Sunday, February 26, 2006
Memorial Ceremony for Khojaly Genocide in Tabriz, Qum and Ahar
An elaborate ceremony has been held in Tabriz, Qum and Ahar to mark the 14th anniversary of Khojaly genocide.
In Tabriz, the ceremony started at 4:30pm on Sunday 27, 2006 in front of the Armenian Prelacy. Some 500 people took part in this ceremony. Police tried to prevent it but they were unsuccessful. At 5:30pm, police disrupted the affair firing tear gas and jabbing their nightsticks, and arrested some of the participants.

In Qum, police arrested some of the political activists of South Azerbaijan in the memorial ceremony for Khojaly Genocide, which held on Saturday 26, 2006. Later, police released them except Azimi Gadim and Zogi.
In Ahar, Javad Hasanpour and Taher Bayani, two activists of South Azerbaijan National Movement, were arrested yesterday, Saturday 26, 2006 for distributing flyers about Khojaly genocide. The arrest was carried out at the behest of the Ministry of Information, which coordinates intelligence and security affairs in Iran.


On Tuesday, February 23, 2006, in the evening, some South Azerbaijanis students gathered in front of the east door of Amirkabir University of Technology as an expression of protest on the cancellation of the Mother Tongue Congress. The authorities of the university had firstly authorized the congress but later, they cancelled it without any announced excuse.
Condemning the cancellation of the congress, Majid Hosseini, a member of the Central Assembly of the Azerbaijanis Students Association, expressed that the authorities should know that the time of Reza Khan [a former dictator] has been passed.
The attendances raised slogans as
“First Mother Tongue, Then Nuclear Energy”
“Shame on Fascism”
“Long Live Azerbaijan”

The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura
We are writing to bring your attention to the systematic suppression of the Azeri-Turkish language and the imposition of Persian by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). In most societies, the written and the spoken languages are the same. In such a society International Mother Language Day, February 21st, is a day of celebration and jubilation, but not for 35 million Azerbaijanis in Iran. Since 1925, Iranian governments have banned the usage of Azeri-Turkish in the educational system. Millions of children born to Azerbaijani parents do not even have one school in which they can study in their language. In its place, Farsi is forced on them as the only legitimate Iranian language. Currently in Iran, aside from three Azerbaijani provinces, Azeri-Turkish is spoken in the provinces and regions of Zanjan, Hamadan, Arak, Saveh and Northern Khorasan. Azeri-Turkish is also spoken by the Qashqayi Turks as well as various other Turkish-speaking peoples concentrated in the province of Fars and in central Iran. All of these people live under the Iranian administration with not a single course in their language available to them during their education from primary school to high school. Every year, the people of Azerbaijan have tried to obtain permission to celebrate February 21st as International Mother Language Day, but are constantly denied assembling permits. The IRI regime imprisons cultural-linguistic activists who are trying to raise awareness about one of our most basic and fundamental rights as a people. Journalists or writers who publish in Azerbaijani Turkish become victims of the secret police, Etelaat. They are constantly harassed and tagged with labels such as “Pan-Turks” or “Separatists”. Culture is a product of the history of a people and language is integral to culture. Subsequently, culture carries the entire body of values by which a nation comes to perceive themselves and their place in the world. By prohibiting individuals to study in their mother tongue, not only is language destroyed, but also the culture, history, heritage and economy of that people. We urge you to place a particular importance on this issue which affects more than 30 million people in Iran. On behalf of Azeris in Iran, we ask that you take action to protect our mother tongue.
The Undersigned
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Document 1: "Developments in the Azerbaijan Situation," Central Intelligence Group, Office of Reports and Estimates (ORE 19), secret, June 4, 1947
One of the first crises of the post-World War II period between the United States and Soviet Union centered around the northern Iranian province of Azerbaijan. Moscow’s refusal to withdraw its military forces after the war and its clandestine support for autonomy movements in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan rang alarm bells in Tehran as well as in Washington and London. By the end of 1946, however, the crisis had been resolved. Nonetheless, because of Azerbaijan’s (and Iran’s) strategic significance as a source of oil and a gateway to the Persian Gulf and other important regions, American officials still worried about the long-term fate of the province. This analysis, by the Central Intelligence Group (a precursor to the CIA), concludes firmly that the USSR "will not abandon its ultimate objective of controlling Azerbaijan, and eventually all of Iran."
This general feeling was already widely shared by U.S. officials, including President Truman, and had been an important ingredient in the development of the Truman Doctrine and the broader containment policy that prevailed throughout the coming Cold War. Yet, while Moscow’s aims were clearly a cause of concern for Iran and the West, documents beginning to surface from Soviet-era archives are showing that Stalin’s goals at the time were most likely limited primarily to getting a favorable oil concession from Iran, which would not only mitigate the USSR’s security and economic concerns but also satisfy the Soviet leader’s desire to be treated on a par with the other great powers, Britain and the United States.