Monitoring group

Baku Azerbaijan




END OF 1970'S - BEGINNING OF 1995:

Only Fifteen Years - But Within Different Historic Periods ..........................................4

APRIL 1995 - MARCH 1996:

- Of Many Other Aspects, Only Four..............................................................................11

- Official Diplomatic Relations.........................................................................................11

- Factor of Qarabag Conflict...........................................................................................17

- Factor of South Azerbaijan ............................................................................................22

- Humanitarian Relations..................................................................................................28

- Monitoring Report in Figures and Diagrams..............................................................33

- Afterword.......................................................................................................................38

- List of Newspapers Referred To in This Monitoring.....................................................39



This monitoring of Azerbaijan's national press covers articles on the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations that were published in the country's print media between 1978 and March 1996.

According to the time of publications, the monitoring is divided into two parts: Part I gives a brief analysis of the print media up to the beginning of 1995, while Part II gives a more comprehensive analysis of publications in the press over the past twelve months, from April 1995 till March 1996.

The reviewers did not have the purpose to monitor publications on all aspects of the relations between the two countries.

Of all the totality of various aspects of relations between the two countries, only the following were selected as objects of this monitoring: official diplomatic relations, the roles of the Qarabag conflict and the factor of South Azerbaijan in the shaping of the relations, as well as the sphere of humanitarian relations.

For analysis, the authors used only the articles that are directly related to the subject of the monitoring.

Even if commented on, media publications that are not directly related to the subject theme, but only touch on it, were not accounted for in statistics.

In Part II we preserved the structure characteristic of our earlier reviews: All the subjects and semi-subjects are analyzed according to their coverage by the governmental, independent and conditionally-independent newspapers (the latter will mostly be classified as simply independent), and opposition newspapers.

Part III presents quantitative descriptions of the publications, comments on those figures and offers diagrams in order to make those figures and comments more demonstratian" (as of 1992, an official newspaper, organ of the Azerbaijani Parliament), "Bakinskiy Rabochiy," "Elm," "Gunay," "Hayat," "Iki Sahil," "Islam," "Islam Dunyasi," "Islamin Sasi," "Kommunist" (organ of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan which has been published as "Xalq Qazeti" since October 1991), "Mustaqil Qazet," "Muhacir," "Muxalifat," "Sahriyar," "Sas," "Tovhid," "Vahid Azarbaycan," "Vyshka," "Xalq Qazeti," "Yeni Musavat," and "Zaman."

"Ayna-Zerkalo" and "Gunay" are published in two languages, while "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" and "Vyshka" are published only in Russian. Part of the above-mentioned newspapers were published only over a certain period, while others still continue to be published.

End of 1970'S - 1980'S: STILL THE PERIOD OF EMPIRE

The Iranian revolution of 1978-1979 was an event which had great repercussions throughout the world. These developments were carefully watched in the neighboring Soviet Union and were widely reflected in print media. The wide coverage of the development of the Iranian revolution by the Soviet Azerbaijani press ("Kommunist," "Vyshka," "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" etc.) was made up of the stories provided by TASS (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union). There were practically no comments by local journalists or officials. The only difference from the central (Moscow) media was that in a number of cases the reports in the Azerbaijani press covered the events in a more comprehensive manner.

The main feature of the Iranian revolution was its anti-American character. Seizure of the U.S. Embassy and taking its employees as hostages was covered in an especially detailed manner. Anti-American slogans and rallies were a "pet" topic of the Soviet Azerbaijani press. Headlines like "Provocations by Anti-Revolutionaries" and the like were typical then. Special attention was given to statements by the Iran's People's Party ("Tudeh"). The idea of the USSR's friendly attitude toward Iran and even its "protecting Iran from foreign imperialism" could be read between the lines of the reports. The place of Azerbaijan within the Soviet-Iranian relations was not touched upon. However, reports were published sporadically about Iranian official's visits to Baku (after visiting Moscow).

Numerous reports about the war between Iran and Iraq were neutral, in conformity with the official Soviet policy of that time. Iran's Kurdish nationalist movement, too, was explained from a neutral position and again in conformity with the Soviet policy. But a cautious sympathy for the Kurdish nationalist movement could be felt in some stories. Reports about Azerbaijani (Turkish) nationalist movement were comparatively less numerous and consisted of cautious and brief reports.

In the wake of the banning of Iran's People's Party in 1983, beginning of repressions against Iran's communists and increase of anti-Soviet mood, there appeared a certain change in the general tone of the materials on Iran. Stories on women's rights and criticisms of strengthening theocratic trends in governing the country started to appear in the press.

Unlike official government newspapers, the newspapers and magazines of the Azerbaijan Writers92 Union published stories on a comparatively wider range of issues. "Adabiyyat va Incasanat" newspaper and "Azarbaycan" and "Ulduz" magazines published quite a few materials regarding ethnic and cultural reawakening of South Azerbaijan. The article criticized limitations which the Shah regime imposed on the Azerbaijani (Turkish) language and culture and expressed a hope that the Iranian revolution would put an end to discrimination toward Azerbaijanis. At that time samples of the South Azerbaijani literature began to be published more often. Works by Sahriyar, Samad Behrangi, Sahandi, Savalan, and other writers and poets started to appear in the press.

Although publications in literary editions covered a comparatively wider range of Iran-related issues, before perestroyka the Azerbaijani press remained restricted. The following were the ideas that press "cultivated" in the reader: an anti-imperialist people's revolution had taken place in Iran, this revolution had shattered

the American position there, the USSR had always supported the Iranian revolution and was doing everything to create friendly neighborly relations with that country... However, the Soviet Azerbaijani press did answer the questions which interested a great mass of readers: e.g., why a revolution took place in Iran, did the revolution have other tasks, what did the revolution give South Azerbaijan and what South Azerbaijan lost in the revolution, etc.

When perestroyka came, limitations imposed on information (including on the developments in Iran) were gradually lifted. Unofficial (samizdat) newspapers, which began to spread in 1988, and opposition newspapers, which in 1989 were allowed to be published, expanded considerably the range of the Iran-related issues covered. During the perestroyka, articles on Iran acquired a predominantly analytical character. The main idea expressed by those articles was that Azerbaijan's division was unfair and that its reunification is inevitable. The optimistic spirit of those articles imparted to the reader a belief that a nationalist movement would soon flare up in South Azerbaijan.

One should add that yet another line was expressed by those articles: our brothers in the South will surely support us in the settlement of the Qarabag conflict.

Just before the Soviet-Iranian border was breached in late December 1989, the propaganda of a "united Azerbaijan" reached its climax in the Azerbaijani press. After that, there appeared articles calling for a realistic approach toward the subject of a "united Azerbaijan." Research scientist A. Mammadov wrote in his article "Bitter Truths, Painful Thoughts" that "incompleteness of our political literacy, our inability to take a global look at events has made us face very serious mistakes" and stated that it was impossible for North and South to unite under the existing circumstances ("Kommunist," August 3, 1990).

The topic of Iran became differentiated in the Azerbaijani press after 1989 when the number of newspapers grew. A lot of scientific journalism appeared touching on the history of the Azerbaijani issue in Iran and especially the obscure sides of the "21 Azer" movement. A number of new issues were raised by North Azerbaijani intellectuals in their reminiscences about the South. Samples of South Azerbaijani literature started to be published more frequently and various newspapers began to dedicate whole issues and pages to the issue of South Azerbaijan. Pieces of information on the newly established official relations between Azerbaijan SSR and Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as complete texts of newly signed official documents started to be published. Publication within a short time of numerous materials on various subjects showed a big potential accumulated as a result of the long-time taboo imposed on the subject.

Another thing that attracted attention was the polarization that emerged with regard to Iran. This is how Akram Aylisli expressed in one of his interviews the mood of a big part of Azerbaijan's intellectuals, and his own concern about it: "...the nation has not gotten rid of the influence of Iran, the influence of its biggest, most violent colonist! If you ask me, the Moslem religion has not brought any light or any progress whatsoever to the life of the Azerbaijani people On the contrary, it is not by chance that those who have sought progress for our nation have, voluntarily or involuntarily, come out against it!" ("Adabiyyat va Incasanat," July 10, 1988). Newspapers at the opposite pole ("Islam," "Islamin Sasi," "Tabriz") tried to advertise the topics of Iran and Islamic revolution and bring home to the reader that the idea the Islamic Republic of Iran is North Azerbaijan's most trustworthy ally.


As Azerbaijan regained its independence in October 1991, official diplomatic relations intensified between Azerbaijan and Iran. Official visits to Iran by the leadership of the Azerbaijan Republic became more frequent, and one after another delegations came to Azerbaijan from Iran. Consulate General of Iran was transformed into embassy and expanded its activity. A little bit later, the Iranian Embassy started to issue its press bulletins and stories from the bulletin began to appear in the local press. As of this time, the press started to widely cover official negotiations and documents signed. "AzarTac" published reports in which satisfaction was expressed over improvement of the relations between the two neighboring countries. However, during the period of the Elcibey government (1992-1993) the articles about the Azerbaijani-Iranian diplomatic relations were not very cheerful.

