Memorandum submitted by The Congress of
Iranian Nationalities for a Federal Iran, The largest coalition
MAKING OR BREAKING OF IRAN, WHICH CHOICE?
United Nations has 191 members. 179 of them
are multinational countries. At the top of the multinational countries
is India with 1,300 nationalities. Only 12 countries have nearly
one nation. Iran is among top ten multinational countries with
seven major distinct nations of Baluch, Turk, Kurd, Arab, Lor,
Turkmen and Fars and a few smaller nationalities.
Iran has a population of 70 million. 25-30%
of them are Sunnis; that means a population of 18-20 million.
Iran has 30 provinces. Eight of them are dominated by Sunnis and
17 of them are dominated by the Iranian nationalities. Other provinces
The population of nationalities: Turks about
25 million, Kurds about seven million, Arabs about four million,
Baluch about three million, Lors, about four million, Turkmens
about three millions and Taleshi one million. Other nationalities
like Armenians, Assyrians, Zoroastrians, Hazaras, Jews, Christians
and Bahaees . . . are about one million.
Total population of Iranian nationalities is
about 48 million. The Farsi community constitutes therefore 22
After the emergence of Islam, the Farsi community
has ruled Iran only for 75 years. Iran has been ruled by other
nations for most of its history. The Arabs ruled Iran for nearly
650 years, the Baloch, Turks, Mongols and Lors ruled Iran for
the rest of its Islamic history until 1923.
Iran always had a federal structure in all its
history except for the last 80 years. It also was part of an empire
and the empires always had federal structures.
During its history Iran has been always a multiracial,
multinational, multi-religion, multilingual and multi-government
empire with an Emperor at the top. There were many nations, kingdoms,
religions, languages, rulers and civilisations in it that lived
together maintaining their own identity and autonomy. Whenever
the central government declined, one nation from one quarter of
the empire occupied the capital and seized the power.
After the advent of Islam, Iran was a Sunni
country until the emergence of Safavid dynasty in 1501. The Shia
Safavid dynasty and other rulers that followed them began converting
Sunnis into Shia using maximum force. The pressure for converting
to Shiism and despising Sunnism was so severe that present lands
of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Caucasia and the central republics of
Asia began to secede from Iran gradually until it became as small
as it is now.
Three million square kilometre of Iranian soil
seceded because they were not ready to become Shia. The situation
is the same today.
After centuries of forceful conversion, still
eight provinces of Iran are dominated by Sunnis. There are about
one million Sunnis only in Tehran now.
Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Baluchi and Turkmenian
communities have their own communities on the other side of the
borders in Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan
and Pakistan. Some of these communities outside Iran have their
own independent countries like Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan or
federal states like Kurdistan and Balochistan.
Centralisation, reason for breaking up of countries
The main reason for breaking up of countries
like the Soviet Union, Pakistan, Indonesia and Yugoslavia was
the repressive centralised systems in which all the decisions
were made only by one small group and one nationality at the cost
of other nationalities and political figures.
Federal structure as the solution
Now a federal structure has become a useful
solution for the survival of multinational countries. Centralisation
is giving way to devolution and federalism. United Kingdom allowed
Scotland, Wales and Ireland to establish their own autonomous
governments to reduce the pressure for independence.
Iran as a multinational country
Those multinational countries which have adopted
a genuine federal structure did not encounter major secessionist
movements. Those which have adopted centralised systems are facing
severe problems. Iran is one of them.
The present situation in Iran
Iran has a very centralised government takes
all major and major decisions in Tehran. It has full control over
military, political, economic, cultural, and social resources.
The provinces have no any power and provincial governors are appointed.
The government is controlled by a small number of Shia fanatic
clergy. The system has the following characteristics:
1. About 70% of Iranian population is none-
Farsi-speaking and they have been severely oppressed by the Iranian
2. The Sunni population of Iran which is
about 28 million has been completely deprived of human rights,
political power and economic concessions.
3. The 16 provinces that belong to Iranian
nationalities have been deliberately kept backwards to keep their
people helpless and poor.
4. All the decisions are taken in Tehran
and different cities and provinces have no any kind of share in
power or decisions although there are nominal city councils.
5. All employees are appointed from Tehran
and therefore, members of Iranian nationalities are excluded from
assuming high positions.
6. Allocation of jobs are only limited to
Shia fanatics that support the government.
7. Development budgets for ethnic provinces
are very limited.
8. The pressure for converting Sunnis into
Shia is growing and the Sunnis are reacting very strongly.
9. Persianisation is the official policy
of the government which has created enormous discord among the
10. Ethnic cleansing is implemented in various
11. Commercial licences are granted to Shia
supporters of the government and Sunnis are completely excluded.
12. There has not been even one president,
Prime Minister, ministers, deputy minister, ambassador, general,
managing director from the Sunnis in the last 30 years.
13. Educational discrimination is rampant.
For example, from 700 academic staff of Baluchistan universities,
only ten of them are Baluch. From 70 thousand university students
in Baluchistan province, even one thousand of them are not Baluch.
14. Sunni provinces are among the poorest.
Baluchistan is the poorest province of Iran.
15. The life expectancy in Baluchistan is
ten years lower than the national average.
16. Unemployment rate in Baluchistan and
other nationalities provinces is double than the average rate.
Unemployment in some parts of Baluchistan is about 70%.
17. While the government refuses to create
jobs for the Baluchi people and other Iranian nationalities, they
are trying to seal off the Borders which are the only sources
of trading in Baluchistan, Khozistan, Kurdistan, Azerbajian, Korasan
and Turkeman Sahra.
18. Amnesty International published a report
in Baluchistan which documented the violations of human rights
in the most inhuman way. It is attached.
19. These circumstances have made life extremely
difficult for the majority of Iranian people. The pressure on
the Sunnis and ethnic minorities is growing in a way that present
circumstances of Iran resemble the circumstances of Yugoslavia
some time ago. If the present pressures are not removed completely,
there is a danger that Iran may break up.
1. The Congress of Iranian Nationalities
for a Federal Iran is the largest coalition outside Iran. It represents
the majority of people. International community must support this
organization as the representative of the majority of people in
2. The Farsi community has refused to form
their own coalition and it seems that they will not be united
in future. International community has counted on the Farsi community
for bringing changes; but they have failed and they will fail
in future and therefore, the international community must support
The Congress of Iranian Nationalities for a Federal Iran.
3. The Iranian regime is very vulnerable
and could be changed through Iranian nationalities.
4. Those that support the present regime
at all cost will face the anger of the Iranian people.
5. Those who are interested in the territorial
integrity of Iran must also be interested in equal opportunity
for all Iranians and therefore, they have to work to create an
environment in Iran in which all the Iranian people and nationalities
enjoy equal rights.
6. A federal structure for Iran is the only
structure that guarantees democracy and the integrity of the country.
7. Terrorism and fundamentalism will not
stop in the world until the present regime of Iran is changed
and therefore, we recommend that instead of changing the behaviour
of the regime, the international community must support the people
to change this regime.
The Congress of Iranian Nationalities for a
Federal Iran is determined to establish a secular, democratic
and federal system in Iran to prevent the possibility of any dictatorship
to be established in future. We ask international community to
support us in this purpose which will secure the safety and security
in your countries.
The Congress will uproot terrorism in Iran and
will cooperate closely with other countries to destroy it.