Political review of the last week (03.09 - 08.09.2007)

Official chronicle

Military expenses will increase, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a meeting on 4 September.

"Military expenses in Azerbaijan have increased several times," the President said. It should be noted that military expenses in the public budget of 2007 make up AZN 1bln.

According to President Aliyev, the formation of an army in Azerbaijan is a priority state issue, ITV channel quotes.

" Azerbaijan can liberate its occupied territories in any way, Armenia should understand that," the President said.

As for the state of refugees and internally displaced persons, the President said that all tent settlements in Azerbaijan will be removed by the end of this year.

Nine tent settlements were removed during the last three years. There are tent settlements still in Azerbaijan's Saatly, Sabirabad, and Imishli regions.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received in his Palace an outstanding Azerbaijani scientist, editor-in-chief of the Iranian magazine Varlyg, a member of the International Academy of Surgeons functioning in France, Honorary Doctor of the Baku University and the Azerbaijan Medical University, Javad Hayat, the Congress of World Azerbaijanis told Trend on 7 September.

Hayat voiced is satisfaction with the next visit to Baku and a meeting with the Azerbaijani President. Recalling his previous meetings with former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev Hayat noted the necessity of continuing his policy.

The President appraised the scientist's multilateral activities. Aliyev wished him health and successes.

Foreign policy

A mistake made by the Encyclopedia Britannica regarding a Azerbaijani composer was corrected, Hazar Ibrahim, the Foreign Ministry's press-secretary reported on 3 September.

The Encyclopedia Britannica state on their website that the great Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev was an Armenian composer.

The mistake was corrected on the website of the encyclopedia after the Azerbaijani Embassy to the US contacted corresponding organizations of Great Britain.

Gara Abulfazoglu Garayev was born in Baku on 5 February 1918. In 1935 Garayev entered the Azerbaijani Conservatory.

Garayev's first works was 'Hert's music'.

Garayev became a student of the Moscow Conservatory in 1938. Dmitri Dmitrevich Shostakovich was Garayev's teacher.

Zbignev Rebackhki, Polish by origin, is the new NATO Coordinator to Azerbaijan, Khazar Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, said.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO's Secretary General, introduced the new coordinator to Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, in a letter which he sent to the minister last week, Ibrahim added.

Until his recent appointment in Azerbaijan Rebachki worked in Poland at NATO Headquarters and in the Ukraine. In the near future he will visit Azerbaijan, Ibrahim said.

Peaceful talks on the resolution of the Armenian -Azerbaijani conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh should be carried out within the framework of the 'Prague Process', Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, said in talks with Trend in Brussels.

The countries who wish to share European practice should also share the European code of conduct, which has no room for occupation and ethnic cleansing that Azerbaijan has been exposed to, Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister stated in Brussels on 3 September.

Addressing the conference dedicated to the European Neighborhood Policy with the participation of Armenian Georgian foreign ministers, Mammadyarov noted that despite the enormous potential of cooperation in our region, I feel obliged to mention the unresolved conflicts, terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations and drug trafficking. "These threats detract from much needed resources, distort economic rationale, inhibits cooperation and causes disharmony in our region," he stressed.

Ensuring regional security and stability, the fight against terrorism and aggressive separatism, solution of the protracted conflicts with full respect to the principle of territorial integrity of the states and internationally recognized borders are vitally important for the region. In this context, ENP countries, EU and the whole international community should be more decisive and resolute in addressing these challenges.

The Government of Azerbaijan considers the integration process to the European Union as a matter of priority and it has been following this policy actively and consistently, Mammadyarov said.

"We attach importance to the matters of democratization, protection of human rights and fundamental freedom and using this opportunity I would like to bring to your attention the proposal of my Government to establish within the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the third Azerbaijan-EU sub-committee on Justice, Liberties and Security," he said.