After Heydar Aliyev's two visits to Iran (August 1992 and March 1993) while he was Chairman of the Supreme Maclis of the Naxcivani Autonomous Republic, newspapers close to Heydar Aliyev ("Iki Sahil," "Naxcivan") noted the trips' great significance for the history of the relations between the two countries and praised the life in Iran. This trend continued after the June 1993 coup and the official news papers used every opportunity to call on rapprochement with Iran.

Here are typical headlines of reports about official negotiations: "Our Relations with Iran Have Wide Perspectives," "There Exist Wide Opportunities for Strengthening Cooperation," "Friendly Relations Expand," "Iranian-Azerbaijani Relations Expand," "There Should Be No Chilliness in Relations with Iran," "Perspectives for Economic Cooperation," "Azerbaijan-Iran: Our Friendship and Brotherhood are Forever," "Azerbaijan-Iran: An Important Stage of the Development of Our Relations," "Azerbaijan-Iran: Possibilities for Cooperation are Wide and Beneficial" ("Azerbaijan" newspaper between 1992 and 1993).

Along with this, concern was expressed sporadically by official newspapers over expansion of Iran's relations with Armenia. "Bulend Ecevit: Neither Russia, Nor Iran are Interested in the Settlement of the Azerbaijani-Armenian Conflict" (May 26, 1993), "Azerbaijani Students of the Tehran University Reject Claims by Armenian Priest" (February 16, 1994), "What Do the Armenian- Language 'Alik' and 'Araks

' Magazines Published in Tehran Write About?" (May 19, 1994), "Dashnaks Strengthen Activities in Iran" (August 10, 1994) - these are the headlines of the articles in the official " Azarbaycan" with indirect indications that the Iranian regime patronizes Armenians and Armenia.

In 1992-1995, the opposition democratic press, maintaining its unaltered attitude toward Iran, continued to follow very carefully the official relations between Azerbaijan and Iran and analyzed progress and regress in the relations. The approached toward the relations with this neighboring country was skeptical. Here are typical headlines: "Iran Dear and Alien," "Iranian-Azerbaijani Relations 'Expand'," "Iran. Meetings continue," "Are Russia's and Iran's Positions Similar? But Hasan Hasanov Is Satisfied with His Trip to Iran," "The Iranian Press Threatens Official Baku," "Iran's Unacceptable Terms," "Will We Be Able to Become Friends with Iran This Time?" (issues of "Azadliq" newspaper between 1992 and 1994).

Iran's attitude to the Qarabag conflict was in the focus of the Azerbaijani press, too. Especially in May 1992, on the eve of the summit between the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Iranian heads of state and after it, the mediation effort by Iran and its failure was thoroughly analyzed. There were articles in the opposition press which linked the fall of Shusha and other strategic losses by Azerbaijan with Iran's mediation mission. After CSCE (OSCE) took over mediation in the Qarabag conflict, the Azerbaijani media focused on the expansion of the relations between Iran and Azerbaijan. Both the official and opposition media dedicated a considerable amount of articles to this sensitive issue. These articles showed direct influence on the Qarabag conflict of the increasing political, economic and cultural relations between Iran and Armenia, and the opposition press (especially "Azadliq") sharply criticized that aspect of Iran's policy.

These are the headlines of some articles in "Azadliq" dedicated to the relations between Iran and Armenia: "The Islamic Republic of Iran Protects Poor Armenians from the World's Tyrants," "An Order Has Been Received to Improve Trade Relations between Armenia and Iran," "Iran Will Give Armenia Oil and Gas." September 7, 1994 issue of "Muxalifat" published a document without a comment proving Iran's selling mazout to Armenia.

The most important factor in the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations is the factor of South Azerbaijan. The government press has not only tried to leave the factor unnoticed, but also expressed now and then its negative attitude toward the articles touching on the idea of Unified Azerbaijan appearing in opposition newspapers and opined that such articles may spoil the relations between the two countries. The official press published very eagerly protests of the Iranian Embassy against these publications.

The independent and opposition press followed very carefully the Azerbaijani nationalist movement in Iran and published information about the activities of various Iranian organizations. Articles about South Azerbaijan revealed the Iranian government's discriminatory policies against Azerbaijanis (Turks) and told the reader in the North about the Southerners' struggle for ethnic rights. On the other hand, a concern was expressed in many articles over provocation's carried out by the Iranian government in the Azerbaijan Republic. An article in "Azadliq" newspaper wrote that "the Iranian government is carrying out a set of special measures in order to neutralize the influence on Iran of the events taking place in our country" and that $50 million was allotted for this purpose (June 10, 1992).

Publications of scientific journalism regarding the history of the national liberation movement in South Azerbaijan continued. Historians S. Tagiyeva, M. Cesmazar, V. Mustafa, S. Bayramzadeh published various articles focusing on separate issues of the nationalist movement in Iran and entered into polemics with specific Persian chauvinists.

Humanitarian relations between Azerbaijan and Iran were widely reflected in the press between 1991-1995. There appeared dozens of articles about Iran's assistance to the refugees of the Qarabag war and those disabled during the hostilities. Assistance to Naxcivan was in the center of attention, too. It would be interesting to note the absence of press reports telling that the food products, fuel and other assistance that Iran rendered to Naxcivan were reimbursed by Azerbaijan's oil products given to Iran.

In the first half of 1990's publication of samples of the Southern Azerbaijani literature continued. Those were mostly literary works by little known poets and writers about Fatherland, native tongue and national liberation. There were articles about other aspects of Southern Azerbaijani culture, too.

The Sahriyar Congress, which was held in Baku in March, 1993, became an important landmark in the development of cultural relations between the two countries. The Congress was preluded by numerous publications about Sahriyar and other South Azerbaijani poets, while literary print media published a certain part of the presentations made at the Congress.

As the majority of Azerbaijanis living abroad come from South, in their interviews to the press they touched on the situation in Iran and sharply criticized the policy of discrimination against Azeris there. Interviews by other visitors from Iran sounded more moderate as they spoke on the discrimination. There appeared articles about Iran's only Turkish-language magazine, "Varliq" and its publisher Dr. Cavad Hey'at, and interviews with Dr. Hey'at were published.

The regular broadcasts to Azerbaijan of the special program of the Iranian television play a special role in the development of humanitarian relations between the two countries. The opposition press have repeatedly criticized this daily program which propagates Iran and Islamic revolution. The stories about students who went to Iran for education, too, was object for criticism in the opposition press. In his interview to "Azadliq" (December 6, 1994) Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual Directorate of the Moslems of the Caucasus said: "...thousands of Azerbaijani teenagers have been taken to Iran and are brought up there in the spirit of Islamic fundamentalism."

Activities by the humanitarian organization called Imam Khomeini Imdad was regarded as a channel for interference in Azerbaijan's internal affairs and was criticized in the opposition press.


Developing in many directions, the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations are influence by a number of factors. However, the Monitoring Group had as its object reviewing only two directions of those relations, the official diplomatic relations and humanitarian relations, taking into consideration the factor of the Qarabag conflict and the factor of South Azerbaijan.

We review each of those issues within the general framework of the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations.


This Chapter covers reports and analytic articles about Azerbaijani-Iranian political relations and official meetings (including interviews with various state officials).

Numerous articles and short reports speak about meetings of the leaders of various political parties and other prominent Azerbaijanis with Iranian officials and their attitude toward Iranian-Azerbaijani relations and other related topics. That is why this monitoring report covers only official meetings and formal political relations.

Over the period covered by this report (April 1, 1995 - March 31, 1996) the following aspects of the official diplomatic relations between Iran and Azerbaijan were the subject of coverage by Azerbaijan's national print media:

- diplomatic relations (in the context of political talks) between Iran and Azerbaijan;

- Iran's participation in the "deal of the century" and view of the Iranian

-Azerbaijani relations in the context of the oil pipeline route;

- the issue of the Caspian legal status and Iran's official position on it;

- regional policy and attitude toward the Qarabag conflict.

Over this period, 44 articles on the topic (which equals a total space of 12,880 square centimeters) were printed in the country's newspapers. Of those, 35 articles (6,770 sq. cm.) presented general information. These included reports on official meetings and visits, press conferences and formal contacts.

Of the stories on diplomatic relations, nine (6,110 sq. cm.) were analytical articles. Those articles mostly focused on the perspectives of the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations, the tensions in the existing relations, Iran's oil diplomacy, Iran's role and position in the Qarabag war.

