The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
Pan-Turanism Takes Aim At Azarbaijan; A Geopolitical Agenda
Part II-b: Pan-Turanism Claims To Azarbaijan
By: Dr Kaveh Farrokh
Sattar Khan was a pan-Turanian separatist.
Mr. Mahmudali Chereganli.
Chehreganli (see photo below) has made a career at attempting to incite hatred
among Iranian Azarbaijanis against
is a parallel movement residing in
Chehreganli’s SANAM website is replete with false, simplistic and inflammatory
information. The distortions begin with the personal dossier of Chehreganli,
the chairman of SANAM (Persian section of SANAM website – see Web References):
Chehregani – Chehreganli – was born in the village of Chehregan…His
grandfather Sattar Khan Chehreganli was an intellectual who participated
in three Azarbaijani revolutions: the constitutional movement, the Azadistan
movement, and the national and people’s government…he completed
his Doctorate in linguistics at Tehran’s Tarbiat Modarress
few highlighted lines are replete with fraudulent
information. First, Mr. Chehreganli is claiming one of
People who share the same last name are not necessarily related. In that case, all who bear the surname “Smith” are members of the same family. Another detail not mentioned in SANAM: Sattar Khan was born in Janali, not Chehregan.
issue of kinship is irrelevant. Even if we accept that Mr. Chehreganli has
legitimately “proven” his lineage to Sattar Khan, he still cannot change the
history of his (alleged) grandfather who fought in the name of a united
true that Khiyabani was strongly in favour of local autonomy for
no desire or intention of severing
Foreign Office Archives 371/1278, 11-12 September, 1920 – also cited by
Atabaki, 2000, p.50, 205]
claims that Khiyabani’s term “Azadistan” (land of freedom), and his
pursuit of autonomy is clear proof of Khiyabani’s separatist objectives. This
is patently false, and is a distorted interpretation of actual historical
events. First, as recounted in item 1d, Khiyabani was against
the Musavat-Rasulzadeh re-invention of Arran/Albania as “
real nature of Mr. Pishvari’s “national and people’s government” has
already been recounted in item 1e. Suffice
it so say that Mr. Chehreganli has a talent for blurring facts and re-inventing
them within his fictional narratives.
are other puzzling inaccuracies in the SANAM website, namely the chronology of
Sattar Khan’s career. Simply put, it would have been physically impossible for
Sattar Khan to have “participated”
in the “Azadistan” and Pishvari movements - Sattar Khan had already passed away before their onset.
is most interesting is Mr. Chehreganli’s background and adoption of pan-Turanianism
as a professional career. It is true that Mr. Chehreganli was a student at
or fiction, the next series of events are as entertaining as a
outlets regularly refer to Mr. Chereganli as a “Professor of linguistics”
when in fact his academic training in the field is suspect at best. As far as
can be determined, Mr. Chehreganli has never produced a credible dissertation.
Nevertheless, his nominal “expertise” is being cynically trumpeted to
project a mirage of academic authority. These “academic
credentials” are being used by western geopolitical interests to further their
economic (i.e. Petroleum) objectives (Part VI).
Sattar Khan & the Constitutional Movement of
actual history of Sattar Khan is different from what Mr. Chehreganli is stating.
Sattar Khan was a legendary hero of the constitutional revolution of
complete narrative of the Constitutional Movement is beyond the scope of the
discussion here, however a few points may be highlighted, especially with
respect to points being re-narrated by Mr. Chehreganli.
Qajar monarch Muzaffar al-Din Shah (1853 - 1907)
(see photo below) agreed to a constitutional monarchy for
Muzaffar al-Din -Shah
The first Tehran Assembly or Majlis (1906-1908) managed to limit the powers of
the Shah and his ministers. Among its many reforms was the freedom of the press.
Below is a photo of the building where the first Majlis was convened.
