Iranian citizens of Turkic origin who reside mainly in the northern provinces of the country have taken the streets after a popular Fitileh TV show aired on IRIB, the state TV channel, every Friday.
The protesters say the program insulted the national dignity of Azerbaijanis. They blame Fitileh for mockery and “anti-Azerbaijani statements.” The program contained a satiric show that depicted an Azerbaijani boy brushing his teeth with a toilet brush and complaining of bad breath from his mouth. Part of the program was in Farsi, but some dialogues were in Azerbaijani.
This prompted mass civil unrest in Tabriz, Urmia, Maragha, Ardabil and some other big settlements in the north of Iran. The protesters chanted anti-governmental slogans blaming them for “Persian chauvinism and xenophobic policy,” according to haqqin.az, an Azerbaijani media outlet.
Reportedly, the police used special means to disperse the protests. One of the protesters, Ali Akper Murtaza, reportedly died “from injuries” in Urmia.
To recall, an estimated 12-15 million Azerbaijanis live in Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – Rahbar – the religious leader of Iran is also an Azerbaijani by origin.