Book review by : Evan Siegel
The book under review discusses the relationship between Iranian
Azerbaijanis and Iran in the context of the rise of the Islamic Republic on the
one hand and the (re)establishment of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the
Caucasus on the other. The author claims that she “challenges the view of the
mainstream of contemporary Iranian studies, which contend [sic] that
Azerbaijanis in Iran are a ‘well-integrated minority,’ harbor little ‘sense of
separate identity,” and have assimilated into Iranian identity.”1
This issue is important. The Azerbaijani minority in Iran is a
sizeable one. Foreigners have tried to play on tensions between Azerbaijan and
the central government—most notably the Soviet Union in its occupation of
northern Iran and, once again, the American government, which includes among
its advisors people who urge a policy of increasing such tensions to weaken the
Moreover, it is written by an established scholar, a long-time
research director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs'
Caspian Studies Program at Harvard, who has published articles in scholarly
journals such as the Association for the Study of Nationalities’ Nationalities
Papers,3 Eurasia Insight,4 the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy’s Policy Papers5 as well as op-ed pieces in the Wall
Street Journal,6 International Herald Tribune7 the Christian Science Monitor,8 the Los Angelese Times,9 and the Boston Globe10. Her book was selected as “Book of the Month” by the Middle
East Review of International Affairs,11 where it was hailed as “succeed[ing] in
making numerous specific, well-argued assertions challenging accepted notions
of modern Russian (Soviet), Turkish, and especially Iranian history and
politics.” She has had fellowships at the Truman Institute, where she served as
the coordinator of the Asia and Caucasus Unit, the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy and at the International Security Program at Harvard
University's Kennedy School of Government and is the Research Director of the
Caspian Studies Program and Azerbaijan Initiative, Harvard University Security
Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She has appeared at many
venues and, on October 10th 2001, testified before the House Committee on
International Relations, Subcommittee on Europe on US foreign policy in the
Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region.
Given the topic’s political and scholarly importance and the author’s
prominence, this reader came away from this book very disappointed for reasons
he will explain below.
The first chapter takes us from the dawn of history to 1920 and the
rise of the Pahlavi dynasty.
The author stakes out a neutral position between the Azerbaijani
nationalists and Iranian nationalists on whether the ethnic composition of the
terrain north and south of the Aras River before the Turkish invasions of the
tenth century was Iranian or Turkish. But this neutrality hides the fact that
every serious orientalist scholar she sites recognizes that the Turkish
presence in the region before these invasions was minor. She continues this
discussion declaring, based on no evidence, that the regions on the two banks
of the Aras “often interacted culturally as one” and that these territories
“were administered together within most of the various empires that ruled the
area.”12 But the articles she cites say nothing
of the kind.13
The author seems at pains to demonstrate the unity of the regions to the
north and south of the Aras River. Whether there was such a unity in
pre-Islamic times or that the region was administered as a unit under the
`Abbassids would be more relevant if we were to accept the nineteenth century
concept of blood and soil; this was at least half a millennium before the Turks
made their massive appearance in the region. Moreover, what is now Iran was
generally not administered as a unit over these millenia, something which is of
no relevance to a study of modern Iranian nationalism. Indeed, one source
declares that, while “before partition in the nineteenth century, Iran and
Russian Azerbaijan consisted of a single cultural entity,” this was not true in
In her discussion of the Safavid period, Shaffer claims that Shah
Isma`il, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, only learned to speak Persian as
an adult. In documenting this claim, she cites a translation by E. Denison Ross
to the effect that “Shah Isma`il reportedly only learned Persian as a young
adult.”15 Indeed, the relevant part of Ross’s
translation which she cited reads,16
He appointed Maulalna Shams-ud-Din Lahiji, one of the learned
men of that country, to instruct Ismail in the reading and recitation of the Kuran. Ismail took delight in the Maulana’s instruction, and
with him studied the Kuran and learnt to read Persian and Arabic
the last phrase actually reads,17 “va az ruye reqhbat nazd maulanaye
mazkur dars-e Qor’an va kotob-e farsi va `arabi mikhand,” “and enthusiastically
studied [or learned lessons from] the Koran and Persian and Arabic books.”