The Front of Iraqi Turkomans intend to open a representative office in Azerbaijan, the head of Turkman Adalat, Anvar Hamid Bayrakdar, reported at a symposium of Iraqi Turkomans in Baku on 4 September.

The problems of Iraqi Turkomans should be the centre of attention of Azerbaijani NGOs, human right activists, MPs, as well as international organizations, Bayrakdar said. After the collapse of the Great Ottoman Empire an eviction policy began in Iraq in respect of Turkomans. In 1924, 1946 and 1959 Armenians and the English committed the mass slaughter of Turkomans.

According to Bayrakdar, arrests of Turkomans lasted over 35 years. In this period 13 of 37 prisoners sentenced to over 20 year's imprisonment were Turkomans. The plan to evict the population from their native land to deserts was a failure as military action began.

"In order to work in state bodies, buy land and property Turkomans had to reject their nationality. In 2003, after the collapse of the regime, Iraq underwent US occupation. The people were cheated about the construction of a democratic government, about the extermination of terrorism. The US's main purpose in its Middle East project was because of Iraq's oil and to occupy Syria and Iran afterwards," the representative of Iraqi Turkomans added.

According to him, 1mln people have died since 2003, the country experiences inflation and unemployment.

Turkomans (or Turkmen) is an ethic group of Muslims having close cultural and linguistic bonds with the residents of Turkish Anatolia.

Over the last few years peaceful resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has been carried out under the 'Prague Process', which envisages stage-by-stage resolution of the conflict. So far, the essence of the plan has not been clarified because of failure to coordinate its details.

The minister said that a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs from France and Russia in Brussels on 3 September discussed the mediators' forthcoming visit to the region in mid-September. "A joint discussion will be held during the visit. Now it is too premature to speak about progress, because it can only be discussed after the meetings," Mammadyarov said.

For the time being the date of the next round of talks between the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents is unknown. The co-chairs should come with the relevant initiatives. "If we see any possibility, the meeting may be held. In general, it is necessary to mobile every opportunity and any milestone," Mammadyarov said

Georgia's famous economic expert, Gia Khukhashvili, demands from Tbilisi officials to clarify its position regarding the reports on the intention of the Georgian Madneuli company to commence development of gold mines in Azerbaijan's occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region. Silence among the Georgian authorities is suspicious, Khukhashvili said on 5 September.

A month ago media reported that Russian company of Industrial Investors was commencing development of the Soyudlu gold mine in Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region occupied by Armenia via its subsidiary in Georgia - Madneuli.

"If the authorities had any arguments to deny the fact they would have opened them long ago. But, as wee see it, there is something wrong in this matter," the expert said. "It seems like Tbilisi officials are trying to wait in silence until this scandalous situation ends."

Khukhashvili did not rule out that the matter was inspired by Russian special services and their purpose was to undermine Georgian-Azerbaijani relations. In this case, silence in Georgian authorities is inadmissible. In his opinion, Russia is trying to create a misunderstanding between Tbilisi and Russia. "Russian special services try to undermine geopolitical stability between Georgia and Azerbaijan providing for transportation of Central Asian energy without involving Moscow. Now Russia attempts to initiate tensions between the sides to demolish the alliance," the expert said.

Khukhashvili voiced his hope for Georgian authorities to regulate the situation in diplomatic ways, for it is impossible to affect Madneuli, which was sold to Russia. "But if Georgian Government tries to hush up the problem, we will face very difficult consequences," he said.

The expert is sure the Director General of Industrial Investors, Sergey Generalov, is not a businessman, but a politician acting for interests of Russian administration.

Qatar, Belgium, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland, and Lithuania are all planning to open their embassies in Azerbaijan by the end of 2007, Vagif Sadikhov, the Deputy Foreign Minister, told journalists on 5 September. Turkmenistan intends to restore its embassy in Azerbaijan, Sadikhov said.

