Iranian academic Dr. Rohollah Eslami, assistant professor at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, wrote an article, titled "Azerbaijan Is The Head Of Iran," criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for pursuing a "racist" and "expansionist" foreign policy, and promoting the "Idea of Iran."
According to Eslami, the "war-mongering behavior" of Turkey, seen in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, endangers the national interest of Iran. However, Eslami added that, while Turkey uses all available tools to defend its national interests, such as "Turkism," "Islamism," and "Westernism," Iran is not defending its national interest in the proper way. According to Eslami, the defense of the national interest should be done by strengthening the "Idea of Iran." Eslami explained that the "Idea of Iran" is the promotion of Iran's soft power: "music, arts, literature, mysticism, Shi'ism, Nowruz, Persopolis, Pasargad, the Farsi language, collection of pilgrimage sites, tourism and multiplicity of culture."
According to Eslami, Iran needs to promote an alternative nationalist ideology based on Iran's culture and traditions in order to attract other countries in the region. "We must take the 'Idea of Iran' out of quarantine; if we keep Iranian beauty, art, literature and its majesty under cover, then those primitive tribes and groups [i.e., Turkey] will surround Iran with war and violence."
Dr. Rohollah Eslami (source: Um.ac.ir)
Following is Eslami's article:
"Turkey Pursues Its Racist Foreign Policy In The Context Of Its Expansionist Behavior"
"As we sit silently and do not defend Iran from an intellectual and cultural perspective, [those countries] from regional powers to smaller nation-states have not only insulted Iran but have coveted our territory. The universities and religious schools in Iran must propagate the national ideology on behalf of the Iranian government. Other than Iran, we do not have any other home and all our existence and essence is from our homeland, of which we are proud.
"Turkey pursues its racist foreign policy in the context of its expansionist behavior. It conducts military maneuvers in the region of Aran [i.e., Armenia and Azerbaijan] and later, in assisting Azerbaijan, it unilaterally attacks Nagorno-Karabakh, without the consent of Iran or even following diplomatic protocol, and beats the drums of war and ethnicity. In the meantime, the problem [of Azerbaijan] is intertwined in historical, ethnic, cultural, religious, and identity issues and to not untie this knot can jeopardize Iran's national interest. This is especially true when Erdoğan recites a poem by an Iranian poet during the military and victory parade and, as usual, he distorts history and takes advantage of Iranian culture to cover his aim to achieve Ottomanism and ethnocentrism.
"Turkey Plays A Role: Turkish foreign policy is not ideologically closed: It uses any means possible to gain influence in the region. In the Caucasus, it pursues Pan-Turkism and in the Islamic world it has laid the groundwork to establish [Islamic] unity within the orbit of Ottomanism. Merely in dealing with Israel and the U.S., it gains advantages, while following modern approaches in its attempt to enter the European Union. A close analysis of the expressed views and opinions [of Turkey] and of the orbit of influence around its national interest illustrates Turkey's ability to play a major role in its relations with its neighbors.
"This method can be used to increase or decrease the strategic indicators in the region and is very conducive to obtain advantages and regional expansionism. However, Erdoğan's mistakes and distortions were met with a quick reaction from his citizens and power elites, and he was reminded of what Stalin could not achieve in 1946 by using Marxist ideology, and that was a big bite for Erdoğan to chew.
"Azerbaijan Is The Head And Intellect Of Iran: This ethnic, expansionist, and war-mongering behavior of Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh matter, especially the boastful remarks that are deemed to be distortive, endangers the national interest of Iran. The Aran region, which has throughout history been part of the territory of Iran, and the Republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia that were separated by force from Iran by Russian military occupation, lack the 'Idea of Iran' and are now at war despite Iran's peaceful stance.