There is not implication here that he was illiterate in either Persian or
Arabic; quite the contrary. Indeed, her very next citation underlines this
point. There, she quotes Minorsky’s The Poetry of Shah Isma`il I, who
says (in a portion not quoted by her) that “Shah Isma`il’s ancestors often had
recourse to the Iranian patois of the neighbourhood of Ardabil.” Minorsky goes
on to argue that Shah Isma`il’s use of a Turkish dialect was in line with other
religious sectaries who wrote in a non-literary idiom and was, moreover,
directed to his Turcoman followers.18
Identifying Shah Isma`il I as Turkic is important for Shaffer’s thesis
that “The advent of the Safavid regime was an important even in the development
of Azerbaijani national identity.” Outside of claims by Soviet Azerbaijani
specialists, the her only proof of this assertion is that Shi`ism was a
unifying force between those who dwelled to the north of the Aras and those who
lived just south of it. Sunnism seems to have dominated the Southern Caucasus
outside of a few Shiite centers.19 Shaffer cites Browne to make the point
that Turkish was very much the language of the Safavid court even after it
moved from Tabriz to Qazvin and Isfahan; indeed, Shaffer if anything
understates Browne’s claim.20 However, she neglects the fact that
Browne had stated only a few pages before that this dynasty was properly
credited with making Iran “a nation once again” after eight and a half
centuries.21 Even Soviet Azerbaijani scholarship is
capable of a more restrained view of the Turkic character of the Safavids.
Thus, one important monograph on “South Azerbaijan” notes that due to the
cultural importance of the Persian language, the weight of the Persian-speaking
bureaucracy and landlords, and the migration into the Persian heartland of the
Safavid capital, the Persian language came to dominate the dynasty’s life.22
Moving to modern times, she has much to say about the Caucasian
Azerbaijani renaissance of the late nineteenth century, but all of it is from
secondary sources. This taints her analysis, since she is obliged to accept the
views of Stalinist scholarship. Thus, she accepts the Soviet claim that the
famous polemicist Akhundzade was an atheist;23 a reading of his work would compel the
honest reader to qualify that strongly in the direction of pantheism. The idea
that he was writing in Turkish to appeal to the masses is unsustainable. Had
“the masses” read his polemics against Islam, they would have torn him limb
from limb. He was called the Muslim Molière, although Voltaire was probably more his model, and his
audience was very definitely those among the educated classes who had been
exposed enough to philosophy to be able to digest his ideas without suffering a
Again, Shaffer claims that the journal Äkinchi, which was published between 1875-1878, was “[w]ritten
in the style of the spoken Azerbaijani language,”24 whereas it was in fact written in a
very Persianized (and Arabized) literary style. It is claimed that “it caused
much controversy on both sides of the Araz.” Having read every single issue of
it, I have found no trace of any such controversy. I am unaware of any “local
proponents of pan-Islam” who “protested against publishing a journal in any
language but Persian.” Indeed, the language of pan-Islam at the time was
Ottoman Turkish, with the Caliph `Abdul-Hamid deliberately taking up the banner
of Islamic unity. It is simply not true that “… Akinchi was forced to
close down by the Russian authorities, on the premise [sic] that a Turkic-language
newspaper should not be published in Russia during the Russian-Ottoman War.” In
fact, the journal was forced to close down due to a lack of funds and Caucasian
Muslim apathy, something constantly decried by the editor. Moreover, the journal
took every opportunity to protest its loyalty to the Tsar and, like much of the
Muslim intelligentsia, earnestly supported the Tsarist armies in the battle
against their “Turkish brethren.”25
Again, of Sattar Khan, who rose up led Tabriz in a desperate
eleven-month battle to save the constitution, she writes, “Sattar Khan’s troops
captured Tabriz in the name of the Tabriz Anjuman [sc: Anjoman], and replaced
the Iranian flag with the flag of the Tabriz Anjuman. Sattar Khan declared that
the ‘nation of Azerbaijan’ refused to recognize the sovereignty of Mohammad
`Ali Shah, and declared Tabriz the temporary capital of Iran.”26
Sattar Khan’s troops did not capture Tabriz in the name of the
Anjoman. He led a band of followers within the city to rebel against a Russian
ultimatum to pass under Russian protection and eventually forced the
constitution’s enemies to surrender control over the parts of Tabriz they
occupied. This was done in the name of the Iranian constitution. There was no
“flag of the Tabriz Anjuman” raised in this affair; the only flag they
replaced, or, rather, removed, was the white flags put up by the terrified
residents as a sign of compliance to the Russians. It is unclear what word
Shaffer has in mind when she talks about the “nation of Azerbaijan.” If she
means “Mellat” as in Mellat-e Azarbayjan, this word was generally
used at the time to mean “the people,” as in “the people of Azerbaijan,” just
as mellat-e Esfahan was used to mean “the people of Isfahan.”27 Sattar Khan never publicly “refused to
recognize the sovereignty of Mohammad `Ali Shah;” in fact, his public position
was to deny that he was a rebel against the government at all.28 Nor did he ever declare “Tabriz the
temporary capital of Iran.”29 The Anjoman did become the successor to
the Tehran Majlis30 which had been dispersed and bombarded
by the Russians, but nothing more than this. No documentation is offered for
any of her assertions.
