Faudzil @ Ajak

Faudzil @ Ajak
Always think how to do things differently. - Faudzil Harun@Ajak

31 October 2014

VICTORY FOR PASSENGERS - Airlines face claims of up to £10billion after losing landmark court case over paying compensation for delays

Victory for passengers: Airlines face claims of up to £10billion after losing landmark court case over paying compensation for delays 

  • Jet2 and Thomson's lose appeals against passenger delay compensation
  • Two families were left stranded for total of 33 hours and took them to court
  • Airlines tried to overturn compensation rulings at Supreme Court but failed 
  • Rulings mean thousands more who have made claims likely to be paid
  • Experts believe that millions of people may be able to sue tardy airlines 

Airlines face claims of up to £10billion from delayed passengers after the Supreme Court today refused to accept they should not pay compensation to Britons left stranded and out of pocket.

Britain's highest court has this morning refused to hear appeals by Jet 2 and Thomson Airways against two passengers who won compensation after being left stranded by them. 
Today's rulings could cost the airlines billions of pounds Appeal Court judges rejected excuses put forward for delays and confirmed the rights of passengers to compensation.
Now thousands of similar claims by passengers against airlines that had been placed on hold until rulings were made in these cases have been lifted, and have a greater chance of success. 

Meanwhile lawyers saw a further 2.8million others could be able to bring cases.

Jet2 and Thomson's applications to appeal against flight delay compensation cases has been rejected
Thomson airlines argued James Dawson took too long to lodge his complaint
Landmark Jet2 and Thomson's applications to appeal against two flight delay 
compensation cases have been rejected, paving the way for thousands of new claims

Thousands of claims against airlines over flight delays had been put on hold until the Supreme Court rulings
Thousands of claims against airlines over flight delays had been put on hold until the Supreme Court rulings

In one case 41-year-old James Dawson from Peterborough can keep the £975 plus interest totalling £1,488 73p he was awarded from Thomson Airways after his flight with his wife from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic on Christmas Day 2006 was delayed six hours 26 minutes.

Thomson appealed the order for payment made by Judge Michael Yelton at Cambridge County Court in July last year, on the grounds that it was outside the two year limitation period for claims under the 1999 Montreal Convention.
But Lord Justice Moore-Bick sitting with Lord Justices Kitchin and Fulford unanimously agreed that claims can be made up to six years after the event under European law, and that Mr. Dawson was just inside that limit.

His solicitors flight delay specialists Bott & Co from Wilmslow, Cheshire, estimate the decision affects over 11 million passengers and with thousands waiting in the pipeline for the ruling say it is worth in excess of £4 billion to consumers. Thomson face a legal bill estimated at more than £100,000.

In an earlier decision 58-year-old Ronald Huzar from Stockport, won his battle with Jet2.com after his flight from Malaga to Manchester in 2011 was delayed for 27 hours.

The airline claimed a technical fault was 'unforeseeable' and they shouldn't have to pay out.

But the judges ruled the fault was not an 'extraordinary circumstance' and they must pay.

Rules state that passengers who reach their destination more than three hours late can claim up to Euro 600 (£494) plus expenses, per person, if the delay is within the airline's control.

However thousands of passengers have struggled to get the cash they are entitled to, with airlines often refusing to pay out even when the regulator rules against them. While most customers give up at this point, some have gone to court.

Over the past 10 years, it is estimated that air passengers who have failed to claim are owed £3.2bn. Other potential claims under this head are said to be worth £6.3 billion.

After his victory Mr.Huzar said: 'I am absolutely delighted with the decision. After everything I have been through to get to this point it's a fantastic day.

'I always hoped that we would get a positive outcome and it's nice to get to this milestone. The result in my favour should help passengers throughout the country who have experienced similar difficulties to me.'

Mr Huzar and his family were delayed by 27 hours at Malaga Airport due to an aircraft wiring problem
Mr Huzar and his family were delayed by 27 hours at Malaga Airport due to an aircraft wiring problem

The rulings means that that passengers in England and Wales have six years to bring a flight compensation case to court, and have a better chance of winning.

'The Supreme Court has refused applications by Jet2.com and Thomson Airways to appeal the Court of Appeal of England and Wales' decisions in two cases about the airlines' liability to pay compensation after travel delays,' a statement from the Supreme Court read.

'The legal issues at stake were (in the Jet 2 appeal) whether an unforeseeable technical problem resulting in a delayed flight amounts to 'extraordinary circumstances' for the purposes of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004; and (in the Thomson appeal) whether the applicable limitation period for bringing a claim for compensation under Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 is 2 years, pursuant to the Montreal Convention, or 6 years, pursuant to the Limitation Act 1980.

'The Supreme Court has declined to hear either airline's appeal and the Court of Appeal judgment in each matter therefore stands.' 


James Dawson, 41, of Peterborough, can keep the £975 plus interest (a total of £1,488.73) that he was awarded from Thomson Airways after his flight with his wife from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic on Christmas Day 2006 was delayed six hours 26 minutes.
Thomson appealed the order for payment made by Judge Michael Yelton at Cambridge County Court on the grounds that it was outside the two year limitation period for claims under the 1999 Montreal Convention.
But Lord Justice Moore-Bick unanimously agreed that claims can be made up to six years after the event under European law, and that Mr Dawson was just inside that limit. Solicitors Bott & Co says decision affects more than 11m passengers.
Ronald Huzar, 58, of Stockport, won his battle with Jet2.com after his flight from Malaga to Manchester in 2011 was delayed for 27 hours.
The airline claimed a technical fault was 'unforeseeable' and they shouldn't have to pay compensation.
But the judges ruled the fault was not an 'extraordinary circumstance' and they must pay.
After his victory Mr Huzar said: 'I am absolutely delighted with the decision. After everything I have been through to get to this point it's a fantastic day.
'I always hoped that we would get a positive outcome and it's nice to get to this milestone. The result in my favour should help passengers throughout the country who have experienced similar difficulties to me.'

Mr Huzar's lawyers Bott & Co says 2.36 million passengers per year in England and Wales are likely to benefit from the Huzar decision.

They say it will amount to an estimated £876 million in compensation claims while the ruling in Mr Dawson's case against Thomson could open up about £3.89 billion in historic flight claims.  

