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On September 8 Mejlis member Sabir Rustamkhanli gave a speech in the Azerbaijanis world congress and made an appeal to the dismemberment of Iran, since more than 52% of its population are Azeris (Turks). This was followed with a sharp response from the Embassy of Iran in Baku.

On this issue Professor Garnick Asatryan gave clarifications to the Russian agency “IA Rex”.

– First of all let’s count. Iran’s population is 80mln, 52% is 42-45mln. In Iran so-called Azeris live in North-Western 4 provinces: West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Ardabil and Zanjan.

According to 2006 Census, the number of the population of this region was a little more than 9mln, from them 3mln are Kurds (West Azerbaijan), plus Azaris, i.e. South Tats (Iranian dialect), almost half million Talysh (East Ardabyl), Assyrians, Armenians… So the whole number of “Azeris” in Iran will be 5,5mln.

The thing is that Turkic-speaking people of North-West Iran are totally different nation, the only thing that links them with today’s Azerbaijani Republic’s citizens is the language. In Baku they try to create the illusion of a divided nation, but it is – pure profanity of reality. In this connection I often quote the statement of one of the founders of Azerbaijan’s ideology Ziya Buniatov, given in his interview with the Baku newspaper “The Mirror” (October 25, 1989) after a trip to Tabriz: “…Once again I felt that the unity of the language – it does not mean the unity of the people”.

In today’s Azerbaijani Republic Shia Islam is mostly among Iranian minorities – Talysh and Tats. I am sure that Shi’ism will never become a political factor in Azerbaijan. Obviously, Islam can be a factor in this country only in the form of its extreme manifestations – Salafism, etc.

I think the Iranians have to finally decide on some fundamental concepts concerning the Republic of Azerbaijan particularly and the South Caucasus as a whole. A clear vision and objective assessment of the ethno-political texture of the region directly determines the future of Islamic Republic of Iran.

I have no doubt that Azerbaijan will never be a friendly partner of Iran, since the main aim of the establishment and strengthening of this ethno-political unit originally was weakening and dismemberment of Iran.

Category: #36 (1054) 18.09.2014 – 24.09.2014, News, Spotlight, Region