Turkmenistan's embassy ceased its activities in Baku in June 1999 after failure to reach an agreement on the disputable Kapaz field which is located in the Caspian between the two countries. According to information from the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan, the renewable reserves of the Kapaz field equal 50mln t of oil. The field was opened for operation during the Soviet regime by Azerbaijani oil workers. The American company Chevron and German company Wintershall are keen to develop the field.

Some fifty-five Azerbaijani diplomatic missions, forty-six embassies, five consulate generals, and four representatives in international organizations function in different countries. The government is planning to open another consulate general in Makhachkala, in the Republic of Dagestan, in the near future, Sadikhov said

A diplomat from the Azerbaijani Embassy in Great Britain accused of stealing from a supermarket was recalled to the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry in 2006 in accordance with his schedule, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, Vagif Sadikhov, reported on 5 September.

British publications The Independent, The Gulf Times, and others referred to the Azerbaijani diplomat, who allegedly committed theft in a shop, in the 'disgraceful list' published annually by the British Foreign Ministry.

"A newspaper article is not an accusation. An accusation can be made by a prosecutor. Only at the end of court investigation can it be defined as an official crime or not. Nothing, however, was done in this connection, so the word 'accusation' cannot be used in connection with the incident," the Deputy Minister said.

According to Sadikhov, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Great Britain studied the issue and coordinated it with the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

Azerbaijan's former Ambassador to Great Britain, Rafael Ibrahimov, said in one of the publications that the diplomat mentioned in the article was recalled from Great Britain in 2006.

The President of the Republic of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus received letters of credence from Ms. Naira Shakhtakhtinskaya, Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

"Now we are united not only by time-tested historical and cultural ties and mutual fellow-feelings, but also by shared values and world outlook, a common approach to regional processes and the importance of regional cooperation," said President Adamkus.

The President of Lithuania underlined that Lithuania's membership in the European Union and NATO had changed not only the quality of life in the country and the lifestyle of its people, but it also gave the country a fresh impetus to support those East European and South Caucasus countries that have embarked on the same road of Euro-Atlantic integration. "Today we are ready to share the experience gained in the process of reforms and we are making persistent efforts for the European Good Neighborhood Policy to bring the political and economic life of our countries even closer," said the Head of State.

The President Adamkus stated at the ceremony "The atmosphere of friendship surrounding my visit, bilateral meetings of politicians and diplomats, and cultural and business links shows that we need to expand cooperation ties between our two countries and to realize the existing potential for building further contacts. Our dynamic political cooperation should go hand in hand with the development of economic ties and we have to work towards embracing the opportunities created by the growing economies of our two countries."

Azerbaijan is not against the opening of representative various businesses of which function in Iraq as long as their operation does not contradict the existing Azerbaijani legislation and international principles, Khalaf Khalafov, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, said to journalists commenting on the position of Azerbaijan concerning Iraqi Turkmans' intentions to open representative businesses in Baku.

The present instability and military contradictions cause danger in Azerbaijan and Baku sent its forces to Iraq to provide assistance to Iraqis, the deputy minister said. Azerbaijan does pay attention to events taking place in the region. Cultural ties, language, traditions and casualties connect Azerbaijanis with Turkmans, Khalifov said. Azerbaijan would like all ethnic groups of the Iraq State to have equal rights and live in peace and prosperity.

The Azerbaijani Ambassador to Jordan is sent to Iraq and will grant credentials to the Iraqi Government, which will affect the expansion and development of relations

Nagorno-Karabakh

On 2 September, divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces located 3km southwest of the village of Giziloba in the district of Terter of Azerbaijan, fired at Azerbaijani positions from 9.30pm to 9.45pm and on 3 September from 2km southwest of the village of Garakhanbayli in the district of Fizuli from 12.30am to 1am with machine and sub-machine guns, and those located 4.4km from the village of Merzili in the district of Agdam 4.55am to 5.10am, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, met with the French and Russian co-chairmen of OSCE Minsk Group on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh within the framework of his visit to Brussels on 3 September, according to Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

The details of the talks are not available. According to the ministry, Yuri Merzlakov, (Russian co-chairman), Bernard Facie (French co-chairman) and the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister discussed the details of the co-chairmens' visit to the region to take place in September.

