WATCH: Iran’s second-largest ethnic group are dancing to defy authorities

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Hundreds of Azerbaijani Turks, the second largest ethnic group in Iran, are performing their folkloric traditional dance across most of their cities.

It’s well-known that dancing is prohibited in Iran hence these folkloric dances do not only aim to preserve the Turkish identity in Iran and protect it from extinction but they also represent a clear rejection of the authorities’ laws which prohibit dancing.

Hundreds of Azerbaijani Turks thus danced to the tunes of one of their songs and posted videos of these dances on social media networks.

The campaign was launched by 15-year-old Haniya Shojaai and it quickly went beyond Iran and reached other Turkish-speaking cities in Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Azerbaijani Turks constitute around 25% of Iran’s population which is 80 million.

They never imposed their language on any other ethnicity and in 1926, the Persian language became the country’s only official language. Although Article 15 in the Constitution allows teaching ethnic languages to people, implementing the article remains hindered until now.

This recent dance campaign can thus be viewed as a form of “defiance against the authorities in Iran.”

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