The South Azerbaijan is historical region in the northwestern Iran, where majority of the Azerbaijani Turks live. This region is surrounded with the Caspian Sea in the east, Turkey in the West and the Republic of Azerbaijan (North Azerbaijan) and Armenia in the north. The Azerbaijani population of Iran is mainly found in the northwest provinces: East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardabil, zanjan, and in some regions of Kordestan, Hamadan, ghazvin and Markazi. Many others live in Tehran, Karaj and other regions. Iranian government has been targeting the language and the religion of the Iranian Turks, who are one of the most fundamental elements of the country, continuously for approximately 100 years. The Persians who are dominant in Iran never gave up their policy against the Turks. This stance of the Persians creates a serious discomfort among the Southern Azerbaijanis. The comic strip crisis happened on May 2006 showed the power of the Iranian Turks to the Chauvinist Persian government of Iran in one sense. It is understood from the latest developments in Iran that the lesson was not learnt from those incidents, the pressure on the Southern Azerbaijani people continue and the “logophobia” that bothers the Iranian government became more chronic.
Tractor-Sazi Football Club (Tiratur) is an Iranian Azerbaijani football club based in Tabriz, Iran. They play in Iran's Pro League. The team was sponsored by Iran Tractor Manufacturing Co.(ITMCO), one of the largest industries in Tabriz. The club used to have a significant presence in the old Azadegan League (current IPL), but has been playing in Iran's second highest league since relegation in the 2001-02 season. They also provided Iran with some of the most talented players during the nineties. tiraxtur were promoted to the top league last year(2009), and became the first team from Azerbaijan region of Iran to play at the top level in over a decade. This was fantastic news for the azerbaijanians who have had many football greats coming out of their ranks. Since the start of this season, the Tiraxtur fans have been coming out en masse. No matter where Tiraxtur plays, legions of fans follow them from Azerbaijan and join the local Azeris to support them. The presence of these fans has made the atmosphere of the stadiums something special. No other teams but Perspolis and Esteghlal of Tehran have been able to muster so much passionate support all around the country.
Because the Tiraxtur fans’ football passion is tightly connected with their ethnic or national identity much like the way the Catalan fans’ is with FC Barcelona, this is beginning to stir up some very old ethnic or national issues between Azeri and Persian populations.
FC Tiraxtur is “more than a club” for many azerbaijanian living in iran and elsewhere in world, who see Tiraxtur as a staunch defender of democratic rights and freedom. In South Azerbaijan, Tiraxtur is much more than just a sporting institution - it's the flagship of a nation. In the sahand and azadi stadium the two halves of the battle cry Yaşasın Tiraxtur! Yaşasın Azərbaycan'-'Long Live Tractor! Long Live Azerbaijan'- are inseparabl