One should note that failure to meet Iran's oil interest in the "deal of the century" (signed on September 20, 1994) and the Azerbaijani side's refusal, under U.S. influence, to accept the oil pipeline route through the Iranian territory, Azerbaijani-Israeli ties on the one hand and Iranian-Armenian ties on the other caused tensions in the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations. As a result, majority of the articles on the subject were of critical character.

Articles on Official Diplomatic Relations

QUANTITY (Diagram 1)

0944 articles 3D100%

1. independent press09-7093D16%

2. official press 09-24093D55%

3. opposition press 09-13 093D29%

SPACE (Diagram 2)

0912,880 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. independent press 09-2,450 3D19%

2. official press 09-8,370 3D65%

3. opposition press09-2,060 3D16%

INDEPENDENT newspapers

Independent and conditionally independent newspapers touched on the subject less than other press. Seven articles (2,450 sq. cm.) on this issue were published in these newspapers. Of those, four (350 sq. cm.) were of informative character and three (2,100 sq. cm.) were analytical articles.

"Ayna-Zerkalo" printed three articles (1,550 sq. cm.). One was a brief report on the trip by State Advisor on Foreign Policy Vafa Quluzade (No.2, January 13, 1996, Page 18, 50 sq. cm.). Two analytical articles present foremost interest. In those articles, Iran's diplomacy in the region is criticized.

In the article headlined "Iran Is Upset about Azerbaijan's Friendly Relations with Israel" ("Ayna-Zerkalo," No.11, March 8, 1996, Page 10, 900 sq. cm., by Nurani) the writer noted that it is not right to bring to a common denominator the Iranian-Armenian and Azerbaijani-Israeli relations. It would be ridiculous to say that, because of cooperation between the two countries, Azerbaijan affects Israel's potential. However, Armenia has benefited from its relationship with Iran and, by using the latter's territory, managed to break through the economic blockade.

Touching on the issue of "Islamic solidarity," the writer opines that Azerbaijan has learnt through its diplomatic experience that Islamic solidarity is nothing but an attractive slogan and that the visit to Baku by the Iranian Foreign Minister proved that it did not exist as a political factor.

Three (230 sq. cm.) of the remaining four articles appeared in "525-ci Qazet" (2 stories, 70 sq. cm.) and "Zaman" (1 story, 160 sq. cm.) newspapers. These were reports.

For example, the article in "525-ci Qazet" headlined "Press Conference Ended Up in Mutual Accusations" (No.8(92), March 6, 1996, Page 1, 40 sq. cm., newspaper's own information) reported on a joint press conference of Azerbaijan's and Iran's foreign ministers. During the press conference both parties accused each other. Iran's Foreign Minister Vilayati accused the official Baku in having relationship with Israel. In his turn, Hasan Hasanov accused the Iranian government in helping Armenia. Hasanov said that Armenia managed to break through the economic blockade with the help of Iran.

"Zaman" (January 27, 1996, 730 sq. cm., "We Have Always Condemned the Armenian Aggression" by Z. Abdin and V. Aliyev) printed an interview with Ali Rza Begdeli, Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, in which he spoke about official relations between Iran and Azerbaijan.

Touching on the violation of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, the Ambassador noted that Iran was the first to offer its mediation in order to put an end to the Qarabag crisis and had repeatedly come out with proposals to establish cease-fire. "Like before, we vigorously condemn Armenia's policy of aggression against Azerbaijan," and added that the conflict should be settled through negotiations and that all Azerbaijan's occupied territories should be liberated.

Talking about the status of the Caspian and exploitation of its resources, the Ambassador noted, "this unique water basin should help establish friendly relations and cooperation between the littoral states, and we respect the positions of Azerbaijan and other littoral states."

Touching on the route of Azerbaijan's oil pipeline, the diplomat opined that "a number of Azerbaijani specialists and neutral experts have emphasized that the route going through Iran and Turkey is more logical and perfect." According to him, the other versions have political motives, and Azerbaijan should independently state its position in the issue.

OFFICIAL newspapers

The official press has addressed the issue most often. These newspapers published 24 stories (8,370 sq. cm.) on this subject. Of those, 21 (5,980 sq cm.) were reports and three (2,390 sq. cm.) were analytical articles. Of the newspapers within this classification, three - "Azarbaycan" (21 articles, 7,720 sq. cm.), "Bakinskiy Rabochiy"(2 articles, 250 sq. sm.) and "Yeni Azarbaycan" (1 article, 400 sq. sm.) touched on the subject.

Reports told about visits, press conferences and diplomatic contacts. "Azarbaycan" regularly covered official functions. These reports informed about visits to Iran by Heydar Aliyev, Rasul Quliyev, Hasan Hasanov and other government officials, their meetings with Iran's officials, joint press conferences and speeches by heads of state ("AzarTac" reports). For example, an "Azarbaycan" article headlined "President Heydar Aliyev Received Iranian Charge d'affaires to Our Country" (No.126(1,143), July 7, 1995, Page 1, 420 sq. sm., "AzarTac" report) writes: "In his meeting with Mohammed Tahiri, Heydar Aliyev stressed the existence of forces which want to taint the friendly, brotherly relations between Iran and Azerbaijan. After Azerbaijan gained independence and the borders were opened, the forces which do not want to see both Iran and Azerbaijan happy, make efforts to spoil the relations."

In another article "Azarbaycan" (No.100(1,117), March 31, 1995, 1,600 sq. sm., "Our Attitude toward Iran Is Brotherly, Friendly") published an interview with Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Rasul Quliyev who opined that the relations between Azerbaijan and Islamic Republic of Iran can only be brotherly and that Iran's position in Azerbaijan's foreign policy is very much superior compared to other countries.

Touching on the issue related to Azerbaijan's oil, Rasul Quliyev said that it is not difficult for Azerbaijan to give a percentage of its oil to Iran, however, in order to enter the consortium's board, consent of all the

board members is required. Azerbaijan addressed twice all the consortium members and held several meetings with the American companies as well as officials representing America, trying to change their minds. But they categorically protested against Iran's participation in the consortium.

Answering the question, "What can be America's strategic interests in the region?" the Speaker said that it cannot be that the U.S. has a strategic purpose to use Azerbaijan against Iran, and even if America does have such a strategic aim, it would be impossible realize it in Azerbaijan.

Official newspapers printed practically no critical articles. However, a critical connotation is obvious in several reports. For example, "Azarbaycan" (No.241(1,258), December 15, 1995, Page 2, 600 sq. cm., "AzarTac") printed a report about "Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliyev's Meeting at the BBC Corporation in London" which says: "There is a certain chill in the [Iranian-Azerbaijani] relations.

Iran is upset over our signing the contract with Western, especially with American, companies, with which Iran has very difficult relationship. However, we, too, are upset that Iran assists Armenia very actively and supplies it with strategic products. Armenia is using this assistance and support and toughens its position at peace negotiations with us."

Analytical articles reflected on the factors making up the basis of foreign policy as well as on the existing relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. "Yeni Azarbaycan" (No.11(74), 24 June, 1995) published an article by Aydin Quliyev entitled "Geopolitical Balance Guarantees Statehood" which tells about Azerbaijan's foreign political guidelines. Aydin Quliyev writes: "Creating guarantees for non-interference in each others' affairs, not letting Azerbaijan to become an arena for a pro-Western oriented struggle against Iran and other proclaimed principles conforms with the vital interests of both states and opens up wide perspectives for a future good development of the relations between the two countries. The main purpose of this direction is to accelerate the somewhat languid pace of the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations."

OPPOSITION newspapers

These newspapers printed 13 materials (2,060 sq. cm.) regarding the issue. Of those, ten (440 sq. cm.) were reports, three (1,620 sq. cm.) were analytical articles.

The following newspapers touched on the subject: "Azadliq" - eight stories (1,880 sq. cm.), "Yeni Musavat - two stories (70 sq. cm.), Millat - two stories (70 sq. cm.), "Muxalifat - one story (40 sq. cm).

Brief reports by various news agencies make up the majority of the materials. These are mostly reports about official meetings and press conferences. The joint press conference between foreign ministers Hasanov and Vilayati received a more active coverage by the opposition press. As we mentioned above, the reason for that was that at the press conference Iran92s and Azerbaijan92s foreign ministers made mutual accusations.

Elxan Sahinoglu wrote in a Millat (No.56(404), July 10, 1995, Page 2, 140 sq. cm.) article entitled Iran Makes Proposals Again : Just like ever before, the representatives of high-ranking Iranian circles visiting our country did not forget to speak on the issues that are within the sphere of Azerbaijan's internal affairs. In this context, the fact that Iran's Minister of Cooperation said during his meeting with Heydar Aliyev, "What Iran wants from Azerbaijan is that your relations with the United States and Israel do not become more active' makes one repulsive. It is to the U.S. that official visitors from Iran ascribe their country's failure to participate in the oil consortium. Unlike Tehran, Azerbaijan has never officially protested Iran's close political and economic ties with Armenia."

