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The oppression of minorities in Iran : the Azerbaijani community as a symbol of Iranian tragedy

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The oppression of Minorities in Iran The Azeri community as an example 3 The oppression of minorities in Iran : the Azerbaijani community as a symbol of Iranian tragedy

An international conference entitled “The oppression of Minorities in Iran: The Azeri community as an example “was organised at the European Parliament by the Azeri Front movement organization and Epp group .

The conference was characterized by the presence of 6 Meps and 5 high level speakers including human rights organizations as well as experts and researchers in iran from France,Belgium and Israel.

The debate was moderated by Manel Msalmi, international Affairs advisor and expert on Iran who opened the debate by highlighting the issue of Minorities in Iran and the fight of Ahwazis ,kurds ,Baluch ,Azeris and Turks for equal rights for decades and the need to bring this issue to a European and international level 10 months after the death of Mahsa Amini and the continuous demonstrations in the world in support to Iranian youth and women .

Mep Donato was the keynote speaker who stressed the role that the EU plays in supporting democracy, gender equality and freedom in iran and the Middle East and the need to have an efficient dialogue with the EU parliament and the EU commission in order to guarantee the rights of women and minorities in Iran. A video showing the Azeri woman sharing a testimony about the discrimination she witnesses in terms of language and culture and the wearing of the forced hijab was displayed. Dr Mordechai kedar ,took the floor right after to mention the atrocities of the regime with regard to women and minorities including the Arabs ,the Kurds ,the Baluchs and the Turks that they have been witnessing for decades .

They were denied their civil rights and subject to social, cultural and economic discrimination.

Thierry Valle ,the President of CAP Liberté de Conscience discussed the situation of religious freedom in Iran, specifically the discrimination and persecution suffered by religious minorities. He mentioned the case of the Baha’i community, which has just commemorated the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 women on June 18, 1983, for refusing to renounce their beliefs.

He also mentioned the lesser-known case of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light community, which is enduring severe state-sponsored religious persecution.

He concluded by urging Iran to put an end to the systematic discrimination and persecution of minorities, and to comply with universal principles of respect of human rights for all Iranian.

Claude Moniquet, former  journalist and former French intelligence agent and co-director of ESISC highlighted that the Iranian regime is known for its repression of women ,minorities and the execution of homosexuals .it is also known as a terrorist regime using the hostage policy.

There are 354 executions per year including minorities, religious groups such as the Bahais and the Ahmadiyyas bur also killings dissidents outside iran which happened on the European soil. Minorities are discriminated against in terms of religion ,culture, social and economic backgrounds which led to demonstrations and violence because they are denied their basic rights.

We have the tendency to think that the Azeri minority is privileged which is not true .On the contrary, Azeris are depicted as insects by the regime .A video which sums up the situation of the Azeri minority was shown right after which mentions the comparison of Azeris with insects by the regime.

Mep De Meo on his turn highlighted the importance that the EU gives to minority groups and the support which the international community should give to Iranians including non-Persian populations to be free and equal .The EU should be available to give help to everyone one no matter his religious or cultural background is .

Mep Adinolfi focused on the element of culture and the need to stop discrimination in terms of education and culture. Minorities in Iran  should have the right to learn their own language and celebrate their cultural heritage freely .

Mep Lucia Vuolo evoked the importance of religious freedom and cultural identity and the need to stop violence against minorities and particularly the Azeri minority in iran and show solidarity with women and youth in iran .Mep Gianna Gancia who has been working for so many years to help Iranian dissidents mainly women and minorities persecuted by the regime mentioned that the EU is committed to protecting the vulnerable groups and helping refugees fleeing from dictatorship and prosecution.

Andy Vermaut, president of Postversa mentioned that “We have a part to play ,a responsibility to uphold for the people of Iran who have endured so much .Let us be a beacon of hope and a force of positive change. When they look back at this dark chapter of history, let them remember not just the hardships they faced but the global coalition that stood by them ,fighting for their rights ,amplifying their voices, and relentlessly for their rights for a just and a free iran “

The Director of CAP Liberté de Conscience,  Christine Mirre, exposed the repression of Iranian women in Iran. She emphasized the status of women in Iran, including those of Kurdish, Arab, Baluchi, and Azeri ethnic backgrounds. Those women are facing various forms of discrimination and marginalization, including limited access to education, employment opportunities, and political representation. She also mentioned the emblematic and recent case of Mahsa Amini 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died on September 16, 2022, three days after being arrested in Tehran by  the regime’s morality police.

The death of Mahsa Amini shocked the world and highlighted a characteristic of the regime, namely ethnic and sexist discrimination.

The conference ended with the speech of the Mep host Fulvio Martusciello who has been working for so many years to support minorities in Iran and who highlighted that the EU did a lot by adopting a resolution to protect women and girls as well as Italy and other countries.There were some important initiatives like the conference in Vienna and the letter of 32 Israeli Knesset members.

Manel Msalmi

International Affairs advisor

EU parliament

Brussels

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