Will Iran become part of Azerbaijan?

By Nadir Shafiev

Unification of South and North Azerbaijan is an irreversible process that should not be forced. Residents on both sides of the border (the Azerbaijan Republic and the northern province of Iran) understand and want it, but none of them wants this process was accompanied by war, which would inevitably lead to a large death toll. This is the opinion of the Azerbaijani political scientist Fikret Sadikhov, who has commented information about the possible accession of South Azerbaijan into the Republic of Azerbaijan. And this issue arose on the background of broad discussion of a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It is no secret that Israel and the U.S. are considering options for use of the territories of Iran’s neighboring countries for a military strike on Iran. Territory of Azerbaijan was called among possible springboards. Some British and Israeli media say last year Israel agreed to use Soviet airfields located in Azerbaijan, near the border with Iran, to refuel aircrafts. But this information was not confirmed. Moreover, Azeri officials have repeatedly stated that the national territory would not be used for attack on neighboring countries. Baku is clearly adhering to the position of neutrality on all issues concerning the region.

According to Fikret Sadikhov, the belief of some experts that the U.S. is ready to append to Azerbaijan northern Iran, populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis, in exchange for Baku’s participation in the military operation against Iran on the side of the West, is not true. First, the appeal of the Congressman Dan Rorobaher to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (to support the struggle for the independence of South Azerbaijan from Iran and the possibility of its unification with the Azerbaijan Republic — Ed.) is the opinion of an individual in this case. It does not reflect the U.S. official position on this issue. It could be reflected in Clinton’s response, but it was not disclosed.

In addition, we should pay attention to the statement by the U.S. Department of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland. She has confirmed that the U.S. stood for the principle of territorial integrity. This once again shows that no one is discussing separation of South Azerbaijan from Iran.

This is confirmed by the statement of political scientist Gabil Huseynli. He is confident that the current U.S. policy in the Middle East does not imply changes in the boundaries of any state. In regard of Iran, the U.S. is planning the implementation of the comprehensive democratic change. Within this policy, national minorities of the country, which include multi-million Azerbaijani diaspora, should get ample national and cultural autonomy. Political analyst does not exclude that the process of democratization may lead to a situation when people demand greater rights and freedoms.

Gabil Huseynli completely disagrees with the notion that the Azeris are well represented in the current government, so we cannot speak about the alleged infringement of their rights. First, we must not forget that the Azeri Safavid dynasty is the founder of the Safavid state, the legal successor of which is Iran, the analyst reminds. Azeri dynasties of Safavids, Qajars and Afshars ruled the country until the early 20th century, when the Persian Pahlavi dynasty usurped power and began to implement anti-Azerbaijani chauvinistic policy. Unfortunately, this continues to this day. As for the Azerbaijanis, represented in power, many of them are separated from historical roots. Moreover, they are even greatest chauvinists in politics than the Persians themselves, the analyst says.
The Georgia Times