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AEI PANEL LAMBASTS IRAN'S ETHNIC POLICIES
Submitted by Mark Dankof
Oct. 27, 2005
(FOREWORD by Kaveh Farrokh to Mark Dankof:
As promised previously, I have posted my upcoming book (originally intended
for publication) for free and unrestricted on-line public access. The link is:
Pan-Turanianism Takes Aim at Azerbaijan: A Geopolitical Agenda
http://www.rozanehmagazine.com/NoveDec05/aazariINDEX.HTML [This is hosted by Rozaneh Magazine at http://www.rozanehmagazine.com] -
special thanks is extended to Shirin Tabibzadeh in volunteering to re-format
the book for on-line use]
The situation is all the more dangerous now, given the disastrous anti-Israel
speech by the Iranian leadership in Tehran. Truly "fuel for the fire". That
speech is a godsend to pan-Turan separatists like Rahim Shahbazi.
The recent Ahmadinejad speech is detracting attention from the disasterous AEI
meeting hosted by anti-Iran "scholar" Michael Ledeen (forwarded below - I am
sure many of you have seen this).
Ledeen's platform is one of many that provides pan-Turanian Azeri separatists
such as Rahim Shahbazi, to spew non-sense narratives such as the "presence of
Turks in Azerbaijan for 7000 years" and other such claims (see Part II of the
on-line book). Pan-Turan ideology is discussed in Part I of the book, and Part
II discusses how a false "history" has been invented for Azerbaiajn.
Thanks to the anti-Iranian nature of the panel, and Iranian ignorance
regarding Iran's pre-Islamic past, people like Shahbazi can act as pan-
Turanian Prima Donnas.
The on-line book will fully expose the fraudulent basis of Pan-Turanian claims
and who these so-called activists (including the Kurdish and Ahwazi
seperatists) are. The e-mail below reveals the real agenda of the pan-Kurd and
Al-Ahwaz seperatists as well. These are discussed in the Part VI of the book
As promised, the book will also focus on the Bernard Lewis Plan and the
geopolitical agendas (Part VI of the book). You may wish to start with Part VI
first, before reading the book from its outset. This is because Part VI
reveals information that will greatly surprise you - esp. regarding the
separatism agenda against Iran.
Preparation of this book has taken a few years, so please be patient as you
read this - try and read it in chunks. There are close to 200 pictures in the
book as well (some will be shocking indeed). There are many details that I
hope you will read carefully.
Pan-Turanian ideology has spent a lot of time and resources to prepare for
Iran's destruction. Shahbazi (see e-mail below) now talks of Iran's
"Balkanization". Make no mistake - he is a Grey Wolf (Turkish racist party)
pan-Turan racialist. His powerful backers (e.g Ledeen) and handsome funding
allow Shabazi to engage in widespread intellectual flatullence.
But this is what you must take notice - as you see in the attachment below,
Shahbazi's argument is not with current regime in Tehran - he is against Iran
and Persian culture itself. He is one of the Chehreganli-school hate-mongers
who insists on viewing issues in racial (Persian vs. Azeri) terms. The recent
Ahmadinejad speech is lamentable, however that must not detract us form
witnessing the fruition of a long-term plan to "Balkanize" Iran.
There are many parallels with Yugoslavia in the late 20th century. Foreign
sponsorship of seperatism as well as inept political leadership in Belgrade
(recall Slobodan Milosevic) destroyed that nation. Iranians need to wake up to
what is happening. It is up to the people of Iran now to save their nation
from destruction and senseless violence.
Please forward this on-line book to as many people and associations, as
possible. I only ask that we all work together to stop the coming madness.
To Unity, Understanding, and Peace
Washington DC, October 27, 2005 - The American Enterprise Institute and its
resident scholar, Michael Ledeen, hosted a five-paneled discussion titled "The
Unknown Iran: Another Case for Federalism?" The idea behind the conference,
Ledeen explained in his opening statement, had come about through his
realization that "only 51 percent of the population of Iran is 'Persian,' as
they call it."
Prior to opening the conference, Ledeen dismissed allegations that AEI seeks
to dismember Iran by pointing out that the think-thank hosted similar
conferences on ethnic groups in Iraq prior to the US invasion of that country.
Rather, "the panelists, who think of themselves as Iranian, seek to educate
the American Public," he argued.
