در باره یوردنت Yurdnet Haqqında About Yurdnet Comments   Home Page
Other Posts

Did the CIA Fiddle With Population Statistics about Iran? Daniel Pipes

Iranian Regime Is Killing Lake Urmia Umud Duzgun

The Importance of Receiving Education in One’s Mother Tongue Fakhteh Luna Zamani

Dying Lake Urmia reflects a broader problem in Iran LA Times report

The mysteries of Azerbaijan: A Shiite nation embraces its Jews Rob Eshman

Don’t let Russia abuse Crimean history Victor Ostapchuk

The Dynamics of Ethnic Identity in Iranian Azerbaijan Fereydoun Safizadeh

Iran: More than Persia Brenda Shaffer

Iran: Free Ethnic Rights Activists Human Rights Watch

Urgent Action: Five Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran On Hunger Strike

Repression of dissent intensifies in run-up to presidential election Amnesty International

Demonstrations against anti-Turk racism (May 2006 - Azerbaijan, Iran)

Accountability for Human Rights Abuses in Iran- The White House


South Azerbaijan Civil Rights Movement in Iran get idea of "Catalonia is not Spain" helpcatalonia.cat

South Azerbaijan is not Iran Umud Duzgun

An Azerbaijani American in Baku Farzin Farzad

Tractorsazi 3-1 Al Jazira

Interview With Farzin Farzad About The Petition ArazNews

UN Experts Urge Iran To Halt Execution Of Five Arab Activist

Azeri channel in Iran seeks to resume broadcasting in Turkey

North Azerbaijan: The refugees trapped in a 20-year-old conflict, Karabakh

Turkic Azeri and Hazara Solidarity Network’s message about the 31st of December

31 December is World Azerbaijanis` Solidarity Day

The tragedy of the Azerbaijani Ethnic Minority Farzin Farzad

Art of Azerbaijani tar performing included into UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


Statement by Mr Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights situation in Iran Press Conference Oslo – 22 November 2012

South Azerbaijan's Homeless Earthquake Victims Still Under Tents

Salt Tsunami and its effect in Salmas

Ahwazi Arab political activist Jamil Sowaidi reportedly tortured to death in custody

The New Middle East and breakdown of Iran - Unification: North and South Azerbaijan Umud Duzgun

How a provincial club became a focus for dissent in Iran

Help keep Huseyin Celil safe and healthy Amnesty International

U.N.: Azerbaijanis face arrest, discrimination in Iran


The New World nytimes.com

'US Congress will continue considering concerns of Azerbaijani-Americans' News.Az interviews Farzin Farzad

U.S. Secretary of State responds to congressman's letter about South Azerbaijan

Iran in earthquake relief crackdown The Telegraph

Iran government criticized over earthquake response

US says no sanctions on Iran quake aid


Rep. Rohrabacher Urges Secretary Clinton to Back Freedom From Iran for Azeris

Mounting concerns for two detained Azeri poets. pen international

Iran steps up crackdown against its Arab minority The Guardian

The lack of attention to the health of a political prisoner; eye problems of an Azerbaijani political prisoner in Iran


Iran executes three detained brothers from Ahwaz region

European Parliament resolution on the situation of ethnic minorities in Iran

European Parliament debate on ethnic minorities in Iran

Iran and Azerbaijan, Already Wary Neighbors, Find Even Less to Agree On New York Times

'South Azerbaijan able to turn down the whole system of power in Iran'

Azerbaijani flag raised outside Toronto City Hall

Nizami Ganjavi’s monument erected in Rome

Azerbaijani Flag Was Raised At Vancouver City Hall To Commemorate The First Muslim Democracy

Awareness for the Lake Urmia Disaster (June 5, 2012)

Iran Hacks Major South Azerbaijani Website, Arrests Scores of Demonstrators in Tabriz and Urumia PEN South Azerbaijan (Iran) in Exile

New wave of demonstrations in Iranian Azerbaijan suppressed by riot police ADAPP

Azerbaijanis hold massive protests in Iran

Three people were hanged in city of Ardabil, Iranian Azerbaijan

Iranian Azeris set up national council in Turkey, aspire for independence

'Azerbaijan should show its leadership on Syria and Iran' News.Az interviews Adil Baguirov