Shaffer portrays the 1920 revolt of Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani along the
lines of the scholarship emanating from Caucasian Azerbaijani academia,
although with less control of the facts. For instance, she claims that the
sheikh’s journal, Tajaddod, was bilingual, when it was actually in
Persian only.31 She mentions that the sheikh’s party
had a branch in Azerbaijan, but does not mention its paper’s full title (which
is mentioned in the sources she uses)—“Azerbaijani, an Inseparable Part of
Iran.”32 Along the same lines, the author
mentions that the sheikh changed the name of the province he now ran to
Azadestan, but neglects to provide the context that both friend and foe give:
this change was adopted because the Caucasian Azerbaijanis declared their
republic to be the republic of Azerbaijan, and the sheikh was thereby
repudiating their northern neighbor’s invitation to join them.33 There is no record that “Khiabani
decreed the right to use the Azerbaijani language in the province.” Such a
decree would have been met with incomprehension, since the language had never
been banned. She claims that the sheikh’s “insistence on protecting journalists
who wrote in Azerbaijani led to an open split with Ahmad Kasravi, who was
deported from the province because he criticized the use of the Azerbaijani
language in the province.” The issues in the split between Kasravi and the
sheikh are well-documented and have nothing to do with any language issue, on
which they were apparently in accord.34 Moreover, Kasravi had not developed his
position of hostility to provincial languages and dialects at the time of the
sheikh’s uprising; quite the opposite, in an article written shortly after the
sheikh’s uprising which Shaffer herself cites, he calls for the revival of
Azerbaijani Turkish in Iran.35 The author quotes a secondary source to
the effect that the sheikh “worked to establish Azerbaijani-language schools in
Iranian Azerbaijan, often employing teachers from north Azerbaijan or Turkey.”
Her source36 does not give the source of his
information, and this alleged policy of Khiabani’s does not appear in the
primary sources available to the author.37 Indeed, the record shows the opposite:
Kasravi writes that the sheikh’s Democrats indeed agreed to push for the spread
of the Persianization of Azerbaijan.38 Let it be noted that Kasravi had no
motivation to lie about this—the sheikh was his sworn enemy. Finally, the
author has Reza Khan’s forces quelling the sheikh’s uprising. The uprising
collapsed with the intervention of Mokhber os-Saltane, one of the few Qajar
aristocrats who won the respect of the Azerbaijani people, with a minimum of
force, since the people had become fed up with the sheikh’s capriciousness,
brutality, and galloping megalomania.39
The next chapter discusses Azerbaijanis under the Pahlavis. Here, she
cites a source as saying that “Reza Shah singled out the Azerbaijanis for
special discrimination and economic disadvantages, and cultural repression,
possibly to punish them for their part in the Khiyabani-led rebellion in 1920.40 But her source41 argues that the Azerbaijanis were
subject to racial discrimination and does not mention Khiabani.
The author appears to argue that the 1946 autonomous government of
Azerbaijan was not “a Soviet puppet-state” but “a local phenomenon.” This is a
vexed question, with some observers taking the former view42 and some taking the latter.43 The author does not marshal any evidence
to back up her point of view, nor does she bring any new analysis or
information to clarify it. Her claim that “Initially, local support for the
provincial government was quite extensive and at first, most of the population
supported the measures taken” by the government, while undocumented in her
book, is admitted even by those who paint this experiment in its darkest
colors.44 The author suggests that the
destruction of the autonomous government “became an important factor in shaping
the identity of the Azerbaijanis in Iran”45 strikes me as dubious. Were there not
too many people who opposed the autonomous government, particularly towards the
end of its rule, to consider its repression an event traumatic enough to have
shaped Azerbaijani national identity?
