Arif Keskin

Iran is plunged into a deep and serious crisis. Analysing the crisis in Iran, resting simply upon the conflicts between Iran and USA, cleavage of the society into reformists and conservatives and the secularization crisis in the Islamic republic cannot expound the backbone of the crisis with all its might. The crisis in Iran is occurring outside these events and processes. The notion of "Iranian identity" in the present Iran is struck by serious crisis.
The Iranian identity is in very deep crisis. It is to be noted that this condition steps forth some hints. The collapse of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not only an upheaval of a regime and the likelihood that it will clear the way for other different changes. There may be possible another political form in Iran represented by other ethnic groups instead of Persian oriented identity. In such a condition, the Azerbaijanis having a majority and political sensitiveness among the Iranian people are forming as an important political factor.

Despite Iran is a geographical and political region resided by various ethnic groups had the same meaning with the Persian identity. Within all history, the Persian was a language through which different cultural products have been created. This condition has identified the concept of "Iranian culture" with "Persian culture". As the Persian was a language by which all cultural products were created, it became at the same time the language of bureaucracy, politics and the faith. The Shiite faith implements about all ceremonies in the Persian and therefore it is recognized as the Persian faith. The historical dominance of the Persian language in the Iranian territory has given place to the preference of the Persian identity too, as a result of which, Iran owned a Persian centralized identity.

After 1924, the country-state project in Iran has been theoretically shaped as an Iranian identity where main emphasis has been placed on the Persian compund. The concept of the Iranian identity with Persian emphasis pertaining to the Pahlavi dynasty (1924-1979) was a country-state project aiming at the ancient Iran, disregarding the Shiite faith. By falling down of Pahlavi dynasty, disregarding Islam and resting upon the Persian nationalism, the Persian nationalism with its west-oriented policy aiming at the ancient Iran but passing over the Islam was fallen down to the ground as well. The Islamic republic was established as a product of the Revolution of 1979. The Islamic republic fought against the west-oriented Persian nationalism aiming at the ancient Iran and moving away the Islam. The Islamic Republic has rejected the Persian centralized Iranian identity, which owned this concept and revealed the new Persian centralized Iranian identity aiming at the history of Islam, disregarding the west and basing on the Shiite faith. So, the Islamic Republic has come up with a new Persian centralized Iranian identity based on the Shiite faith.

Besides the secularisation crisis, the Persian centralized Iranian identity coinciding one with another has suffered a repulse and was a failure in the ideological and political platform. With the process of crisis suffered by the Persian centralized Iranian identity, other ethnic identities in Iran are politicized. As a result of passing of the political movement’s energy from centre towards provinces, the centrifugal cases gained strength. This state has to mean the reduction of the changing abilities of the Iran oriented political directions. That is to say that the direction of political change in Iran makes a forecast for change of the Persian centralized Iranian identity.

The main point of the political development in Iran affords ground for the fact that the centrifugal cases are being main and decisive events. The Islamic republic presents itself as a military, administrative and political bearing of the Persian centralized Iranian identity. Falling down of the Islamic Republic will clear the way for serious change of the Iranian identity. Despite Iran will not be disintegrated by falling down of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the expectation for appearance of a new regime paying special attention mainly to the ethnic identities is considerable.


By termination of the "gold war" in 1991, the heart of the world system is changed. As a result of the termination of the bipolar world, the communism was a failure and by this breaks clearing way to the hegemony of USA, the neoliberalism has gained strength. By heaving of the neoliberalism in the world system, the globalization has been formed as a political event with multi-layered political, social and cultural results. The new global system has been converted into unsystematic, contradicted and synthetic structure. Besides suspicion aroused by this unsystematic and synthetic system to some identities, it has brought numerous new identities to the political arena. The globalization process is the main reason for suspicion aroused towards the Persian centralized Iranian identity in Iran.

The falling down of an Islam / Shiite oriented totalitarian system after 1979 has dealt serious blow to the Persian oriented Iranian identity concept. The Islamic Republic of Iran strived for substantiating its political behaviours considerably based on Shiite / Islamic arguments delivered a hard blow to the political Islam in Iran. The secular crisis of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a political regime caused the crisis of Shiite / Islam. The political failure of Shiite / Islam in Iran exposed the Iranian identity to danger too, as, the concept of Shiite / Islam served as a ground for the Iranian identity. By failure of Shiite – Islam concept, the principles for the Iranian identity, the Iranian identity exposed to the failure.

