Azerbaijanis in Iran

Whenever we write or speak about "South Azerbaijan" and liberation movementof Azerbaijanis in Iran we miss very important conceptual details. Fist ofall, there is no administration unit named "South Azerbaijan". There are twoprovinces in Iran containing name "Azerbaijan". Has there ever been suchstate, officially recognised by international law (the only criteria ofmodern statehood)? What is meant by that?

Secondly, liberation movement of Azerbaijanis in Iran is separatistmovement, it targets dividing of Iran. I do realise that Azerbaijanis inIran have always been discriminated and deprived of basic rights. But tospeak about rights, to demand rights and higher involvement indecision-making is different from struggle for "liberation", that is,separation.

Idea that each state should be composed of one nation have lived its life.Today there are almost no mono-national states in the world, most of thestates are multinational, and true democracy requires equal politica! ! !and social rights for all ethnic groups inhabiting some particular state.Moreover, ethnic groups are not any more concentrated in particulargeographical areas, they live side by side. Not only Azerbaijanis, butKurds, Turkmens live in Iran, and none of them have any particular socialand particular rights. What if all of them would initiate "liberation"movement? Why then Iranian authorities should tolerate something thatchallenges unity of their statehood? And is not it this very fear of beingdivided that makes Iranian authorities so anti-Azerbaijani? Do we assumethat any discriminated ethnic groups is rights in demanding separation?

Azerbaijanis should also remember that it was particularly this pretextunder which Karabagh war was initiated (to "save discriminated Armeniansfrom Azeri dominance"). "But Armenians in Karabagh were not discriminated"-you may say. But this is not what I question here. I just want to point outto the fact that in today's world problems related to the ethnic minoritiesrights (remembering that Azerbaijanis in Iran are its largest ethnicminorities, together with others)(app 25 million added by BT) can be solvedthough democratic or simply political means and do not require territorialseparations and reorganisation of the whole state system (especially whenits only idea just worsened already tense situation).

That is why I think especially Azerbaijanis should be very careful inreferring to "South Azerbaijan" and "liberation movement of Azerbaijanis inIran". Emotions never solve problems.

I do not defend Iran. I am not Iranian. Just in opposite, I am Azerbaijani,and I think such approach is dangerous also from the point of view ofAzerbaijan. Because Azerbaijan is also multinational state. I do not haveenough knowledge about minority rights in Azerbaijan (I would be grateful ifanybody would inform me), but Azerbaijan had already troubles with"liberation" movements of its ethnic minorities. While, true democracies (ifdemocracy is still considered as an ideal) foresees incorporation ofminorities into decision making through political means (ensuring theirpolitical rights and social freedoms, for example). And I think this is forwhat Azerbaijanis in Iran should be supported.

No matter whether we like regime in Iran or not, it is our neighbour. Andespecially its position in Karabagh War showed that it does matter forAzerbaijan. What we have done to ensure friendly relations with thiscountry, even when we see that these relations have direct implications forAzeris living in Iran? Have we ever thought about consequences of ourinspirations?