By Rachel Avraham
In recent days, the Iranian regime threatened “to build atomic bombs” and to turn “New York into hellish ruins.” This comes after the Iranian regime chanted “death to Israel” and “death to America” for decades, proclaiming that Israel is the “little Satan” and America is the “big Satan”. In the wake of these recent threats, the time has come for the United States to take the lead in destroying the corrupt Iranian regime. The best way to destroy the Iranian regime is to break up Iran into at least four different countries.
A large percentage of the Iranian population is not Persian. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “Among these groups are ethnic Kurds, Baluchis, and Azeris. Many of them face discrimination and live in underdeveloped regions.” The Ahwazi Arabs, Lors, Turkmen, Qashqai, Mazandarani, Talysh and Gilaki similarly are not Persian and have grievances against the Iranian regime.
Dr. Sarang Zeynizadeh, an Azerbaijani human rights activist based in the US, stated in an exclusive interview: “Modern nation-state building in Iran begins from the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979). This nation-state building was based on two premises: 1) Iranians are Aryan 2) Persian language is the main language of Iranian civilization. Since Iran is a multinational country, this kind of nation-state building is solely based on one language (Persian) and one culture (Persian) exclusively.
In this paradigm, the Iranian people living in Azerbaijan (northwest region of Iran) whose mother tongue is Azerbaijani Turkish are assumed to be Aryans whose language has been changed through a coercive process of Turkification by invasion of Turks of central Asia. Forcing Azerbaijanis to consider themselves as Aryan is just a small piece of the whole picture. The main part of this picture is the long-standing anti-Turkism. In practice, this anti-Turkism appears as a two-sided forced assimilation of language and race.”
According to Dr. Sarang, “The principal strategy to assimilate Azerbaijanis over the past hundred years was to spread this propaganda that the mother tongue of Azerbaijanis is Azeri (Azeri is an extinct language in the Indo-European family and has nothing to do with Azerbaijani Turkish language, which is what Azerbaijanis actually speak). Imposing this new identity sets the ground for eradication of Azerbaijani Turkic language and extensive assimilation. To this end, both teaching of Azerbaijani Turkic and educating in this language were prohibited.”
“During the Pahlavi dynasty, talking in this language at school was even forbidden, and those who violated this rule had to pay a penalty,” Dr. Sarang added. “This cliché has been used for decades to suppress the linguistic identity of Azerbaijanis. In line with this oppression policy, many names such as village’s name, city’s name, river’s name, and mountain’s name were changed into Persian names. Additionally, Press and newspapers written in Azerbaijani Turkic language encountered substantial restrictions which are still in effect.”
Dr. Sarang emphasized that there has always been South Azerbaijanis fighting against this oppression: “However, the government has strictly suppressed these activists under both the Pahlavi and Islamist regimes. Alireza Farshi, one of the activists teaching Azerbaijani Turkic language to children and giving them books as a gift, was sentenced to jail time. His activities have always been in accordance with the constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to many of ethnic activists in Azerbaijan, the education in their mother tongue is not the only issue that the Azerbaijanis have. There are other issues that relate to the centralistic feature of the above-mentioned paradigm. This is an emergent feature of the Iran nation-state because Persians generally live in the central regions of Iran. This centralism has led to internal colonization which has several aspects. One is the flow of wealth from border towns to central regions. Another is the construction of projects irresponsibly to the extent that it leads to catastrophic environmental crises, economic problems and poverty.”
In conclusion, Dr. Sarang stressed: “Many of ethnic and environmental activists do believe that the only way to stop this trend of environmental and cultural destruction is ‘Federalism.’ Nonetheless, the federalists are under very intense repression. The government calls them “dissolutionist”. Although this term is not a legitimate term in political science, the government made it up and considers it as a capital crime. Islamic Republic of Iran falsely accuses these activists of non-existent crimes and sentences them to years of jail, usually in the absence of their lawyers.”
All of the other ethnic groups in Iran voice similar grievances. Dr. Shamal Mirza, a Kurdish activist based in Ireland, the Kurds are also deprived of the right to speak in their language in schools: “The Kurds also suffer from regional socio-economic under-development. Except for Baluchistan, also a minority group in Iran, Kurdistan is the most underdeveloped area of the country with an estimated 60% unemployment rate. This situation forced young Kurds into cross-border labour (Kolbar) which was also criminalized by the state. According to Kurdish human rights organisations in the last year alone, more than 212 Kolbars have been killed and 110 more wounded – by the direct fire of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The Baloch have similarly suffered under the mullahs: “According to a June 8 report from Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO), at least 168 people have been executed by Iranian authorities in the first five months of 2022 alone. Of these, 25 individuals are of the Baloch ethnic minority group, according to IHRNGO, making the community the largest target of what human rights groups describe as flawed trials.”
Hamid Mutashar, the Founder of the Ahwazi Liberal Party, stressed that his people have similar grievances and that these grievances are an opportunity for America to get rid of the mullahs: “Since the end of last April, most Iranian citizens have witnessed a massive revolution in which all segments of society participate in protests against the practices of the Wali al Faqih regime and its security services, demanding the departure of the regime and Iran’s liberation from it. The revolution began on April 24th in Ahwazi cities and the revolution has moved to Iranian Kurdistan, Lorestan, and South Azerbaijan, and then the provinces of the Caspian, Turkmenistan, Balochistan and Tehran. These people, if given support, will be able to play an important and historic role in saving the Middle East and the world from Iranian terrorism.”
According to him, “Ahwaz is the source of wealth that the terrorist regime in Iran loots to support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Houthis, the Badr Organization and Popular Mobilization in Iran. Ahwaz has the largest oil reserves in the world, not to mention being rich in minerals such as uranium, mercury, and gold, but its people are among the poorest in the world. Furthermore, the Iranian regime settled six million Persians in Ahwaz to change the demography of the region, displacing three million Ahwaz people from their homes.”
Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, a former Likud Candidate for the Knesset and a former chief of staff of former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara. Since 2012, she has been working as an Israel-based journalist and writer, covering Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and other developments in the greater Islamic world.
Her articles have appeared in the Washington Times, the Hill, Front Page Magazine, the Daily Wire, the Christian Post, the Baltimore Jewish Times, the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, Ahval and many other publications across the globe. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She got her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.