Now holds have been lifted on thousands of similar cases, passengers with claims that were previously denied by an airline on grounds of a technical problem or for being over two years old have been encouraged to resubmit their claim.

'This is a landmark day not just for Mr Huzar and Mr Dawson but for passengers everywhere,' said David Bott, senior partner at Bott & Co.

'Two journeys which started with a delay have now finished, nearly eight years later in Mr Dawson's case.'

'Bott & Co has thousands of clients whose claims have been on hold pending today's decisions. 'We will now be writing to the airlines, asking them to acknowledge the judgments, recognise their obligations and deal with these claims as promptly as possible.
'If you've previously submitted a claim to the airline but have been turned down on the grounds of a technical defect or because your claim is more than two years old, we recommend you resubmit your claim.'

The regulations state that passengers delayed by more than three hours can claim up to 600 Euros (£494) plus expenses, per person, if the delay is within the airline's control.
Despite this, thousands of passengers have struggled to get the cash they are entitled to, with airlines often refusing to pay up even if the industry regulator rules against them. Most customers give up at this point, while others have gone to court.

In the past 10 years air passengers who have failed to make claims are owed an estimated £3.2bn while there could be further similar claims worth in excess of £6 billion.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

MH370 - Malaysian boys sue over MH370 disappearance

Two boys seek damages over loss of father in first legal

action over mysterious Flight MH370 tragedy that shocked


Last updated: 31 Oct 2014 10:02

Two Malaysian boys have launched a lawsuit against Malaysia Airlines and the government for negligence over the loss of their father in the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370, in the first legal action over the disaster.

Jee Kinson, 13, and Jee Kinland, 11, said in the suit on Friday that when the plane dropped from the radar while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, the civil aviation department did not try to establish contact within reasonable time.
"We have waited for eight months. After speaking to various experts, we believe we have sufficient evidence for a strong case. A big plane missing in this age of technology is really unacceptable," their lawyer Arunan Selvaraj said.

Although Malaysia Airlines and the authorities say they are doing all they can to find the plane, Selvaraj accused authorities of failing to take responsibility over its disappearance.
"Now we are talking about what had happened on the 8th of March 2014. So we want answers, basically we want the responsible party - nobody's coming forward - so we want answers, we want people to know what actually transpired, we want accountability, we want those who are responsible to come forward," he said.

The suit said the national carrier was negligent and failed to take all due measures to ensure a safe flight. It also named the director-generals of civil aviation and immigration, the country's navy chief and the government as respondents and alleged they committed gross neglect and breach of duty.

Mental, emotional and financial losses
The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for mental distress, emotional pain and the loss of financial support following the disappearance of their father, Jee Jing Hang, who had operated an Internet business earning monthly income of about $5,178.

"The question is, could we have salvaged the situation if action was taken earlier?" Arunan said. "We want accountability."

The plane is believed to have gone down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, where a search is ongoing. Not a single piece of debris from the plane has been found.

Australian officials, who are coordinating the search, have said the hunt for the plane could take another year.

The plaintiffs also blamed the country's immigration department for negligently allowing passengers with fake identity papers to board the plane for Flight MH370.

Malaysian police determined that two men traveling with stolen passports on the plane were Iranians seeking to migrate illegally to Europe and were not terrorists.

Malaysia Airlines' brand had also been severely damaged after it faced a second disaster in July, when its Flight 17 was blasted out of the sky as it flew over an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

The tragedies forced the carrier to launch a $1.9b overhaul to revive its charred image, including the sacking of 6,000 workers, which makes up about 30 percent of its staff. 
This article appeared in http://www.aljazeera.com/

EBOLA VIRUS - Virus Sleuths Chip Away At Ebola Mysteries

Stringy particles of Ebola virus (blue) bud from a chronically infected cell (yellow-green) in this colorized, scanning electron micrograph.NIAID/Science Source

Vincent Racaniello, who studies viruses at Columbia University, says Ebola has recently become his obsession.
"I find myself reading incessantly about Ebola when I should be doing other things," says Racaniello, host of the online show This Week in Virology, which has devoted
several recent programs to Ebola.
The unprecedented Ebola outbreak probably has more virologists thinking about Ebola
than ever before. And while scientists have learned a lot about this virus since it was discovered almost four decades ago, there's still a lot left to wonder about.
Racaniello and his virologist buddies wish they knew some really basic things — like, how does the virus actually slip into cells? What part of the cell's surface does it latch onto to
get access? Knowing that might let scientists figure out ways to block it. 
And how do outbreaks of Ebola actually start? "This is a really important question," says Racaniello,"because if we could figure out where the virus comes from we might be able
to take measures to stop that."
Scientists believe the virus circulates in fruit bats, which seem to carry Ebola without
getting sick. But no one knows the details of how bats pass it to humans or other species.
"We know for sure that gorillas and chimpanzees and some antelope have been infected
with Ebola in the past," says veterinarian and epidemiologist Jonathan Epstein of Eco
Health Alliance, an organization devoted to understanding and predicting the emergence
of diseases. "But the mechanism for spillover isn't totally clear, and so that's an area
where more study needs to be done."
Here's another issue that needs more study: Once the virus finds its way into people, why
is it that some people get very sick, others seem to get less sick, and others may not get
sick at all?
Angela Rasmussen, a microbiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, says we don't yet know of any genes that might influence someone's response to this virus.
"Prior to this outbreak in West Africa, there really haven't been that many human patients with Ebola, so these studies haven't really been conducted in people," Rasmussen says.
She and some colleagues have started to study this aspect of Ebola infection in mice. In a secure lab, they infected dozens of genetically diverse mice with the same Ebola virus.
Andin this week's issue of the journal Science, they report that they saw a wide range of disease outcomes, all the way from mild to severe illness — suggesting that the genetic makeup of individual mice played a huge role in how sick they got.
Rasmussen says there were key differences in genes that affect blood vessels. "We think that those genes may be implicated in Ebola pathogenesis," she says, "but we're still in
the process of conducting studies on enough mice to be able to say that definitively."
Besides genes, scientists wonder what else might affect who lives and who dies. Robert Garry, a microbiologist at Tulane University, is part of a team that published an analysis Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine that looks at people who got Ebola in Sierra Leone. He says it turns out that a person's age really mattered — with people under 21 having a much better chance of survival than people over 45. The researchers are not sure why — it may have something to do with differences in their immune systems.
And even though Ebola is known as a hemorrhagic fever, bleeding appears to be rare in
this outbreak — the team only saw it in one patient in this study. That means it looks like
this West African variant of the virus is different from the ones that have been seen in
Central Africa in the past. "It's something that we need to examine further to try to see
what these differences are in terms of the viral biology," says Garry.
Another big question is how the virus might mutate as it moves through large numbers of people, as it is now doing in West Africa. Could it become more or less deadly? Racaniello says there are examples of other viruses that changed over time to cause milder illness.
"But for the most part, most of the major viruses we know — AIDS/HIV-1, influenza, polio, measles — they all keep their virulence at pretty much the same level," Racaniello says. "Although you could argue we've only been studying them a short time."
Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/31/359837446/virus-sleuths-chip-away-at-ebola-mysteries