The chapter dealing with the Islamic Revolution, where it is
documented, is documented almost entirely from Russian-language sources.46 The author includes an interesting
observation she made on interviewing Azerbaijanis who had lived through the
Azerbaijani members of the clerical elite … used Azerbaijani in
public and in interviews in the Tabriz press. According to many Azerbaijanis
who were in Iran in this period, this was an important factor in making it
acceptable to use non-Persian languages in public, and instilled in them a
sense of pride and the legitimacy of the use of their language; this was a
stark contrast with the attitudes in the Pahlavi period…. It seems that the
Azerbaijani clerics used their native tongue not because of rising Azerbaijani
identity, but because many of them had difficulty in speaking Persian. The
revolution propelled to power many second-rank clerics from the provinces.
The author then examines Azerbaijan after the revolution. There is
some general discussion of the Azerbaijani journals published, but all of this
comes from secondary sources. She then gives an interesting report on the
crisis which broke out in the fall of 1979 when the Tabriz-based Muslim
People’s Republican Party led by followers of the late Ayatollah Shari`atmadari
objected to the way the Islamic revolutionaries in the center were reorganizing
the country, calling for a more decentralized system in which the clergy would
exercise less control.47 Shaffer’s is the only sustained analysis
of these events which has appeared in a Western language. Its interest is
overshadowed by the recent publication of Mashallah Razmi’s excellent monograph
on the subject.48 But by focusing almost exclusively on
the ethnic issue—which was indubitably a central one—she misses the broader
political context in which it unfolded and collapsed. The author’s portrayal of
Ayatollah Shari`atmadari is much too simple. Of his politics, all we learn is
that he had some positive feelings about the 1946 autonomous government and
that he supported Mossaddeq. In fact, according to Razmi, who was sympathetic
to this movement, after the collapse of the 1946 autonomous government, “on the
day the Shah entered Tabriz like a conqueror the only prestigious cleric who
would greet him was Shari`atmadari, and he was supported by the Shah and the
Court ever since.” The ayatollah’s support to Mosaddeq was a fact, but
inadequate given his means.49 When rioting broke out in Tabriz in the
months leading up to the Islamic Revolution, Shari`atmadari used his
considerable influence to disperse the movement. He did not object when the
APCs and tanks of the army sent to put down the anti-government rioting were
festooned with his picture.50
Ayatollah Shari`atmadari’s alliance with clerics who were hostile to
the revolution and elements of the army came into a direct collision with the
mood of the country after the embassy occupation, and this explains more than
Shaffer’s understanding of the collapse of the movement as a result of a stab
in the back by the Tudeh party51 or a military confrontation.52
In closing her discussion of Ayatollah Shari`atmadari, she discusses a
coup plot in which he was allegedly involved. Here, the author reasons, “[T]he
idea that Shariatmadari would actively attempt to take power from Khomeini was
completely inconsistent with his strong guiding belief that clerics should not
fill political positions, but should guide politicians.”53 But the accusation against him is
absolutely not in conflict with his stated position. The chapter concludes with
an interesting summary of Soviet Azerbaijani views of the Islamic Revolution.