[b3] Muhammad Ali Shah (1872–1925;
ruled 1906-1909) (photo below) moves to limit constitutionalists (June 1,
1908). Ambassador Zapolski
of Russia and Ambassador
Marling of Britain openly warn the Majlis to comply with the Shah’s
Muhammad Ali Shah
Russian Cossack Brigade in
By July 1908, the Shah imprisons many constitutionalists. See Photo below (Shuster
in references) of their imprisonment at the Bagh-e-Shah (Garden of the Shah)
Surviving delegates fled to Tabriz.
Sattar Khan and his colleague, Bagher
Khan, organized the resistance.
Volunteers from the
The siege of
Russian Coassack Brigade
Khan rallied the entire nation of Iran to a constitutional democratic cause, and
in this endeavour had the support of the entire spectrum of Iran’s populace,
such as the northern Iranians (see 1908 photo of Rasht volunteers below left –
Chaqeri in references) and Bakhtiaris from Isfahan (see 1909 photo below right-
Chaqeri in references), not to mention Mashad (northeast Iran), etc. It was
these Bakhtiaris and Rashtis (from Gilan) who supported Sattar Khan in July
1909. This allowed for the second Majlis to convene.
Chehreganli avoids any mention of the multi-ethnic nature of Sattar Khan’s
Atabaki makes clear that:
“In the constitutional revolution, like minded Azarbaijanis, Persians, Bakhtiyaris, and Gilanis fought alongside one another against…the absolute arbitrary power of the monarchy…their objective was not to divide this power (of Law and government) among the different ethnic groupings in the country in order to establish separate independent states based on ethnic identity.” (p.28)
the British and Russians were hoping to isolate and possibly discredit Sattar
Khan and Bagher khan, they certainly failed. When Sattar Khan arrived in
is here where a gross tragedy occurred. Details are not totally clear, however
it appears that a coalition of radical Constitutionalists wanted to disarm
Sattar Khan, in the interests of party building along European lines (see
Chaqeri p.166 in References).. These included many of Sattar Khan’s former
Azeri comrades from
respect to the
“What is usually and intentionally forgotten…is…that…the revolutionaries were divided into two hostile political camps: the radicals and the conservatives…this new atmosphere…led to bloodshed…the idea of disarming (Sattar Khan’s) Mojaheds and Feda’is originated simultaneously in…the radical constitutionalists and in the British and Russian governments…the majority of those who took part in the Atabak park incident belonged to the radical wing of revolutionary fighters…Taqhizadeh (himself Azeri from Tabriz)…his close associates (included many Azeris)…and the Tabriz Social-Democratic Group…”
Cosroe, Origins of Social Democracy in Modern Iran, 2001, p.166-167].
Mr. Chehreganli’s attempts at falsifying
history fail when exposed to archival
research. It would appear that Mr. Chehreganli is hoping to re-narrate
the political factions (Radical vs. Conservative) at
Atabak park tragedy did not derail the democratically representative Tehran
Assembly (Majlis), thanks to the original exploits of Sattar Khan. The Tehran
Assembly, turned to Morgan Shuster
(see Shuster in References), to act as treasurer-general with wide-ranging
powers to finally put
[a] Shuster was to be immediately dismissed
[b] The Iranian gendarmes were to replaced by Russian controlled Cossacks
the Majlis rejected this affront to
[a] Shuster was again demanded to be immediately dismissed
[b] No other foreign advisors were to be hired by the Majlis without prior British and Russian approval
Majlis again rejected the Imperial Russian demands. The British government was
fully supportive of Russian actions – even the potential of a modern, forward
looking domestic democracy within
Russians and their anti-Constitutionalist supporters took full advantage of
these events to kill off many of the Iranian constitutional activists in
picture below of more executions of Democratic reformers in
1914, 20,000 Russian troops were
occupying much of Northern Persia (see Chaqeri, p.286 and
“There has been an abominable massacre by the Russians at Tabriz…men, women and children killed, women raped and every imaginable abomination perpetuated…This is (British Prime Minister) Grey’s doing as distinctly as he had given the orders; yet almost no protest is made in our (British) press…”
S. Blunt, My Diaries, Being a Personal Narrative of Events (Part II:
1900-1914), pp.213, 388-389].