An article published by Azadliq (No.27(569), December 19, 1995, Page 2, 600 sq. cm., "Iran's Oil Diplomacy, by Expert Group of Turan News Agency) touched on Iran's attitude to the "deal of the century" and oil negotiations with Azerbaijan: "Realizing how important Azerbaijan's geopolitical position in the region is, Iran, through intensive diplomatic activities, is making an effort to preserve the situation as tolerable [for itself] as possible."

One should note that there appeared many articles that did not focus on official diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Iran but did touch on the subject by a few phrases. HOWEVER, SUCH ARTICLES WERE NOT CONSIDERED BY THIS MONITORING. These are the

articles, interviews with various state officials and brief reports touching on the issue of Unified Azerbaijan, Iranian-Armenian relations, Iranian-Azerbaijani humanitarian and economic ties, oil, foreign policy and other issues.

Avrasiya, Ayna-Zerkalo, Azadliq, Azarbaycan, and Yeni Musavat were among the national papers that touched in their articles on the issue of official diplomatic relations.

For example, Avrasiya (June 24, 1995, Page 3, 375 sq. cm., Aliyar Safarli: I Am Dissatisfied with the Iranian-Azerbaijani Relations, by Asya Hacizade) printed an interview with Aliyar Safarli (Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Iran). The interview focused on oil-related issues. Looking at the diplomatic relations from the standpoint of the oil factor, the ambassador stated a certain chilliness in the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations. Iranian papers print a lot of anti-Azerbaijan articles. Since the time when Iran was denied membership in the consortium, Iran has been almost in mourning. However, Iran is rich in its own oil resources, and the consortium members are categorically against Iran's membership in the consortium. The ambassador adds, "Iran's chilly relations with Azerbaijan can not go on forever, because our friendship and brotherhood has ancient roots."

Ayna-Zerkalo" (No.37(421), October 7, 1995, 580 sq. cm., by Nurani) printed a very interesting analytical article entitled "A Fight under the Azerbaijani Carpet." The article is about the role of the factor of South Azerbaijan in Iran's strategy of regional foreign policy. According to the writer, taking into consideration the South Azerbaijani factor, Iran has every opportunity to develop comprehensive relations with Azerbaijan. However, Iran was not the first country to recognized Azerbaijan's sovereignty - the priority in this issue was ceded to Turkey. Despite the existence in Baku of its diplomatic representation, Iran has failed to create a full range of diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan.

The author goes on to say that, with regard to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Iran's position is not so tough as Turkey's. Unlike Ankara, Tehran has created a full range of diplomatic relations with Yerevan However the main factor in the region is not the rivalry between Iran and Turkey but the existence in Iran of South Azerbaijan. Nurani writes: "Territorial claims to Iran are out of the question. However, an existence of a stable, independent Azerbaijan is a worthy factor in itself."


As the Qarabag conflict occupies an important place in the Azerbaijani-Iranian relations, press has attached special importance to it. Newspapers focus on the statements by Iran's political leaders regarding the Qarabag conflict. (Articles about humanitarian assistance rendered by Iran to the refugees of the Qarabag conflict, war veterans, families of sahids [Translator's Note: "martyrs," victims of the war in Qarabag and independence movement and other casualties were classified under "Humanitarian Ties" column.)

As Iran's relations with Armenia are logically covered through the prism of the Qarabag conflict, these relations, too, became an object of this monitoring report. This is the opinion of the Azerbaijani public reflected in the press: Armenia has seized part of Azerbaijan's territory, and one of the means to press on the aggressor is to take it into an economic blockade. However, Iran has encouraged Armenia by expanding its relations with the aggressor, and under these circumstances speculations about friendship, brotherhood, and "Islamic solidarity" do not make sense.

Thus, majority of the articles reviewed in this Chapter are of a critical character, or at least are written in a critical tone. Over the reviewed period, 30 articles (3,110 sq. cm.) were devoted to the subject of Iran and Qarabag conflict. Majority of those were published in "Ayna-Zerkalo," "Avrasiya," "Azadliq," and "Millat." Of those articles, 13 (2,427 sq. cm.) are analytical articles and 17 (753 sq. cm.) are short reports.

Articles on the Factor of Qarabag Conflict

QUANTITY (Diagram 3)

30 articles 3D100%

1. independent press -16 3D53%

2. official press -2 3D7%

3. opposition press -12 3D40%

SPACE (Diagram 4)

093,110 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. independent press 09-940 3D30%

2. official press 09-250 3D8%

3. opposition press09-1,'0 3D62%

INDEPENDENT newspapers

Of the 16 articles (940 sq. cm.) in the independent newspapers devoted to the "Factor of the Qarabag conflict," five (549 sq. cm.) were analytical articles.

Among newspapers within this classification, "Avrasiya" and "Ayna/Zerkalo" deserve a special reference. "Avrasiya," which has been most active in covering this topic, published nine stories (447 sq. cm.) about it.

Iran's Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ali Rza Begdeli made numerous statements regarding Iran's attitude to the Qarabag conflict. The statements were covered by independent, official and opposition press. These statements acknowledged the fact that the Iranian state had repeatedly declared Armenia an aggressor. Along with this, Iran had offered its mediation in the conflict settlement.

For example, an article headlined "Even Though Armenia Is an Aggressor," printed in the October 14, 1995 issue of "Avrasiya," Ali Rza Begdeli says: "We are trying to be on good terms with every country in the region, including the Republic of Armenia. However, we have stated everywhere that an end should be put to Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan."

In its August 26, 1995 issue "Avrasiya" published a report on the official visit to Armenia by Deputy Chairman of Iran's Milli Maclis Hasan Rohani.

In his press conference held in Yerevan Rohani said that Armenia did not have territorial claims against Azerbaijan and that it supports return of the occupied territories. It would be appropriate to note that this idea does not fit in very well with the statement by Ambassador Begdeli which was announced as reflecting the position of the Iranian government.

As it was indicated earlier, the Azerbaijani press criticized Iran's economic relations with Armenia in the context of the Qarabag conflict. Independent newspapers gave a wider coverage of Iran's economic relations with Armenia.

The article "Who Is Whose Enemy" published by "Avrasiya" reflected a view typical of the articles on this issue: "Armenia is Azerbaijan's enemy, because it has occupied our lands. However, it is a friend of Iran. It [Iran] continues to expand its friendly relations with Armenia" ("Avrasiya," August 19, 1995).

The article headlined "The Cooperation between Iran and Armenia Brings Turkish Language to Yerevan" reports that during the visit by an Armenian delegation to Iran, Yerevan signed fifteen contracts with Tehran on important areas of the economy ("Avrasiya," May 13, 1995, Page 4).

Touching on Iran's ties with Armenia in the sphere of telecommunications, "Zaman" wrote in its January 20, 1996 issue with reference to Iran's Consul in Naxcivan M. Sadig that the customs service between Armenia and Iran is open. Armenians can transit through Iran to other states. On the other hand, Armenians can buy any products they want in Iran.

A few articles were printed stressing on the Russian factor in the Qarabag war. June 17, 1995 "Avrasiya" published an article entitled "The Moscow-Yerevan-Tehran Triangle" in which the writer, Orxan Mansurzade, noted that ever since Iran was not allowed into the consortium under pressure from the official Washington, after which its relations with Baku chilled, the Tehran-Moscow and Tehran-Yerevan political consultations and cooperation have been expanding. The writer went on to say that Moscow is interested in creating a joint communications company with Armenia as soon as possible.

OFFICIAL newspapers

Over the period covered by the monitoring report, the factor of the Qarabag conflict was least of all touched on by the official newspapers. They published only two stories (250 sq. cm.) regarding the issue.

The government newspapers allotted more space to the stories reflecting official diplomatic relations between Iran and Azerbaijan. Only "Azarbaycan" touched several times on the subject theme. Commenting on the visit to Azerbaijan by IRI's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Vilayati, the newspaper wrote: "The visit... allowed press to look again at this subject (the subject of Iran and the Qarabag conflict - Monitoring Group). Thus, a lot of incidents interesting to the press took place during the visit. At

the joint press conference by Ali Akbar Vilayati and Hasan Hasanov, the two sides accused each other. H. Hasanov: "You (Iran) should be concerned more than anybody else over occupation by Armenia of Azerbaijan's lands. It is not Israel, but Armenia that has seized Azerbaijan's lands, and its is the Armenians' arms that have forced one million of your brothers to flee their places, and it is the Armenians who have massacred 30 thousand Azerbaijanis. I would like you to make a note of my response, so that your public realizes better that Azerbaijan's enemies are Armenian nationalists" ("Azarbaycan," No. 44(1,313), March 5, 1996, Page 2).

Covering the meeting of Azerbaijan's president Heydar Aliyev at the BBC Corporation in London, "Azarbaycan" wrote that, speaking in front of the journalists, Aliyev said: "There is a certain chill, a certain concern in the [Azerbaijani-Iranian] relations. But it does not seem to me that this is characteristic of the relations that exist between Azerbaijan and Iran. Iran has its vision of the relations with Azerbaijan, and we, too, have our vision of the relations with Iran. What we are upset about is the fact that Iran provides strategic products to Armenia and, using this assistance, Armenia toughens its position at peace negotiations with us..." ("Azarbaycan," No. 241(1,258), December 15, 1995, Pages 2-3, "AzarTac").

OPPOSITION newspapers

Over the period covered, the opposition press published 12 articles (1,'0 sq. cm.) on the factor of the Qarabag conflict. Of those, six (362 sq. cm) were reports and the other six (1,628 sq. cm.) Were analytical articles. Among the newspapers under this classification, only "Azadliq" and "Millat" touched on the subject. Those were reports mostly regarding diplomatic and economic relations between Iran and Armenia. Those articles helped to form an impression about Iran's attitude to the Qarabag con

flict and its activities in this direction. For example, "Azadliq" (No.51(537), August 6, 1995, Page 2, "Turan") printed an article entitled "The Iranian-Armenian Ties Expand" which reported on the visit to Armenia by the Iranian delegation headed by Hasan Rohani, Secretary of Iran's Security Council. Referring to Hasan Rohani, the article says that, in order to preserve stability in the region, Iran supports a peaceful settlement of the Qarabag conflict.

Some reports tell about the trips to Nagorno-Karabakh by Iranian officials. "Azadliq" (No.81(567), December 12, 1995, Page 3) reported about a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh by a delegation headed by the Chief of the First Department of CIS Countries under Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Norakman. It was noted that during the trip the Iranian diplomat met with the president of the self-proclaimed Qarabag state Robert Kocharyan. The problem of prisoners of war was discussed at the meeting. The Iranian side expressed its willingness to mediate in freeing the prisoners. On that same day the Qarabag Armenians transferred eight Azerbaijani prisoners to the Iranian delegation for their consecutive transfer to Azerbaijan.

In analytical articles, the subject of Iran and the Qarabag conflict is mostly covered from the standpoint of regional policy. It is in such stories that Iran's position in the Qarabag conflict is criticized.

Among other papers under this classification, one should distinguish Azadliq" for its consistent coverage of the topic. Of the six analytical articles published by opposition press, four appeared in this newspaper.

The article entitled The Anatomy of Irans Islamic Policy published in Azadliq (No.56(542), September 12, 1995, Page 4, 450 sq. cm.; No.57(543), September 16, 1995, Page 5, 350 sq. cm., by Xaliq Bahadir) is about Iran's regional policy. The Iranian-Armenian relations were viewed in this context. The articles says: "In economic cooperation with Armenia, Iran ranks second after Russia. In every sphere, Armenia is the country with which Iran has the closest ties."

An article in Azadliq entitled "Iran-Azerbaijan: About Bilateral Relations (No.64(550), October 14, 1995, Page 7, 357 sq. cm., by Fuzuli Qurbanov) the Qarabag conflict is approached from the standpoint of the Iranian-Azerbaijani relations. The writer says that Iran expands its economic cooperation with Azerbaijan on the one hand and does its best to strengthen Armenia on the other. Verbally, Iran denounces Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan and in practice it helps Armenia in every way.

In his interview to Azadliq entitled There Are a Lot of People Who Want Peace in Israel (No.29(601), March 16, 1996, Page 7, 52 sq. cm., by Kanan Kazimoglu ) Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan Eliezer Yotvat touches on the Iranian-Armenian relations and Iran's position in the Qarabag conflict. Asking the question, "Why don't the Shi'a brothers blockade Armenia like Turkey does?" the ambassador notes that Tehran helps Armenia in the Qarabag war. In the diplomat's opinion, Iran poses a threat not only to Azerbaijan, but to the whole world. The ambassador recalls that back in 1992 Vilayati had said that a state called Azerbaijan does not exist.

There also appeared articles looking at how Iran's and Russia's interests are reflected through the prism of the Qarabag conflict.

Among other opposition newspapers, Millat expressed its attitude to the issue in an article by Rasim Vagifoglu entitled The Destiny of the Caucasus Is Closely Tied to Azerbaijan. The author wrote: As a result of the long-time joint policies [aimed at] maintaining control over Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran managed to create an Armenian state and had intended to use Armenia against Turkey as well as it was used against Azerbaijan. All this is proved by the fact that over the latest period Armenia, which is at war with Azerbaijan, has received every assistance from Russia and their unconcealed alliance, as well as Iran's close relations with Armenia and a considerable rapprochement between Iran and Russia proves what we have said" (No.32(380), April 25, 1995, Page 1).


In our research, under the chapter entitled Factor of South Azerbaijan we reviewed the articles on South Azerbaijan.

The Factor of South Azerbaijan is widely covered by Azerbaijan's national newspapers. Over the period covered by the monitoring, 48 (16,660 sq. cm.) articles were published that are directly related to the subject.

INDEPENDENT newspapers

Over the period covered by this monitoring report, a total of 20 articles (5,720 sq. cm.) was devoted to the topic. These include a wide range of articles, from big ones down to brief reports. Most of these articles (12) were published in Ayna-Zerkalo.

Articles on the Factor of Qarabag Conflict

QUANTITY (Diagram 5)

0948 articles 3D100%

1. independent press09-20093D42%

2. official press 09-209 3D4%

3. opposition press09-2609 3D54%

SPACE (Diagram 6)

091,660 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. independent press 09-5,720 3D34%

2. official press 09 -'0 3D6%

3. opposition press -10,020 3D60%

Chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party Amirali Lahrudi gave an interview to "Ayna-Zerkalo" entitled "We Will Continue Our Struggle." The interview was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the beginning of South Azerbaijani national liberation movement lead by Seyid Cafar Pisavari. Amirali Lahrudi tells how people's unrest in Iran started and how the Soviet troops abandoned Iran, and the punitive actions that the Iranian Shah took against the people, and the present activities by the Azerbaijani Democratic Party [of Iran] and its aims. This is what Lahrudi says about the aims of the movement: We support the idea of a federative Iran. Complete independence of South Azerbaijan and its separation from Iran would not be supported within the country. We should be realistic. We should take into consideration the fact that not only the Persian, but also Azerbaijani, Kurdish, and Beluj elite cherish the dream of a Great Iran...' The most famous Persian chauvinists are ethnic Turks. (No.45(429), December 2, 1995, Page 8).

In 1995, Ayna-Zerkalo printed a series of articles by Nurani headlined A Fight under the Azerbaijani Carpet." These articles presented an analysis of the foreign policy of the Azerbaijan Republic. The fourth article in the series, entitled "Iran," analyzes perspectives for the future development of the relations between the Azerbaijan Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran. A special emphasis in the article is laid on the South Azerbaijani factor. Nurani writes: "When talking about Iran's geopolitical position in this region, one should take into account the following basic factors:

1. historic rivalry with Turkey;

2. rapprochement between Russia and Iran;

3. the South Azerbaijani factor;

4. international isolation of Iran" ("Ayna-Zerkalo," No.37(421), October 7, 1995, Page 9).

Zaman devoted seven articles to the issue. These, too, are mostly big articles.

The newspaper has a tendency toward analyzing the problem's historic roots. As examples of such articles, one could name a series of stories by Seyidaga Onullahi entitled Azerbaijan: A Life in an Oil Whirlpool" ("Zaman," No.6(437), January 24, 1996, Page 11; No.8(439), January 31, 1996, Page 11; No.10(441), February 7, 1996, Page 4; No.11(442), February 10, 1996, Page 4; No.12(443), February 14, 1996, Page 4; No.14(445), February 24, Page 4).

The articles looked at and explained the basic problems in the region, appearance of controversies and ways to settle them through the prism of geostrategic interests and desires to appropriate the oil resources. These series look into the history of Azerbaijan (North and South), starting from the relations established between

Iran and the Soviet Russia, and analyze them in the context of the struggle for oil. The history of the national liberation movement in South Azerbaijan and reasons for its defeat are linked to the oil factor. This is how Onullahi ends the fourth article in the series: "Forty-nine years have elapsed since those historic events, historic treachery and historic defeat. More than sixteen years ago an end was put to Shah's regime and an Islamic republic was formed. However, one regrets to note that certain historians and high-ranking ruling circles of today's Iran still look at the participants of the 9121 Azer' movement through the eyes of Mohammed Reza Shah and Gavamussaltana."

Avrasiya published a total of four articles (290 sq. cm.) on the issue. These were short reports.

Among the independent press, 525-ci Qazet addressed the topic less than the rest of the newspapers. Over the period covered by the monitoring report, one issue-related article (40 sq. cm.) was published.

