Iran, particularly during their first year in school.
Culture Discrimination Policy Against Turks of Iran ( Azerbiajani Turks) Print

Mofak  Salman

Persian chauvinism in Iran has hurt significantly the economic and social well being of South Azerbaijan. Chauvinism as a policy has been practiced implicitly by the Iranian regime and has targeted at its core the national culture of Azeri’s in South Azerbaijan. 

Azerbaijan- Iran Relations: Challenges and Prospects (Event Summary) Print

 Event Report, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The divided Azerbaijan factor is the most influential factor in the relations between the two countries. The Republic of Azerbaijan encompasses only a portion of what we actually consider to be Azerbaijan: the second part of Azerbaijan is in North-West Iran. The Azerbaijani Turks in Iran constitute a significant part of the population of that country but are deprived of their national rights. This factor is central in understanding the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran.

Persecution, Tension and Awakening in Northern Iran Print

Gabriel Glickman

The provocation of the graphic image has cut across a year of instability in relations between the West and the Middle East. But the latest ‘cartoons row’ to ignite the region has its origins outside Europe. Indeed, after that country’s role in inflaming tensions caused by the 12 Danish images in February, it is somewhat ironic that the latest dispute has struck at the heart of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran.



Please find enclosed a General Communication reflecting the situation in Southern Azerbaijan and the scale of the Iranian violation of human and national rights of the nation of Southern Azerbaijan. The situation has been tense since May 2006 and is tense now.

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