The book’s next chapter is on the Republic of Azerbaijan under
glasnost, the rise of nationalist ferment there and the Iranian response. The
chapter’s strong point is its documentation of the perception in the Republic
of Azerbaijan of the situation of Iranian Azerbaijanis and a rise of interest
in Azerbaijani Turkish among some Iranian Azerbaijanis, in part in response to
the rise of this sentiment on the other side of the Aras River. The discussion
of the conflicting identity politics in the Elchibey period—characterized by a
pan-Turkist streak—and the Aliyev period—much less ideological—and the politics
of the various factions on this subject are helpful, although generally
well-known.54 Much more interesting is her section on
the Azerbaijani literary revival in Iran during this period, nourished on the
one hand by the rise of the Republic of Azerbaijan and on the other by
Khatami’s relatively permissive policies. The author also documents the
resistance to the limitations on the Azerbaijani language which were all too
present. One interesting observation along these lines is how the proliferation
of satellite dishes in Iran led to an increasing audience for Turkish
television and a consequent sense of dignity for Iranian Azerbaijanis.55 She also makes a convincing argument
that the redivision of Iranian Azerbaijan proposed in 1992 was motivated by
ethno-politics.56 Also of interest is the discussion of
the harassment and detention of Dr. Mohammad Chehragani, the supporter of
Azerbaijani cultural rights, although it does not go much beyond what can be
read in Human Rights Watch.57
This chapter, however, is marred by giving Azerbaijani nationalist
ideologues the last word. Is it a “fact” that “writers and poets from Iranian
Azerbaijan were excluded from the 1984 Congress of Muslim Writers held in
Iran”?58 If so, do we know that it was because
of interest in their mother tongue? Again, how seriously should we take a complaint
from “the semi-official Veten Society” over the display in the New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art of Safavid art as Iranian and not Azerbaijani?59
The section of this chapter which cites groups of unknown provenance
as authorities on the situation in Iranian Azerbaijan does not add to its
quality. Does it matter what an unpublished manifesto by The South Azerbaijani
Front for Independence or The Azerbaijani Feda’iyin Organization or The South
Azerbaijan National Front for Independence has to say? What does the Azerbaijan
Liberation Organization represent?
The book concludes with a general discussion about Iran and the
politics of identity which are none too startling.
The book suffers from some general weaknesses. Its author is prone to
make plausible generalizations which, however, are underdocumented when they
are documented at all. At one point she claims, she claims,60
the second half of the nineteenth century, some Azerbaijanis espoused
Pan-Islamic ideology, and many of the supporters of Pan-Islam identified with
Iran at this time. In addition, many Azerbaijanis were interested in their
Turkic identity in a cultural sense, but few supported political unity with
other Turkic peoples.
source she cites for this says nothing of the sort.61
Elsewhere, she refers to “the insistence on the emancipation of woman
advocated [sic] by political parties in both north and south Azerbaijan” some
time during the period between 1905 and 1920.62 Documentation for this claim in Iranian
Azerbaijan would have been welcome; none was offered. During the constitutional
revolution, newspaper was shut down by the local constitutionalist
establishment for the mere suggestion that a wife should be allowed to
participate in public life under her husband’s supervision.63
A few pages later, Shaffer claims that “Generally, activists who had
been educated in the Caucasus and had extended contacts with their co-ethnics
in the north, including the leftists, tended to support the preservation of
Azerbaijani cultural and linguistic rights within Iran.”64 No evidence is presented for this
(otherwise perfectly reasonable) claim.
Along the same lines, the author claims that, “Despite the extreme
limitations of the Pahlavi period, some Azerbaijanis still expressed desire
[sic] for ties with their co-ethnics in Soviet Azerbaijan, which can be an
articulation [sic] of Azerbaijani identity.”65 No documentation or even examples are
Elsewhere, the author asserts that the Iran-Iraq war led to
Azerbaijanis being inducted into units in which they interacted with Persians
and their racist attitudes towards them. This is certainly a possibility,
although the experience of being led into combat by Azerbaijani commanders and
the general emotional atmosphere of national unity might have had the opposite
effect on both Persian and Azerbaijani inductees.66
Towards the end of the book, the author claims that,67 “One of the first major trends that
emerged among the Azerbaijanis in Iran after the establishment of the republic
[of Azerbaijan] was their tendency to refer to themselves as ‘Azerbaijanis,’ or
‘Azeris.’ Previously, most had called themselves ‘Turks.’” This very
interesting observation is not documented.
Shaffer has adopted policy popular among a species of Azerbaijani
nationalists of bashing Ahmad Kasravi, a Tabrizi who became famous as a
spokesman for Iranian integral nationalism.68 The author claims that his “ideological
convictions and political goals tainted his research on Azerbaijan,” although
no examples of this are forthcoming, and regrets that “many researchers base
their claims” on his works, although no examples are given. 69 This is a particularly jarring
statement in light of her admiring reports from the wilder shores of
nationalist ethnography in the Azerbaijani SSR during the heady years of
glasnost.70 Two of her major sources, Vladimir
Minorsky and R. M. Savory, are certainly take a different view.71
Again, she notes72 that in a 1922 article, Kasravi argued
that Iranians had not been Turkified by brute force. She then claims that he
later said the exact opposite. This she cites as an _expression of Kasravi’s
“many contradictions.” The problems here are that she gives no evidence that he
changed his mind on this issue and, even if she had, it is not an indication of
any contradiction in his thought, but rather would indicate an ability to
change his mind.
