The following are excerpts from a US Marines field guide Iran titled "Cultural Intelligence for Military Operations: Iran." The sections excerpted here deal specifically with Iran's Azari ethnicity [For the Marine manual's view Iran's Persian ethnicity, see this blog].
1. This product is designed to help U.S. military forces understand the mindset of foreign cultures. Emphasis is placed on cultural factors with the greatest impact on military operations...The Cultural Intelligence Studies are in-depth comprehensive reports written for every significant ethnic group within a country.
2. Azerbaijanis are the second largest ethnic group in Iran [after Persians] comprising approximately 20 million people out of a population of approximately 64 million [the population data seems to be from 2001] Azerbaijanis in Iran are linguistically, and in many ways culturally, distinct from ethnic Persians and other Iranian ethnic groups. Azerbaijanis think of themselves as Azerbaijani-Iranian.
3. Azerbaijanis speak Azerbaijani Turkish, which is also called Azeri. The Azerbaijani language is the pillar of Azerbaijani identity in Iran. Maintaining the right to speak, write, and educate their children in Azerbaijani Turkish is very important to Azerbaijanis...The Iranian and Azerbaijani identities were not in conflict prior to the 20th century, when Iran was considered a supra-ethnic state by its leadership and its citizens.
4. Azerbaijanis see themselves as the founding fathers of Iranian Shi’ism. Common religious ties bind Azerbaijanis to other Shi’a Iranians, such as the Persians, and the state. Shi’a identity is also a factor around which Azerbaijanis distinguish themselves from their other Turkic peoples. It is commonly believed that Zoroastrianism, the original religion of Iran, was founded in Azerbaijan. Moreover, Azerbaijanis claim that the essence of Persian culture, founded in Zoroastrianism, originated in their area of northwestern Iran, near Lake Urmia.
5. Some Azerbaijanis believe that the ancient Medes were in fact a Turkic ethnic group. This idea is in contrast to the works of some Persian nationalists who have claimed the Azerbaijanis were a Persian people who adopted a Turkic language only in the 11th century.
6. Contemporary Azerbaijanis regard the Seljuq state [The Seljuqs were Central Asian Turks who entered Iran in the 11th century]...as Azerbaijan’s golden age...the Seljuq Turks adopted much of the Iranian cultural tradition during their reign, including the Persian literary tradition...Azerbaijani poets of this golden age usually wrote in Persian. Without a distinct national self-consciousness as a Turkic people at this time, Persian was also the official state language of the Turkic Seljuq court.
7. Azerbaijanis view themselves as leaders of Iranian resistance to foreign invasion and domination since the ancient period. Azerbaijanis believe the name of their homeland is derived from the name of a local Mede commander, Aturpat [Aturpatkan, meaning "land of fire." A reference to Zoroastrian fire rituals] who ruled over the region as a local satrap (provincial ruler under the control of the Persian Empire) at the time that Alexander the Great invaded Iran in 330 B.C.
8. Azerbaijanis pride themselves on their independence and resilience in the face of adversity and foreign threats. These qualities are evident in their reverence for Babak Khorramdin, an Azerbaijani warrior who led his people and the Persians against the Arabs in the 9th century. The July 2004 celebration [of Babak Khoramdin] festival led to the arrest of at least 80 Azerbaijanis for distributing what the regime regarded as nationalist literature advocating Azerbaijani autonomy and independence from Iran.
9. Contemporary Azerbaijanis regard the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) as an important symbol of Azerbaijani identity and power. To many Azerbaijanis, the Safavid dynasty represents their sovereignty and leadership of a multi-ethnic Iran.
10. Azerbaijanis have a cultural tradition of pursuing military and administrative careers within the Shah's court This tradition began when Azerbaijanis and other Turkic peoples became primarily responsible for administration and the military during the Safavid period.
11. Azerbaijanis see the Qajars (1779-1920) as another important dynasty that raised Azerbaijanis to a place of national political prominence in Iran.
12. Under Qajar rule, Azerbaijani Turkish became the predominant language of the court, while Persian remained the main literary language, including among the Azerbaijani elite.
13. Feelings about the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay [after Iranian defeat by Russians] are an indicator of whether an Azerbaijani identifies his or her nation as Iranian or Azerbaijani. Many Azerbaijani nationalists—those who choose the Azerbaijani nation as their primary collective identity—see the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay as the symbol of division of the Azerbaijani people [I assume as contrasted to Persian ethnics who view Turkmenchay primarily as loss of territory].
`14. Azerbaijanis believe they come from a heritage of intellectualism and interest in national reform due to their proximity to Europe and their earlier modernization relative to the rest of Iran.
15. At the turn of the 20th century, the province of Azerbaijan was economically more modern, had greater involvement in international trade...As a result, some Azerbaijanis picked up socialist ideas...they spread these ideas in Iranian Azerbaijan and formed a small Social Democratic party. These actions encouraged the [national] Constitutional Revolution that followed.
16. The creation of a short-lived independent Azerbaijani state, Azadistan (“Land of Freedom”), in 1920 presaged the persistent desire for greater democracy and cultural rights still prevalent among contemporary Azerbaijanis.