EBOLA NEWS - Charity MSF warns US on quarantine

31 October 2014 Last updated at 04:51

Police are watching the home of a nurse in north-eastern US

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders has warned some mandatory US state Ebola quarantine measures are having a "chilling effect" on its work.
The group has said it may shorten some assignments to West Africa as a result of recent state restrictions.
One of the charity's volunteers has defied orders by the US state of Maine that she remain quarantined in her house after being in Sierra Leone.
There have been nearly 14,000 cases worldwide, but only nine in the US.
Doctors Without Borders - also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) - has 270 international and 3,000 locally hired staff in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
But the foreign workers now have additional concerns when heading home, said executive director Sophie Delaunay.
"There is rising anxiety and confusion among staff members in the field over what they may face when they return home upon completion of their assignments in West Africa," she told Reuters news agency.
Some health workers are delaying returning to the US and staying in Europe for 21 days, she added, "in order to avoid facing rising stigmatisation at home and possible quarantine".
MSF volunteer being trainedMSF has thousands of staff on Ebola duty
Some people are being discouraged by their families from returning to the field, she added.
In other developments:
  • a UK ship has arrived in Sierra Leone carrying food, medical equipment and 32 pick-up trucks, to help keep hard-pressed Ebola treatment centres in operation
  • speaking in Brussels after a trip to West Africa, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has said the world must do more to confront "the greatest public health crisis ever"
  • North Korea has instituted a 21-day quarantine for any foreign national arriving from any country
  • the World Bank said it would immediately provide $100m to fund the deployment of more health workers to West Africa
Lawyers for Kaci Hickox, a nurse recently returned to the US from treating Ebola patients in Africa, have vowed to fight a court order that would enforce a 21-day quarantine.
Maine Governor Paul LePage said the state was willing to agree to arrangements that would have allowed Hickox to go for walks, runs and bicycle rides, but not allow her to go to public places.
The governor said discussions with Ms Hickox, 33, had failed.
She says her freedom should not be limited when she is perfectly healthy.
People are not infectious until they show symptoms, usually a fever.
Another worker, Dr Craig Spencer, travelled around New York City before he fell ill. He is currently in isolation in hospital.
After his case was announced, New York, New Jersey and other states ordered the mandatory quarantine of healthcare workers who had been exposed to Ebola patients.
But President Barack Obama has warned that overly restrictive measures could discourage volunteering in West Africa.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the actions of US states ordering medics to be isolated.
"Returning health workers are exceptional people who are giving of themselves for humanity," he said.
"They should not be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science."
Ebola cases outside West Africa
Map of non-West African outbreak

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29843362

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY - What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is damage caused to the blood 
vessels in the retina as a result of having diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye problem that occurs as a result of diabetes and is caused by changes to the blood cells of the retina. The retina is located at the back of the eye and receives light images and sends them to the brain – it needs to be healthy to ensure good vision.

Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes and left untreated may cause loss of vision or even blindness. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing the condition and should get regular eye tests in order to catch and treat it early.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs because prolonged periods of high blood sugar caused by diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in the retina. The blood vessels may become leaky or blocked off. Leaky vessels can lead to haemorrhages or cause fluid to leak on to the retina. If the retina is starved of oxygen it may swell be damaged or may lead to the growth of new abnormal vessels.
Source: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/

30 October 2014

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY - Types of diabetic retinopathy

There are three main types of diabetic retinopathy.

Types of diabetic retinopathy
These three types are differentiated according to the stage that the condition has reached:
1) Non-proliferative retinopathy: The early stage of the condition characterised by small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina's tiny blood vessels.

2) Maculopathy oedema: As the condition progresses, the macula (which provides our central vision and is vital for clear, detailed vision) swells, caused by leakage of fluid from the blood vessels of the retina.

3) Proliferative retinopathy: At this advanced stage, when blood vessels in the retina have disappeared, the retina's need for nourishment triggers the growth of new blood vessels. These new vessels are abnormal vessels are fragile,  bleed easily and may stimulate abnormal supporting tissues which can result in the retina peeling away form the back of the eye. Severe vision loss and even blindness can result.
During the early stages of the condition there may be no symptoms but as the disease progresses, the following symptoms may present:
  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing floaters or flashers
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches

Source: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY - How to treat diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be prevented and treated by 
controlling blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

How to treat diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed by examining the back of the retina using special instruments. With mild diabetic retinopathy there may not be any specific treatment but blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels need to be controlled.

Macular oedema and proliferative retinopathy are treated with laser surgery. Proliferative retinopathy requires scatter laser treatment to shrink abnormal blood cells; macular oedema is treated with focal laser treatment to target the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. The burns caused by the laser help slow the leakage and reduce the fluid in the retina. Surgery may be necessary in very advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy.

How to prevent diabetic retinopathy (if you have diabetes)

  • Control blood glucose levels by eating a healthy diet, lose weight if you are overweight and exercising regularly.
  • Monitor and control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker.
  • Get eye tests on a regular basis.

