Saturday, August 27, 2016


Breaking Down The Azerbaijani-Iranian Border

20 years ago at the Soviet-Iranian borderi
|| 0:00:00
December 29, 2009
Thosuands of Azerbaijanis taking down the state border constructions as a protest aganst separation of Azerbaijani nation.

"The New York Times" yesterday highlighted Tehran's fears of its "increasingly aggressive separatist groups," so a rare video dug up by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service is an interesting reminder.

Inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Popular Front of Azerbaijan called for the removal of borders between Soviet Azerbaijan and Iran on December 31, 1989 -- Azerbaijan's Day of Solidarity, which is still celebrated by Azeris around the world.

The unique video taken by an amateur cameraman shows Soviet Azerbaijanis rioting along the Iranian border, destroying checkpoints, and crossing into Iranian provinces with Azeri majorities.

It was an unprecedented event in the history of the Soviet Union, as borders of the Great Empire had been almost sacrosanct until then.

At the time Moscow was rapidly losing control over Azerbaijan and as a result Soviet Army troops stationed along the border put up virtually no resistance. No one was killed or injured during the two-day rampage.

The Kremlin used the border assault as a pretext to send troops to Baku on January 20, 1990, when more than 170 people died.

The ransacking of the border was also deeply concerning for the Iranian regime. Tehran feared that the independence movement in Soviet Azerbaijan could spread to its own Azeri-populated provinces.

Even though now, 20 years later, all the checkpoints and border infrastructure have been fully restored, for Iranian officials that fear has probably never completely gone away.

-- Kenan Aliyev
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: arash from: france-iran
December 30, 2009 10:57
Iranians don't fear that.

We consider Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and eastern Iraq as parts of Iran...

USSR feared that.

We know that one day, our Azeris brothers will come back to us. Whatever the US believe...

Strangely, the US and Europeans beliefs about Middle East and Caucasus turned them to wars they can't win everywhere. They should retire form these places before its too late for them....

by: jason from: canada
December 30, 2009 17:27
there are approx 25 million Azerbaijanis living in Iran, with turkmens, qashqaei turks, and the turks of khorasan, it's been estimated that iran has approx 30 million turks.
today there is a strong awakening movement among Iranian Azeris. iran has been rulled by turks and azeris over a millenia, during these years, farsi or persian was the langauage of poets , turkish was the language of army and the crown and arabic was the language of science, just 80 years ago everything changed and all of a sudden iran was persia and the language was farsi, today, non-persian iranians deprove this. azerbaijan is the land of heros and intellectualls, without azerbaijan, iran will be a dead cat.

by: Parviz from: Tajikistan
December 30, 2009 18:15
Dear Arash:
"We know that one day, our Azeris brothers will come back to us"
Probably in your dreams... You can consider whatever you want about the Greater Persia but this is ancient history!!!
Et ce pour toujours! Il faut arrêter le délire quand-même.

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
December 30, 2009 18:22
I suggest my Iranian friends in Tehran to declare Golestan (1813) and Torkamanchayi (1828) treaties null and void and put an immediate claim on Azeri territory. Abrogation of these unjust treaties will rectify miscarriage of justice committed by Imperial Russia against Iranian people and their territories. I am sure Azeris wouldn’t mind! They will be able to pray in Hazrate Reza and Hazrate Ma’asoome Shrines in the holey cities of Mashhad and Quom without Mr. Aliev’s bullying government sticking its nose in their daily business!
Armenia and Negorno Karabkh are very poor! They have nothing that the Iranians want. They will let them be! They will focus on Baku oil fields and the vast southwestern Caspian continental oil shelf. You never know! With everyone in this world coveting and wanting oil, the Iranians might go for it!

by: liz from: New York
December 30, 2009 20:16
arash's mentality stems from his persian langauge, their language fails to understand and digest the modern concepts and is stil stuck in the 13th or even worse 8th Century.
you should all know that what jeopardizes today's iran doesn't come from azeris, kurds, balouchis,arabs or turkmens of iran, it has a direct connection with persian language which does its best to divide a country than uniting a multi-national country.
persian language with its only 300 simple verbs, and the the arabic vocabulary which make up almost 70 percent of its main body, has not developed to become a modern language.

by: Emin from: Baltimore, MD
December 30, 2009 20:54
Arash: do you really believe in wahat you saying? Today's events in Iran indicate that sooner or later the country will be divided and most definitely, our Azerbaijani brothers in Iran will come back to us - to Azerbaijan.

by: Emin from: Baltimore, MD USA
December 30, 2009 21:09
Hamik C. Gregory: I'm sure you just trying to be funny, aren't you?:) Azeri Turks in Iran care more about their heritage and language than praying in Mashad and Qum.
You are right, Azerbaijan has a lot of things that Iran might want to have but they are well aware that such attempt will end up them being like Iraq, and Azerbaijan like Kuwait.
Iran is afraid of Azerbaijanis today. It's leaders know that any Azeri uprising will be the beginning of the end. That's why their president is visiting Tabriz today to urge Azeri Turks not to take Mousavi's side.
I suggest my Azerbaijani brother in Iran not to support the current regime. Your nationality is more important than your religion! It's time to build a united and strong Azerbaijan. It's time to be free!!!

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
December 31, 2009 15:09
Everybody proposes to take a side either of Iran or Azerbaijan.

My initiative instead is to put aside confrontation and unite such as the nations did in Europe. Non-stop confrontation leads nowhere. But cooperation can result unthinkable achivements.

Therefore I suggest you to create a union on a basis of equality (dominated by nobody) including Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the states of Central-Asia Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and probably Iraq and Syria.

The culture and behaviour of these nations are very much the same. If you are able to get beyond the hostilities your integrated region can be one of the leader regions of the new globalized world comparable to the European Union.

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
December 31, 2009 16:57
Because of Turkic tribal movement in Azerbaijan and the province eventually becoming dominated by Ottoman Turks, Persians who were living there adopted Turkish as their everyday language. Such an adaptation was a coping mechanism. It helped the Persians to deal with their Turkish overlords. In fact, the facts of Azeris having a Zoroastrian heritage and being modern day Shias, concretely tells us that they have Iranian origins.
May I also remind my Azeri friends that Masnaviye Ganji wrote his poetry in Persian because of the special affinity that he felt with his Persian origins. Azeri dialect of the Turkish language was completely irrelevant to him.
Some of you writing in this forum have very little knowledge of the Persian language.
If I were you, I would avoid making comments about the language, unless I wanted to come across as illiterate in the subject!

by: Jason from: Canada
December 31, 2009 17:40
Dear Zoltan in case if you have not noticed there are two Azerbaijans, one is the Republic of Azerbaijan, got her independent for the collapse of soviet union, the other is South Azerbaijan, located in northern Iran, with a population of approx 25 million.
Perhaps Iran is the only country in the world that doesn’t let for a population of 25 million the right to read and write and educate in their own language, and imposes not only Azeris of Iran, but Kurds, Balouchis, Arabs, Turkmens… of Iran to learn Persian or Farsi, today these non-Persian nationalities of Iran demand their basic human rights to be acknowledged.

Going back to your comment, I think actually Iran could lead the region if they have made Azeri Turkish Iran’s second official language, this would boost Iran’s image in the Caucuses and Central Asia with majority Turkish speaking population of the region. Considering the fact that azeris and turks rulled iran for a over a millennia and population of almost 30 million in Iran.
With Iran not realizing and delivering these right to almost half of its population, I think Turkey is taking strong steps to fill the void due to her cultural and linguistic connection with the caucuses and Central Asia.
Comments page of 2

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Most Popular

Editor's Picks