After two world wars and millions of lives sacrificed during the first half of 20th century, European nations have formed the largest and greatest union to promote coexistence and peace based on mutual respect, human rights, freedom and democracy. Supremacy has been replaced by equality and wars to kill and conquer have been replaced by peace and cooperation. While Europe is enjoying the greatest respect for human values, the Middle East in general, and Iran in particular, is speeding towards one great disaster.
Contrary to general belief, Iran is not a homogeneous nation. It is in fact a multi ethnic country composed of Azerbaijanis, Persians, Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmens, Bakhtiaries-Lurs and many religious minorities. Based on the largest independent linguistic/ethnic academic research group, ethnologue, and the UN Special Rapporteure/ Representative on Islamic Republic of Iran reporting to UN General Assembly, Azerbaijanis are the largest ethnic group in Iran followed by Persians, Arabs and other national groups. The Iranian government has taken exceedingly hostile steps against all non-Persian ethnic groups in the country. The Iranian government has pursued systematic assimilation by repressing the use of language and expressions of culture other than Persian.
The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities  protects ethnic and linguistic rights. It demands "states shall protect the existence and national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories…" and "… states shall adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to achieve those ends".
Azerbaijanis, the largest group in the country estimated at about 25-30 million, are spread throughout Iran but mainly live in the North West of Iran. Arabs live in the historic Arab lands in South West Iran and Turkmen live in their historic lands of Turkmanistan (bordering republic of Turkmanistan). Iran is bordering three members of Council of Europe, Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey and horrific fear that the Iranian government’s forced assimilation policy towards all its non-Persian ethnic groups creates conditions which well may result in disaster is magnified by each days passed. Europe could be affected by waves of violence, political instability, chaos and lingering lack of security, all at its doorsteps.
This hearing will concentrate on a proactive approach for a possible roadmap to promote peaceful coexistence, freedom and democracy for all.
September 10, 14:00, Room ASP 3H1, European Parliament, Brussels
Moderated by Paulo Casaca, MEP and Ahmad Obali, World Azerbaijanis Congress, Committee on International relations
Representatives of South Azerbaijani, Arab and Turkmen organizations will present the latest situation related to their respective ethnic groups in Iran
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