Source: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/

RACE & ETHNIC - Azerbaijani people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Azerbaijanis (/ˌæzərbˈɑːni/; Azerbaijani: Azərbaycanlılar, آذربایجانلیلار) are the Turkic-speaking ethnic group living mainly in the Republic of Azerbaijan and in Iran (especially inIranian Azerbaijan), as well as in neighboring states. Also referred to as "Azeris" (Azərilər, آذریلر) or "Azerbaijani Turks" (Azərbaycan türkləri, آذربایجان تورکلری) they live in a wider area from the Caucasus to the Iranian plateau. The Azerbaijanis are predominantly Shi'a Muslim and have a mixed cultural heritage including Iranian, Turkic and Caucasian elements.

Azərbaycanlılar, Azərilər
آذربایجانلیلار، آذریلر

Total population
approx. 28–35 million
Regions with significant populations
15 million
(e.g. Encyclopædia Britannica.)
12,9 to 18 million
(e.g. CIA factbook, Knüppel, etc.)
18 to 27 million
(e.g. criticism R. Elling)
Russia621,800 to 1,500,000
Turkey530,000 to 2,500,000
United States24,377 to 400,000
United Kingdom6,220
Predominantly Shia Islam; minority Sunni Islam, Bahá'í faith, Zoroastrianism Irreligion
Related ethnic groups
Turkic peoples (Oghuz Turks), Iranian peoples (specificallyPersians and Tats),
Caucasian peoples

Following the Russo-Persian Wars of 1813 and 1828, the territories of the Qajar Empire in the Caucasus were ceded to the Russian Empire and the treaties of Gulistan in 1813 and Turkmenchay in 1828 finalized the borders between Czarist Russia and Qajar Iran.[47][48] The formation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918 established the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Despite living on two sides of an international border, the Azerbaijanis form a single ethnic group.[3] However, northerners and southerners differ due to nearly two centuries of separate social evolution of Iranian Azerbaijanisand Azerbaijanis in Russian/Soviet-influenced Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani language unifies Azerbaijanis, and is mutually intelligible with TurkmenQashqaiGagauzTurkish, and the dialects spoken by the Iraqi Turkmen, all of which belong to the Oghuz, or Western, group of Turkic languages.[49]

History of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is believed to be named after 
Atropates, a Persian[50][51][52][53] satrap (governor) who ruled in Atropatene (modern Iranian Azerbaijan).[54][55]:2 The name Atropates means "protected by fire". An alternative theory is that Azerbaijan is the combination of two Persian words, "Āzar" meaning "(holy)fire" and "pāygān" meaning "the place of".[56]Main article: History of Azerbaijan
Ancient residents of the area spoke the Ancient Azari language, which belonged to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages.[57] In the 11th century A.D. with Seljukid conquests, Oghuz Turkic tribes started moving across the Iranian plateau into the Caucasus and Anatolia. The influx of the Oghuz and other Turkmen tribes was further accentuated by the Mongol invasion.[58] Here, the Oghuz tribes divided into various smaller groups, some of whom – mostly Sunni – moved to Anatolia (i.e., the Ottomans) and became settled, while others remained in the Caucasus region and later – due to the influence of theSafaviyya – eventually converted to the Shia branch of Islam. The latter were to keep the name "Turkmen" or "Turcoman" for a long time: from the 13th century onwards they gradually Turkified the Iranian-speaking populations of Azerbaijan, thus creating a new identity based on Shia and the use of Oghuz Turkic. Today, this Turkic-speaking population is known as Azerbaijani.[46]

Ancient period

Caucasian-speaking Albanian tribes are believed[by whom?] to be the earliest inhabitants of the region where the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan is located.[59] Early Iranian settlements included theScythians in the ninth century BC.[60] Following the Scythians, the Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras River.[56] Ancient Iranian people of Medes forged a vast empire between 900 and 700 BC, which the Achaemenids integrated into their own empire around 550 BC. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Caucasus and in Atropatene.
Alexander the Great defeated the Achaemenids in 330 BC, but allowed the Median satrap Atropates to remain in power. Following the decline of the Seleucids in Persia in 247 BC, an Armenian Kingdom exercised control over parts of Caucasian Albania.[61] Caucasian Albanians established a kingdom in the first century BC and largely remained independent until the Persian Sassanids made their kingdom a vassal state in 252 AD.[62]:38 Caucasian Albania's ruler, King Urnayr, went to Armenia and then officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century AD, and Albania remained a Christian state until the 8th century.[63][64] Sassanid control ended with their defeat by Muslim Arabsin 642 AD.[65]

Medieval period

Shah Ismail I founder of the Safavid dynasty in Iran was likely of Azerbaijani origin.
Muslim Arabs defeated the Sassanids and Byzantines as they marched into the Caucasus region. The Arabs made Caucasian Albania a vassal state after the Christian resistance, led by Prince Javanshir, surrendered in 667.[62]:71Between the ninth and tenth centuries, Arab authors began to refer to the region between the Kura and Aras rivers asArran.[62]:20 During this time, Arabs from Basra and Kufa came to Azerbaijan and seized lands that indigenous peoples had abandoned; the Arabs became a land-owning elite.[66]:48 Conversion to Islam was slow as local resistance persisted for centuries and resentment grew as small groups of Arabs began migrating to cities such as Tabriz andMaraghah. This influx sparked a major rebellion in Iranian Azerbaijan from 816–837, led by a local Zoroastriancommoner named Bābak.[67] However, despite pockets of continued resistance, the majority of the inhabitants of Azerbaijan converted to Islam. Later, in the 10th and 11th centuries, parts of Azerbaijan were ruled by the Kurdishdynasties of Shaddadid and Rawadid.
In the middle of the eleventh century, the Seljuq dynasty overthrew Arab rule and established an empire that encompassed most of Southwest Asia. The Seljuk period marked the influx of Oghuz nomads into the region, who are considered to be the founding stock of modern Azeri people. The emerging Turkic identity was chronicled in epic poems or dastans, the oldest being the Book of Dede Korkut, which relate allegorical tales about the early Turks in the Caucasus and Asia Minor.[62]:45 Turkic dominion was interrupted by the Mongols in 1227, but it returned with theTimurids and then Sunni Qara Qoyunlū (Black Sheep Turkmen) and Aq Qoyunlū (White Sheep Turkmen), who dominated Azerbaijan, large parts of Iran, eastern Anatolia, and other minor parts of West Asia, until the Shi'a Safavidstook power in 1501.[62]:113[66]:285

