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Tuesday, August 30, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

August demonstrations in Azerbaijan take aim at Iran's ecological mismanagement

By Sheda Vasseghi

This past weekend the cities of Urmia and Tabriz in Azerbaijan, Iran, witnessed clashes between civilians and Islamic Republic thugs trained in crushing demonstrations.


Dozens were arrested or severely injured, according to reports from the region. While the focus of the uprisings has been regime’s incompetency in failing to prevent the drying out of the beautiful and historical Lake Urmia (previously called Rezaiyeh), in reality, these demonstrations are an extension of the ongoing two-year-old national uprising.

Demonstrations have been continuous and frequent since the national awakening in June 2009 leading to the majority of Iranians to denounce the non-Iranian theocratic regime in Teheran.

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Due to state suppression of media coverage from Iran, the outside world has been denied continuous coverage of the simmering revolution.

Azerbaijan, an important and historic province in Iran, has been the home of Iranian warriors and protectors of Iranian culture and heritage for over 2,500 years.

Originally, home of the Medes, and as its Old Persian name suggests “protected by fire,” Azerbaijan has given Iran some of its most unforgettable nationalist freedom fighters from Babak Khorramdin to Satar Khan. It is home to one of the oldest Zoroastrian sanctuaries, Azar Goshnasp Fire Temple.

In the antiquities, important dynasties (especially Parthians) ruled over the region and raised the best cavalrymen from the area to help the central government against anarchy or invasion. Throughout Iran’s history, the crown prince was often the governor of the region given its importance to the nation as a whole. In the early 20th century, Azerbaijan was one of the primary areas fighting off multiple invasions and occupations by the Ottomans and European forces.

Azerbaijan played a key role in making the 1906 Iranian Constitution a reality. This revolt for a constitutional monarchy was first of its kind in Asia. Because of its location, Azerbaijan has also been the home of many Iranian intellectuals such as secular reformist Ahmad Kasravi and poet Shahriar.

Iran is known as the Land of the Sun. Its essence is the forever burning fire symbolic of cleansing. When Azerbaijan or the place that is “protected by fire” rise up, it is foreshadowing what is to come. Since 2009, Iranian nationalism with a clear antipathy to Islamism has been in full force both in the country and abroad. Social media is keeping Iranians connected and well-informed. Tech savvy Iranians have overcome many communication limitations and boundaries.

An unhappy majority in Iran living under extreme economic duress and maximum social pressures is ready to explode. Iranians tend to do things their own way in their own time, and comparing them to other Middle Eastern nations is somewhat superficial.

The regime’s inefficiency, incompetency and lack of expertise in managing a country extends to the nation’s ecology. Lake Urmia, the world’s third largest salt water lake, is now 60 percent dried up due to construction of a dam that decreased the annual amount of water the lake receives. This ecological imbalance gravely affects the residents as well as the wildlife.

Iranians are said to be actively supporting fellow countrymen in Azerbaijan in their broader endeavor. A regime that is illegitimate and ineffective will not survive the wrath of the people. Note to Iranian nationalist military officers: Do not take casually the constant and widespread uprisings seen by many as a serious sign – it is time to abandon the crumbling regime and stand with the people.

Sheda Vasseghi is on the Board of Azadegan Foundation, and is a regular contributor to and on Iran’s affairs. Join The Official Site of Sheda Vasseghi on Facebook.


I thank World Tribune for reoprting the uprising of Azeri people. I would like to add:
-This is not just an environmental protest but continuation of the Azeri national movement to end Persian racism,colonialism and stablishing South Azerbajan state.
-Azeris make up 25% to 43% of Iran ’s population (according to CIA and UN estimates). They are concentrated in their historic region of South Azerbaijan (northwestern Iran ). Politically they resisted Pahlavis since 1920 and Ayatollahs since 1980. They formed a strong Azeri movement and rallied for democracy and their ethnic rights. For decades, ethnic and cultural discrimination is the official policy of the Shah and mullah regime in Iran , where Azeris are treated as second class citizens by virtue of limitations and even complete lack and absence of education in native language; and constant harassment and discrimination from central authorities designed to culturally and linguistically assimilate the ethnic Azeris.
-Today, Azeri people are Iran ’s largest ethnic minority and their resistance movement is the most powerful opposition group to the theocratic, authoritarian and terrorist regime of Persian mullahs. To achieve any changes in Iran , ethnic Azeris’ role is most crucial, and cannot be ignored, as the Azeri movement has the best shot to tackle the Iranian regime from within. This can happen with the help of the freedom loving people of the West and world.End.

By Sandra Chain      12:17 a.m. / Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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