British Parliament tables Motion about South-Azerbaijanis


Dear countrymen,


I would like to inform you that the former Minister of European Affairs, Mr. Keith Vaz, and his colleague in the British Foreign Affairs Committee Mr. Paul Keetch, together with the Azerbaijani Youth Association in Sweden, has taken the initiative to table an Early Day Motion (EDM) about the Azerbaijanis in Iran.


EDMs exist to allow Members of the Parliament to put on record their opinion on a subject they would like to raise awareness about and canvass support for it from fellow Members.  


The EDM about the Azerbaijani community in Iran states that despite that the United Nations Economic and Social Council estimates the amount of Azerbaijanis in the country to around 30 million, there is not a single school teaching in the Azerbaijani language. Further the EDM expresses concerns over the arrests of thousands of Azerbaijani activists in Iran and notes that this followed large-scale demonstrations in May, when thousands of Azerbaijanis in north-western Iran came onto the streets demanding their cultural rights and an end to the persecution that has been conducted against the country's non-Persian ethnic groups since the arrival of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1925. The EDM also recognizes that the demonstrations among the Azerbaijanis in Iran are the biggest in the country since the Islamic revolution of 1979.


In the EDM Mr. Vaz and Mr. Keetch and 21 other members of the British Parliament, call on the government of the United Kingdom to call on the Iranian government to give greater cultural rights to the Azerbaijanis in Iran. Altogether 23 Members of the British Parliament are demanding from the government of the United Kingdom to engage in increased rights for the South-Azerbaijanis.

EDMs often attract a great deal of publicity; they are circulated not only among all MPs but also among leading journalists in the country and are considered as a gauge of opinion. 

An initiative such as the EDM in Great Britain will send signals to other European governments about the importance and actuality of the question, but fore mostly it will send signals to the Iranian government making known for them that Great Britain is aware and watching.

The EDM will be open for signatures until November 2007 when the queen of the United Kingdom will reopen the parliament, and will much likely gain even wider support during the remaining moths.

We are sure that all sincere Azerbaijanis will receive this news with great joy, but we are likely ensured that the Persian chauvinists all over the world will receive it with even greater bitterness. The Motion about the situation of the Azerbaijanis in Iran that was laid in the Swedish parliament on October 31, created storms of raged protests against it from different chauvinistic Persian groups in the Diaspora, not only in Sweden but as far away as in France and America. They organized and lobbied for the withdrawal of the motion through articles, radio- and TV-discussions and by pressuring Swedish Members of the Parliament; however none of their activities led to any success.

At the same time it is worth noting that the exile-Azerbaijanis within a very short period of time impressively mobilized their forces, putting aside their internal conflicts, and all together confronted the Persian chauvinists and defended the motion. Instead of harming the lobby activities of the Azerbaijanis the Persian chauvinists actually instead revealed their true faces to political circles in Sweden and proved the existence of the Persian chauvinists even among Iranians in the Diaspora.

Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Azerbaijani organizations and personalities that stood behind us during these tumult months. I would also like to express the feeling of extreme pride when witnessing how strong our community can be when needed, such as when being exposed to organized attacks like these.

We are prepared for attacks this time as well, but we believe we will succeed also this time because our fight is legitimate and conducted with democratic means through democratic channels and for democratic values.


Nergiz Nedaei


The EDM can be read on the link below: