Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton urging the United States to try to start a separatist civil war in Iran under the pretext of  “back[ing] freedom for Azeris from Iran.” Rohrabacher’s letter was prompted by recent news stories concerning a budding military cooperation between Israel and the Republic of Azerbaijan.  What Rohrabacher fails to understand is that Azaris are ancient Iranians.

Rohrabacher stated:

“It would be wise for the United States to encourage such cooperation, as the aggressive dictatorship in Tehran is our enemy as well as theirs.  The people of Azerbaijan are geographically divided and many are calling for the reunification of their homeland after nearly two centuries of foreign rule.  … The Azerbaijan Republic won its independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed,” continues the letter. “Now it is time for the Azeris in Iran to win their freedom too.  Almost twice as many Azeri live in Iran as in the Azerbaijan Republic. Their homeland was divided by Russia and Persia in 1828, without their consent.”

Screen Shot of Rohrabacher’s Official Website:
Rohrabacher Iran

A short history lesson about Azarbaijan would have saved Rohrabacher some embarrassment:

The name of Azerbaijan derives from the Achaemenian (Iranian) commander ‘Atropates.’  (Strabo 11.523). It was noted during the ancient Persian empire under the Sasanian King Shapur. In Middle Persian the name is Ātorpātākān; and the New Persian forms Ād̲harbāyjān, Ād̲arbāygān, and Azarbaijan. Strabo, in Book 11 of his geographical accounts, gives us one of the earliest descriptions of the region: “Atropatian Media (Azerbaijan), which got its name from the commander Atropates (a Persian General) … was a part of Greater Media (Northern Iran).” Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn (896-956), the Arab historian states: “ The Persians are a people whose borders are the Mahat Mountains and Azarbaijan up to Armenia and Aran….” Ibn Rusta, a 9th/10th century Persian geographer mentioned the names of the districts and provinces of Iran. In his famous book al-A’laq Al-Nafisah he states in part: “Iran-Shahr is divided amongst these regions: Khorasan, Sajestan, Kerman, Fars, Al-Ahwaz, Al-Jabal, Azerbaijan ….”

In other words, the Congressman’s clownish recitation of history would earn him a failing grade in a basic high school history exam.  Congressman Rohrabacher could have also saved himself  this embaressment by consulting a few historical maps before issuing a press release:

Azerbaijan - Ancient Province of Iran (Historical Map Collection, Library of Congress)

Azarbaijan – Ancient Province of Iran (Historical Map Collection, Harvard Univ.) – Cartography: John Gibson 1770

The Soviet Union also tried to separate the province of Iranian-Azarbaijan resulting in Iranian-Azaris crushing the plot and its handful supporters during World War II.

According to Prof. Gary R. Hess:

“On December 11, an Iranian force entered Tabriz and the Peeshavari [USSR] government quickly collapsed. The Soviet willingness to forego its influence in (Iranian) Azerbaijan probably resulted from several factors, including the realization that the sentiment for autonomy had been exaggerated and that oil concessions remained the more desirable long-term Soviet Objective.”  [Gary. R. Hess Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 89, No. 1 (March., 1974); (Source.)]

Iran has had many Azarbaijani Shahs (Kings), and as the interview with the senior member of the last Azarbaijani royal family of Iran (below) clearly indicates, Azaris are loyal Iranians:

The separatist movement that the Congressman writes about comes from a small handful of people supported by the U.S. Government and Israelis, like billionaire  Ishak Nazarian who told the press the following:

“Nazarian said that Azerbaijani Jews played important role in the formation of Israeli society.” … “I am one of the builders of the organization uniting 30 thousand Iranian-Jews in Los Angeles. 600 thousand Muslims migrated from South Azerbaijan have been living in US. I want to underline that the rights of 35 million Azerbaijanis living in Iran are being violated. … We can assist Turkish and Azerbaijani communities to set up their own radio and television.”

(Sources: Ishak Nazarian APA Interview No. 1 and No. 2.)