Can Rouhani’s ethnic minority oriented policies be successful?

Can Rouhani’s ethnic minority oriented policies be successful?

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

By Emin Aliyev - Trend:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has achieved relative success in the country's nuclear program talks with the P5+1, has also been notable for his policies aimed at 'getting closer' to the ethnic minorities living in the country.

A few days before the presidential election in June 2013, the moderate politician Hassan Rouhani, who made promises about changes, reforms and provision of civil rights in Iran, issued a statement regarding teaching of Iranian ethnic minorities' languages.

In his statement Rouhani stressed his intention to implement Iranian constitution's Article 15, which deals with Iran's official language and the status of other tongues in the country.

At first sight this looked merely like a pre-election campaign with the help of which Rouhani wanted to earn the trust not only among Persians but also among ethnic minorities, who according to various sources comprise about 35-39 percent of Iran's total population.

But subsequently this was not an empty campaign statement. After assuming office, Rouhani appointed the former intelligence minister Ali Younesi an aide for the affairs of ethnic and religious minorities. This was the first time an Iranian president appointed a special person to be engaged in such matters.

This was also followed by Iranian Education Minister Ali Asghar Fani saying that teaching ethnic tongues at schools will become a priority. At the same time, the governor of Iran's East Azerbaijan Province Esmaeil Jabbarzadeh spoke about creation of an Azerbaijani language and literature academy.

In multiethnic countries like Iran, the issues such as the mother tongue, as well as, the cultural and language rights of ethnic minorities gain greater importance, as the country's policies dealing with such questions greatly affect the people's attitudes towards the authorities.

With its policies, a government can really 'get closer' to the ethnic minorities, but if poorly conducted, policy may lead to minorities' hatred of that government.

Perhaps Rouhani envisaged all these issues when he started pursuing a minority oriented policy, but there is an important point that should be taken into consideration in implementing it.

This is the Article 15, which Rouhani promised to implement. The article in fact doesn't say anything about the development, protection and teaching of ethnics' languages in Iran.

On the other hand, it does say that Iran's official language is Farsi and the ethnics' tongues can be used in mass media and in teaching their literature at schools.

Obviously, the article contradicts itself because how can an ethnic minority study its literature without learning its own language? And apparently it also contradicts Rouhani's promises.

Iran's languages other than Farsi (for e.g. Azerbaijani, Balochi, Kurdish, Lurish etc.) are endangered because they are not studied and developed by their speakers.

Article 15 should be revised if Rouhani's administration really intents on winning the ethnic minorities' support, as well as providing them with an education in their mother tongues.

Another noteworthy point regarding Rouhani's ethnic minority oriented policy has been the response by local organizations and officials to this program. One of them was the reaction of many members of Iran's Persian Language and Literature Academy, which regulates the standard Farsi language in Iran and other Farsi speaking countries.

The academy members spoke against Rouhani's program on teaching ethnics' mother tongues at schools. For example the academy members, expressing concerns during a meeting with Iran's education minister, called the program "very dangerous, which will lead to problems in the country", or "a conspiracy against the Farsi language to weaken it".

So, can the teaching of ethnic minorities' languages endanger Farsi? Of course, not.

Many multiethnic countries provide an education in ethnics' mother tongues alongside with the official language, and this does not threaten the ethnic majorities' tongues. Examples of this are the U.K. and Russia.

Apart from that, languages like Farsi, which is widely used not only in Iran, but regionally, in places like Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and which is so developed and regulated, cannot be threatened if minorities start learning their mother tongues.

Actually a language is threatened when its speakers abandon it, when they don't speak and study it, which is the case of minorities' tongues in Iran. So Farsi cannot be threatened as long as native speakers themselves continue speaking and studying it.

And this is why the opinion that teaching of ethnics' tongues can threaten Farsi is unjustified.

If successful, Rouhani's ethnic minority oriented policies can be a step forward in the democratic development of Iran, as these policies will help to promote one of the main human rights, that is, the right to study and develop one's mother tongue.

