21
Aug

PAAIA Voices Concern About Azeri Separatist Recommendation

 

 
 
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August 21, 2012, Washington, D.C. – Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) responded to a letter sent by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary R. Clinton, recommending that the United States support the joining of Iranian Azerbaijanis with the Republic of Azerbaijan. Rohrabacher’s letter was prompted by recent news stories concerning military cooperation between Israel and the Azerbaijan Republic. 
 
“It would be wise for the United States to encourage such cooperation, as the aggressive dictatorship in Tehran is our enemy as well as theirs,” said Rohrabacher. “The people of Azerbaijan are geographically divided and many are calling for the reunification of their homeland after nearly two centuries of foreign rule.”

In its letter, PAAIA expressed its concern regarding this recommendation, noting that such a suggestion would not only be  detrimental to the interests of the U.S., but it would also not be supported by Americans of Iranian descent or the Azeri population living in Iran.

Click here to read PAAIA’s letter to Congressman Rohrabacher.

PAAIA noted in its letter that, although our 2011 survey of Iranian Americans show that two-thirds of Iranian Americans believe that Iran should be a secular democracy, only two percent believe the Islamic Republic works best in Iran. We believe that only a small minority of the community will consider this an acceptable proposition.  “Any policy recommendations promoting the break-up of Iran would have almost no support amongst the Iranian American population,” explained PAAIA’s Executive Director, Saghi Modjtabai.
 
PAAIA also noted that, at a time when the U.S. is reaching out to seek a direct dialogue with the people of Iran and hear their views and understand their aspirations, a policy advocating the break-up of the country will only alienate the Iranian people and diminish any headway that the U.S. has made in reaching them.

Iran’s Azeri population is closely associated with the creation of modern Iran, dating back to 1501 A.D. Several Iranian dynasties, rulers, and revered national figures have been Azeris who have represented and united Iran.  According to Richard Frye, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Harvard University, the dominant influence of the “Persian language and culture has created solidarity of great strength. This was revealed in the Iran-Iraq War when Arabs of Khuzestan did not join the invaders, and earlier when Azeris did not rally to their northern cousins after World War II, when Soviet forces occupied Azerbaijan.” 
 
The letter, which was also sent to Secretary Clinton, asked Congressman Rohrabacher to reconsider his recommendation and offered to provide him with any additional information to assist him in better understanding the political ramifications of such an action for the United States and the region.

PAAIA will continue to follow up on this issue and will provide updates as appropriate.

PAAIA Voices Concern
About Azeri Separatist Recommendation

 

Public Affairs Alliance of
Iranian Americans
1614 20th Street NW
Washington DC 20009
www.paaia.org

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