Azeri people cause headache to Iran’s mullah regime
Iran’s northwestern ethnic Azerbaijani region has become part of non-Persian peoples' conflict against the mullah regime in Tehran after media reports said on August 7 that two members of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) have been killed in a clash with armed elements in northwestern Iran.
The incident happened in the region of Maku in West Azerbaijan province bordering Turkey and also close to Iraqi Kurdistan.
Maku’s governor Hassan Abbasi told Iranian media that two junior officers of IRGC were killed in the clash and another soldier wounded.
In recent months there have been multiple clashes in western Iran close to the Iraqi and Turkish borders between armed groups and Iranian armed forces. In most cases the armed groups are Kurdish insurgents with bases in Iraq. Some demand independence for Kurdish-populated regions of Iran.
Making up about one third of Iran's total population, the Iranian Azeris constitute by far the largest minority in Iran. The Azeris account for around 25%-30% of Iran’s population.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the independence of Azerbaijan, Iran's regime has been concerned that separatists in the Azerbaijani region would call for unification with Azerbaijan.
In 2013, the National Liberation Front of Southern Azerbaijan held a conference in Baku and was attended by activists, academics, and former Azerbaijani officials.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Azerbaijani ambassador in Tehran and warned him that such provocations could "seriously" damage relations between the two countries.
Hossein Shariatmadari, an advisor to Khamenei, said Azerbaijan should be part of Iran.
Researcher Hisham El-Bakly, an expert on Iranian affairs, said that the Azeri nationals would cause unrest for Iran in case of a military conflict with the United States.
“Despite Azeri and Iranian peoples are Shiite, but nationalism play a key role in the Persian-Azeri conflict,” El-Bakly told THE REFERENCE.
The researcher noted that the Azeri people, like any nationality under Iran’s oppression, citing that the Khamenei-led regime does not recognize the Azeri culture and language.
“Thousands of Azeri people are imprisoned in Iran. That may cause unrest and trigger a peaceful or armed revolt against the mullah regime in Tehran,” he added.