Early modern period

The Safavids, who rose from around Ardabil in Iranian Azerbaijan and lasted until 1722, established the foundations of the modern Iranian state.[68] The Safavids, alongside their Ottoman arch rivals, dominated the entire West Asian region and beyond for centuries. At its peak under Shah Abbas the Great, it surpassed its political and ideological arch rival the Ottoman empire in military strength. Noted for achievements in state building, architecture, and the sciences, the Safavid state crumbled due to internal decay (mostly royal intrigues), ethnic minority uprisings and external pressures from the Russians, and the eventually opportunisticAfghans, who would mark the end of the dynasty. The Safavids encouraged and spread Shi'a Islam, as well as the arts and culture, and Shah Abbas the Great created an intellectual atmosphere that according to some scholars was a new "golden age".[69] He reformed the government and the military, and responded to the needs of the common people.[69]
After the Safavid state disintegrated, it was followed by the conquest by Nadir Shah Afshar, a Sunni chieftain from Khorasan who reduced the power of the Shi'a,[66]:300 and, exceptionally noted for his military genius, making Iran reach its greatest extent since theSassanid Empire. The brief reign of Karim Khan came next, followed by the Qajars, who ruled Azerbaijan and Iran from 1779.[62]:106 Russia loomed as a threat to Persian and Turkish holdings in the Caucasus in this period. The Russo-Persian Wars, despite already having had minor military conflicts in the 17th century, officially began in the eighteenth century and ended in the early nineteenth century with the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813 and the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828, which ceded the Caucasian portion of Qajar Iran to the Russian Empire.[55]:17 While Azerbaijanis in Iran integrated into Iranian society, Azerbaijanis who used to live in Aran, were incorporated into the Russian Empire.

Modern period in Azerbaijan

Map of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic presented by the Azerbaijani delegation Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, Azerbaijan, together with Armenia and Georgia became part of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. This was followed by March Days massacres[70][71][72] that took place between March 30 and April 2, 1918 in the city of Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of theRussian Empire.[73] When the republic dissolved in May 1918, Azerbaijan declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). The ADR was the first modern parliamentary republic in the Muslim world.[74][75][76] Among the important accomplishments of the Parliament was the extension of suffrage to women, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women equal political rights with men.[75] Another important accomplishment of ADR was the establishment of Baku State University, which was the first modern-type university founded in Muslim East.[75]
By March 1920, it was obvious that Soviet Russia would attack the much-needed Baku. Vladimir Lenin said that the invasion was justified as Soviet Russia could not survive without Baku's oil.[77][78] Independent Azerbaijan lasted only 23 months until the Bolshevik 11th Soviet Red Army invaded it, establishing the Azerbaijan SSR on April 28, 1920. Although the bulk of the newly formed Azerbaijani army was engaged in putting down an Armenian revolt that had just broken out in Karabakh, Azeris did not surrender their brief independence of 1918–20 quickly or easily. As many as 20,000 Azerbaijani soldiers died resisting what was effectively a Russian reconquest.[79]
The brief independence for northern Azerbaijan in 1918–1920 was followed by over 70 years of Soviet rule.[49]:91 After the restoration of independence in October 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan became embroiled in a war with neighboring Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.[49]:97

Modern period in Iran

Sattar Khan (1868–1914) was a major revolutionaryfigure in the late Qajar period in Iran.
In Iran, Azerbaijanis such as Sattar Khan sought constitutional reform.[80] The Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906–11 shook the Qajar dynasty. A parliament (Majlis) was founded on the efforts of the constitutionalists, and pro-democracy newspapers appeared. The last Shah of the Qajar dynasty was soon removed in a military coup led by Reza Khan. In the quest to impose national homogeneity on a country where half of the population were ethnic minorities, Reza Shah banned in quick succession the use of the Azerbaijani language in schools, theatrical performances, religious ceremonies, and books.[81]
Upon the dethronement of Reza Shah in September 1941, Soviet forces took control of Iranian Azerbaijan and helped to set up theAzerbaijan People's Government, a client state under the leadership of Sayyid Jafar Pishevari backed by Soviet Azerbaijan. The Soviet military presence in Iranian Azerbaijan was mainly aimed at securing the Allied supply route during World War II. Concerned with the continued Soviet presence after World War II, the United States and Britain pressured the Soviets to withdraw by late 1946. Immediately thereafter, the Iranian government regained control of Iranian Azerbaijan.
According to Professor Gary R. Hess:
On December 11, an Iranian force entered Tabriz and the Peeshavari government quickly collapsed. Indeed the Iranians were enthusiastically welcomed by the people of Azerbaijan, who strongly preferred domination by Tehran rather than Moscow. The Soviet willingness to forego its influence in (Iranian) Azerbaijan probably resulted from several factors, including the realization that the sentiment for autonomy had been exaggerated and that oil concessions remained the more desirable long-term Soviet Objective.[82]

Origins of Azerbaijani people

An Azeri noblewoman from Shamakhi, circa 1897.
In many references, Azerbaijanis are designated as a Turkic people, due to their Turkic language.[83][84] However, modern-day Azerbaijanis are believed to be primarily the descendants of the Caucasian Albanian[85][86] and Iranian peoples who lived in the areas of the Caucasus and northern Iran, respectively, prior to Turkification. Historian Vladimir Minorsky writes that largely Iranian and Caucasian populations became Turkic-speaking:
In the beginning of the 5th/11th century the Ghuzz hordes, first in smaller parties, and then in considerable numbers, under the Seljuqids occupied Azerbaijan. In consequence, the Iranian population of Azerbaijan and the adjacent parts of Transcaucasia became Turkophone while the characteristic features of Ādharbāyjānī Turkish, such as Persian intonations and disregard of the vocalic harmony, reflect the non-Turkic origin of the Turkicised population.[87]
Thus, centuries of Turkic migration and turkification of the region helped to formulate the contemporary Azerbaijani ethnic identity.