Widespread Detentions of Ahwazi Activists Mark Anniversary of 2005 Crackdown

Massacre in Khojaly a horror not forgotten by Azerbaijanis Eric J. Lyman - Special to The Washington Times

South Azerbaijan: State ideology and the Turks in Iran Savalan

Free Said Matinpour - Sign the petition

United Nations- OHCHR- 19th regular session of the Human Rights Council-Parallel event "Minority Rights in Iran” Fakhteh Luna Zamani's Speech

Azerbaijan detains suspects in embassy plot aljazeera

Uncovering repression against Iran’s ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities UNPO

Azerbaijan-Iran Tensions Resurrect Long-Term Disputes World Politics Review

The drying of Iran's Lake Urmia and its environmental consequences UNEP

Putin talkes about war and Azerbaijanis in Iran

Iran fumes over flourishing Israel-Azerbaijan ties

Language, Colonization and Decolonization: Examples from Iran Alireza Asgharzadeh

Brutal Massacre of Azerbaijani Civilians in the city of Khojaly

A President, an Interview, and a Tragic Anniversary Thomas de Waal

Azerbaijani media concerned about Iranian threat

ADAPP calls on the Iranian government to allow observance of International Mother Language Day

FORBIDDEN! Bulut Qarachorlu Sehend

Israel's front-line in the South Caucasus Tim Judah

Azerbaijan: Where East Meets West, A Den Of Spies Sheera Frenkel

Azerbaijanis in Iran: Experiencing a Cultural Reawakening Dr. Brenda Shaffer

Azerbaijan Decided: Sabina Babayeva Wins the Milli Seçim Turu

California State Legislature: Reject the racist resolution against Azerbaijanis

The birth of the Azerbaijani Awareness Movement and Turkish Demands in Iran

Senator Dennis Glen Patterson Stands with Imprisoned Azerbaijani Human Rights activist, Calls for His Immediate Release

Will Azerbaijan Change Its Name?

Will Israel Attack Iran?

Israel Senses Bluffing in Iran’s Threats of Retaliation

Obama’s pressure on Iran raises fear of a military clash

The Financial War Against Iran

How the West should answer Iran’s nuclear aggression

Iran Set to Turn Off Oil Supply to Europe

Afghan jailed for 16 years for spying for Iran

Iran Nuclear Program: UN Weapons Experts Going To Tehran

Dutch to ban Muslim face veils next year

Canada Further Expands Sanctions Against Syria

Putin warns ethnic tensions risk tearing Russia apart

Press TV Discredits Itself

France: ‘Armenian genocide’ bill threatens freedom of expression

Freedom of Speech and France's so-called Armenian Genocide Bill

OFCOM Revocation Licence of Press TV

Nude Photo of Iranian Actress Golshifteh Farahani Roils Iran

South Carolina debate: Newt Gingrich fury at media

20 January 1990: Black Face of the Red Terror in Azerbaijan Shamkhal Abilov

Kronos Quartet & the Alim Qasimov Ensemble :: New Music :: Performances :: Cal Performances

Why Russia is planning Iran war games

Alim Gasimov To Perform On U.S. Stage

Santorum Staffer Says Women Shouldn’t Be President Because It’s Against God’s Will

Closure of Hormuz Strait: An Actual Threat or Diplomacy?

US warns Iran to leave Persian Gulf oil route alone, clash shows risk of larger war

Indonesia must protect Shi’a villagers from further attack

North Korea To Punish Mourners Who Were Insincere

On Iran, how far is too far?

Suu Kyi to run for Myanmar parliament

Iranian Azeri football protests raise specter of regional battle James M. Dorsey

Anti-Syrian soccer protests in Iran position Azeris as potential pawn in Syrian strife James M. Dorsey

BLANK: America’s drone in Iran’s neighborhood

Snapshot: 6 Months of Human Rights Violations and Political Arrests in Iran’s Azerbaijan Province

Mr. Gorbachev Tear Down this Border Fence – a Struggle of Azerbaijanis for unification! Eyyub Hajiyev and Vahid Qarabagli

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani could be hanged in Iran guardian.co.uk

Video: Turks and Armenians: What Really Happened on April 24, 1915?