SANAM & the Fabrication of History.
despite historical archives and massive documentation (see Adelson, Blunt,
Browne, Chaqeri, and Shuster in references), the
followers of Chehreganli reject all of this information and insist that all
of the atrocities were exclusively committed by “murderous Persians”
(virtually no mention of the Russian and British roles).
information expostulated in this section of the commentary is being thoroughly
distorted, re-narrated and even expunged by pan-Turanian ideologues
(recall SANAM website and its narrative of Sattar Khan) and
their western supporters (see Brenda Shaffer in part VI, item 4c).
factual information is presented to Chehregani and his followers, the
predictable psychological reaction is that of cognitive
dissonance cited earlier with respect to Professor Diker and Elchibey.
Sattar Khan’s movement is even being re-narrated as “a Turkish movement”.
Sattar Khan was indeed a pan-Turanian activist, then:
(a) Why would non-Azarbaijanis, like the Rashtis, Mazandaranis or Bakhtiaris support him?
Why was he a powerful symbol of the entire constitutional movement in
Why was he honoured twice by the
Why does he remain one of
state that Sattar Khan was anti-Persian is as historically illogical as stating
that George Washington, the first president of the
Khan would roll in his grave if he heard of Mr. Chehreganli, the SANAM movement
and the UAM. The majority of Iranian Azarbaijanis are deeply offended by Mr. Chehreganli’s claims regarding Sattar
Khan (see “Welcome to
is determined to destroy
Babak Khorramdin was a Turk who fought against
Khorramdin (Persian for “those of who follow the joyful religion”) is one of
Babak Khorramdin has now been retroactively
Turkified by SANAM and re-named
as “Bay Beg”. Mr. Chereganli claims that Babak and his followers were:
fighting “the racist Persians to free themselves from
a quick study of historical archives contradicts pan-Turanian claims. First,
Babak’s name is derived from that of the first Sassanian monarch Ardashir-e-Babak-an,
who lived hundreds of years before Khorramdin. The name “Babak” is derived
from the name of the father of the first monarch of the Sassanian Empire
(224-651 AD), Ardashir I Babak-an
(180-239 AD). Babak/Pabek was himself
the son of Sassan, the high priest at
noted previously (items 2-3), the Turkish
language did not
sources are clear in identifying the Babak Khorramdin rebellion as a Persian movement aimed at re-establishing
was the scene of frequent anti-caliphal and anti-Arab revolts during the
eighth and ninth centuries, and Byzantine sources talk of Persian warriors
seeking refuge in the 830s from the caliph’s armies by taking service under
the Byzantine emperor Theophilos (p.195)…Azarbaijan
had a Persian population and was a traditional centre of the Zoroastrian
Khurramites were a…Persian sect, influenced by Shiite doctrines, but
with their roots in a pre-Islamic Persian religious movement
Mark, The Making of
are simply no historical references to Babak (or any of his followers) being
Turkish, or fighting for a “Turkish homeland”. As noted previously, Pan-Turanian
activists (e.g. UAM) simply reject any history or factual information that
contradicts their views. Mr. Chehreganli himself represents the classic
psychological case of cognitive
dissonance par excellence.
over a thousand years, the people of
activists have attempted to turn these celebrations into anti-Persian events.
There are reports that Grey Wolves
people who engage in the racist Grey Wolf salute are insulting
their ancestral Iranian heritage – just as the misled and ignorant Russian
neo-Nazis are glorifying their greatest enemy: Hitler and Nazism (see Part IV,
is truly tragic to see how ignorant and indifferent a select number of Iranian Azarbaijanis (and Iranians in general) have become with respect to their history
– a cultural vacuum which allows racist opportunists (and their
geopolitical allies) to cynically exploit, not only in
is also a painting of Babak Khorramdin wearing Grey Wolf head gear –
another attempt at falsely portraying this ancient Persian icon as
“Turanian” (note that his complexion has been deliberately painted in a
yellowish hue to suggest Asiatic ancestry):
entertaining at first sight, this painting is portraying
the Babak that never was. This is yet another assault against
claim that Babak Khorramdin was an anti-Persian Turkish separatist is as
illogical as claiming Sam Houston was a Mexican who fought in the name of
Greater Spain against
Azarbaijanis and all who speak Turkish are Turkish by race.
notion of Azeris being Turkish because of language is based on the late Ziya
Gokalp (1876-1924) who equated language with racial and ethnic membership:
you are racially Turkish if you speak Turkish. This is a standard argument
of characters like Mr. Chehreganli and his western geopolitical supporters.
