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

How a provincial club became a focus for dissent in Iran


It is a swift six hour drive along the modern, three-lane freeway from Tabriz to Tehran. Descending from the historic city, the driver traces the ridge of the Sahand volcano, where the tower blocks of Tabriz give way first to sparse, sandy villages, then to vast, empty dust plains.

The journey skirts the eastern edge of the Angoran protected area, where wild boar and wolves roam freely in the grey, scudded hills. On arrival at Qazvin, an ancient city once razed by Genghis Khan, the traveller joins Freeway One for the final ninety minute run into the capital.

Such is the journey regularly made by supporters of Tractor Sazi, pre-eminent club of northern Iran, whenever they meet their major rivals in Tehran. Esteghlal, Persepolis, Naft Tehran; all of these stand between Tractor Sazi and national dominance, as well as the main power in the south, Sepahan of Isfahan.

This season, albeit early on, Tractor sit top of the league. Their strong, physical approach is proving effective, especially at set pieces; centre back Seyed Hosseini is their top scorer, well ahead of former Hamilton Academicals striker Flavio Paixao.

In early September, Tractor arrived in Tehran, with several thousand supporters in tow, for a top of the table clash with second placed Esteghlal. But as ever with Tractor Sazi, this was about much more than football.

Al-Qurtlar, the Red Wolves, are practically a national side. Based in Tabriz, they are a focal point and flag bearer for the fiercely strong regional identity in north-western Iran. Tabriz is the capital of East Azerbaijan province, but the club draws equal support from West Azerbaijan, across the salty waters of Lake Urmia.

This is a region consistently threatened by edicts and prejudice from far-off Tehran. The local language, an impenetrable hybrid of Azeri and Turkish, is not taught in schools by national order, and is in danger of extinction. Ethnic Azerbaijanis claim that discrimination against them is rife within Iranian society. Where else, where better, can these grievances be aired than in the vast, 71,000 capacity Yadegar-e-Emam Stadium, home of Tractor Sazi?

“Yurdumuzun iftikharisan, Azhar elinin qahramanisan.” In their forbidden native language, the Tractor fans chant these most appropriate words: “Tractor, you are the pride of our land, the hero of the Azerbaijani people”.

All too frequently, such chanting is deemed seditious, and disrupted by Tehran-backed security forces. Disorder is frequent, not helped by a widespread belief that refereeing at best shows bias, at worst is outright corrupt, in favour of teams from Tehran.

The centre of Tabriz itself is frequently the scene of wild celebration in victory, violence in defeat. The Grand Bazaar, a UNESCO World Heritage site, reached its height of prosperity around the time when England was ruled by Richard the Lionheart; but it still rouses itself to raucous jubilation when Tractor defeat a team from the south.

Whenever Tractor play a match in Tehran, there is an obvious potential for chaos. The visitors are inevitably well supported, both by travellers from the north and from ethnic Azerbaijanis living in the capital. As match day against Esteghlal dawned, streets around the Azadi stadium were filled with supporters in the colours of the Red Wolves; red t-shirts, scarves, jackets, caps, even one fan in an improbably vast scarlet sombrero.

On this occasion, as well as their usual grievances with Tehran, the Azerbaijani supporters had one very firm objective in mind: they planned to protest against the drying up of Urmia Lake. Lake Urmia is central both to the region’s identity and economy, yet is has been progressively drying up for a number of years. Environmentalists both inside and outside Iran claim that this is largely due to the aggressive agricultural policies of the government in Tehran, including a positive mania for the construction of dams.

A month before the match in Tehran, the New York Times likened the Urmia situation to the destruction by neglect of the Aral Sea, in the latter years of the Soviet Union. The issue has become a cause celebre for the Iranian opposition under Mir Hussein Moussavi. A senior Moussavi advisor, Amir Arjomand, accused the government of being “indifferent towards the real challenges facing the people [of Tabriz] and out of touch with…this area.”

Authorities in Tehran were expecting the protest; disorder having already occurred at several recent Tractor matches in Tabriz; a week earlier Euronews reported the arrest of “two dozen ethnic Azerbaijanis” after demonstrations in the city.

The policing response was typically heavy-handed. Tractor fans arriving at the stadium were stopped, searched, and many had their tickets torn up by masked police. The Azerbaijanis, rumoured to be up to ten thousand in number, stormed the ticket barriers.

Inside the ground, Paixao scored a late winner for Tractor, and chaos erupted. “Long live Azerbaijan” was the sole chant to be heard, as police in full riot gear attacked the jubilant away support.

Away from the stadium, further clashes were reported near the grave of Sattar Khan, the Azeri hero of the 1911 Constitutional Revolution. Tractor fans gathered here to continue their protest, but police surrounded they graveyard, arresting dozens in the ensuing clashes.

Among those arrested was the noted Azeri leader, Abbas Lisani. Lisani became a key figure in the movement for Azeri rights after leading a protest movement in his home town of Ardabil, East Azerbaijan. He was arrested, imprisoned, and, under threat of torture, saw his cause adopted by Amnesty International. Treated appallingly in prison, he undertook a hunger strike, and was released after almost three years under the admonishment to never again participate in pro-Azeri protests.

Lisani, a Tractor Sarzi fan, was never likely to obey such a sanction for long. In Tabriz, the military were called in to quell disorder arising from Tractor’s victory. Police proved unable to contain demonstrations which were a heady, if bizarre mix of football celebration, political protest and environmental lobbying.

In this part of north western Iran, an area far away from the international spotlight, identity, politics and pride will always be intertwined with the fortunes of the local football team. For, whilst ethnic Azeri leaders may never be able to challenge the authority of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or President Ahmedinajad, Tractor Sarzi can still score late winners in Tehran.

By Tom Clover