Main article: Turkification
Portrait of Muhammad Fuzûlî by Azim Azimzade(1914). Fuzûlî is considered one of the greatest Azerbaijani poets.
The earliest major Turkic incursion of the area now known as Azerbaijan began and accelerated during the Seljuk period.[83] The migration of Oghuz Turks from present-day Turkmenistan, which is attested by linguistic similarity, remained high through the Mongol period, as many troops under the Ilkhans were Turkic. By the Safavid period, the Turkification of Azerbaijan continued with the influence of the Kizilbash. The very name Azerbaijan is derived from the pre-Turkic name of the province, Azarbayjan or Adarbayjan, and illustrates a gradual language shift that took place as local place names survived Turkification, albeit in altered form.[57]
Most academics view the linguistic Turkification of predominantly non-Turkic-speaking indigenous peoples and assimilation of small bands of Turkic tribes as the most likely origin for the Azeris.[55]:6–7

Iranian origin

The Iranian origins of the Azerbaijanis likely derive from ancient Iranian tribes, such as the Medes in Iranian Azerbaijan, andScythian invaders who arrived during the eighth century BC. It is believed that the Medes mixed with Mannai.[89] Ancient written accounts, such as one written by Arab historian Al-Masudi, attest to an Iranian presence in the region:
Archaeological evidence indicates that the Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism was prominent throughout the Caucasus before Christianity and Islam.[91][92][93] It has also been hypothesized that the population of Iranian Azerbaijan was predominantly Persian-speaking before the Oghuz arrived. This claim is supported by the many figures of Persian literature, such as Qatran TabriziShams TabriziNizami Ganjavi, and Khaghani, who wrote in Persian prior to and during the Oghuz migration, and Nozhat al-Majales anthology, as well as by Strabo, Al-Istakhri, and Al-Masudi, who all describe the language of the region as Persian. The claim is mentioned by other medieval historians, such as Al-Muqaddasi.[57]
Encyclopædia Iranica says "The Turkish speakers of Azerbaijan (q.v.) are mainly descended from the earlier Iranian speakers".[94] The continued presence of pockets of Iranian speakers; Talysh and Caucasian Tats are present in Azerbaijan.

Caucasian origin

Main article: Peoples of the Caucasus
According to Encyclopædia Britannica:
The Azerbaijani are of mixed ethnic origin, the oldest element deriving from the indigenous population of eastern Transcaucasia and possibly from the Medians of northern Persia.[3]
There is evidence that, despite repeated invasions and migrations, aboriginal Caucasians may have been culturally assimilated, first by Ancient Iranian peoples and later by the Oghuz. Considerable information has been learned about the Caucasian Albanians including their language, history, early conversion to Christianity. The Udi language, still spoken in Azerbaijan, may be a remnant of the Albanians' language.[95]
This Caucasian influence extended further south into Iranian Azerbaijan. During the 1st millennium BC, another Caucasian people, the Mannaeans (Mannai) populated much of Iranian Azerbaijan. Weakened by conflicts with the Assyrians, the Mannaeans are believed to have been conquered and assimilated by the Medes by 590 BC.[96]


Iranian Azerbaijanis have stronger genetic affinity with their immediate geographic neighbors than with populations from Central Asia.[97]
Genetic studies demonstrate that northern Azerbaijanis are more closely related to other Caucasian people likeGeorgians and Armenians than they are to Iranians or Turks.[98] Iranian Azerbaijanis are genetically more similar to northern Azerbaijanis and the neighboring Turkic population than they are to geographically distant Turkmen populations.[99] Iranian-speaking populations from Azerbaijan (the Talysh and Tats) are genetically closer to Azerbaijanis of the Republic than to other Iranian-speaking populations (Persian people and Kurdsfrom Iran, Ossetians, and Tajiks).[100] Such genetic evidence supports the view that the Azerbaijanis originate from a native population long resident in the area who adopted a Turkic language through a process of "elite dominance", i.e. a limited number of Turkic immigrants had a substantial cultural impact but left only weak patrilineal genetic traces.[97][98][99]
MtDNA analysis indicates that Persians, Anatolians and Caucasians are part of a larger West Eurasian group that is secondary to that of the Caucasus.[101][102] While genetic analysis of mtDNA indicates that Caucasian populations are genetically closer to Europeans than to Near Easterners, Y-chromosome results indicate closer affinity to Near Eastern groups.[98]
Iranians have a relatively diverse range of Y-chromosome haplotypes. A population from central Iran (Isfahan) shows closer similarity in terms of haplogroup distributions to Caucasians and Azerbaijanis than to populations from southern or northern Iran.[103] The range of haplogroups across the region may reflect historical genetic admixture,[104] perhaps as a result of invasive male migrations.[98]


Historically the Turkic speakers of Iranian Azerbaijan and the Caucasus called themselves or were referred to by others as Muslims, Persians,[105] Turks, or Ajams(by Kurds),[106] and religious identification prevailed over ethnic identification. When the South Caucasus became part of the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century, the Russian authorities, who traditionally referred to all Turkic people as Tatars, defined Tatars living in the Transcaucasus region as Caucasian or Aderbeijanskie (Адербейджанские) Tatars to distinguish them from other Turkic groups.[107] The Russian Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, written in the 1890s, also referred to Tatars in Azerbaijan as Aderbeijans (адербейджаны),[108] but noted that the term had not been adopted widely.[109] This ethnonym was also used by Joseph Deniker:
[The purely linguistic] grouping [does not] coincide with the somatological grouping: thus the Aderbeijani of the Caucasus and Persia, who speak a Turkish language, have the same physical type as the Hadjemi-Persians, who speak an Iranian tongue.[110]
In Azerbaijani language publications, the expression "Azerbaijani nation" referring to those who were known as Tatars of the Caucasus first appeared in the newspaper Kashkul in 1880.[111]

Demographics and society

Azerbaijani populated regions of the Caucasus
Azerbaijani noblemen from Erivan(Yerevan), 1860
The vast majority of Azerbaijanis live in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan. Between 11.2 and 20 million Azerbaijanis live in Iran, mainly in the northwestern provinces. Approximately 8 million Azerbaijanis are found in the Republic of Azerbaijan. A diaspora of over a million is spread throughout the rest of the world. According to Ethnologue, there are over 1 million speakers of the northern Azerbaijani dialect in southernDagestan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.[112] No Azerbaijanis were recorded in the 2001 census in Armenia,[113] where the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resulted in population shifts. Other sources, such as national censuses, confirm the presence of Azerbaijanis throughout the other states of the former Soviet Union. Ethnologue reports that 1 million South Azerbaijanis live outside Iran, but these figures include Iraqi Turkmen, a distinct though related Turkic people.[11]

