Following the state visit of Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, the Baku Jewish community has requested the State of Israel’s assistance and that it exercise its international influence with world powers to exert pressure on Iran to desist from acts of violence against the Azeri minority in north-western Iran and southern Azerbaijan.
The Jewish community joined more than 30 serving members of Knesset in sending a letter to Foreign Minister Cohen where they expressed their great need for intervention from the State of Israel on behalf of the Jewish communities in Azerbaijan.
In the letter, MKs stated that “The Ayatollah regime in Iran often attacks Israel on the Palestinian issue and even finances and incites murderous terror groups against us under the banner of the Palestinian struggle. The folly of this false propaganda is especially prominent in the predatory oppression of the Azeri minority in Iran itself.”
According to the letter, “This is the largest ethnic group in Iran, numbering more than 20 million people. The regime implements a policy of cultural genocide by restricting the rights of the Azeri minority to study and pass on its heritage, to teach their language, and even to register their children with Azeri names.”
The members of Knesset continued to elaborate, saying that “Members of the Azeri minority are concentrated in the southern Azeri province in north-western Iran, and have been extremely active in recent protests against the regime. The number of those imprisoned is especially notable. Despite the regime’s efforts to tyrannize, they are active in Tabriz, the capital city of the southern Azerbaijan province.“ The letter noted that a new protest movement has united eight different organizations of the Azeri minority, and is operated on a popular telegram channel, Guney AZfront, in the Azeri language by activists in Tabriz, who regularly organize protests that are beyond the regime’s ability to handle.
“Let us mention,” the politicians continue, on behalf of the Baku Jewish community, “that these are members of the Azeri nation who have been most amicable to the Jews throughout history. The Jewish community of Azerbaijan is most concerned about the persecution of this friendly people in Iran. Today, Azerbaijan is one of Israel’s most important strategic allies in the region.
“Therefore, we appeal to you to act using the tools at the disposal of your ministry to raise the matter of the oppression of the Azeri minority in Iran at every appropriate international forum. This is an important and necessary moral undertaking,” demanded the MKs. “Garnering wide international support as much as possible for the national aspirations in southern Azerbaijan will constitute a fatal blow to the Ayatollah regime, and there is no doubt that if the sovereign state of South Azerbejain is established, Israel will merit another ally in the region alongside the Republic of Azerbaijan.”
The letter concluded by saying that “supporting them would also constitute an appropriate political response to the sabotage efforts carried out by the Ayatollah regime against us, by financing and arming Hezbollah and hostile Palestinian organizations for approximately three decades.”