A scene of the movie Bloody Cornfield (Qaçaq Nebi)

Iran wants consulates in cities like Vancouver

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dies 'of heart attack'

A Photo That Encapsulates the Horror of Egypt's Crackdown

Iran: Surge of secret executions for drug offences must end

Iran criticised over capital punishment 'killing spree'

In Memoriam: The Two Autonomous Republics Alireza Asgharzadeh

Addicted to Death: New Amnesty International report on executions for drug offences in Iran

Azerbaijani refugees protest Iran’s policies against Azeris in Iran

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: People’s Choice for TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year

Iran shrugs off US request to return spy drone

Several U.S. embassies could start 2012 with no ambassador

Iran blocks US ‘virtual embassy’ website

Factbox: Cyber warfare expert's timeline for Iran attack

Russia chides Clinton over election criticism

Russia's winds of change

Syria's Bashar al-Assad 'feels no guilt' over crackdown

Turks called ‘separatist’-Hürriyet Daily News

Iranian film director to shoot feature film based on Azerbaijani operetta

Language Rights and Political Theory [Paperback] Will Kymlicka & Alan Patten

The Murder of Rafiq Tagi!-PEN South Azerbaijan (Iran) in Exile

ADAPP condemns the execution of five Azerbaijanis ADAPP


Khadija Ismayilova


I was looking for something in my old emails and found this letter. I wrote this within a discussion in one yahoogroup. I had an argument with one person who questioned legitimacy of the South Azerbaijan Issue – she had questions if this is what they – South Azerbaijanis want? If they are really underrepresented in Iranian society, do they want schools in their language, do we help or hurt by speaking out these issues. etc.

Here is my answer.

I try to be very careful with presenting the idea of South Azerbaijani's national identity, as northern Azerbaijani.

However, my own experience helped me a lot to understand their problems.

I don’t know if you lived in Soviet Azerbaijan. I did. I was a child and when my parents were discussing which school I should go - Russian or Azerbaijani, I asked a question: Why my brother goes to the Russian school. My dad's answer was: "it will be very difficult for him to achieve a success in career if he will have Azerbaijani education".

Apparently my parents did not see any need for career growth of girls in the family so all my sisters and me were given to Azeri school.

However in Azerbaijan SSR we had a certain degree of choice. Do Iranian Azerbaijanis have this?
When I first met a person speaking about Azerbaijani's rights in Iran , my questions were very similar to yours. Do the majority care and why they just can not simply have Persian education? Why those Azerbaijanis represented in higher levels of society are happy with system and these "extremists" are not.


I was in Iran then. It was 1992 and I saw families suffering from identity crisis. Parents were trying to speak to their children in Farsi, because children from Azerbaijani families had difficulties in school. humiliated for their accent, they could not be as successful as their Persian mates in literature, history. All my relatives were "A" students in math and physics.

So I turned back to the discussion in my family and got the whole idea.
You have to switch your identity to become successful in Iran .
That is what those in elite did.

Psychology of elites by Boal (if I am not mistaken) says that elites can not represent the nation because they lost their strings with it. As simple as that. Moreover, their success in career becomes a source for frustration in masses. They stop seeing the root of the problem; they think that they are losers. Namely the assimilated elite with switched identity is a source of frustration, because masses blame themselves in being losers. (We were not able to switch our identity, so our kid will not be lawyer or politician, engineering will be the best scenario)


Again I remember discussion between me and my Russian educated cousins about national identity in Azerbaijan back in 1989. They used to start with epithets like "extremists", "nationalists" etc and end up with concerns, so what they are going to do with their Russian education in Azerbaijani Azerbaijan?

So as I understand, that is what makes elites to be resistant to the idea of preserving identity. That is why some assimilated Azerbaijani Turks in Iran say they don't care. and now we come to your question: whether they could be considered as representatives and why and if the other prospective should not be considered as more or even equally representative.

My understanding of human rights says the language and identity is something that comes with your family, but is a matter of choice. And my question is: whether this choice is given?