GOVERNMENT newspapers

Official newspapers seldom addressed this topic. The articles that were published focused on the existence of the problem as such, as well as its history.

Over the period covered by this monitoring report, only two articles, entirely devoted to this topic, appeared in the government press. The first one entitled "50th Anniversary of the '21 Azer' Movement. Statement by the Azerbaijani Democratic Party" was printed in "Azarbaycan." A quote from the Statement: "Fifty years ago the Azerbaijani people rouse up to protect its existence as a nation, to protect and preserve in national language and national culture, to develop it and gain the right to live like the world's civilized nations do. It revolted against a rotten social system... A national government was formed in Azerbaijan..."

In the end, the Statement calls for struggle: "Azerbaijan! You must stand

on your feet! You must rely only on yourself and solve your own destiny!"

(Azarbaycan, No.236(1,253), December 8, 1996, Page 3).

The other article appeared in "Azarbaycan" and was "Has Nothing to Wear, But Dreams about a Party," by Cavad Cavadli. The author says that we in North Azerbaijan should exercise a very cautious approach to the South Azerbaijan factor. Cavadli writes: "Iran is a country with an old tradition of statehood. Today South Azerbaijan is within Iran... What can we gain and what can we lose by making statements, under the present circumstances, about a Unified Azerbaijan?.. If Iran cuts off all relations with us, then Elcibay will not have a piece of bread to eat in Kalaki. And [Iran] will continue to support the Armenians. What will be the result of all this? We have no right to interfere with Iran's internal affairs... Maybe it is because of such things that Iran does not spare assistance to Armenia. Maybe we ourselves are to blame for that. Why should we turn our friends into our enemies? (Azarbaycan, No.42(1,311), March 1, 1996, Page 3).

One should note that in its numerous articles about Azerbaijani-Iranian relations, "Azarbaycan" demonstrates a very cautious approach to the South Azerbaijani factor. For example, in its May 31, 1995 issue it published a big interview with Speaker of the Parliament Rasul Quliyev to the Iranian Television under the headline "Our Attitude to Iran is Friendly, Brotherly" (1,600 sq. cm.). The interview touched on practically every aspect of the relations between the two countries. However, there was no mention of the South Azerbaijan issue.

OPPOSITION newspapers

Azadliq devoted eight articles to the issue. Qanimad Zahidov, who regularly writes for the newspaper, wrote in his article entitled "The Eternal Happiness of Azerbaijan Is in Its Integrity":...Administrative and political borders of Azerbaijan do not coincide with its geographic borders. As long as this discrepancy exists, the future of the state of Azerbaijan will be under question... We are talking about the separated existence of South and North Azerbaijan... The southern border of the Caucasus does not go along the Araz river, but the Qiziluzan river... The historic justice should be restored and the region's political geography should be brought into agreement with the natural geographic borders defined by God" ("Azadliq," No.30(516), April 25 1995, Page 14).

Violation of the rights of the Azeri Turks in South Azerbaijan and a consequent strengthening of the national liberation movement here is reflected by practically all newspapers under this classification. These articles write about the history of the national liberation movement, the heavy losses suffered by the Turks in their struggle for freedom and independence and about a final victory being close.

One should note that it was in spring of 1995 when the newspapers started to publish brief reports about various political parties and movements joining together in South Azerbaijan into a united national liberation organization.

April 8, 1995 "Azadliq" printed a report by Turan News Agency entitled "National Independence Front of South Azerbaijan Was Created". The report informed about the creation of the National Independence Front of South Azerbaijan (NIFSA).

NIFSA's constitution, regulations and appeal to the people of Azerbaijan was adopted. This is what the appeal says: "Creation of the independent republic of North Azerbaijan (the Republic of North Azerbaijan) laid real grounds for independence of South Azerbaijan and an eventual unification of the two Azerbaijans into a united sovereign Azerbaijan state.

"NIFSA announces that its main cause is struggle against colonialists for national rebirth... The first and foremost obstacle for peoples of Iran and specifically the Azerbaijani people is the standard-bearer of colonialists, the Islamic Republic of Iran" ("Azadliq," No.25(511), April 8, 1995, Page 1).

Later "Azadliq" published Elcibay`s "Appeal to the South Azerbaijani Turks on the Occasion of the Creation of the National Front of Independence in South Azerbaijan. The Appeal reads: "...finally North Azerbaijan gained its independence and joined the world's free and independent nations. However, human rights of more than 30 million Turks of Azerbaijan are violated and its big part called South continues to be repressed by the Iranian empire.

"Creation of the National Independence Front of South Azerbaijan... cannot but be hailed by those who struggle for Azerbaijan's freedom and unity... I am sure that we... will continue with honor the cause leading to a united, independent and democratic Azerbaijan" ("Azadliq," No.32(518), April 29 1995, Page 2).

"Yeni Musavat" printed a total of seven big and small articles (2,690 sq. cm.) on the South Azerbaijan factor.

An article by Nasib Nasibzadeh entitled "The Ideal of a United Azerbaijan and the New Reality" ("Yeni Musavat," No.46(186), December 15, 1995, Page 3) occupies a special place among those stories. The following theses were made in the article: a necessity for unification of two Azerbaijans; history.......ition should do regarding the problem.

Each of the theses has a wide potential for analysis and reflects the history of the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, their present state and their perspectives for the future.

Compared to other opposition newspapers, "Millat" addressed the issue to a less extent (3 articles, 1,010 sq. cm.). The newspaper published a reduced translation of the article by David Nissman printed in the "Caspian Crossroads" magazine and entitled "Two Azerbaijans: A Common Past and a Common Future." Dr. Nissman writes: "Unification of South Azerbaijan's four political parties under National In dependence Front draws attention to the issue of the re-unification of South and North Azerbaijan... It is for the third time now that a movement is formed in the South due to this issue. And every time the movement feels the support by the intellectual and political elite of North Azerbaijan... Even though the Azerbaijan Republic is independent, it has suffered from both economic crisis and the long-lasting conflict with Armenia. That is why it is not able to render enough assistance to the movement" ("Millat," No.46(394), August 31, 1995, Page 1).

"Muxalifat" demonstrates a very sensitive approach to the issue of South Azerbaijan. Majority of articles on South Azerbaijan in this newspaper serve the purpose of propaganda of the idea of a United Azerbaijan. The newspaper published a series of articles (8 stories, 2,820 sq. cm.) related to the issue. Articles by Elcin Arifoglu and Yasaman Maharramova were very typical of the series.

Talking about the factor of South Azerbaijan, one should note the "Cumhuriyyat" newspaper. As its publication was stopped in early 1995, this monitoring does not cover "Cumhuriyyat." However, in February 1995 alone the newspaper printed in its three issues a big interview with Abulfaz Elcibay ("Cumhuriyyat," Nos. 5-7 (41-43, February 16, 1995, "Abulfaz Elcibay: 91We Are Struggling for Our Right'") The entire interview was devoted to the problem of North and South Azerbaijan, its history and political roots, present significance and future perspectives etc.

On the whole it should be noted that the issue of South Azerbaijan occupies a major place in all interviews with Abulfaz Elcibay. Quite a few such interviews were printed in 1995-96 in "Azadliq," "Muxalifat," "Yeni Musavat," and "Hurriyyat."


Over the period covered by this monitoring report, humanitarian relations between Azerbaijan and Iran received a comparatively less coverage by the national press.

This chapter reviews articles about humanitarian ties between Iran and Azerbaijan, including Iran's humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan and cultural, scientific and other humanitarian ties between the two countries.

Over the period of the monitoring, the newspapers included in this monitoring report printed a total of 22 articles regarding the subject. Of those, ten were published by the official newspapers, one by independent and eleven by the opposition newspapers

Articles on Humanitarian Relations

QUANTITY (Diagram 7)

0'2 articles 3D100%

1. independent press09-109 3D5%

2. official press 09-1009 3D45%

3. opposition press09-1109 3D50%

SPACE (Diagram 8)

094,270 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. independent press 09 -40 3D1%

2. official press -2,900 3D68%

3. opposition press -1,330 3D31%

INDEPENDENT newspapers

Over the period covered by the monitoring report, independent and condition ally independent newspapers hardly touched on the issue of humanitarian relations between Azerbaijan and Iran. The only exception is the interview with the Iranian Ambassador published by "Zaman." In that interview Ali Rza Begdeli recalls Iran's humanitarian assistance rendered to Azerbaijan to that point: "There is no obstacle for transportation of food products from Iran to Azerbaijan... Iran's humanitarian organizations, including "Imam Khomeini Imdad" organization, continues to assist the Azerbaijani population" ("Zaman," No.7(438), January 27, 1996, Page 5, "We Shall Continue Our Humanitarian Assistance," 54 sq. cm.).