Gokalp was in fact a Kurd born in Diyarbakr. He is one of a long line of
non-Turks who helped build pan-Turanian ideology (Part I, item 1).
no means is the discussion in this item attempting to simplistically outline the
complex (and anthropolically interwoven) Iranian and Turkish national, ethnic,
and linguistic identities. Such a Herculean task would require volumes of text.
Instead, we are clearly confining the discussion to the linear
and (in my opinion) divisive concept
of “race” – in the purely
main weakness of Gokalp’s simplistic premise is his oversimplification
of the complex interrelationships between
ethnicity, nationality, language and
historical migrations. His logic is that speakers
of a language “X” must also be racially members of “X”.
Canadian anthropologist (who does not wish to be named in this commentary) has
recently noted to me of the humorous application
of Gokalp’s logic to North American English speakers. In the
characters share the name “
since when does language alone define cultural and/or national identity?
As your writer, I write in English, does this mean that I, like Peter Jackson,
identity is multi-faceted.
A Belgian could be either a Francophone (Walloon) or Dutch dialect speaker
(Flemish). A Frenchman can be Basque (Eskuri) or speak an Italian dialect (e.g.
Provencal, Corsican, etc.). In northern
you, gentle reader, ever contemplated that the so-called “Middle East
peoples” (itself a bogus and meaningless term) are just as complex and diverse
in their origins as the peoples of
modern Turks hail from Bosnian, Georgian, Iranian (Persian, Kurdish, Azeri)
Greek, Arab, Venetian, Slavic and Armenian backgrounds. Arabs are just as
diverse – in the eastern Arab world, many have Iranian ancestry (Persian and
Kurdish) – the
Iranian ethnic mosaic is far too complex to even begin attempting to define it
in the confines of this commentary. If we extend timelines back to pre-Aryan
arrivals, we witness proto-Elamites in the Southwest and Southeast, and Hurrian
arrivals from the
was not entirely wrong about
no mainstream western, Turkish, or Iranian scholars have challenged the logical
veracity of Gokalp’s argument that Azarbaijanis are Turkish simply because
they speak Turkish. This is one area of academic and popular complacency,
especially amongst the Iranians and Europeans, that has allowed pan-Turaninism
to come as far as it has today.
The Richards et al. Genetic Studies.
have provided very interesting results. Professor
Martin Richards and 26 other researchers conducted a very detailed genetic
analysis of Turks, Arabs, and Iranians.
sample body of Ossetians (n=106 - large), Azarbaijanis (n=48 – adequate sample
size), and Kurds (n=53 - adequate sample size) were more than sufficient to be
able to draw conceptually valid inferences. In addition, the study had a large
number of Armenians (n=109) as well.
major conceptual flaw
with the study was that Kurds, Azarbaijanis and Ossetians were segregated from the Iranian sample. This has resulted in
two major shortcomings:
Incorrect delineation of the Iranian
family: Ossetians are descendants of the North Iranian Alans (see Part I,
item 2l); Kurds descendants of the west-Iranian Mede as well as North Iranian
Alan and Saka peoples. In addition, no Mazandaranis, Rashtis, Baluchis,
Khorassanis, etc. were examined. It is
also unclear why the large Richards research team excluded Iranian specialists
from participating in the study. The study certainly enlisted the help of
world class Turkish (e.g. Professor Mukaddes Golge) and Arabian (e.g. Professor Nadia Al-Zaheri) specialists.
