AZ.NEWS-Saleh Kamrani, a political activist from South Azerbaijan, participated and talked as the leader of Azerbaijan Central Party in a Conference in Brussels. The conference was held from Nov. 30 until Dec. 1. Hereby you will find full text of his speech:
Ladies and gentlemen! Dignitaries!
It is my great pleasure to be here and as the leader of the “Azerbaijan Central Party”, I am excited to share with you my party’s perspective on the future of South Azerbaijan, other nationalities and Iran.
I’d like to begin with emphasizing on the basic fact that South Azerbaijan has been and still is the center of civil and democratic movements as well as political, economic and cultural developments within the boundaries of Iran and beyond.
South Azerbaijan’s de facto capital Tabriz, in particular, has been the hub of press and media, innovation, industrialization and Pro-democracy movements. Thus, Azerbaijan can play a leading role in uniting all genuine opposition forces against current Iranian regime.
Even though there is a long list of political parties and opposition alignments and forces that claim to be the right alternative for future Iran in the aftermath of the regime collapse in Tehran, it is Azerbaijan and other nationalities that are real alternatives for a bright future in Iran, not those pro- status quo alternatives, put forth by Monarchists and Mojahedin-e Khalq organization that oppose fundamental changes and transition of Iran into a multiethnic multicultural democracy.
It is a regrettable situation that the old guard pro-status quo forces oppose Iran’s transition into a decentralized multiethnic democracy. They do not generate solutions, they rather are part of the problem on the issue of nationalities and countering racism and apartheid system in Iran.
The Azerbaijan Central Party is keen to engage with all the democratic and peaceful forces in South Azerbaijan and in Iran and the party is open to everyone who accepts our principles and is willing to work with us. Firm conviction in self-determination, freedom, equality, peace and justice are some of our guiding principles.
Whereas no single ethnicity, including Persians, constitutes an absolute majority and Azerbaijani Turks make up a relative majority of Iran, the pro- status quo and centralist alternatives are simply unrealistic and will not produce permanent solutions for future Iran and its issue of nationalities.
Therefore, supporting Azerbaijanis’ desire to self-determination for all nationalities, decentralization and democratization of Iran is essential. We in the “Azerbaijan Central Party” believe that Azerbaijan is in a unique position to unite all the nationalities in Iran to move towards a transition into a democracy.
South Azerbaijan’s role has been decisive and outstanding in pro-democracy movements in contemporary Iran, all the way from the “Constitutional Revolution” in 1905 to the recent nation-wide uprising which was sparked by a hike in fuel prices but there were accumulated underlying grievances to that.
Despite Iranian regime’s heavy-handed approach against the protesters, the Azerbaijan Central Party always believes in totally peaceful and nonviolent protests aiming at removing the current apartheid dictatorship in Iran.
During these recent protests, Azerbaijani Turks and other Turkic peoples including Qashqai Turks were actively present. Their participation created an atmosphere of hope for all pro-democracy forces as no real changes can take place without participation of the Turks in Iran. The Azerbaijani and other Turkic peoples suffered heavy casualties and tens of Azerbaijani and Qashqai Turks were murdered and hundreds more were injured by regime’s riot police and plainclothes forces.
Ladies and gentlemen!
The Azerbaijan Central Party believes that Azerbaijan is and has always been a multiethnic and multicultural territory where different nationalities enjoy coexistence and acceptance. That is why throughout its tolerant history, Azerbaijan has always been a refuge and a home to different ethnic and religious minorities such as Kurds, Persians, Assyrians, Armenians, Jews, and the Bahai’s. Azerbaijani Turks have always welcomed and lived in peace and coexistence with non-Turkish minorities in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijan Central Party sees Iranian regime a
d not only for the Iranians but also for the justice-seeking freedom-seeking people in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere in the region. The Azerbaijan Central Party supports nations struggle to stop dangerous Iranian influence and praises the popular uprising in Iraq and Lebanon against the spread of malign Iranian interference and sectarianism in the country.
Finally, the Azerbaijan Central Party encourages all political parties that are representing different nationalities in Iran to join this coalition of nationalities as the current Persian-supremacist dictatorship would only be collapsed with the active participation of all nationalities, particularly the Azerbaijani. Our union is important because if we nations cannot unite against the Apartheid system in Iran, then the Monarchists and Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization would take advantage in the event of regime collapse in Iran. We all know that both of them have no respect for the Iranian nationalities and don’t recognize these nationalities’ right for self-determination and egalitarian coexistence.
Thank you for your patience!