Shaffer cites an article in which Kasravi is accused of “distort[ing]
facts in his own autobiography: in describing how, as a cleric in Azerbaijan,
he refused to preach to his followers in Arabic which he opposed as a foreign
influence on Iran, he does not mention that he preached in Azerbaijani, not
Persian.”73 But clearly Kasravi simply didn’t think
it was necessary to state the obvious, that he would preach in Azeri Turkish.
She accuses Kasravi of having attacked “autonomy movements” in his History
of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and his Eighteen Year History
of Azerbaijan. Yet there were no autonomy movements in the period covered
by the first book, and the second criticizes the uprisings of Sheikh Khiabani
and the Jangalis in terms of their political aims or lack thereof and not qua
The book includes more than its share of malapropisms. “Shi`a” is used
for “Shiism,”74 “the Armenian-Tatar War … waged in the
Caucasus” should have “raged,”75 and misspellings (Shadiq for Sadiq,76 the plural of “Duma” instead of
“Dumas”,77 “predominant” should be “prominent,”78 “piousness” should be “piety”79). After Abrahamian, her main source,
she rather oddly uses the Persian name for the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan
and not the Turkish.80 Azerbaijani (and even Persian) words
are vocalized with an Istambuli accent, so that the short “a” is given the
value “e” (“veten” for “vatan,” ).
Brethren and Borders is a highly political book on an
emotional subject which needs careful, dispassionate analysis. Its chapters on
the historical background is full of inaccuracies. Its chapters on current
events and trends include a few interesting observations which don’t appear in
the literature, but most of it is readily available elsewhere.
p. 5, quoting Patricia J. Higgins, “Minority-State Relations in Comtemporary
Iran,” Iranian Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Winter 1984), pp. 33-71;
Hooshang Amirahmadi, “A Theory of Ehtnic Collective Movements and Its
Application to Iran,” Ehthnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 10 (1987); and
Touraj Atabaki, Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and Autonomy in Twentieth-Century Iran
(London: British Academic Press, 1993), p. 182.
2 Thus, of
exiled Azerbaijanist leader, Damien Mcelroy writes in The Telegraph
(UK), “Exiled leader poised to mount popular revolt against Iran's mullahs” (The
Telegraph, 29/06/2003, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/
A prominent Iranian exile, seen by the Pentagon as one of the
most powerful opponents of his country's regime, aims to spur millions of his
followers into protesting on the streets over the next two weeks.
Mr Chehregani, a linguistics professor and popular former MP,
has garnered strong support in Washington, where he is championed by Senator
Sam Brownback, a prominent Republican advocate of "regime change" in
Iran. He has held more than 50 meetings with senators and congressmen, State
Department and Pentagon officials, and the White House during the past 11
its efforts to destabilise the regime, the Pentagon has flirted with supporting
the Mujahedin Khalq, a brutal Marxist militia bankrolled for years by Saddam
Hussein, whose French-based leaders were arrested earlier this month. The US
has so far held back from disbanding the militia within Iraq. Mr Chehregani,
however, is seen as a more reliable ally: he has garnered a solid intellectual
following among think-tanks close to the Pentagon, and has met senior defence
the same lines, The Washington Times reports (Sharon Behn and Khadija
Ismayilova, “Pentagon officials meet with regime foe”, 2003-06-04.
Administration officials have been meeting quietly with an
Iranian opposition figure who is trying to unify internal resistance to Iran's
ruling clerics and spur a regime change in his country.
Patrick Lang, former head of Middle East and North African
intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency said there was a "good
deal of interest in the U.S. government" in putting pressure on the
Iranian government and a group like Mr. Chehregani's "would be
think the judgment that Iran is rather unstable is probably correct," Mr.
Lang said in a telephone interview, but warned that "if you start poking
it and encouraging ethnic dissidents you may encourage destabilizing the
system. It could come apart spectacularly."