"The approach of Erdoğan and Turkey is based on ethnicity, while for Iran, Azerbaijan is its head and intellect. Azerbaijan is the most nationalistic and elitist part of Iran and the cradle of Iran's constitution and modernization. The majestic rule of Zarathustra was in Azerbaijan and famous poets such as Molavi and Nezami protected Iran's foundation from this area. Therefore, the unilateral, racist, and war-mongering acts of Turkey toward Iran has given the appearance of making Turkey a player in the region, but from a point of view of the rules of neighborly conduct, it follows a policy of distortion and conflict.
"Possibility Of Border Changes Are Senseless: The current borders in the Middle East are the result of many international treaties and agreements. Many wars and interventions both by regional and foreign actors have shaped the present borders. Many parts of the Iranian plateau have been separated from the government of Iran. And in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus region, at the time of separation and occupation by Russia, many speeches, essays and poems were written by Iranians separated from their homeland who wished to return to their motherland [Iran] and what Erdoğan recited is in essence the nostalgia of Azerbaijanis to return to their land, that is to say Iran. Under present conditions, any offensive movement, particularly in the vein of Turkish ethnicity, will engulf the area in war and unrest. However, respecting the territorial integrity of all the countries in the region through diplomacy and improving relations will be helpful to create a peaceful and neighborly environment in the region."
"In The Absence Of Efficiency And Legitimacy Of The National Interest, The Government Will Lose Its Appeal To Its Citizens"
"In Domestic Policy, The Government Must Prioritize National Interests: Iran is rich with thoughts and has a vast array of soft power with historical roots from ancient times to the present. It needs to develop an unbiased policy on matters relating to sectarian and tribal issues so as to allow the national interest to manifest itself. Any policy that deals with ethnicity and self-interest while setting aside expertise in stated promises and rules of conduct, can only result in destruction of the national interest and create an inefficient government.
"An efficient government means the ability to render technical services and to undertake national sovereignty by the government. If a government bribes each person, institution, party or group and creates a breach in governing or instead of ruling it develops bureaucracies, then it weakens its national interest. The national interest is the backbone of governing that brings about a satisfied citizenry and establishes the governing rules for the government. In the absence of efficiency and legitimacy of the national interest, the government will lose its appeal to its citizens, which makes it possible in this era of information to permit other nations around Iran to illustrate their soft powers in an exaggerated manner in relations to the realities of Iran.
"In Foreign Policy, Conflict With Regional Countries May Deprive [Iran] Of Being A Regional Player: Foreign policy also requires [Iran] to defend its national interest and protect the country in all possible manners. The Iranian plateau and the Iranian government are not in total harmony and many elements of identity, history, language, religion, customs, and traditions are shared in common with its neighbors. This commonality is the basis for peaceful coexistence. As much as one can reduce the parallel institutions and the ideological and security approaches, it will provide a fertile ground to strengthen Iran's cultural influence in the region. Conflict with regional governments and not being involved with [neighboring countries] can diminish Iran's economic and political power, denying it a positive and influential presence in its political encounters, whereby even minor countries will be emboldened. Without a military infrastructure, deterrent power, high-level diplomacy, relations with influential countries, and economic power, one cannot discuss [Iran's] soft power and the implementation of the 'Ideas of Iran.' It is necessary to possess the actual means [to enact these ideas]. In the absence of establishing an economic and foreign policy, then the soft powers will become, as has history and literature, mere advice and counsel.