On 3 September, Mammadyarov also participated in the conference dedicated to the European Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union (EU).

Within the framework of the visit, Mammadyarov met with the EU Commissar on Foreign Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Valdner. The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister also met with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Estonia and Cyprus.

If a decision on continuing negotiations on a peace settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is agreed by the co-chairmen in Brussels then the Foreign Ministers of both countries may agree to continue negotiations, Vardan Oskanan, the Armenian Foreign Minister, said to Trend Agency.

We believe that we should continue negotiations to regulate the conflict, Oskanan said.

No meeting is expected with the participation of Presidents from both countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

War is not the way to settle the conflict. "We work jointly over the issue to find a compromise acceptable to both sides and we should talk over this compromise," the Armenian Minister said.

"There are issues which have not yet been touched upon. These issues have been discussed by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia during their meeting in St.Petersburg. The Presidents tried to agree on these issues, but without results. However, we will not reject future attempts," Oskanan said.

It is high time to begin new talks to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Miguel Angel Moratinos, the acting chairman of OSCE, said in Tbilisi on 4 September.

"I met with the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Brussels and said to them that it was high time to submit new proposals as the existing ones do not satisfy both sides," the chairman said. "I proposed to hold new talks to find another way to resolve the conflict," the Spanish Foreign Minister said.

"Many times we discussed the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I have visited both countries, Azerbaijan and Armenia. I have met with the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of both countries. We expected more from the latest meeting of both Presidents in St Petersburg," Moratinos said.

"We need to hold new cooperation between the countries and I believe it would improve relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia", the chairman said

The Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement in Goranboy, Agdam and Terter Districts of Azerbaijan|.

On 4 September, divisions of the Armenian Armed Forces located in Javahirli village of Agdam District of Azerbaijan, fired at Azerbaijani positions from 21:45 to 22:15, on Goranboy District of Azerbaijan from 23:40 to 23:45, and on 5 September, on positions near Sarijali village of Agdam District from 01:30 to 01:45. According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, machine and sub-machine guns were used in all of the attacks.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported

" Azerbaijan and Armenia are full members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and have a range of obligations before the organization. There is nothing strange in the Armenian Interior Minister's visit to Baku, as he is to attend at the meeting of CIS countries," Vagif Sadikhov, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, said to journalists commenting on the position of official Baku regarding Armenian minister to Baku.

The conflict between the two countries of South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

Azerbaijani officials visited Yerevan several times and attending meetings of different international organizations, the deputy Foreign Minister said.

"The more often Armenians visit Baku the more they become familiar with development and prospecting in Azerbaijan," Sadikhov said.

There is no necessity to change the format of negotiations on settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the head of the Foreign Relations Department at the Azerbaijani President's Executive Administration, Novruz Mammadov, said on 5 September.

"It is the time for a dialogue in search of a new format for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the acting OSCE Chairman, the Foreign Minister of Spain, Miguel Angel Moratinos, said in Tbilisi on 4 September. "Yesterday I met with the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Brussels and I said to them that it was time for new initiatives, as the current formats did not satisfy the parties," he said. "I said to them that it was the time for a new dialogue to find some outlet from the situation," Moratinos added.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

According to Novruzov, the mediators - the Co-Chairs of OSCE Minsk Group - tried to fulfil the undertaken obligations in settling the conflict. "Indeed, they do not cope with the task, but that does not mean the format of talks should be changed," Mammadov said. In his opinion, there is nothing negative in attracting additional forces to the process if it is necessary for the conflict's settlement.

