Complaint Letter...

Professor Reza Baraheni

I think that on the ethnic groups of Iran in your map of provincial divisions for Iran you have made serious mistakes, BBC could have easily avoided by going to Ethnologue.com.

The entire Western Azerbaijan has been called the land of the Kurdish people. The Eastern Azerbaijan has been cut of from the Caspian Sea, while the people of Astara to hundreds of miles to the south of that city are Azari - speaking people, and according to the statistics given by the Islamic Republic of Iran, more than half the populations of Tehran are Azari- speaking people.


On the exact percentage of the population of Iran’s ethnic groups also you can see the above source: Ethnologue.com. Any change in these and other facts by the BBC is totally irresponsible, and should be corrected as soon as possible. These and similar mistakes, which can be documented in many other cases by referring to the right sources, will give a wrong impression to the ethnic groups concerned, because they might in future refer to the BBC rather than going to scholarly texts available, and these mistakes might create all kinds of ethnic hostilities in the area, particularly inside Iran.

I have been interviewed many times by the BBC on its Persian and English programs dealing with the politics, literature and the languages of Iran and other places. I have been one of the sources mentioned in the BBC’s book on the Iranian revolution. The BBC should take immediate action to make the above suggested corrections. I will be more than happy to discuss this with anyone on your staff. Although I have been an advocate for equality for all ethnic groups of Iran, I have also been an advocate for the countries borders to stay as they are. We cannot afford an internal battle among the ethnic groups in Iran, as well as a battle outside our borders with our neighbors. Immediate responses, as well as immediate action to correct the wrong information on the site are required.

- Professor Reza Baraheni, Iranian (now Canadian too ) poet, novelist and critic; Professor of Comparative Literature, the University of Toronto; and former President of PEN Canada.