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PROTESTS IN IRAN – A SERIOUS MESSAGE TO THE MULLAH REGIME

The Azeri Times

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The fourth day, including December 31, in Iran, mass protests and violence on both sides – protesters and law enforcement forces – do not abate. The exact number of detainees, wounded and killed is not reported, but judging by a video we can see how the demonstrators beat the policemen with stones. Social networks and messengers are disabled in the country.

President of the United States Donald Trump said that the United States is closely monitoring the protests in Iran, and again blamed the country’s leadership for supporting terrorism – in his words, it was this support that caused the protests. Iranian President Hassan Ruhani made an unexpected statement saying that the people of the country have the right to protest and criticize the government.

The protesters want the death of the religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei, demand the abolition of the mandatory religious rules of wearing clothes, reducing prices and stopping Iran’s costly interventions in the internal affairs of other countries. It should be noted that on the first day of protests, the head of the police department of Tehran announced the termination of the practice of detaining and dismissing women who violated the rules of wearing clerical clothes imposed by clerics. But the penalties and prosecution for uncovered heads and other violations of religious canons in clothes will remain.

“At the moment, the social protest in Iran has weakened a lilttle, which can be explained by the fact that people are tired as a result of three days of active demonstrations, however, the state power in Tehran is virtually non-existent. In spite of this, the mass protest has not yet a clear structure and hierarchy: Leaders able to lead a protest, often arise spontaneously and also spontaneously delegate their coordinating functions to other people, – analyzes the events of the Russian political scientist Denis Korkordinov.

The aspiration for leadership is shown by the “Mojahedin-e Halk” (“Organization of the Mujahideen of the Iranian People”) – a left-wing terrorist organization fighting against the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, it has no chance to lead the revolution.

“Sāzmān-e mojāhedin-e khalq-e Irān”, in its essence, an anti-clerical organization, which causes a certain demand among the local population. But, at the same time, supporters of this organization took an active part in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988 on the side of Saddam Hussein, which, of course, causes discontent of the majority of Iranian voters. Despite this, a certain structuring of the protest mass is still taking place. The protesters are trying to self-organize, but so far without reliance on the provincial opposition. Under such circumstances, the Iranian leadership does not yet understand exactly what is happening and what results should be expected. Police forces are reluctant to take part in the dispersal of protesters. Among other things, “IRGC”, “Sazman-e Basij-e Mostasafin” try to maintain neutrality, not getting involved in the internal affairs of Iran.

The main problem is that in Iran de facto there is no one to disperse the protesting citizens: all the main military forces of the ayatollah regime are concentrated in Syria, Iraq and Levan. Tehran was virtually alone with the threat of revolution, when no one can give resolute resistance to participants in unauthorized actions. Due to this, it is quite understandable with what intensity and absolutely unhindered propagation of protest actions across the whole territory of Iran,” Korkordinov writes.

Iran boils with a periodicity of 8-10 years. Real protests began in the sacred city of Mashhad and quickly reached the capital and other cities of the country,” said political scientist Elkhan Shainoglu.

“It is reported that two people were killed, but at first glance social demands seem to be the cause of the protests, but they are only an appearance, as during the mass marches people shout political slogans.” The protesters demand the termination of the official policy on Jerusalem and Syria. points to the overseas origins of these events, hinting at inciting from outside, even claimed the links of two murdered protesters with foreign intelligence. I do not exclude the hands of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel.” As Israel was able to kill Iranian nuclear scientists who were in their country, so it will not be difficult for this country to provoke mass unrest,” political scientist E.Shainoglu writes.

Azerbaijan does not interfere domestic affairs and is a supporter of stability in the neighboring state. But, firstly, we cannot be indifferent to the fate of the Azerbaijanis living in Iran, and secondly, we are concerned about the proximity and cooperation of Iran with Armenia. Therefore, we wish positive changes in foreign policy under the influence of mass events in Iran. Of course, this does not mean an obligatory victory for the protesters. With high probability, we can expect activation of the ruling regime, deployment the army into the streets and suppression of mass actions. But what happened is a serious message for the Iranian authorities, which will not want to repeat the riots,” E.Shainoglu believes.

In the social network, Azerbaijanis express fears, expecting the appearance in Baku of refugees from Iran, rising prices for real estate, bought up by those who fled from a neighboring country. Journalist Gavkaz Omarov is afraid that the destabilization in Iran can lead to destabilization of the entire region, primarily the South Caucasus, then Central Asia. “The Turks and Kurds of Iran should not be happy at all.” The disintegration of the Saddam regime in Iraq showed that the writers do not plan to create small ethnic states on the territory of the destroyed countries, as it will be in Iran if the West succeeds in shaking the foundations of the Iranian regime, dozens of peoples, nationalities and faiths live in it. In case of the collapse of the regime, each foreign state will use its agents and there will be real chaos in the territory with an area of ​​more than 1.6 million square kilometers. ” It’s interesting, what plan have Ankara and Baku in case of force majeure in Iran? asks Omarov.