Small sample size: Only 12 subjects
were defined as “Iranians”. These are too few to draw any statistically
valid conclusions – you need at least 30 subjects in scientific studies (see
Tabachnik & Fidell, Rencher, and Jaccard in references). This means that the
reports of the Richards team on the “Iranians” are statistically invalid.
the study has yielded dramatically significant results, despite its conceptual
flaws in ethnically classifying Iranians. Put
simply, the results strongly contradict pan-Turanian ideology.
results are especially
interesting with respect to Azeris. Azeris,
like the Kurds, Ossetians and Armenians, show a high incidence of U5
lineages – genes common among Europeans
as a whole. The results are aptly summarized as such:
“…many Armenian and Azeri types are derived from European and northern Caucasian types (p.1263)…The U5 cluster… in Europe… although rare elsewhere in the Near east, are especially concentrated in the Kurds, Armenians and Azeris…a hint of partial European ancestry for these populations – not entirely unexpected on historical and linguistic grounds (p.1264)”
et al., (2000). Tracing European founder lineages in the Near Eastern mtDNA
pool. American Journal of Human Genetics, 67, p.1263-1264, 2000]
of my colleagues has noted that these results are as threatening
to pan-Turanian ideology as they are to European
Nordicists are vehemently (and violently) opposed to any notion that Europeans
have racial connections to any peoples of the
academic researchers however, these findings are neither earth-shattering nor
surprising. They are simply another piece of the puzzle of the Indo-European
origins of the Iranian family and the Armenians. What is especially damaging to
pan-Turanian ideology is the notion that Azarbaijanis
and Armenians may have much more in common that has been admitted.
there is one finding that most likely is of interest to modern day Turks: The
Richards team had a large sample of Turks from
is not surprising either. The Turkish language is historically, a relative
newcomer to Anatolia; it was introduced by a minority
of Turkic Oghuzz warriors from
genetic ancestry of modern Turks is highly varied, mainly as a result of
multiple migrations, wars and empires. While modern Turks (and a growing number
of Hungarians) stress their genetic connection to
The Analyses of Colin Renfrew.
Colin Renfrew (see 1994 References) notes how Turkic languages spread by Elite
other populations and…impose their languages on them. The Altaic family spread
in this fashion…”
Renfrew, World linguistic diversity, Scientific American, 270(1), 1994, p.118]
alteration can only occur as a result of one of more of the following:
Sustained migrations across a long
period of time
Population dispersals by farming,
Dispersals forced by
general, the Turks did not arrive peacefully but as conquering elites who
imposed their languages upon indigenous populations (Azeris, Arranis, etc.). Conquering
elites provide very modest genetic changes to the indigenous populations that
they conquer. However, they can alter the population’s language as result of their elite
military and political dominance.
The Cavalli-Sforza et al. Genetic Studies.
studies have been corroborated by Professor
Luigi Cavalli-Sforza (see photo below) and his colleagues, who have
concluded the following after decades of genetic research:
the third century B.C., groups speaking Turkish languages…threatened empires
in China, Tibet, India, Central Asia, before eventually arriving in
Turkey…genetic traces of their movement can sometimes be found, but they are
often diluted, since the numbers of conquerors were always much smaller than
the populations they conquered…(p.125)…Turks…conquered
Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453..replacement of Greek with Turkish ..Genetic
effects of invasion were modest in
Luigi (2000). Genes, Peoples and Languages.
Cavalli-Sforza notes of a broad genetic grouping that includes many parts of
researchers have long known of the dichotomy between Grey Wolf pan-Turanian
ideology and factual information. Note the following observation by history Professor
“The homogeneity of the
(Turkish) nation is an unwritten dogma, although few Turks would
seriously maintain that they are a pure race. For thousands of years before
their arrival, Anatolia has been the home of the Hittites, Phrygians,
Lydians, Assyrians and countless forgotten peoples, as well
as being a highway into
Fernandez-Arnesto, The Peoples of Europe,
Professor Fernandez-Arnesto states has been known to international scholarship
for a long time. Few in the international scholastic arena have been swayed by
what Professor Fernandez-Arnesto characterizes as the “homogeneity…dogma”
of a single Turkish “race”. Hungarians speak a language that is a distant
relative of Turkish; does this mean they are Turkic by race? Grey Wolf activists
would insist that the answer is a resounding “yes”, however the
aforementioned genetics Professor Cavalli-Sforza again contradicts dogma:
“…a Magyar (Hungarian)
Luigi, Genes, Peoples and Languages,
Transcending the Concept of “Race”.