17. Khiyabani [leader of Azadistan movement] was a fierce advocate of Azerbaijani cultural and linguistic rights...However, Khiyabani’s movement exhibited the loyalty to the state prevalent in mainstream Azerbaijani identity: he never advocated the secession of Iran’s Azerbaijani populated territories.
18. Reza Khan, then  a member of the Iranian Cossack brigade, crushed Khiyabani's rebellion..This success helped propel Reza Khan to enormous political power and left a bitter memory for Azerbaijanis.
19. Azerbaijanis regard Pahlavi rule in the 20th century as a time of major cultural suppression and discrimination that increased their loyalty to their Azerbaijani ethnic identity. Reza Shah broke up their territory and annexed it to neighboring Iranian provinces, creating artificial administrative barriers between Azerbaijanis. To assimilate minority ethnic groups in Iran, Reza Shah closed minority-language schools and publications.
20. Soviets[ circa WW II ] had an interest in fomenting minority ethnic sentiments as a lever against the Iranian government. As a result, the Soviets installed Soviet Azerbaijanis to produce Azerbaijani-language publications that promoted the shared cultural heritage between Azerbaijanis in the Soviet Union and Iran.
21. Azerbaijanis point out that Prime Minister Mossadeq was an Azerbaijani and take pride in Mossadeq’s challenges to the British and Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi...
22. The [Soviet backed] establishment of the autonomous Provincial Government of Azerbaijan in 1945-1946 had a major influence on the development of Azerbaijani identity. The Provincial Government stands out as a period in which Azerbaijani language, culture, and local rule flourished.
23. The Provincial Government [1945-1946] declared Azerbaijanis a distinct nation by virtue of their language, history, and culture, but affirmed its commitment to preserve the integrity of Iran. Popular support for the Provincial Government of Azerbaijan remained high until party leaders threatened to secede from Iran
24. After the Soviets pulled out of Iran in 1946, the Iranian central government attacked and reestablished control. The Shah's security forces, SAVAK, harshly repressed Azerbaijani political and cultural activists
25. The purges and forced exile that followed the defeat of the Provincial Government of Azerbaijan were significant factors in provoking Azerbaijani hatred toward thePahlavi dynasty...
26. The  Revolution's emphasis on religious, rather than ethnic unity returned Azerbaijanis to the center of Iran's political life from the status of a non-Persian minority. Though the Islamic Republic relaxed policies on minority cultures slightly...its failure to end suppression of minority languages left many Azerbaijanis resentful and disappointed. The undemocratic and oppressive character of the Islamic Republic led many Azerbaijanis, bitter and disappointed, to reevaluate their loyalty to Iran.
27. Before 1991 [Soviet Union collapse and creation of Republic of Azerbaijan from former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan] most Azerbaijanis both were called and called themselves Turks; after 1991 Azerbaijani became the most common term.
28. Many Iranian (southern) Azerbaijanis were disappointed that northern Azerbaijanis lacked awareness of their cultural heritage. Iranian Azerbaijanis found those from the Republic of Azerbaijan less interested in ethnic issues and more focused on business than they had imagined. [I don't liked the "north" and "south" business either, but that's how it is written in the manual.] This realization dampened enthusiasm for building cross-border ties among Azerbaijanis.
29. Another trend in Azerbaijani identity has been to support the complete assimilation of Azerbaijanis into Persian culture, eliminating a separate Azerbaijani identity. This trend was most prevalent among Azerbaijani intellectuals between 1920 and 1940 under Reza Shah’s regime.
30. Azerbaijanis regard Kurds as both traditional rivals and potential allies. Their rivalry became apparent following the 1979 Revolution when the Islamic Republic used Azerbaijani troops to repress the Kurdish resistance in the 1980s. Yet in times of shared crisis, Azerbaijanis have joined with Kurds to fight a common enemy. For example, Kurds and Azerbaijanis united at the end of World War I to fight Assyrians who, with British help, attempted to seize land and flocks in the area of Lake Urmia.
31. Azerbaijanis see Turkomans as less sophisticated and less important than themselves, since Azerbaijanis have a long history of national leadership in Iran, while many Turkomans remain tribal and nomadic, and others were only recently settled. Moreover, sectarian differences divide Azerbaijanis, who are Shi’a Muslims, and Turkomans, who are Sunni. Shi’ism serves to bind Azerbaijanis closer to the Iranian state, while Turkomans remain on the margins of Iran, both physically, and as a Muslim minority.
32. Azerbaijanis generally hold positive attitudes toward Russians. Many Azerbaijanis remember that it was under the protection of Soviet forces that they were able to establish the provincial government of Azerbaijan during the Allied occupation of Iran in World War II. Moreover, throughout much of the 20th century, many Azerbaijani intellectual leaders were heavily influenced by Russian and Soviet thinkers. Iranian Azerbaijanis were also aware that northern Azerbaijanis who lived under the Soviet regime enjoyed significantly greater freedom to use their native language and publish in it compared to their southern Azerbaijani counterparts under the Pahlavi shahs in Iran.
33. Azerbaijanis of high status intermarry with other Muslims, including Persians, Arabs, Afghans, as well as Sunni Kurds and Turkomans, but they tend not to intermarry with Iranians of other faiths, including Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Baha’is.
34. [When interacting with an Iranian Azarbaijani] do mention your respect for the long tradition of high Iranian cultural achievement.
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