Formation of Azerbaijani Collective Identity in Iran." Nationalities
Papers, 28, no. 3 (2000).
“Azerbaijanis in Iran: Experiencing a Cultural Reawakening,”August 3, 2003.
5 #57 Partners
in Need: The Strategic Relationship of Russia and Iran (May 2001).
6 “A Caspian
Alternative to OPEC,” The Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2001.
Nuclear Program: The Russians May Be Ready to Help,” June 12, 2003
a UN wrong," May 21, 2003, “Don't Focus Just On Terrorist Bullies,”January
9 “The U.S.
Needs Russia to Help Contain Iran,” February 21, 2002.
10 “US needs
a plan to halt Russian’s sale of nuclear arms to Iran,” March 23, 2001.
12 P. 17.
13 Of her
three proof-texts, one is Bosworth’s article in Encyclopedia Iranica on
Azerbaijan which says of this region:
In the north, the Aras … river … formed a clear natural boundary
between Azerbaijan and Arran …, whilst the low-lying region of M*g*n … lying
between the lower reaches of the Aras-K*r river system and the Western shore of
the Caspian Sea was usually considered administratively a part of Azerbaijan.
author continues, that “Azerbaijan and … Armenia .. were often taken as one
vast province,” but it is hard to see how this can be cited in support of her
second source, a passage from Audrey Altstadt’s The Azerbaijani Turks,
mentions the administrative unity of Azerbaijan under the early Safavids, but,
on the other hand, describes the period before Safavid rule as being
characterized by the rule of independent states.
“Azerbaijan,” Encyclopaedia of Iran, p. 261.
15 P. 19,
Early Years of Shah Isma`il,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
(1896), p. 288.
17 Ibid., p.
19 We may at
the very least extrapolate back from Russian census figures which indicate a
definite Sunni edge during the early nineteenth century. Swietochowski, Russia
and Azerbaijan, p. 10.
20 Browne, A
Literary History of Persia, Vol. 4, p. 14.
21 Op. cit.,
22 A. S.
Sumbatzadä, Sh. A. Taghiyeva, O. S. Malikov, Janubi Azarbayjan Tarikhinin
Ocherki (1828-1917) (Elm: Baku, 1985), p. 208.
23 P. 26.
24 P. 29.
25 For a
further discussion of Äkinchi as a reflection of Caucasian Muslim
identity, see Evan Siegel, "Akinchi and Azerbaijani Self-Definition" in Michael Ursinus, Christoph
Herzog, & Raoul Motika (ed.), Heidelberger Studien zur Geschichte und
Kultur des modernen Vorderen Orients, vol. 27 (Frankfurt am Main, etc.:
Peter Lang, 2001). A version of this article appears at
e.g., Esma`il Amirkhizi, Qiyam-e Azarbayjan va Sattar Khan
(Ketabforushiye Tehran, Tehran, 1960),p. 144, where he is quoted as vehemently
denying that he was a rebel against the monarchy, but only wanted the Shah to
restore the constitution.
Kasravi, Tarikh-e Mashruteye Iran (Amir-e Kabir, Tehran, 1975), p. 731
ff., where he said that the Tabriz constitutionalist Anjoman had become the de
facto successor to the Majlis, which was now dispersed.
41-42. See Berengian, op. cit., p. 72, who says that it and the two other
reviews published by the sheikh were in Persian. The claim that it was
bilingual was actually made by Abrahamian, Iran between Two Revolutions,
Swietochowski, Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition, p. 65, Atabaki,
`Ali Azari, who adored the sheikh, quoted approvingly Kasravi’s evaluation of
this event. `Ali Azari, Qiyam-e Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani (Marvi: Tehran
(?), 1362=1983), p. 300.
source for this error is Ervand Abrahamian, “Communism and Communalism in Iran:
The Tudah and the Firqah-i Dimukrat,” IJMES 1970, No. 1,
pp. 294. Later, Abrahamian, in his Iran between Two Revolutions would
claim that Kasravi’s expulsion from Azerbaijan was due to his opposition to the
change of the province’s name. But he had been driven out almost a year before
the name change; the real reason was Kasravi’s outspoken opposition to
Khiabani’s murderous brutality when he was in power the first time around. See,
e.g., Kasravi, Zendeganiye Man, pp. 88-100. For a full-length treatment
by Kasravi of this affair, see Qiyam-e Sheikh Mohammad Khiyabani
(Markaz, Tehran, 1997). In any case, no source I have found indicates that the
language question was a source of friction between the men.