"The OSCE Minsk Group does develop a legislative basis in the settlement of the conflict, but efforts of other countries could be involved," Mammadov said. The Council of Europe, the European Union, and other international organizations can present fair positions in the conflict's settlement, but it is too early to change the format of the negotiations," he said.

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved within the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and with a condition of repatriation of all refugees, Ramiz Mehdiyev, the head-of-staff of the Azerbaijani President's Executive Power, said in a meeting of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Council of Interior Ministers in Baku on 6 September.

On 6 September a meeting of the CIS Interior Minister set up its work in Baku. Chairmanship of the organization was passed from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan. Armenian interior ministries also in attendance.

According to Mehdiyev, regional conflicts in CIS impede the development of relations between the countries. The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is one of them. Azerbaijan supports the resolution of the conflict is a peaceful manner.

Terrorism gives birth to a more global threat. Thanks to joint activities of the Interior Ministers of CIS member-countries, many dangerous crimes were avoided in the region, Mehdiyev said.

The meeting will conclude on 7 September.

An agreement on the meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian communities' heads regarding the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has been achieved, Nizami Bahmanov, the head of the Public Union of Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh, said on 7 September.

International organizations, as well as the co-chairmen of the OSCE's Minsk Group are taking the appropriate measures to implement the meeting.

"First of all, Azerbaijanis must return back to their occupied territories, only after this may the country hold negotiations concerning the status of Nagorno-Karabakh," Bahmanov said.

The Minsk Group was founded for peaceful resolving of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh with the participation of ten countries in 1992. Representatives of three countries, the US, Russia, and France have been operating the Minsk Group since 1997.

Meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities may provide a positive affect on settling the conflict.

On 7 September the Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire agreement in Javahirli, Chiragli, and Yusifjanli villages of Terter District of Azerbaijan, as well as Tapgaragoyunlu village of Gonaboy District and the fired the opposite Azerbaijani positions using machine and sub-machine guns.

Agdam is located in 375km of southwest of Baku and Goranboy in 365km west of Baku.

Political movements

The Chairman of the Turkic Nationalist Party, Vugar Beyturan, was elected Chairman of the 'Our Azerbaijan' bloc for a two-year period, a source at the bloc reported to Trend on 3 September. The new chairman was elected on 2 September. During the event changes were made in the Statute of the bloc, extending the term of the chairman appointment from 1 year to 2 years.

Two candidates were nominated for the position, the Chairman of the Turkic Nationalist Party, Vugar Beyturan, and the Chairman of the Azad Azerbaijan (Free Azerbaijan), Hasan Hasanov. As a result of the voting held last week, both candidates scored the same number of votes. On 2 September, a 2nd round took place in which Hasanov withdrew his candidacy and Beyturan took the position.

By the decision of the bloc's Council of the Chairmen, Hasanov will be chairman for the following two years (2009-2011).

The opposition 'Our Azerbaijan' bloc includes 8 parties.

The Azerbaijani National Independent Party (ANIP) proposes to include political parties in the struggle against bribery and corruption on a State level, Ali Orujov, the Deputy Chairman on press and popularization issues, reported to Trend Agency.

ANIP is developing a draft of proposals in the struggle against corruption and bribery. The document will be discussed during the meeting of Azerbaijan opposition parties which is expected to be held in the middle of September.

The draft included the reasons of corruption, results and methods to resolve these problems.

ANIP has proposed the participation of all opposition parties in its struggle against corruption and bribery. Once the opposition parties fight to struggle against bribery and corruption they should be represented in the Commission in the struggle against corruption at the Council of State Service Management. ANIP proposes to strengthen control over officials and toughen the Struggle Against Corruption Bill. One of the major proposals of the party is the immediate adoption of the bill to declare the wages of officials.

The Struggle Against Corruption Bill was passed in Azerbaijan on 13 January 2004 and came into force from 1 January 2005. However, the bill hardly functions and no official has yet been charged with bribery. Occasionally this bill is used for political purposes, Orujov said. "If the former Azerbaijani ministers, Farhad Aliyev and Ali Insanov were arrested for corruption, then about 90% of officials should be detained," Orujov said.