It is noteworthy to say that such a policy can be a good choice in strengthening the national unity in the country; it can serve to unite all peoples in Iran as one political nation, and also play a major role in earning the ethnic minorities' support for the government, which is very much needed in multiethnic societies.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Chinese company opens massive eco-friendly mine in Serbia
Chinese company opens massive eco-friendly mine in Serbia
Mutation of Delta variant may be more transmissible: UK health agency
Mutation of Delta variant may be more transmissible: UK health agency
Biden, Macron discuss cooperation, to meet in Rome late October
Biden, Macron discuss cooperation, to meet in Rome late October
Loading Bars
Russian Health Ministry greenlights joint COVID-19 and flu vaccination
Central Bank discloses volume of loans issued to Azerbaijan's districts
Georgia records surge in tourist visits from Uzbekistan
Tourist inflow from Kazakhstan to Georgia soars
Iran boosts exports through customs of Zanjan Province
Azerbaijan notes decrease in banking sector' profit
Azerbaijan sees rise in mortgage lending
Iranian currency rates for October 23
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Georgia releases data on COVID-19 cases for October 23
New customs post in Azerbaijan to speed up cargo movement along North-South corridor (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, Armenia to sign new documents in Moscow
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Georgia sees decrease in tourist inflow from Azerbaijan
Turkmen company to purchase material, technical resources via tender
Kazakh energy company opens tender to buy metal corners
Kazakh oil company opens tender to buy spares
Kazakh KazMunayTeniz opens tender for Caterpillar equipment maintenance
Azerbaijan's Central Bank unveils data on currency exchange operations for Jan. through Sept. 2021
Azerbaijani fund presents concept for restoration of liberated territories
EDB purchases bonds of Kazakh KEGOC JSC
US corporate workers to start returning to offices next month
Iran changes pricing of petrochemical products at its mercantile exchange
Iran's foreign exchange needs trigger to expand exports
Surge of energy prices puts Europeans in stalemate (VIDEO)
Chinese company opens massive eco-friendly mine in Serbia
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count stands at 1,732
Georgian honey exports skyrocket, following COVID-ravaged year
Iranian envoy, head of Georgia's State Security Service meet
Turkey announces commissioning date for logistics center in Sivas (Exclusive)
US military eliminates one of Al-Qaeda leaders in northwest Syria
Mutation of Delta variant may be more transmissible: UK health agency
Biden, Macron discuss cooperation, to meet in Rome late October
India, UK working on free trade agreement: Harsh Vardhan Shringla at India Global Forum
Turkey reports 28,192 daily COVID-19 cases
G7 countries reach breakthrough on digital trade and data
India perhaps only G20 country to fulfil...: India ahead of COP26 climate summit
U.N. plane aborts landing as air strike hits Ethiopia's Tigray
Relations with India stronger than ever, says Maldives Defence Minister
Chronicles of Victory: October 23, 2020
Iranian delegation leaves for Tashkent to observe elections
UK PM Johnson says fresh COVID lockdown not on the cards
2 soldiers, terrorist killed in northwestern Pakistan's clash
Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shows 90.7% efficacy in trial in children
Belarus, Kazakhstan discuss joint efforts to maintain regional security
Georgia, Turkey to set up joint air force plant
TURKIC.World project presented at media forum of Turkic Council (PHOTO)
Iran boosts transit via TRACECA corridor
French court annuls "treaty" with illegal Armenian regime in Azerbaijan's Karabakh
Azerbaijan's MoD inspects combat positions in liberated Kalbajar, Lachin districts (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan Airways opens tender related to local fire alarm system
Iran looks to enhance road development in Ardabil province
Main countries of origin for tourists arriving in Georgia
Spanish Gedepsa interested in growing olive plantations in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan reveals number of mines, munitions found on its liberated lands (PHOTO)
Overview of Uzbekistan's retail trade turnover dynamics between 2010-2020
When Karabakh road infrastructure to be fully ready?
Armenians propagate Nazi Nzhdeh and accuse Azerbaijan of racism (VIDEO)
Relations With India Stronger Than Ever, Says Maldives Defence Minister
Bennett-Putin meeting lasted five hours, was warm and positive
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,112 more COVID-19 cases, 882 recoveries
Australia says EU has postponed free trade talks for second time
Azerbaijan’s volume of non-cash payments continues to grow
Delta Galil files for Nasdaq offering
Azerbaijan's investment attractiveness increased after liberation of its lands - minister (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan reduces wheat imports from EAEU states
Azerbaijan’s wheat imports from EAEU countries revealed
Belarusian company to supply Azerbaijan with cables
Azerbaijan sees growth in its population's bank deposits
Azerbaijan commissions recently built military facilities in its liberated lands (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Non-tourist trips to Georgia plummet
Kazakh Tengizсhevroil to reduce LPG supplies to Ukraine after polypropylene plant's launch
Iran to use domestic capacity for road fleet modernization
Azercell once again bestowed with ISO 37001:2016 Anti-bribery Management Systems standard of compliance
Azerbaijan reveals data on mine clearance work carried out in liberated lands
Azerbaijan’s cargo transportation by all types of transport decreases in 9M2021
Ukrainian companies interested in entering Turkmen market
EBRD, EU to provide loans for indirect financing of green technologies in Georgia
SOCAR-AQS exceeds drilling progress plan
President Ilham Aliyev sends congratulatory letter to Hungarian counterpart
Azerbaijan to expand co-op with Turkey in mine clearance – ANAMA
Uzbekistan signs agreement to put out former uranium mining sites
Iran eyes developing non-oil exports
India hopes to work with China for resolution of issues: Shringla
Azerbaijan’s Bulla Deniz produces over 54,000 tons of oil with technical measures
UK foreign secretary begins India visit today, to hold talks with Jaishankar
Uzbekistan to expand network of local duty-free shops
Azerbaijani SME agency ready to fully support alternative energy dev't
SOCAR sums up results of operation at Oil Rocks
Turkmenistan overhauling railways on border of Akhal, Balkan regions
SOCAR reveals time of commissioning 2nd production complex at Gunahsli field
Uzbek, Russian enterprises considering joint textile enterprises
Azerbaijan to start exporting locally-produced mineral water to Europe (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan not planning to transfer all schools online - ministries
SOCAR details on works carried out at Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery in 2020
Progress on CAREC transport projects in Kazakhstan unveiled
Russia reports 37,141 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours
Natural gas, coal prices to remain at high levels through start of 2022
FAO's representative office may be opened in Turkmenistan
All news