OFFICIAL newspapers

Two of the ten materials published in governmental newspapers told about Iran's humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan: January 10, 1996 "Azarbaycan" (No.6(1,275)) printed a short report entitled "One Hundred Wedding Parties in One Day" which spoke about the wedding parties held in Baku Sports Palace on January 6, 1996 for 200 Azerbaijani young men and women with the assistance of "Imam Khomeini Imdad"

Committee. Deputy Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Republic Izzat Rustamov participated in the ceremony.

March 6, 1996 (No.45(1,314)) issue of "Azarbaycan" published another article about Iran's humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan. This story headlined "An Organization with 25 Thousand Members" by Iqrar Cafaroglu reports about the activities by the Azerbaijani branch of Iran's "Imam Khomeini Imdad" Committee and informs that the branch was created in 1993. The article goes on to note, with reference

to the Chairman of the Committee's representation in Azerbaijan Barham Kazimzade, that the organization has 5 million members in Iran. The organization has taken under its patronage 7,000 families (25,000 people) in Azerbaijan. These families live nationwide, in Sumqayit, Ganca, Saki, Lankaran, Samaxi, Naxcivan etc. Kazimzade said that the Committee regularly renders assistance to those injured in the war, the poor, orphans, etc. Kazimzade also stressed that the 25,000 members of "Imam Khomeini Imdad

" receive not only money but also food, household products and cloths. The article also noted that the organization mediates in carrying out activities with schoolchildren, holding wedding parties for young people, organizing various religious pilgrimages, development of economy etc. Starting from the fall of 1993, Iran rendered humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan on a government level. Iran's Red Crescent ("Hilali Ahmar") and "Imam Khomeini Imdad" Committee took an active part in rendering this assistance. Over that period, several refugee camps under the Iranian flag were set up in the Imisli District near Qarabag. The madrasa's (religious schools), that were opened in the camps, carried out Iranian propaganda.

However, Iran`s being left out of the oil consortium and establishment of relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, annulment of the registration license of Azerbaijan's Islamic Party and other factors resulted in chilling of the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran and a considerable reduction of Iran's humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan.

At present, the only Iranian organization that renders humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan is "Imam Khomeini Imdad," and, formally, it is a public organization funded by the Iranian government. Of the newspapers covered by this monitoring report, only "Azarbaycan" published articles mentioned earlier, highlighting the organization's activities.

Eight materials published by the official press were focused on the cultural ties between Azerbaijan and Iran. Various cultural functions held in Iran and Azerbaijan were covered by these articles.

In its April 15, 1995 issue "Yeni Azarbaycan" printed an article entitled " Simurq` Is a Bridge of Friendship between Azerbaijan and Iran" (300 sq. cm.). The article reports about "Simurq"" Azerbaijan-Iran Friendship Society and notes that over the past year and a half this organization had held several competitions, organized celebration of the anniversary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution and cooperated with Iran's "Imam Khomeini Imdad" Committee. The article also says that back in 19' the ties of friendship between Azerbaijan and Iran were very weak, and it was as a result of Heydar Aliyev`s foreign policy that these ties expanded.

June 19, 1995 issue of "Azarbaycan" printed a brief report about a conference in Naxcivan dedicated to famous Iranian poet and thinker Ahvadi Maragayi, and participation in the event of Naxcivan`s intellectuals.

January 4, 1996 issue of the same newspaper printed a big report entitled " Seven Days in Tehran"" (280 sq. cm.) which covered a conference in Iran dedicated to Fuzuli's 500th anniversary. Along with the participation in the jubilee celebrations of the world-famous Azerbaijani poet Fuzuli, the Azerbaijani delegation visited a number of cultural centers of Iran. "Azarbaycan" published four more articles telling about similar events.

In addition to the articles mentioned above, official newspapers published two articles about contacts in the system of education and one story about scientific ties.

June 14, 1995 (No.110(1,127)) issue of "Azarbaycan" printed an article entitled "Contacts in the System of Education Expand" (600 sq. cm.). It was a report about a visit to Iran by a delegation of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Education. During the visit the delegation met with high-ranking officials of Iran's education system and certain steps were taken to expand the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran in the sphere of education.

November 25, 1995 (No.226(1,243)) issue of "Azarbaycan" printed an interview (290 sq. cm.) with Bahadir Tagiyev, Director of the Institute of Physics of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, entitled "Scientific Ties Are Expanding," who said that a contract was signed between the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan and Iran's higher education institutions for joint scientific research work.

The official newspapers also printed two presentations by Iran`s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ali Rza Begdeli. These articles touched on the humanitarian and cultural relations between Azerbaijan and Iran.

OPPOSITION newspapers

Opposition newspapers covered humanitarian ties between Azerbaijan and Iran in a specific way. One can feel the impact of the idea of a Unified Azerbaijan in all materials published on this theme.

As we have mentioned earlier, Iran rendered humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan, even though little. However, the opposition newspapers have practically not covered those humanitarian actions at all. On the contrary, the opposition press published criticisms of that assistance in the opposition newspapers.

For example, February 3, 1996 (No.11) issue of "Muxalifat" printed an article entitled "A Road to Unified Azerbaijan" (370 sq. cm.) in which Yasaman Maharramova, who regularly writes on the subject of Unified Azerbaijan, noted that the Iranian government uses the pretext of humanitarian assistance to create madrasa's in refugee camps and carry out the propaganda of the ideology of the Iranian revolution.

In its October 7, 1995 issue "Azadliq" (No.62) published a report (9 sq. cm) about a visit to Naxcivan by the Iranian Ambassador Ali Rza Begdeli and Deputy Speaker of Azerbaijan's Parliament Yasar Aliyev. The report notes that during the visit the issue of Iranian assistance in meeting the needs of Naxcivan, which is in a position of an enclave, was discussed.

Compared to other papers, certain opposition press addressed the subject of cultural contacts between Azerbaijan and Iran more often than the others. The articles on South Azerbaijani factor and Azerbaijan's foreign political strategies, already covered in this monitoring report, also touched on the issue of development of the cultural relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, and reiterate its importance.

One can come across these ideas in the article in December 9, 14 issues of "Muxalifat" entitled "Time Demands That We Unite"" and an essay by Sulhaddin Akbar entitled "Dictatorship of a Balanced Approach," parts of which were printed for four months by "Muxalifat" and "Yeni Musavat." These articles stress the necessity to expand cultural relations with Iran at this stage in order to give an impetus to the processes that are expected to take place in South Azerbaijan.

August 17, 1995 issue of "Yeni Musavat" published the foreign policy concept of the Musavat Party. The concept's Iran-related part says that the Azerbaijani television and radio should be broadcast to Iran (while Iranian programs are aired in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani television is not broadcast to Iran, and this has been an object for many criticisms by opposition newspapers). The Party of Struggle for Azerbaijan's Integrity issued a statement demanding stopping broadcasts of Iranian television in Azerbaijan. The statement was published in January 27, 1996 issue of "Azadliq."

August 24, 1995 issue of "Yeni Musavat" printed an article entitled "The Iranian Embassy Blames Azerbaijani Journalists" (140 sq. cm.). The article says that in August 1995 newspapers issued in Baku printed critical articles about Iran's policy. The Iranian press responded to that in a manner that was threatening and offending Azerbaijani journalists. Due to this, "Yeni Nasil" Journalists' Union organized a meeting with the Iranian Charge D'affaires in Azerbaijan. However, the meeting, which was carried out in the atmosphere of arguments and mutual accusations, was cut off in the middle. August 24, 1995 issue of "Azadliq" published a short report about the meeting.

Two brief reports were published by "Azadliq" and one by "Millat" about cultural events held by the Iranian Embassy.

"Yeni Musavat" printed a short information about the meeting between Iranian students studying in Baku and the IRI ambassador to Azerbaijan. The report says that the students are unhappy with the high tuition fee ("Yeni Musavat," No.44(184), December 5,20 1995).


APRIL 1995 - MARCH 1996

Articles on Azerbaijani-Iranian Relations in Press Media:

QUANTITY (Diagram 9)

09144 articles 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-44 3D31%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict 09-30 3D21%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan 09-26 3D33%

4. Humanitarian Relations09-22 3D15%

SPACE (Diagram 10)

0936,'0 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-12,880 3D35%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict09 -3,110 3D8%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan09-16,660 3D45%

4. Humanitarian Relations09 -4,270 3D12%

Over the period covered by the monitoring, the national newspapers devoted 144 articles (a total of 36,'0 sq. cm.) to the subject of "Azerbaijani-Iranian Relations.

During the period of the monitoring, in their approach to the issue, the newspapers mostly demonstrated their respective political trends and traditional approaches to the subject. This is manifested in interpretations of various subjects and in the interpretation of the main subject within newspaper groups.