are considered to be Magyar speaking Europeans – not an Asiatic
Turkic people. In like manner, why
are the Azarbaijanis (of
is here where Professor Diker’s “genetic proof” of a
“Turkish-Etruscan” connection (Part II, item 2e) can be logically
disassembled. Like Gokalp, Professor Diker is confusing “Turkophone” with
“Turkic” (as in Central Asian). The study cited by Diker has only
demonstrated a link between the inhabitants of today’s
Cultural links between Anatolia,
“…the heavy historical gene
et al, 2000, p.1267]
none of these studies reveal any Central
Asian or Turkish speaking connections, as no Turks existed in the Caucasus,
Anatolia, the Near East, the Aegean or
noted repeatedly in this commentary, racist dogma of any creed or persuasion
fails the test of objective scrutiny. The
thesis of a pan-Turanian homeland in which the inhabitants of Central Asia,
is only one of the many domains that may or may not define national identity.
Similarly, the tribalistic concept of “race” cannot be used to define
national identity in a binary fashion. In the
Turks are just as accepting of diversity (irrespective of the Kurdish issue
today), undoubtedly a result of their high level of education. In cosmopolitan
is here where the strict application of “Nationalism” appears to fail. A
true pluralistic domain is able to accept and embrace all, regardless of
“nationality”, “race”, or “language”. What do we mean by the
“pluralistic domain”? Here we speak of a true civilization (e.g. Western
civilization, Islamic civilization,
simplistically vulgar it is dehumanize peoples into “my race-your race”,
especially when it comes to Iranians and Turks. As noted before, Iranians and
Turks are two peoples whose fates have been intertwined: Turkic and Iranic
mixtures are evident from the mountains of the Tien Shan all the way to the
shores of the
is here were the barbaric aspects of “race criteria” break down. In
author has critically focused on the activities of the Grey Wolves in
in what way? The answer to that question obliges one to enter a veritable
hornet’s nest of (endless) political debates and passionate discussions with
no end. By no means does this writer offer any “solutions”, nor does this
writer pretend to be the “ultimate expert” in any sense. However, it is
possible to share a number of surprising observations.
first western intellectual to astutely observe this has been author/researcher, Sandra
notes that there seems to be a divide
between those who appreciate the past of
intellectual “tug of war” has been very damaging in that it has absorbed
much of the Iranian intellectual impetus for nearly a century (perhaps longer).
It has allowed for the rise of anti-Persian cultural expression (see (b) below).
Many Iranians are simply tired of this “binary” state of affairs, and wish
to arrive at a healthy synthesis:
(b) Toleration of
Anti-Persian cultural expressions
have been surprisingly meek in the face of certain anti-Persian cultural
expressions notably the following.
The above mentioned “tug of war” (Persia-Islam) has produced a unqiue
phenomenon among a number of the
label associates authoritarianism, dictatorship, narrow-minded, and violent
oppression with virtually any favorable observations of
“modern” view is that
A number of leftist political platforms in the 1960s and 1970s re-cycled a
term that had been invented by Soviet historians: “Choveneesm-e-Fars”. As
the term was originally associated with the discredited pro-Soviet Pishevari
movement, it was never taken seriously by the majority of
is a term that challenges the historical unity of
term “Choveneesm-e-Fars” is
still used by the followers of the highly
discredited and unpopular MKO (Mujaheddin Khalq Organization). This
observation is denied by the MKO of course. Nevertheless, actions speak louder
than words. The leadership of the MKO was on Saddam Hussein’s payroll
throughout much of the Iran-Iraq war. MKO
ideologues fought against regular Iranian troops and terrorized Iranian
civilians throughout that war. The
MKO continued to support Saddam’s territorial claims to southwest
Rajavi’s allusions to “Choveneesm-e-Fars”
neatly coincided with Pan-Arab claims to Khuzestan.
