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South Azerbaijan  and other Ethnic Minorities Face Persecution, Sectarian Discrimination by Iranian Regime

Tabriz, South Azerbaijan, Oct 16

The non-Persian population like South Azerbaijan people in Iran geography has faced many problems that were accumulated even before the establishment of the Iran Islamic republic. The demands of the oppressed minorities surfaced immediately after the overthrow of the Shah regime in 1979.

unfortunately, South Azerbaijan people witnessed repression against national demands in the period of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi also, today, the current system continues with the same approach, treating the minorities with discrimination and humiliation.

Iran geography comprises six main ethnic groups:  South Azerbaijan Turks, Persians, Kurds, Arabs, Baloch, and Turkmens. They are spread throughout Iran, each with its own language, culture, customs, and traditions.

ِDespite  the fact that the majority of people who lives in Iran are Turk, however, they faced with major discrimination and racism by the regime.

It should be mention that Salehi the former foreign minister of IRAN  stated during a trip to Turkey on Jan 19, 2012, 40 percent of the people speak Turkish in Iran. According to Salehi, language has had created a strong bond between the nations. There are no official statistics about the numbers of non-Persian people. Tehran authorities consider national affiliations as a threat to the country’s unity. Therefore, various governments have adopted security measures to counter national activities and worked to obliterate ethnic minorities by changing the demographic fabric of their regions.

Early in the era of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the son of the founder of the Pahlavi state, Iran experienced a series of unrest in the non-Persian provinces after the new shah followed his father’s footsteps in establishing a national rule that did not recognize the rights of non-Persian minorities, under the pretext of strengthening unity in the country.

Today the regime authorities do not meet the basic demands of non-Persian peoples especially South Azerbaijan people, and government continues to make mere promises.

With the arrival of President Hassan Rouhani to power, he appointed an assistant in the affairs of nationalities and minorities, former intelligence minister Ali Younesi. But Younesi does not seem interested in resolving the issues of the non-Persian communities, as he has come from the same security services that have long confronted national activists with executions, imprisonment, exile, and assassinations.

ُSouth Azerbaijani Turks, who have been the pioneers of democracy and modernity in Iran, have now become second-rate citizens. They are deprived of their basic rights, including mother tongue education.

The article  15, 19, 22 and 23 of the Constitution do not apply in terms of the equality of all people in mother tongue education, cultural and social equality, without regard to the individual’s attitude and attachment.

The right to peaceful assembly, even for the protection of the environment, is also subject to mass arrests in South Azerbaijan regions.” Thanks to the regime, Urmia lake is fully dried up.

South Azerbaijan people are being arrested to defend Urmia Lake crises, and now several people who want to prevent the destruction of Lake Urmia have been in prison.

South Azerbaijani people suffered a series of political and social humiliations by the regime. Racist slogans against South Azerbaijani Turks can be seen in regime media and stadiums. Unfortunately, there is no response to any form of protest against racism and discrimination.

On 16th of may 2016, 17 South Azerbaijani workers were fired and sentenced to 100 lashes and a total of 37 months in prison due to a quiet gathering for unpaid salaries.

South Azerbaijan non-governmental organizations and even student organizations do not have the right to have Identity activism.

The discriminatory economy of the general budget and the lack of an economic program for South  Azerbaijan caused that South Azerbaijan getting poorer day by day. It is detectable that big and well-known factories are closed in South Azerbaijan.

Workers are unemployed, among whom women are fired in the first place. South Azerbaijani women are deprived of legal form to defend their rights.

 Iran regime should end discrimination and racism attitude against Shout Azerbaijani people;


-The Islamic Republic of Iran is compelled to observe international conventions on education in mother language and cultural activity.

-End all ethnic, cultural, economic and political discrimination against South Azerbaijanis.

-All Sout Azerbaijan political prisoners, cultural activists, and environmentalists should be released.

-End the racist propaganda in the education system and regime media.

-End the destruction of the environment in Azerbaijan, including the destruction of Lake Urmia.

-End discrimination against South Azerbaijani student admission to universities and rejection of young people due to national and religious affiliation.

-Respect the legal desires of the toilers and recognize non-governmental organizations.

-Stop South Azerbaijani Students pursuing and arresting students who are the member of student organizations.


Southern Azerbaijan National Liberation Front (GAMAC)
16 Oct 2018



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