ANIP was founded in 1992. Etibar Mammadov was the founder and chairman of the party in 2004. Presently, Mammadov is the Deputy Chairman of the International Democratic Alliance.

The structure of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan (IPA) will be formed in October, Movsum Samadov, the Chairman of IPA, reported to Trend Agency.

IPA was planning to hold the first meeting of the Presidium in September but due to disagreements within the party, the meeting was postponed for October.

The new structure of the party will be formed during the Presidium.

IPA was founded in August 1991 and received State registration in 1992 in the Justice Ministry. The registration of the party was cancelled in 1995.

In the case of Azadlyg bloc boycotting the upcoming presidential elections they will not support other oppositionists, the chairman of the bloc said.

If the political situation in the country and principles of the election commissions are not changed the bloc will boycott the 2008 presidential elections.

There is no another opposition, which will rival the authorities, Ali Aliyev said.

Azadlyg bloc unites three opposition parties, the Popular Front Party, Liberal and Citizen and Development Parties.

The Georgian President, Michael Saakashvili, met with local residents of Marneul, a region thickly populated with Azerbaijanis, Alibala Askarov, the leader of the National Movement of 'Geyrat' functioning in Georgia, said to Trend Agency. The President visited a tinned food factory recently opened in Marneul.

We cannot familiarize with all the problems of the population during a short-term meeting. The President should focus his attention on the problems of the population, Askarov said.

More than 284,000 Azerbaijanis reside in Georgia, official resources inform, and 500,000 non-official resources inform.

Azerbaijanis are local residents in 13 administrative regions of Georgia.

The Modern Musavat party and the Azerbaijan Peasant Party united to merge on the threshold of the presidential elections, the party reported to Trend on 5 September.

The decision was made at a meeting of the chairmen of the parties and will be announced in the near future.

According to the chairman of the Modern Musavat, Hafiz Hajiyev, he will again run for presidency (the last time was in 2003).

Rasul Guliyev will nominate his candidature to represent the Open Society Party (OSP) in the upcoming presidential elections 2008, Akif Shahbazov, the chairman of OSP, told Trend Agency on 6 September.

The party will do its best to begin its pre-election democratic race in the country, and the party will be cooperating with other opposition parties in this direction, Shahbazov said.

The OSP was founded by its leader, Rasul Guliyev, in April 2007.

In recent days Iranian courts sentenced 25 activists of the National Movement of South Azerbaijan to arrest and flagellation, according to the Congress of World's Azerbaijanis (CWA).

The 25 Azerbaijanis, arrested in Ahar city of Iran's Garadagh province, were charged in contravening of Article 25, 32, 33 of Iran's Criminal Code. The accusation was brought by Iran's Security Ministry (ETELAAT) and Iran Revolutionary Court.

The activists of the national movement are accused of breach of social order, participation in illegal actions, anti-state activities posing threat to Iran's territorial integrity.

According to CWA, the arrested Azerbaijanis demanding observation of human rights and their national rights were sentenced to seven-month imprisonment, 70 lashes, and 5 years of conditional imprisonment.

According to unofficial reports, 35mln of native Azerbaijanis reside in Iran.

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IAF To Take Part In Multinational Exercise "Desert Flag" With France, US In UAE
Uzbekistan reports increases in gasoline price
Uzbek ministry to purchase computer equipment via tender
Uzbek commodity exchange reports volume of RON-80 gasoline sold
Russia's Novak preparing for OPEC+ meeting on March 4
UK's European Technology Development Ltd interested in doing business in Turkmenistan
Iran discusses potential of power transmission lines to neighboring countries
Uzbek commodity exchange reports volume of goods sold for Feb. 22-28
Azerbaijan's Tax Service registers local affiliate of UAE's Masdar company
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