Not Achieved
This promise was made Pre-Election

Establishment of the Academy of Azeri Language and Literature


During a campaign trip to the capital of East Azerbaijan’s province Tabriz, Hassan Rouhani promised to establish an Academy of Azeri Language and Literature. Since then, this promise has become one of the most talked about and anticipated promise, especially among the country’s 15-million Turkish minority.

Azeri activists and scholars welcomed the initiative, however, many were skeptical about the realization of this promise. The issue of non-Persian languages is still a sensitive subject and many in Iran’s establishment view this as security matter and a threat to the official Persian language.

Initially, Esmaeil Jabbarzadeh, the newly appointed governor of East Azerbaijan, emphasized the importance of the promise and said the he will make it a reality. However after a while he announced that instead of an Academy, the statute of a “Foundation of Azeri Art and Culture” has been drafted and awaits an approval from the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, chaired by President Rouhani.

Academies for languages are usually official reference bodies and authorities regarding a specific language, giving the tongue an officiality. Establishing an Academy of Azeri Language and Literature would have elevated Azeri Turkish’s status as one of the pillars of Iran’s national identity. Based on the statute of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, an academy would have guaranteed “Maintaining strength and originality” of the language and “promoting and spreading” it. In contrast, a foundation will be more of a symbolic gesture and lack the authority of a government-sanctioned Academy.