The totalitarian content of Iranian political system has given rise to a contradicted result for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Because of totalitarian identity, it strived for politicizing the people aimed at keeping the society in the state of political mobilization. The people politicized both with the effect of the 1979 Revolution and the totalitarian essence of the Islamic Republic didn’t find itself within the political system. The state was incapable to meet the needs of the people mobilized for its political targets. It has displayed a form referring to and taking into account mainly violence and pressure in various fields under the slogan "New Man, New Society". And this situation has opened the way for new and severe crisis of the political system. The people were debarred from all possibilities and the political regime grasped by some persons. This state entailed the growth of the contradicted interval between the Islamic republic and the Iranian people.

After 1979, Iran has been faced with serious growth of population and within 24 years the population was increased in 2 times. Iran, exposed to the serious growth of population was incapable in the economic field too. Due to this factor, the people became needy and this caused the rise of unemployment among the young people.

The Iranian society is exposed to many-branched crisis embracing a large environment. All these crises have given rise to all suspicion both for the Iranian and Persian identity. As, all ideologies and institutions guiding by the Persian identity were failure. As a logical result of this process the Islamic groups lost confidence and as extension of another process the leftists lost their strength of mobilization.


The failure of the Persian oriented Iranian identity declares itself mostly in the Southern Azerbaijan. Turkic people, especially the Azerbaijani Turks have played considerable part in the history of Iran. Before 1924 Iran was governed by the Turkish dynasties within a long term. Despite the Turks lost the power after 1925 in Iran, they have always preserved their decisive role, as they played a leading part in the political movements thanks to the fact of majority of Azerbaijanis among the Iranian people and their sensibleness towards any political changes. The Azerbaijani Turks have played leading role both in 1906 Constitutional Revolution and in 1979 Islamic Revolution. The expression spread out in Iran that "all changes depend on Tabriz" reflects comprehensively this historical truth.

Despite Turks were in power in Iran within a long term, they didn’t establish any state grounding on the Turkish identity and indifferent to other ethnic groups. The Turkish dynasties being in power in Iran within a long term paid always special attention to the Persian language and played meaningful part in its development and progress. The Persian nationalists grasping the power after 1924 were very different. They have started to many-branched assimilation process aiming at eliminating the Turkic identity. Despite the respectful behaviour of the Turkic dynasties, the anti-Turk policy conducted by Persian after grasping the political power built the foundation of the Azerbaijani-Turk identity on a political level.

The below specified global, social, political, cultural and regional conditions are worked out for politicizing of the Azerbaijani-Turkic identity:

- The failure of the political Islam (Shiite) being a determining factor for the totalitarian system from 1979 up to present and a basis for the Iran territorial integrity;

- The political incapacity of the state and getting needy of the people;

- Politicizing of the people under the influence of the revolution;

- Falling down of ideologies able to mobilize the people in Iran (communism, political Islam);

- Falling down of communism in the international scale, building of independent Turkic republics in Middle Asia and Caucasus and the Turkic movement growing in these regions after 1988;

- Building of Northern Azerbaijan Republic, problem of Garabagh and the factor of Abulfaz Elchibay;

- Falling down of communism and strengthening of neolibearlism in the international scale;

- Political stagnation caused by the totalitarian regime and narrowness of the political system;

- Overwhelming of the opposition by the state and preventing I to operate.

Despite the world doesn’t care to any political event other than the confrontation between reformers and conservatives, the lower stratum of Iranian people is seriously changing. About all factors protecting Iranian identity have been exposed to serious and severe danger. This situation has been ended by suspicion aroused towards the Iranian identity. The growth and intensification of the national movement in the Southern Azerbaijan is token thereof. The dynamics of the political processes in the lower layer have got over the confrontation among reformers and conformists and directed towards other way. So, the national concept governing today in the Southern Azerbaijan is main and conceptual meaning. The dynamics of the requirements relating to the change is only in the national movement of Southern Azerbaijan. The Southern Azerbaijan national movement consists of the main line of the political processes’ dynamics in Southern Azerbaijan. The national movement in Southern Azerbaijan is without any alternative.

Source: http://stratejikbaxis.com