Azerbaijan Speaks

Esteemed People of Iran,
Endeared Fellow Countrymen:

Ever since the dawn of the Great Constitutional Revolution the justice and freedom loving forces of our country have been trying to restore freedom and justice in our society, and provide each and every citizen access to all individual and collective human rights.

Our nation has been witnessing the tyranny of many autocratic shahs, who did not refrain from any brutality for maintaining their rule. However, human experience provides abundant evidence, that brutality will not last.

The anti-monarchy revolution of 1979 was an example of such an experience for erecting the republican government and democracy.

Although a quarter of a century has passed since that glorious historical event, a fundamental question is whether the national desires of the Iranians have been actually fulfilled.

An anlysis of the mistakes and the weaknesses of the past will no doubt provide a guiding light for the new democratic movement of the Iranian People.

Lack of a precise definition of democracy and the ways of demanding it as a social institution, failure to take the objective pre-requisites of democracy in forming mass-scale social, economical, cultural, ethnic and religious attitudes into consideration seem to have been the main causes of our failure in erecting a democratic government.

Under these circumstances, providing a clear view of the necessities of democracy and the attributes of the republican government can help the democratic and freedom loving forces develop a better mutual understanding, and guarantee the unification and collaboration of these forces to achieve the government structure desired by the majorities.

We, the undersigned, representing the writers, poets, academics and students, journalists and political activists of Azarbaijan, supported by other fellow countrymen in building a comprehensive front for demand of democracy express our opinions on the basic outlines of the freedom loving movement of the Iranian nation as follow:

1 – The first and foremost condition for realising the national desires is transition to a democratic system based on the recognised principles of the republican government, in the light of which the individual and social rights depicted in the International Declaration of Human Rights and its attachments can be guaranteed.

2 – In respect of the geographical vastness and ethnic multiplicity and historical backgrounds of our country, a transition to the federal system is inevitable. In the recent century the very existence of such well-known institutions as The Provincial Councils and The Islamic Councils in the constitutions of the mashruta revolution and that of the Islamic Republic indicate the inevitability of the federal system in Iran, which has been further illustrated by the idea of deviding the country into 10 provincial sectors in the last 2 years.

3 – A definition of the cultural, economical and political rights of the citizens and their equality in all respects within the framework of law is a guarantee of the healthy structure and surviving capacity of the republic. Thus, assignment to a certain ideology, thought, race and religion should not lead to any superiority or legitimation. We believe that being elected by the majority through a democratic election process is the sole mandate for legitimation.

4 – In respect of the fact that Iran is a country with multiple nationalities, and various recognised, mass-scale and independent languages such as Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen and Baloutchi have been in use in its vast geography throughout the history, quick acceptance and transparent fulfillment of the obvious principle of education in the mother language in all levels of education is an essential fact.

5 – In respect of the fact that all languages and dialects and also all cultural heritage belong to the spiritual wealth of the nation, creating appropriate conditions for survival and flourishing of all active languages and dialects of Iran, and protecting and restoring all the cultural memorials without discrimination is our demand.

6 – As homage to the human rank of women in the society comprising half of the population, adherence to The Anti-discrimination Convention and its attachments is essential.

7 – Steady scientific, cultural, economical and social development throughout the country is inevitable in order to safeguard democracy and guarantee its continuation. We demand extention of security, education, public media, health, employment, housing and other means of welfare to each and every individual on an equal basis.

8 – Environment and ecological multiplicity as well as genetical resources of Iran belong to our most valuble national assets. We demand that extensive damage brought upon the environment in the last decades be compensated and these valuble resources be safeguarded.

9 – We believe that, in the foreign policy defending the national interests and maintaining harmonical relationship in the internationa arena in the interest of the friendship of nations and in the interest of developing the world peace and security are essential for our security, progress and national tranquility.

We believe in formulating the demands through peaceful ways. We consider that various methods of civil resistance such as sit-ins, gatherings, parades, strikes and request of plebiscite are the essential rights of the nation for achieving its demands.

It is our conviction that eliminating or neglecting any of the afore mentioned cases leads to undermining the confidence of wide masses of people, and possibly to their confrontation and finally to the wasting of resources and postponing the social development of the country.

We hope that all forces honestly endeavouring to play a role in the development and progress of the society will pave the way for the movement of the Iranian people through a realistic analysis of the characteristics and difficulties of the Iranian society and of the course of developments in the region, and finally through submitting solutions for peaceful realisation of the objectives described above.

May we succeed in laying the foundations of a progressive and graceful country, with free and equal citizens, by holding a clear view of democracy and by developing a sound understanding of the difficulties of our society.

June 28, 2003