Iran is home to an estimated 12-20 million ethnic Azeri’s, more than in Azerbaijan itself. Northwestern Iran is where many of these Azeri’s reside, and it has been the site of political violence and insurrection a number of times. Lately, it has been one of the hot points of the protests against the Iranian government. A newer movement is emerging in the region, called “AZfront”.
AZfront has its basis on telegram, holding just shy of 200,000 followers, but has organized a number of protests in Iran, and is coordinating with approximately 7 other Azeri groups in Iran in order to regularly hold protests, and distribute separatist/anti-Iran propaganda throughout Tabriz, the cultural centre of Iranian-Azeri’s.
On Friday April 28th 32 MP’s, together with the Baku Jewish Community, collectively wrote and sent a letter to the Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, suggesting that Israel offer assistance to the movement, and use its international influence to raise the issue of what it calls “a policy of cultural genocide” and “the oppression of the Azeri minority in Iran at every appropriate international forum”.
Additionally, it also says Israeli support of the movement could deal “a fatal blow” to Iran.
“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 further states that, given Iranian support of Hezbollah and various Palestinian groups against Israel, it would be an appropriate response to support the Azeri separatists.
“Supporting them would also constitute an appropriate political response to the sabotage efforts carried out by the Ayatollah regime against us, by financing and arming Hezbollah and hostile Palestinian organizations for approximately three decades.”
Israel and Azerbaijan have a distinctly close relationship. Israel is Azerbaijan’s top weapons suppliers, meanwhile Azerbaijan is one of Israel’s top energy suppliers.