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Voice of Talysh

Голос Талыша


Известные события, произошедшие с моей семьей за последние годы, всколыхнули нашу жизнь до основания.

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Xıdo rəhmətkə Əli Rzayevi... 
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Çı mardə odəmi nomi bə jurnali redaksiyə heyət çokonə dənəmon? 
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Əv kiye? 
Şahmirzə Tolışəxun - 60 
Tolışi talantə şair Şamirzə TOLIŞƏXUN (10.07.1955 - 18.11.2014) 
Tolışi talantə şair Şamirzə TOLIŞƏXUN (10.07.1955 - 18.11.2014) 
Baləddin VEŞO şeronədə pencli janr 
De şair Baləddin VEŞO müsahibə 

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Новрузали Мамедов
Марьям МАММАДОВА. Трагедия одной семьи. 2013
Azərbaycan Respublikası və Milli azlıqların müdafiəsi haqqında çərçivə Sazişi
ГИЛАЛ МАМЕДОВ на свабоде!
Talış dilinin hazırkı durumu ilə bağlı Azərbaycan Talışların İctimai Şurasının MÖVQE SƏNƏDİ

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Voice of Talysh

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WikiLeaks about Talyshs: Preliminary information on the Iranian diaspora community in Azarbaijan

VZCZCXRO8494
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHKB #0392/01 0991258
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 091258Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2716
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BAKU 000392 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/01/2017 
TAGS: 
SUBJECT: PRELIMINARY INFORMATION ON THE IRANIAN DIASPORA 
COMMUNITY IN AZERBAIJAN (C-TN7-00225) 
 
REF: STATE 031483 
 
BAKU 00000392 001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Anne E. Derse for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
 1. (S/NF) Summary: According to the Azerbaijani State 
Migration Service, the Iranian diaspora community in 
Azerbaijan numbers approximately 10,000 and is made up 
predominantly of ethnic Azeris, Talysh and Persians. Despite 
the appreciable number of Iranians living in Azerbaijan, 
especially in the capital Baku, there are no significant 
diaspora social, cultural, religious, business, or political 
organizations, let alone leaders, who enjoy a large 
following. A number of groups claiming to represent the 
interests of "southern Azerbaijanis" have offices in Baku, 
but appear to have little support among either the 
Azerbaijani or Iranian communities and are heavily monitored 
by Azerbaijani and Iranian security services. The Islamic 
Republic of Iran (IRI) maintains a large presence in 
Azerbaijan and, operating out of Iran's diplomatic posts and 
cultural centers, keeps a careful eye on the diaspora 
community, including the 700-800 Iranian students resident in 
Azerbaijan. Although some prominent Azerbaijani opposition 
politicians have adopted the cause of "southern 
Azerbaijanis," there appears to be little coordination 
between these politicians and the somewhat fractured 
"southern Azerbaijani" diaspora groups with offices in Baku. 
Neither the Iranian nor the Azerbaijani government seems 
willing to allow the explosive unification issue to derail 
bilateral relations. End summary. 
 
An Overview of the Iranian Diaspora 
----------------------------------- 
 
 2. (C) According to the Azerbaijani State Migration Service, 
the Iranian diaspora community in Azerbaijan numbers 
approximately 10,000 and is made up predominantly of ethnic 
Azeris, Talysh and Persians. Despite the appreciable number 
of Iranians living in Azerbaijan, especially in the capital 
of Baku, there are no significant diaspora social, cultural, 
religious, business, or political organizations, let alone 
leaders, who enjoy a large following. This lack of 
non-governmental, organized activity is likely due to heavy 
government scrutiny, both in the IRI and Azerbaijan, as 
neither government is keen on separatist agitation in its 
respective country. It is also important to note that the 
vast majority of Iranian ethnic Azeris, both in Iran and 
Azerbaijan, consider themselves to be Iranians first, ethnic 
Azeris second. 
 
