03 September 2011, 19:00

Defenders of rights of Iranian Azerbaijanis were forced to leave Azerbaijan

After their ten years in Azerbaijan, Agry Garadagly, the head of the Baku Office of the Southern (Iranian) Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement (SANAM), and Ragim Djavadbeili, an activist of this organization, have moved to Georgia. They explained this step by the fact that, despite numerous appeals, they failed to receive either citizenship or refugee status in Azerbaijan.

"Living in Azerbaijan without status is difficult and unsafe. Here, we periodically felt that we were shadowed by agents of the Iranian intelligence service. So, we were forced to move to Georgia," Mr Djavadbeili told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Mr Garadagly said that they had appealed to the UN Mission in Georgia: "We were granted the right to stay in Georgia for four months. We hope to go to some third country."

He reminded that then (ten years ago) Djavadbeili together with him and a group of other Azerbaijanis came to Azerbaijan because of persecutions by Iranian authorities.

Agry Garadagly has emphasized that the authorities of Azerbaijan generally refuse to render political shelter, especially to Azeris from Iran, fearing to worsen their relations with Tehran. Citizenship is also unavailable; only the UN High Commissariat for Refugees issues temporary documents, which should be renewed every three months.

According to his story, "only a handful of Iranian Azeris managed to obtain citizenship of the Azerbaijani Republic."

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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