Azeris in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijanis are by far the largest ethnic group in Azerbaijan (over 90%). The literacy rate is very high, and is estimated at 99.5%.[114] Azerbaijan began the twentieth century with institutions based upon those of Russia and the Soviet Union, with an official policy of atheism and strict state control over most aspects of society. Since independence, there is a secular democratic system.
Azerbaijani society has been deeply impacted by the war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which has displaced nearly 1 million Azerbaijanis and put strain on the economy.[citation needed] Azerbaijan has benefited from the oil industry, but high levels of corruption have prevented greater prosperity for the masses.[115] Despite these problems, there is a renaissance in Azerbaijan as positive economic predictions and an active political opposition appear determined to improve the lives of average Azerbaijanis.[56][116]

Azerbaijanis in Iran

Main article: Iranian Azerbaijanis
Major Ethnic Groups of Iran
While population estimates in Azerbaijan are considered reliable due to regular censuses, the figures for Iran remain questionable. Since the early twentieth century, successive Iranian governments have avoided publishing statistics on ethnic groups.[117] Unofficial population estimates of Azerbaijanis in Iran range from 16% by the CIA and Library of Congress[4][118] up to 40% by Azerbaijani nationalists. An independent poll in 2009 placed the figure at around 20–22%.[119]
Azerbaijanis in Iran are mainly found in the northwest provinces: West AzerbaijanEast AzerbaijanArdabil,Zanjan, parts of HamadanQazvin, and Markazi.[118] Azerbaijani minorities live in the Qorveh[120] and Bijar[121]counties of Kurdistan, in Gilan,[122][123][124][125][126][127] as ethnic enclaves in Galugah in Mazandaran, aroundLotfabad and Dargaz in Razavi Khorasan,[128] and in the town of Gonbad-e Qabus in Golestan.[129] Azerbaijani mostly live in West and northwest parts of Iran. But large Azerbaijani populations can be found in central of Iran (Tehran # Alborz) due to internal migration. Azerbaijanis make up 25%[130][131] of Tehran's population and 30.3%[132] – 33%[118][133] of the population of the Tehran Province. Azerbaijanis in Tehran live in all of the citiesTehran Province.[134] They are the largest ethnic groups after Persians in Tehran and the Tehran Province.[135][136] and many Iranian Azerbaijanis with Khorasani Turks living in Khorasan Province area, Azerbaijanis have emigrated and resettled in large numbers to Khorasan[137] especially Mashhad.[138]
Generally, Azerbaijanis in Iran were regarded as "a well integrated linguistic minority" by academics prior toIran's Islamic Revolution.[139][140] Despite friction, Azerbaijanis in Iran came to be well represented at all levels of "political, military, and intellectual hierarchies, as well as the religious hierarchy".[117]
Resentment came with Pahlavi policies that suppressed the use of the Azerbaijani language in local government, schools, and the press.[141] However with the advent of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, emphasis shifted away from nationalism as the new government highlighted religion as the main unifying factor. Within the Islamic Revolutionary government there emerged an Azerbaijani nationalist faction led by Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, who advocated greater regional autonomy and wanted the constitution to be revised to include secularists and opposition parties; this was denied.[142] Islamic theocratic institutions dominate nearly all aspects of society. The Azerbaijani language and its literature are banned in Iranian schools.[143] There are signs of civil unrest due to the policies of the Iranian government in Iranian Azerbaijan and increased interaction with fellow Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan and satellite broadcasts from Turkey have revived Azerbaijani nationalism.[144] In May 2006, Iranian Azerbaijan witnessed riots over publication of a cartoon depicting a cockroach speaking Azerbaijani[145] that many Azerbaijanis found offensive.[146][147] The cartoon was drawn by Mana Neyestani, an ethnic Azerbaijani, who was fired along with his editor as a result of the controversy.[148][149]
Despite sporadic problems, Azerbaijanis are an intrinsic community within Iran, and living conditions of Azerbaijanis in Iran closely resemble those of Persians:
The life styles of urban Azerbaijanis do not differ from those of Persians, and there is considerable intermarriage among the upper classes in cities of mixed populations. Similarly, customs among Azerbaijani villagers do not appear to differ markedly from those of Persian villagers.[118]
Azeris are famously active in commerce and in bazaars all over Iran their voluble voices can be heard. Older Azeri men wear the traditional wool hat, and their music & dances have become part of the mainstream culture. Azeris are well integrated, and many Azeri-Iranians are prominent in Persian literature, politics, and clerical world.[150]
There is cross-border trade between Azerbaijan and Iran, and Azerbaijanis go into Iran to buy goods that are cheaper, but the relationship is tense.[143]

Ethnic groups



Painting of Khurshidbanu Natavan, wearing traditional clothing, circa 1900. She was one of the most distinguished modern poets in Azerbaijani literature.
In Azerbaijan, women were granted the right to vote in 1919.[151] Women have attained Western-style equality in major cities such asBaku, although in rural areas more reactionary views remain.[56] Violence against women, including rape, is rarely reported, especially in rural areas, not unlike other parts of the former Soviet Union.[152] In Azerbaijan, the veil was abandoned during the Soviet period.[153] Women are under-represented in elective office but have attained high positions in parliament. An Azerbaijani woman is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Azerbaijan, and two others are Justices of the Constitutional Court. In the 2010 election, women constituted 16% of all MPs (twenty seats in total) in the National Assembly of Azerbaijan.[154] Abortion is available on demand in the Republic of Azerbaijan.[155] The human rights ombudsman since 2002, Elmira Suleymanova, is a woman.
In Iran, a groundswell of grassroots movements have sought gender equality since the 1980s.[118] Protests in defiance of government bans are dispersed through violence, as on 12 June 2006 when female demonstrators in Haft Tir Square in Tehran were beaten.[156] Past Iranian leaders, such as the reformer ex-president Mohammad Khatami promised women greater rights, but the Guardian Council of Iran opposes changes that they interpret as contrary to Islamic doctrine. In the 2004 legislative elections, nine women were elected to parliament (Majlis), eight of whom were conservatives.[157] The social fate of Azerbaijani women largely mirrors that of other women in Iran.