term “Choveneesm-e-Fars” was
one of an array of political weapons used by the Iranian left in the 1960s and
1970s to mobilize
the Iranian leftists originally viewed “Choveneesm-e-Fars” from a romantic-Bohemian “human
rights” vantage point; whatever their motives the damage has been done.
the MKO has found powerful western patrons, particularly the English, Americans
In their myopia to support the MKO, geopolitical lobbies seem to have
conveniently forgotten the fact that it was the MKO who murdered American
personnel in the 1970s. Their ideology was vehemently anti-modern and
anti-western in its inception. The movement is said to resemble a cult and all
democratic dissent is violently suppressed. MKO denies all of these allegations
Iranians rightly despise the MKO, very few are aware of the cultural weapons
they are promoting.
Organizations like the MKO openly advocate anti-Persian cultural terminology (Choveneesm-e-Fars)
and ally themselves with geopolitically funded separatist groups in their
short-sighted and selfish bids to gain political office.
term “Choveneesm-e-Fars” is
now a cultural geo-political weapon at the hands of the MKO against the
cultural, historical and territorial integrity of
noted succinctly by Professor Olson:
is ironic about the fact that the“Azarbaijan question” was allowed to
devolop to the stage that it did from 1991 to the present is that it occurred
under the watch of an Islamic Republic preaching the universalist discourse
of Islam, never realizing that such values could result in accelerated
particularisms, including the strengthening of sub-group nationalisms the
could grow to threaten the state”
Olson has duly observed above, the current regime in
high school students at the senior level obtain no education in
our university library there are just 3 books on pre-Islamic Persia…pan-Turkist
types like Chehreganli, one of our former students, can make claims that Azarbaijan
has been Turanian since time immemorial simply because there is no
academic platform to stop them…meanwhile pan-Turanian activists in Azarbaijan
make unsubstantiated claims…all of this could be easily halted if we had the
academic resources…the regime needs to take notice”
these circumstances, it is no wonder that nonsense narratives about Iranian
icons (e.g. Babak Khorramdin, Sattar Khan), history (claiming Azarbaijan as
Turanian) or languages (claiming Parthian as Turkish) are have been allowed to
spread among Iran’s youth – there simply are no adequately organized
educational structures in place to combat pan-Turanian ideology.
there are signs that the people of
To its credit, the
(d) A Bitter
information in this section will undoubtedly make a number of Iranians
uncomfortable. Nevertheless, despite its unpalatable nature, certain facts need
to be addressed.
followers of Mr. Chehreganli and SANAM often refer to the how “Persian
chauvinists” engage in disparaging ethnic jokes against Azeris.
Of course, Mr. Chehreganli either does not know, or wants it to be known, that many
of these “jokes” are not even Persian in origin.
Part II, items 5b-c, we noted of the brutal role of Imperial Russian troops in
early twentieth century
Russians (and British) were very concerned with a cultural dynamic in
was in here where the Russian secret police had the distinction of inventing the first
anti-Iranian cultural weapons. They even outdid the British, who themselves
had been working to undermine
weapons are the so-called venomous “jokes” targeted against
“jokes” themselves are anything but humorous, especially when these are
narrated to non-Iranians. In general these “jokes” always question the
intelligence of the Azeris and the valour of the Rashtis. The Russian invention
is especially ingenious as the Azeris have in reality always been highly
industrious and among
is not known is that many members of the
Imperial Russian secret police (like the KGB later) spoke and wrote fluent
Persian and were able to easily blend into
Each and every time Iranians engage in these so-called “jokes”, they are forwarding an anti-Iranian agenda, one that goes back to the early 1900s. They are also helping Mr. Chehreganli, SANAM and their Geopolitical supporters.
[i] Atabaki, T.,
Azarbaijan: Ethnicity and the Struggle for Power in Iran, p.7.[ii] Kasravi, A. Azeri ya Zaban-e Bastan-e Azarbaijan, 2nd print, Tehran, Taban, 1938, p.8.
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