I think that the freedom of choice is limited if:
there are more opportunities for dominant language speakers like in Soviet Azerbaijan
and off course there is no freedom of choice if:
* there are no schools in Azerbaijani like in Iran
* people teaching Azerbaijani in their houses, reading Azerbaijani books are jailed (I have examined court documents and can prove this)
* people are sentenced for panturkism (while panturkism as a crime is not defined in the Criminal Code of IRI)
* people get extra prison term for refusing to speak Farsi in the court (while according to law he has to be provided with translator)


How many people do care about identity? Good question.
Let's go back to 1945-46 or as late as May 2006. Even after major crackdown in May 2006 intimidated and harassed Azerbaijanis do not give up.
February 22 after the large wave of arrests in all Azerbaijani cities, there was a rally in Tebriz and guess what they were demanding? Schools in Azerbaijani. The main slogan was:
"Turk dilinde medrese olmalidir her kese".
I have seen those videos and let me say numbers are impressive and I have no doubt saying that these people have more rights to be considered as representatives of nation than handful of those who do not even call themselves Azerbaijanis (turks)and represent Iranian elite with its fascism-smelling Aryanism.

Pan Iranian nationalism has become a state policy starting from 1925 when Pehlevis put the end to a thousand years long Turkic dominance in this area.


Imposing an identity is not an easy job, and Iranian government deals with this uneasy task.
All Azerbaijani classes in schools, opened after Shariatmadari revolt, were closed.
Journalist from Iran - Human Rights Watch award winner Insafali Hedayat says there are 35 official and twice more unofficial prisons in Azerbaijani cities of Iran.

Hedayat is federalist. His career language is Farsi. He says unofficial prisons are for politicals, most of whom are identity demanders.

There are some newspapers and even TV and radios, opponents argue. Yes there are. Because you can not impose your Aryanism and anti-Azerbaijani ideas in the language that MAJORITY in Azerbaijani regions (especially in rural areas) do not speak.

I was involved in one frequency mapping project and was a witness of the fact that all transmitters of Sahar TV with its anti-Azerbaijani propaganda are tuned for airing in Azerbaijan Republic . And off course, the criticism of Azerbaijani government is aimed at convincing Azerbaijanis that independence did not serve to the best of Northern brothers.
Newspapers in Azerbaijani are using words "Northern Iran " when they write about Azerbaijan Republic .


One of my Persian colleagues was unhappy with "panturkists/nationalists" in Iranian Azerbaijan. "I went to Tabriz and they did not speak to me in Persian" he said. "If they will have schools in Azerbaijani they will not study Persian at all", he said.
Poor guy, he could not buy food in Tabriz market.

Well, I felt sorry for the guy. But Tabriz merchants did to him what the governments of Iran have been doing to them since 1925. The government has deprived them of choice, so merchants in Tabriz did to the guy.


But what if they would have choice?
may be as in my family, they would have girls studying in Azerbaijani and boys in Persian?
May be they would have chosen to study in any other language: Kurdish, English, Russian, French, Amharic?

But that would be their choice and I strongly believe that loyalty to any language is strictly directed by market rules. If there is more information available in Persian, I am sure, that Azerbaijanis will learn Persian, may be not as the first language but the second one. That is what the freedom of choice is about. And those who are under arrest in Iran or harassed for their cultural rights activity want this freedom of choice.


Speaking of "who advocates for what":

First of all I did not understand the confusion of terms Azeri - Northern Azeri and South Azeri in your message. To my opinion no matter North or South, Azeris are Azeris and they do care about each other's problems. North Azerbaijanis care about cultural rights of Southern Azerbaijanis and Southern Azerbaijanis care about Karabakh.)

I am in contact with Iranian Azerbaijanis every day because I write about their rights. I do it because I do care. I do it because I understand. I do it because I am journalist and they are part of my audience.
I do care not only because I am Azerbaijani. When I speak about it to my American colleagues, they care too.


I was lucky to open my eyes to the problem and look for where the roots are. I was able to understand, because I am one of them. I was able to understand because we in the North have passed through this.

I was lucky to meet dozens of people who were able to explain me their personal tragedies, laying out the overall picture of cultural oppression.

I am not one of those who like to speak about victimization of nation. I concentrate on human stories, but there are too many of them.

I would not call it cultural genocide because this word irritates me. But I am definitely able to see the trends and this looks like chauvinism big time.

Sorry for this long answer, just thought that I need to write it.