111. Memorandum From Gary Sick of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Iran—[less than 1 line not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (13½ lines) not declassified]

Azerbaijan has approximately 10% of the population of Iran. In addition, approximately one-third of the entire Iranian population is of Azerbaijani origin. This extended population dominates the bazaar in Tehran and is heavily represented in the officer corps. Their spiritual leader is Shariat-Madari, who provides the most potent potential symbol of legitimate opposition to Khomeini in all of Iran. The Azerbaijanis border on Turkey and are Turkic-speakers; the border is a sieve. Azerbaijan is the acknowledged “leader” in revolutionary movements. It led the way in 1906, and the Tabriz riots were the first major event [Page 295] signalling the downfall of the Shah. The people tend to be politically aware, activist, and tough fighters.

[1 paragraph (12 lines) not declassified]

As we examine our options under the new finding,2 I recommend that we give this strategy more attention than it has received to date.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Box 35, Subject File, Iran [Cables & Memos] 11–12/79. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Attached to Document 110.
  3. At the top of the memorandum, Brzezinski wrote: “GS. The 2 are not incompatible. I like this. Feed it into your covert action/milit.group.”