Azeri Muslims in Iran Protesting Cartoon
The "Cockroach Incident" may replace the "Muhammad with a Bomb Attached to his Head" Danish cartoon flap as the # 1 not-so-funny-caricature to set off violence in the Middle East this year.
From the Washington Times via UPI:
Thousands of Azerbaijanis in northwest Iran are protesting a newspaper cartoon that compared the ethnic group to cockroaches.
Five people were killed when Iranian security forces fired on demonstrators in Ardebil, Naqadeh and Meshkin Shahr. Dozens of others were injured and hundreds were arrested, the BBC reported.
The cartoon, published in a state-owned newspaper, showed a succession of people attempting to talk to a cockroach in Persian. Each time, the insect responded by saying, in Azeri: "What do you mean?"
Azerbaijanis — often called Azeris — are the largest ethnic minority in Iran.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the escalation in violence in the southern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan is being blamed on US and British interests. The province which has seen heavy fighting in recent years as Iranian officials in Tehran crack down on opium drug lords is also known to be the spot of low-level Sunni insurrection. Since 1979 and the Iranian Revolution 3,300 Iranian security personnel have been killed in the renegade province.
From Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini:
Provoking ethnic differences is the last resort by the enemies against the Iranian people and the Islamic republic. There is no doubt that this plot will be defeated.
And for more in depth blogging on Azeri Turk protests in Iran, go to BayBak.