Main articles: Culture of Azerbaijan and Culture of Iran
In many respects, Azerbaijanis are Eurasian and bi-cultural, as northern Azerbaijanis have absorbed Russo-Soviet and Eastern European influences, whereas the Azerbaijanis of the south have remained within the Turko-Iranian and Persianate tradition. Modern Azerbaijani culture includes significant achievements in literature, art, music, and film.

Language and literature[edit]

The Azerbaijanis speak Azerbaijani (sometimes called Azerbaijani Turkish or Azeri), a Turkic language descended from the Western Oghuz Turkic language that became established in Azerbaijan in the 11th and 12th century CE. Early Oghuz was mainly an oral language, and the later compiled epics and heroic stories ofDede Korkut probably derive from an oral tradition. The first accepted Oghuz Turkic text goes back to 15th century. The first written, classical Azerbaijani literature arose after the Mongol invasion.[158] Some of the earliest Azerbaijani writings trace back to the poet Nasimi (died 1417) and then decades later Fuzûlî (1483–1556).Ismail I, Shah of Safavid Persia wrote Azerbaijani poetry under the pen name Khatâ'i. Modern Azerbaijani literature continued with a traditional emphasis uponhumanism, as conveyed in the writings of Samad VurgunShahriar, and many others.[159]
Azerbaijanis are generally bilingual, often fluent in either Russian (in Azerbaijan) or Persian (in Iran). As of 1996, around 38% of Azerbaijan's roughly 8,000,000 population spoke Russian fluently.[160] An independent telephone survey in Iran in 2009 reported that 20% of respondents could understand Azerbaijani, the most spoken minority language in Iran, and all respondents could understand Persian.[119]


The majority of Azerbaijanis are Twelver Shi'a Muslims. Religious minorities include Sunni Muslims (mainly Hanafi, but also Shafi'i such as Sunni Azerbaijanis in Dagestan),[161][162] and Christians.[163] An unknown number of Azerbaijanis in the Republic of Azerbaijan have no religious affiliation. Many describe themselves ascultural Muslims.[56] There is a small number of Naqshbandi Sufis among Muslim Azerbaijanis.[164] Christian Azerbaijanis number around 5,000 people in the Republic of Azerbaijan and consist mostly of recent converts.[165][166] Some Azerbaijanis from rural regions retain pre-Islamic animist or Zoroastrian-influenced[167]beliefs, such as the sanctity of certain sites and the veneration of fire, certain trees and rocks.[168] In Azerbaijan, traditions from other religions are often celebrated in addition to Islamic holidays, including Norouz and Christmas. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijanis have increasingly returned to their Islamic heritage as recent reports indicate that many Azerbaijani youth are being drawn to Islam.[169]

Performance art

Azerbaijani singers Ell & Nikki won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.
Azerbaijanis express themselves in a variety of artistic ways including dance, music, and film. Azerbaijani folk dances are ancient and similar to that of their neighbors in the Caucasus and Iran. The group dance is a common form found from southeastern Europeto the Caspian Sea. In the group dance the performers come together in a semi-circular or circular formation as, "The leader of these dances often executes special figures as well as signaling and changes in the foot patterns, movements, or direction in which the group is moving, often by gesturing with his or her hand, in which a kerchief is held."[170] Solitary dances are performed by both men and women and involve subtle hand motions in addition to sequenced steps.
Azerbaijani musical tradition can be traced back to singing bards called Ashiqs, a vocation that survives. Modern Ashiqs play the saz(lute) and sing dastans (historical ballads).[171] Other musical instruments include the tar (another type of lute), balaban (a wind instrument), kamancha (fiddle), and the dhol (drums). Azerbaijani classical music, called mugham, is often an emotional singing performance. Composers Uzeyir HajibeyovGara Garayev and Fikret Amirov created a hybrid style that combines Western classical music with mugham. Other Azerbaijanis, notably Vagif and Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, mixed jazz with mugham. Some Azerbaijani musicians have received international acclaim, including Rashid Behbudov (who could sing in over eight languages) and Muslim Magomayev (a pop star from the Soviet era).
In Iran, Azerbaijani music has taken a different course. According to Iranian Azerbaijani singer Hossein Alizadeh, "Historically in Iran, music faced strong opposition from the religious establishment, forcing it to go underground."[172] As a result, most Iranian Azerbaijani music is performed outside of Iran amongst exile communities.
Azerbaijani film and television is largely broadcast in Azerbaijan with limited outlets in Iran. Some Azerbaijanis have been prolific film-makers, such as Rustam Ibragimbekov, who wrote Burnt by the Sun, winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1994. Many Iranian Azerbaijanis have been prominent in the cinematic tradition of Iran, which has received critical praise since the 1980s.


Chess player Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Sports have historically been an important part of Azerbaijani life. Horseback competitions were praised in the Book of Dede Korkut and by poets and writers such as Khaqani.[173] Other ancient sports include wrestlingjavelin throwing and fencing.
The Soviet legacy has in modern times propelled some Azerbaijanis to become accomplished athletes at the Olympic level.[173] The Azerbaijani government supports the country's athletic legacy and encourages youth participation. Football is popular in both Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan. There are many prominent Azerbaijani soccer players such as Ali Daei, the world's all-time leading goal scorer in international matches and the former captain of the Iran national soccer team. Azerbaijani athletes have particularly excelled in weight liftinggymnasticsshooting, javelin throwing, karateboxing, and wrestling.[174] Weight lifters, such as Iran's Hossein Reza Zadeh, world super heavyweight lifting record holder and two times Olympic champion in 2000 and 2004, or Hadi Saei is a former Iranian Azerbaijanis[175] Taekwondo athlete who became the most successful Iranian athlete in Olympic history and Nizami Pashayev, who won the European heavyweight title in 2006, have excelled at the international level.
Chess is another popular pastime in Azerbaijan.[176] The country has produced many notable players, such as Teimour RadjabovVugar Gashimov and Shahriyar Mammadyarov, both highly ranked internationally.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azerbaijani_people