"The Soft Power Of Iran Both Abroad And Within Iran Is Contained: Music, arts, literature, mysticism, Shi'ism, Nowruz, Persopolis, Pasargad, the Farsi language, collection of pilgrimage sites, tourism, and the multiplicity of cultures, while being a basis to unite Iran, have created a soft power that even without any interference creates a high-level of influence [for Iran]. The countries that neighbor Iran, on the strength of their tribal and sectarian nature, which are mostly primitive and straggling, use [this tribal and sectarian nature] as a basis for differentiation and conflict. Even when these countries interact on the world stage, they refer to Nowruz, Ferdowsi, Rudaki, the Samanid Dynasty, Molavi, Farabi, Zarathustra, mysticism, Shi'ism, Nizam Al-Mulk, etc., which are the symbols and concepts of ideas of Iran. At this point in time, the 'Idea of Iran' is contained within Iran and cannot be toyed with. The 'Idea of Iran' is peace-loving, courteous, traditional, ever-lasting, and intelligent. Turkey uses all available tools to defend its national interests, even Turkism, Islamism, Westernism, and interaction with Israel, and distorts Iranian ideas to increase their influence in the region. We are drowning in the sea of Iran and do not use the 'Idea of Iran.' We must take the 'Idea of Iran' out of quarantine; if we keep Iranian beauty, art, literature, and its majesty under cover, then those primitive tribes and groups will surround Iran with war and violence.
"The Solution To Resuscitate Iran Is The Rule Of Law: As we sit silently and do not defend Iran from an intellectual and cultural perspective, [those countries] from regional powers to smaller nation-states have not only insulted Iran but have coveted our territory. The universities and religious schools in Iran must propagate the national ideology on behalf of the Iranian government. Other than Iran, we do not have any other home and all our existence and essence is from our homeland, of which we are proud. There is no solution to our happiness and our only path is to make Iran prosper and flourish. Iranian citizens live in a country where they are free and equal, ruled by a government that is lawful and proficient and has absolute sovereignty over its territories. A country founded on the basis of 'Idea of Iran' can be a role model for the countries in the region. The universities and religious schools, due to victory of the left-leaning methods that were vile and on the level of being phenomenological, were not able to give Iran a theoretical foundation.
"The conceptual confusion and the mistaken deductions about growth, democracy, pluralism, human rights and civilization, most of which were the result of inferior research and mistaken deductions made about traditions and modernism in the views of intellectuals and traditional ideologues, made them unable to form the 'Idea of Iran.' [The provinces and cities of] Sistan, Balochistan, Kurdistan, Khuzistan, Azerbaijan, Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran... are the foundational pillars of Iran. All the cities and provinces have a meaningful reason for being a part of Iran and if they were to coexist in a peaceful manner holding realistic views in their governance, then the Iranian plateau will be united in one Iranian culture that can withstand terrorist attacks, ethnic and tribal cleansing as well as the dangerous games played by Russia, Israel, and America. In regards to Iran, one cannot be negligent and any silence regarding the attacks on the 'Idea of Iran' is equivalent to being homeless and stateless in the 21st century."
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9105, IRGC-Affiliated Javan Daily: Erdoğan 'Is In Pursuit Of Creating His Delusional State,' His 'Imaginary New Ottoman Empire,' December 23, 2020; MEMRI TV clip No. 8530, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan In A Parade In Baku, Azerbaijan: We Are Two States, But One Nation; We Must Hold Accountable Those Who Violated The Honor Of Humanity In The Nagorno-Karabakh War, December 10, 2020; See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9065, Anti-Turkish Statements In Iran – Part I: Iranian Daily: Erdogan Is Pursuing A Policy Of Religious, Ideological War, Hiding His Hostile Regional Policy Behind An Islamic Mask, December 2, 2020; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9078, Anti-Turkish Statements In Iran – Part II: Iranian Daily On 'Sultan Recep [Tayyip Erdogan],' Who 'Fantasizes That He Is The Equal Of The Ottoman Sultans And Can Tell The World What To Do,' December 9, 2020; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9099, Russian Expert Mirzayan: Erdogan Is Trying To Exploit Azerbaijani Nationalism To Undermine Iran, December 21, 2020; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9111, Iranian Expert Sadeq Maleki: 'The Old Ottomanism Was Looking To Expand To The Gates Of Vienna And To The West, [Erdoğan's] Neo-Ottomanism Has Its View Toward The East,' December 29, 2021.
 Farhangemrooz.com, December 15, 2020.