 3. (SBU) While the majority of Iranians living in Azerbaijan 
are not politically active, a number of organizations 
claiming to represent the views of Iran's ethnic Azeri 
community have emerged. Founded primarily by ethnic Azeri 
refugees or assylees now living in Europe and North America, 
these organizations are motivated by a strong desire to see 
"South Azerbaijan" reunified with Azerbaijan. Of these 
groups, the most significant in terms of size and influence 
include the World Azerbaijanis Congress (Dunya 
Azerbaycanlilari Kongresi) and Southern Azerbaijan National 
Awakening Movement (Guney Azerbaycan Milli Oyanis Herekati). 
Headed by Dr. Javad Derakhti (an ethnic Azeri holding Swedish 
citizenship), the World Azerbaijanis Congress claims to have 
6,000 members active in 14 countries. Similarly, the 
Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement, headed by 
Professor Mahmudali Chehraganli (an ethnic Azeri now living 
in the US), claims to have an active membership numbering "in 
the thousands," also active in over 14 countries. Also 
claiming to represent the views of Iran's ethnic Azeri 
community, GunAz Television (GunAz is short for Guney 
Azerbaijan or South Azerbaijan), a Chicago-based satellite 
station operated by Ahmad Obali (an ethnic Azeri and 
naturalized US citizen), is also a player in the ethnic Azeri 
movement (although GunAz Television's influence is hotly 
debated both in Iran and Azerbaijan). 
 
 4. (C) All three organizations maintain resident offices in 
Baku and have supported small-scale actions to include 
protests at the Iranian Embassy, usually demanding greater 
cultural autonomy for Iran's ethnic Azeris. These groups 
have largely failed to seize the initiative and transform 
their passions into a political movement in either Iran or 
Azerbaijan. "Unification" is a politically charged issue in 
both countries, and Azerbaijani and Iranian security services 
keep a careful eye on "southern Azerbaijani" organizations in 
both countries to ensure they do not overstep political 
 
BAKU 00000392 002.2 OF 003 
 
 
bounds. The groups also seem hampered by a lack of 
coordination. Despite frequent international conferences and 
other mobilization efforts, no one organization or leader of 
the 20-plus organizations all claiming to represent the 
interests of Iran's ethnic Azeri minority has emerged. 
 
 5. (C) A handful of influential Azerbaijani opposition 
politicians have seized upon the ethnic Azeri issue in Iran, 
attacking the Aliyev government for not speaking out more 
forcefully on the behalf of their ethnic brethren in Iran. 
Long associated with and sympathetic to Mahmudali Chehraganli 
and his South Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement, Isa 
Gambar of the Musavat Party and Ali Kerimli of the Popular 
Front Party have reportedly provided moral, financial, and 
media support over the years. (Gambar's Yeni Musavat 
newspaper frequently runs stories sympathetic to the plight 
of ethnic Azeris in Iran.) Another opposition politician, 
Etibar Mammadov of the Azerbaijan National Independence 
Party, has also been a supporter of the ethnic Azeri 
movement, organizing and hosting the September 2006 "National 
Movement of South Azerbaijan" conference in Baku. 
Ultimately, however, the issue of Iran's ethnic Azeris has 
yet materialize into a political movement, let alone serve to 
unify Azerbaijan's divided opposition. 
 
 6. (C) By far the largest Iranian diaspora group with 
virtually any organization in Azerbaijan is the Iranian 
exchange student population. Represented predominantly by 
ethnic Azeri and Persian students, the Iranian exchange 
student population is relatively small, estimated at between 
700 and 800 students. (Armenia, in contrast, hosts an 
Iranian student population in excess of 3,000.) Motivated 
primarily by an interest to escape the rigid academic and 
political conditions in their home country, Iranian exchange 
students studying in Azerbaijan do not appear to favor any 
one university or academic discipline. 
 
 7. (S/NF) SIMO reporting suggests that the Iranian 
intelligence apparatus closely monitors this population. 
Despite efforts by the Baku Iranian Cultural Center to 
organize an Iranian Students Association and compel 
membership, this effort does not appear to have gained any 
traction. Cognizant of Iranian intelligence scrutiny, 
Embassy contacts report that most Iranian students prefer 
informal student networks that maintain contact by email or 
mobile telephone text messaging. (We are not aware of any 
student newspapers, websites or blog sites.) Anecdotal 
evidence suggests that the fears of Iranian exchange students 
do not appear to be unfounded; according to a number of 
Embassy contacts, Iranian intelligence has reportedly stepped 
up its monitoring of the exchange student population, a large 
influx of male exchange students - most often in their late 
20s and early 30s - having started studies in the first-year 
programs of a number of local universities in the past year. 
 
