Israeli lawmakers urge FM Cohen to support Azeri minority in Iran

'These are members of the Azeri nation who have been most amicable to the Jews throughout history'

Israeli parliament members on Thursday sent a letter to Foreign Minister Eli Cohen urging Israel to put international pressure on Tehran over its acts of violence against the Azeri minority that lives in the southern Azeri province in north-western Iran.

The letter signed by 32 serving members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) expresses the need for Israel to intervene on behalf of the Jewish communities in Azerbaijan. The move comes shortly after Cohen’s state visit to Baku, where he met with President Ilham Aliyev and discussed deepening economic and security ties between Israel and Azerbaijan.

“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,” the letter said.

According to the lawmakers, Israel should exercise its international influence to convince the world powers to put pressure on Tehran.

“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 lawmakers stressed.

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They added 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.”

Earlier in March, Azerbaijan became the first Shia Muslim country to open an embassy in Israel, in another sign of warming relations between the two states.

“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 Azerbaijan is established, Israel will merit another ally in the region alongside the Republic of Azerbaijan,” the letter claimed.

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