Swietochowski, op. cit., p. 97.
Swietochowski states Khiabani’s movement was cultivating a Turkish literary
revival which was alarming Tehran, and refers as his source to Berengian, op.
cit., pp. 72-76. Berengian only says that the Turkish Republic was having a
literary impact on Azerbaijani literature, and that this led Rezazade Shafaq to
sound the alarm. Berengian, pp. 75-76. Swietochowski’s statement (p. 98) that
it had invited the editor of the brilliant Azerbaijani satirical weekly Molla
Nasr od-Din to set up in Tabriz is a legend of Soviet historiography not
born out by primary sources. [Examples of this.] The magazine was reestablished
with barely a nod from the sheikh. [Source]
40 p. 48.
Katouzian, The Political Economy of Modern Iran, 1926-1979, pp. 133,
Rossow, Jr., “The Battle of Azerbaijan, 1946,” The Middle East Journal,
Vol. 10 (Winter 1956).
Abrahamian, “Communism and Communalism in Iran: The Tudah and the Firqah-I
Dimukrat,” IJMES 1 (1970). The most detailed account of the 1946 autonomous
government of Azerbaijan appears in Turaj Atabaki, Azerbaijan, Ethnicity and
Autonomy in Twentieth-Century Iran (British Academic Press: London, New
York, 1993). On the founding of the government, see especially pp. 110-115.
“promptly and effectively initiated a number of badly needed reforms which were
genuinely popular with the people.” Robert Rossow, Jr., ibid., pp.
18-19. The same approach can be seen in Bruce R. Kuniholm’s The Origins of
the Cold War in the Near East (Princeton University Press, Princeton,
1980), a bildungsroman in which the United States gradually awakens to
its place in the Cold War. This is reflected in his contribution to the entry
“Azerbaijan” in the Encylopaedia Iranica (p. 232.) The exception here is
George Lenczowsky’s lurid Russia and the West in Iran, 1918-1948
(Ithaca, NY, 1949).
45 pp. 57,
47 P. 90 ff.
va Jombesh-e Tarafdaran-e Shari`atmadari dar Sal-e 1358 (Tribun,
49 Razmi, op.
cit. p. 24.
50 Razmi, op.
cit. p. 32.
53 p. 100.
55 P. 174.
56 P. 174
ff; for a contrasting view, which Shaffer mentions in the course of this
discussion, is Houshang Chehabi, “Ardebil Becomes a Province: Center-Periphery
Relations in Iran,” IJMES, Vol. 29, No. 2 (1997).
58 P. 148.
60 P. 31.
Swietochowski, Russia and Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition
(Columbia University Press: NYC, 1995), p. 33.
62 P. 33.
64 Pp. 39-40,
repeated pp. 43.
65 P. 49.
66 P. 142.
67 P. 169.
69 p. 17.
70 E.g., pp.
Minorsky, “The Poetry of Shah Isma`il I,” Bulletin of the Shool of Oriental
and African Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4 (1942), p. 1007a, footnote 3. There, he
also cites how this became the starting point for another monograph on Iranian
dialect studies. See also his “Adharbayj*n” in the Encyclopedia of Islam
(1960) where he quotes Kasravi with great approval. R. M. Savory’s Studies
in the History of Safawid Iran is also replete with positive evaluations of
Kasravi’s work on Safavid Iran. See article III, p. 84, note 109, where he
takes Kasravi as representing “the latest research” on the ethnic origins of
the Safavid monarchy. See also articles VIII, p. 15-16, XII, p. 24. See also
his Iran under the Safavids (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
1980), pp. 2 and 13.
72 P. 51.
51-52, citing W. Stele, “The Intellectual Development of Ahmad Kasravi”
(unpublished PhD dissertation, Princeton, 1966), quoted by Abrahamian,
“Kasravi: The Integrative Nationalist of Iran,” p. 129.
74 p. 19, .
75 p. 32.
76 p. 31.
77 P. 25.
78 P. 85.
79 P. 102.
80 P. 53.