The Iranian Official Presence in Azerbaijan 
------------------------------------------- 
 
 8. (C) While the activities of the Iranian diaspora 
community in Azerbaijan are at best disorganized and 
sporadic, the same cannot be said of the IRI's official 
presence in the country. Staffing its key diplomatic and 
cultural center postings with ethnic Azeris, Iran's diplomats 
and cultural affairs officers have undertaken a very active 
and effective public relations campaign in Azerbaijan. 
Focusing their efforts primarily on influencing the 
Azerbaijani populace, Iran's diplomats ruthlessly exploit any 
opportunity to show the US - or Azerbaijani western 
integration efforts - in a negative light. Iran's former 
Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Afshar Suleymani, was a formidable 
presence in the Azerbaijani media, often appearing on 
Azerbaijani television stations and always speaking in 
Azerbaijani. Iran's new ambassador in Baku, Naser Hamidi 
Zare, also an ethnic Azeri who previously served as Iranian 
Consul General to the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan, is a 
lesser known quantity, having kept a relatively low media 
profile during his tenure in Nakhchivan. 
 
 9. (S) Also operating out of Iran's diplomatic posts and 
cultural centers, Ministry of Intelligence and Security 
(MOIS) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) 
operatives reportedly focus their efforts on monitoring the 
Iranian ethnic Azeri community, exploiting media and other 
tools to present the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in the 
best possible light, and attracting young Azerbaijanis to 
 
BAKU 00000392 003.2 OF 003 
 
 
visit or study in Iran. They also keep close tabs on the 
activities of Iranian exchange students and any cultural and 
political groups active in issues affecting Iran's ethnic 
Azeri community. Bonyads such as the Imam Khomeii 
foundation also serve to advance Iranian intersts, but 
reportedly focus their efforts primarily on Azerbaijan's 
large refugee and internally displaced persons population 
(providing aid, educational, medical, and religious 
services). The Baku branch of Iran's Melli Bank (the only 
branch office in the Caucasus) provides the financial support 
necessary to facilitate cultural and other activities. We 
are exploring the role Melli Bank and Azerbaijani banks play 
in facilitating the transfer of remittances between the 
diaspora community and Iran. 
 
 10. (C) The Iranian government, rather than diaspora groups, 
dominates Iranian broadcasting in Azerbaijan. Enjoying 
favorable (mountainous) terrain and a vast array of powerful 
transmission and jamming towers located along the 432 
kilometer Iranian-Azerbaijani frontier, Iran's primary 
broadcasting effort comes in the form of Seher Television. 
Broadcast in the Azeri language, Seher Television is capable 
of reaching nearly every major Azerbaijani population center, 
to include Baku. The Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan with 
its 179 kilometer shared border is especially vulnerable to 
Iranian broadcast efforts; Seher Television and at least 
eight Farsi-language stations are broadcast daily. Beyond 
its television and radio broadcasting efforts, Iran also 
employs internet blog sites, first appearing during the Sanat 
controversy, when Iran seized upon an allegedly anti-Islamic 
article published in a Baku newspaper. To date, the Embassy 
is not aware of any Iranian outreach efforts involving the 
use of mobile telephone text messaging. The IRI actively 
jams inbound television and radio broadcasting, to include 
Voice of America's Azerbaijani-language broadcasts (the 
"spillover" which Embassy contacts report can be picked up by 
Iranians living in the inter-border region). 
 
Complex Relations and other Limitations 
--------------------------------------- 
 
 11. (S) Comment: Given the high degree of government 
scrutiny - both Iranian and Azerbaijani - applied to the 
Iranian diaspora community, as well as the intense government 
pressure not to allow the "unification" question to derail 
bilateral relations, Azerbaijan's significant Iranian 
diaspora community plays an understandably quiet role in 
public affairs. The mostly ethnic Azeri community's ability 
to seamlessly blend into Azerbaijani life also makes it hard 
to pinpoint its activities, social groups, or financial 
activities. We will continue to explore the questions raised 
in reftel and will report further information as available. 
End comment. 
DERSE

http://dazzlepod.com/cable/07BAKU392/?q=talysh


 
 
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