South Azerbaijan is the Southern part of historically united Azerbaijan which was divided into two parts through Turkmenchay Treaty on February 21, 1828, due to Qajar defeat from Russia.
South Azerbaijan is currently a region in northwest of Iran which is located in south of Republic of Azerbaijan (North Azerbaijan) and Armenia and in east of Turkey.
South Azerbaijan encompasses the province of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardebil Province, Zenjan Province, Ghazvin and parts of Hamadan Provinces.
The most significant cites of South Azerbaijan are Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, Zenjan, Khoy, Salmas, Sovuqbulaq (Mahabad), Sulduz (Naghadeh), Qoshachay (Miyandab), Ahar, Mughan, Sarab, Sayinqala(Shahindej), Astara, Saveh, Ghazvin, Miyaneh, Maragheh, Maku, Marand, Binab, Khalkhal, Abhar, Jolfa etc.
Tabriz is the largest city and the capital of Southern Azerbaijan.
This region has great geographical and environmental diversity made up of mountains, valleys, forests, lakes and marshlands.
Southern Azerbaijan is mostly populated by Shi’a Muslims; however, there are other religions minorities such as non-believers, Sunni Turks and Ahl Haq followers in South Azerbaijan. Regardless of different religious views, the Southern Azerbaijanis speak Azerbaijani Turkic, a dialect of Oghuz Turkic language that is similar to Turkish and Turkmen.There are also some ethnic minorities living in South Azerbaijan such as Kurds, Armenians, Asurians, Tats…
It is extremely difficult to give an accurate estimate of the population, since it has been reported that the Iranian authorities tamper with the official statistics. The Azerbaijani population descent in Iran is estimated to be around 30 million. There are additionally large communities of Azerbaijani Turks living abroad, not only in Azerbaijan, but in countries such as Turkey, Russia, Georgia, U.S.A, Kazakhstan, Germany, Ukraine and Canada.
Many immigrants from the Southern Azerbaijani territory have moved to other parts of Iran such as Tehran. At present, nearly 8 million Southern Azerbaijanis live outside Southern Azerbaijan, where more than a million of them are political immigrants, living in Europe and America. A million of them live in southern Iran while approximately 6 million live in the city of Tehran.