The official structures of Azerbaijan did not speak about the events in Iran, as if nothing is happening there. President Aliyev appeared on TV only once, for congratulations on the Day of Solidarity of Azerbaijanis (December 31) and New Year. In his speech, he touched upon Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, sports events, the BTK railroad, the economy and relations with the European Union, but he did not mention Iran.

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Azerbaijan

Azerbaijanis dance to support their kin in Iran

The Azeri Times

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Social media users in Azerbaijan are dancing on video to express solidarity with their ethnic kin in northern Iran.The campaign began among ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran, who make up around one-quarter of the country’s population, and took to social media to protest a variety of grievances, including the poor economic conditions in Iran, particularly in the northern part of Iran where Azerbaijanis are concentrated. The protest took the form of dancing to a song, “They Talk About You,” by Iranian Azerbaijani singer Alireza Sharifzade.

The action then spread north of the Iran-Azerbaijan border, where Instagram and Twitter users posted their own videos using the name of the song as it is rendered in the Latin alphabet used in Azerbaijan, #sənideyirlər.

The two populations of Azerbaijanis were separated in the 19th century when Russia took over what is sometimes referred to as “Northern Azerbaijan,” today’s independent Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijanis feel a sense of kinship with their brethren in Iran, though actions of solidarity like this are relatively rare. “First time ever Northern Azerbaijan social media gets dominated by Southern Azerbaijan trend,” wrote Azerbaijani social media personality Cavid Ağa. “Seems like music was the only thing lacking all these years.”

“Iran is a country where you can be punished for dancing, for promoting music of the largest minority – Azerbaijani Turks, for being without headscarves, for promoting LGBT rights,” wrote investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova on her Facebook page. “This [is] one of the biggest solidarity actions.”

The Azerbaijani dance protest follows another Iranian dancing social media controversy, when a young woman was arrested in July after posting a video on Instagram of herself dancing. Iranians and others then expressed their solidarity by posting their own dancing videos.

The song “Səni deyirlər” is dedicated to Lake Urmia, a salt lake that straddles the Iranian provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, which is drying up. The lake’s dessication has become a key focus of Iranian Azerbaijani grievances against the government in Tehran, which has sought to suppress Azerbaijani culture and political expression in the country.

“How good Lake Urmia is for swimming, but they dried it up,” Sharifzade sings. The song concludes with the line, “Long live Azerbaijan.”

Others unwilling to publicize themselves dancing supported the campaign in other ways. Activist Samra Sadraddinli posted a photo of herself in Tabriz, the largest city in Iranian Azerbaijan, with the caption: “Support South Azerbaijanian youth’s Mother Language Movement and dance challenge. I don’t want you to see my Raj Kapoor style dance, that’s why I’m here with my photo from Tabriz.”

The campaign even hit Azerbaijani opposition politics. One Facebook user posted a video of opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov criticizing – without naming them – other opposition groups for holding rallies that were ineffective and only played into the government’s hands. The user captioned the video “They are talking about you.”

As for the government itself, it is keeping quiet. Tehran is extremely sensitive to any hint of Azerbaijani separatism, and official Baku gives Iranian Azerbaijani issues a very wide berth in an effort to not antagonize the Iranian government.

Lamiya Adilgizi is a freelance Azerbaijani journalist.

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Georgia

Iran accuses Georgia of violating the ‘decency of Muslim women in hijabs’ in Tbilisi airport

The Azeri Times

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The Embassy of Iran to Georgia has sent a letter of protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA) regarding an incident which took place at Tbilisi’s international airport.

According to the Iranian news agency IRNA, security service personnel at Tbilisi International Airport demanded several female passengers arriving from the Iranian city of Isfahan to remove their hijabs.

Spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bahram Qassemi said that the Iranian ambassador spoke with several travellers who had been to Georgia to confirm the information, after which he sent a letter of protest to the MFA and to the airport’s security service.

Moreover, the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran also sent a letter of protest to the Georgian Embassy in Iran and demanded an explanation from the ambassador.

“Iran also calls upon the Georgian authorities to prevent a repetition of such incidents, and for the airport security service to observe and respect the dignity of Muslim women in hijabs,” reports IRNA.

The MFA has already responded to the accusations. After receiving the information regarding the alleged violations, the MFA looked into the matter and concluded that the Georgian security staff at the airport were not in violation of any procedures.

“There were no illegal actions on the side of the Georgian security personnel, including actions which might ‘offend religious feelings’,” reads the ministry’s statement.

The MFA has informed the Iranian side regarding the investigation results. The issue will be discussed at the next meeting with the Iranian ambassador and the MFA.

  • According to Georgia’s Tourism Administration, one million people visited Georgia in July, of which 179 thousand were Iranians. Iran is in fifth place after Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey and Armenia.

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Iran

Dozens of AZERBAIJANIS DETAINED IN IRAN

The Azeri Times

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Iranian security forces detained more than 50 Azerbaijani activists gathered in the area of the Babek Fortress in the Eastern Azerbaijan province, Araznews reports.

The reasons for the detention are not disclosed.

Ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran have been gathering for many years in July in the area of the Babek Fortress, which is considered a symbol of the Turkic identity. In recent years, these meetings have not been held because of the pressure of the Iranian security forces.

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