Including in:

INDEPENDENT newspapers

QUANTITY (Diagram 11)

0944 articles 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09 -7 3D16%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict 09-16 3D36%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan 09-20 3D46%

4. Humanitarian Relations09 -1 3D2%

SPACE (Diagram 12)

099,150 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-2,450 3D35%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict09 -940 3D10%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan09-5,720 3D62%

4. Humanitarian Relations09 -40 3D1%

Independent newspapers actively addressed the subject of Azerbaijani-Iranian relations. Of the 144 articles published in all newspapers, 44 (33% of the total amount) and 2,150 sq. cm. (25% of total space) belong to these articles.

Among independent newspapers, "Ayna-Zerkalo" and "Zaman" show special interest to the theme. They are mostly interested in the factor of South Azerbaijan. For example, of the 48 articles published in the national newspapers on this subject, 15 articles (31%), which makes up a space of 5,390 sq. cm., appeared in these two newspapers.

"Avrasiya" occupies a special position among these newspapers. It approaches critically toward the subject of Iran's assistance to Armenia in the context of the Qarabag conflict. The newspaper published nine short reports on this topic. Of the 16 articles published by independent newspapers on the subject of the factor of the Qarabag conflict, nine (56%) appeared in "Avrasiya." It would be noteworthy to mention that, during the period of monitoring, "Avrasiya" did not address the subject of "Official Diplomatic Relations."

Among independent newspapers, "525-ci Qazet" demonstrates the least interest to the subject (a total of three articles). All these articles are reports.

GOVERNMENT newspapers

QUANTITY (Diagram 13)

0938 articles 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-24 3D63%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict 09 -2 3D5%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan 09 -2 3D5%

4. Humanitarian Relations09-10 3D27%

SPACE (Diagram 14)

0912,440 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-8,370 3D67%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict09 -250 3D2%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan09 -'0 3D8%

4. Humanitarian Relations -2,900 3D23%

Compared to independent newspapers, the opposition newspapers printed fewer articles on the subject of "Azerbaijani-Iranian Relations" (38 articles, 12,440 sq. cm.). This makes up 26% of the 144 articles and 34% of the space devoted to this subject in the national newspapers.

Among government newspapers, "Azarbaycan" occupies a special position. Of the 38 articles in the opposition newspapers dedicated to the theme, 33 (87%) were printed by "Azarbaycan."

"Azarbaycan" mostly covered "Official Diplomatic Relations" (21 articles, 7,720 sq. cm.) and "Humanitarian Relations" (8 articles, 2,070 sq. cm.).

We should note that fact that government newspapers refrained from publishing critical articles about Azerbaijani-Iranian relations. During the monitoring, government newspapers addressed the issue of Iran's assistance to Armenia only twice ("Azarbaycan," 250 sq. cm.). This makes up only 5.3% of the total of 38 articles and 2% of the total space devoted by the government newspapers to the subject of Azerbaijani-Iranian relations.

"Azarbaycan" demonstrated a cautious approach to the subject of "Factor of South Azerbaijan," too (only two articles). One of those articles says that the idea of a Unified Azerbaijan is hazardous under the present historic circumstances. During the period covered by this monitoring, "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" and "Yeni Azerbaijan" devoted a total of five articles ("Yeni Azarbaycan" - three and "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" - two) to the subject.

OPPOSITION newspapers

QUANTITY (Diagram 15)

0962 articles 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-13 3D21%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict 09-12 3D19%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan 09-26 3D42%

4. Humanitarian Relations09-11 3D18%

SPACE (Diagram 16)

0915,330 sq. cm. 3D100%

1. Official Diplomatic Relations09-2,060 3D14%

2. Factor of Qarabag Conflict09-1,'0 3D13%

3. Factor of South Azerbaijan -10,020 3D65%

4. Humanitarian Relations 09-1,330 3D8%

Opposition newspapers addressed the subject of Azerbaijani-Iranian relations more eagerly. Of the 144 articles published in the national newspapers, 62 (43% of the total amount) appeared in these newspapers, which covered a space of 15,330 sq. cm. (41% of the overall space).

"Azadliq" distinguished itself among other opposition newspapers in covering this subject. Over the period covered by the monitoring, "Azadliq" devoted to the subject 30 articles. This made up 21% of the 144 articles published in all national newspapers and 19% of the total space, and 48% of the 62 articles on the theme published by opposition newspapers (42% of the total space).

From the viewpoint of the comprehensive approach to the theme, "Azadliq" is distinguished among all national newspapers. It devoted an approximately equal amount of articles to all aspects outlined by this monitoring: "Official Diplomatic Relations" - eight, "Factor of South Azerbaijan" - eight, "Factor of Qarabag Conflict" - eight, "Humanitarian Relations" - six.

Other opposition newspapers demonstrated a balanced approach to the subject. Over the period covered by the monitoring, each of them published 10-11 articles: "Yeni Musavat" - 11, "Millat" - 10, "Muxalifat" - 11.

Among opposition newspapers, "Yeni Musavat" and "Muxalifat" addressed the subject of South Azerbaijan factor more often than the others. For example, during the period of monitoring, "Muxalifat" printed a total of 11 articles on "Azerbaijani-Iranian Relations." Eight of those articles were related to the South Azerbaijan factor.


Topics Official Dip.Relations

amo- space


Qarabag Conflict

amo- space


South Azerbaijan

amo- space


Humanit Relations

amo- space



amo- space







525-ci Qazet



Bakinskiy Rabochiy

Yeni Azarbaycan



Yeni Musavat




The review of the subject comprises the last 17 years. A lot of very important events happened in both Azerbaijan and Iran over this period: Islamic revolution took place in Iran and North Azerbaijan regained its independence. These tow events had a mutual influence on the two neighboring countries. We believe, this is the basic explanation why so many articles were published on the subject (we should take into consideration the fact that the monitoring covers only a few aspects of the relations between the two countries).

The fact that the articles were so diverse and sometimes contradictory to each other is another indication of the great vitality of the subjects selected for this report. As a matter of fact, the subject Azerbaijani-Iranian relations occupies such a position in Azerbaijan's press that it is very difficult to come across a neutral comment on it. While one pole harbors an extreme and sometimes groundless criticism, the other reveal a clear reverence which has taken a shape of an ideology.

Despite the quick changes of the governments in Azerbaijan over the past several years as well as other intensive political developments, the issue of Azerbaijani-Iranian relations has been in the center of attention of Azerbaijan's press. Along with this, one should note that unlike the Soviet period when the press was not free and when taboo was imposed on the subject of South Azerbaijan, in the end of 1980's and beginning of 1990's Azerbaijan's press addressed the issue of Iran (South Azerbaijan) much more often. This trend weakened some time after 1990's. Lately, mostly analytical articles are published.

The Monitoring Group believes that the number of articles on the subject of Azerbaijani-Iranian relations does not yet allow to suppose that it has met the needs of contemporary reader. The reader has not been able to obtain a sufficiently wide and precise information about the neighboring Iran's social, political, economic and cultural life. The articles highlighting the problem of Azerbaijan were not comprehensive enough.

The Monitoring Group is sorry to state that, due to lack of time and a limited scope, a number of interesting topics: the Caspian status, oil and economic relations, religion and policy, interference of the neighboring country in Azerbaijan's internal affairs etc. were left out of the main object of the review.





Number of Pages

Periodicity(per week)

Return%(for Baku,January)

Independent and conditionally independent

1. Ayna-Zerkalo 17,800 A3; 32070707


090909 -07072. Avrasiya 09 090712,0000709A3; 16070'-4

070'607073. Zaman0710,0000709A3; 160709307093207074. 525-ci Q

azet07 8,2000709A3; 807091070'20707Government newspapers

5. Azarbaycan 11,800 09 A2; 4



095207076. Bakinskiy Rabochiy07 4,70007 09A2; 4070909407 09

095407077. Yeni Azarbaycan 07 3,4000709A2; 40709107098407

07Opposition newspapers

8. Azadliq 14,000 A3; 8 0707



1707079. Yeni Musavat07 7,2000709A2; 4070'-3070'2070710. Milla

t07 8,00007 09 A3; 8070'-3070935070712. Muxalifat

0710,00007 A3; 8070'07 09180707

The monitoring report "AZERBAIJANI-IRANIAN RELATIONS" was prepared by the Monitoring Group of FAR-CENTRE by order of FREEDOM HOUSE organization.Monitoring Group: Nacaf Nacafov, coordinator; Samad Mirzayev, Senior Analyst, Mustafa Hacili, Azer Qasimov, Asif Nasibov, Analysts.

Dr. Nasib Nasibzadeh, Candidate of History, former Azerbaijani Ambassador to Iran (19'-1993), acted as consultant.


Used with exclusive permission from the authors.
Copyright © 1996 by FAR-CENTRE.
Copyright © 1997 HTML Version by Adil Baguirov, part of Virtual Azerbaijan Page.
All Rights Reserved.

Counter added 02/14/97