The conference and the ensuing chaos, which one audience member described as
"Jerry Springeresk," demonstrated - in spite of Ledeen's assurances - major
differences between the panelists on the central issue of Iran's identity and
While Manda Zand Ervin, founder of the Alliance of Iranian Women, emphasized
Iran's national unity and attributed ethnic tensions in Iran "to the
repression of the Iranian regime," others put equal blame on the previous
Iranian regime. Rahim Shahbazi, vice president of the Azerbaijani Societies of
North America, accused both Iran's Islamic and Monarchic regimes of having
conducted "cultural genocide for the last 80 years on two-thirds of Iran's
Shahbazi went on to declare that Turks have inhabited "Tabriz for more than
7,000 years. Since 5,000 BC, Tabriz has been the capitol of Turkish dynasties,
of which the Qajars was the last."
Chiming in later, Morteza Esfandiari, representative for the Democratic Party
of Iranian Kurdistan, criticized the Iranian government's treatment of the
Kurdish population. "Kurdish kids are forced to study Persian in the name of
unity," explained Esfandiari. Successive Iranian governments have promoted the
language and culture of Iran's Persian population at the expense of those of
other ethnicities, he argued.
Contrary to panelists like Esfandiari, Amanollah Riggi, chief of a 300,000 man
strong Baluchi tribe, emphasized Iranian unity by referencing his own national
identity and pride. "People say 51 percent of Iran is Persian, they are wrong;
99 percent of Iran is Persian and I am proud to be Persian too," Riggi stated.
"From Kurdistan, to Khuzistan, to Azerbaijan, Iran once upon a time was a
united Persia," remarked Riggi as one audience member protested by yelling
Ali Al-Taie, professor of sociology at Shaw University, who was the last
panelist to speak, began his statement with a verse from the Quran, and argued
that the Arabs of Khuzestan were the region's indigenous population and not
recent immigrants. Al-Taie, who maintained that Iranian Arabs are descendents
of the Elamite civilization, told the audience that his Doctoral degree was
not recognized by the Pahlavi regime due to his Arab ethnicity.
Shahbazi was particularly vocal in his criticism of Iranian opposition groups,
which he referred to as the "Persian opposition." He identified the Iranian
government and Persian opposition groups as the main obstacles to ethnic
harmony. "When it comes to ethnic rights, Persian opposition groups are on the
same side as the terrorist Islamic Republic. If this continues, we will see
the Balkanization of Iran," warned Shahbazi.
He dismissed Azeris that occupy high-level government posts in Iran as "hired
guns designated to implement the racist chauvinistic policies of Iran." These
Azeris, which include Ali Khamenei, were in his view "Uncle Toms" to the Azeri
The Azeri nationalist later stated that "the Azeris have become disillusioned
by the religious propaganda from the government" and turn to Turkish state TV
Shabazi's statements were cheered by a small group of supporters in the
audience and at one point, audience members from different groups had to be
physically separated in order to avoid a brawl.
The tense environment that surrounded the panelists' statements escalated
during the question and answer period.
The first question, which was quickly dismissed by Ledeen, focused on his
involvement in the Iran-Contra affairs and his advocacy for "an American style
When asked if he would welcome Iraqi Kurds "speaking up on behalf of Kurds in
Iran that are under siege," Esfandiari responded "I certainly would," adding
that Iranian Kurds share a close relationship with Kurds in Iraq and Turkey.
Later, when asked if the Azeri community had elected him to speak on their
behalf, Shahbazi remarked, "no one sent me to speak, because Azeris in Iran
are in jail."
Shahbazi, who was the target of a barrage of questions, was asked if he had
evidence to support his assertion that Iranian opposition groups were on the
side of the Islamic government. Shahbazi said yes and cited Persian-language
Television networks in California that failed to incorporate Turkish or Azeri
When the panel was subsequently asked to define the word "Persian," several
claimed not to know the definition. An audience member then angrily responded
"How can these panelists not know what Persian means?"
The chaos spiraled out of control as an exchange between Manuchehr Ganji, an
audience member, and Al-Taie quickly turned into a yelling match.
When order was eventually re-established, an audience member asked the panel
to outline their view on what US policy towards Iran should be.
Ervin-Zand, who earlier had stated that "the regime has concocted the notion
of separatism to justify its human rights violations," called on the Bush
Administration to end its "appeasement of Iran."
"We hope to see a US policy that ends negotiations with Iran forever," she
said, arguing that the regime in Iran would fall if the US refused to talk to
Shahbazi, on the other hand, criticized American support of Iranian opposition
groups and argued that "the real investment should be in the ethnic problem.
This will be the true nuclear bomb that will blow away the Iranian regime."
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