Linguistic and cultural rights

Currently the Azerbaijani Turkish language is suppressed in Iran, even though the Iranian constitution enshrines the right to minority groups to use their own language. The central government, however, prohibits use of Azerbaijani Turkish in schools, and no education is available at any level, and even at the University of Tabriz, where seven other languages are taught. Azerbaijanis want to be able to use their language when in contact with regional authorities and the judicial system, in particular to exercise the basic cultural rights as set out in article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Additionally, a number of street and place names have systematically been changed into Farsi. One central problem in the media is that in reality the language used is a version of pseudo-Farsi with Azerbaijani Turkish influences. Therefore, Southern Azerbaijani people have campaigned for media productions to be broadcast in the correct form of the Azerbaijani Turkish language – both on radio and television. There is a strong feeling that the Azerbaijani cultural and historical heritage is being ignored, and even in some cases physically destroyed by bombing to make way for new buildings, in the case with the Ark Castle in Tabriz.