Territory and Identity

Turks have dominated and ruled Iran and the lands beyond it for thousands of years, and the northwest of Iran has long been the Azerbaijani Turks’ homeland. However, after the Gajar, the last Azerbaijani kingdom in Iran collapsed, the Pahlavi dynasty dominated Iran and this saw the beginnings of the anti-Turk movement.

As a result, the Iranian government has consistently and repeatedly split Southern Azerbaijan into several different regions and perused a policy of separating the peoples of the region from their native languages and culture. Iran’s regimes have also altered the ethnic demography of the separated provinces of Azerbaijan by relocating groups of Fars into some of the Southern Azerbaijani provinces like Qazvin and Hamadan.

The continuance of the assimilation policy in Southern Azerbaijan by the regime in Tehran has lead to a significant social and national identity crisis. The Iranian government has been running wide spread propaganda against any non-Fars national identity in Iran, so that the ethnic peoples will stop embracing their own traditional cultures and assimilate into the Persian centralised model. Southern Azerbaijani women face double discrimination, since they experience inequality in terms of their gender and also for belonging to a minority group.