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Encyclopedia > Ethnic minorities in Iran

This article focuses on ethnic minorities in Iran and their related political issues and current realities.

Contents


Overview

Ethnic groups in Iran
Ethnic groups in Iran

Iran is an ethnically diverse state, with Persians forming the majority of the population. The main ethno-linguistic minority groups in Iran include the Azeris, Kurds, Fereydani Georgians, Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmen, Armenians, and Assyrians. The tribal groups include the Bakhtiaris, Khamseh, Lurs, Qashqai, as well as others. Though many of the tribal groups have become urbanized over the decades, some continue to function as rural tribal societies. Ethnicity/race: Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%. Download high resolution version (1941x1385, 922 KB)Demographic map of Iran, produced by the CIA, displayed with Public Domain permission from The University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Used by permission of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin. ... Download high resolution version (1941x1385, 922 KB)Demographic map of Iran, produced by the CIA, displayed with Public Domain permission from The University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Used by permission of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin. ... The Persians are an Iranian people who speak the Persian language and share a common culture and history. ... Azerbaijanis or Azerbaijani Turks, are a Muslim people who number more than 25 million worldwide. ... Kurds are one of the Iranian peoples and speak Kurdish, a north-Western Iranian language related to Persian. ... The Arabs of Khuzestan are an Iranian ethnic group inhabiting the province of Khuzestan. ... The Baloch (Persian: بلوچ alternative transliterations Baluch, Balouch, Balooch, Balush, Balosh, Baloosh, Baloush et al. ... See also: Aramaic speakers and Syriac Christianity. ... The Bakhtiari (or Bakhtiyari) are a group of southwestern Iranian people. ... The Khamseh are an Iranian people and tribal confederation in the province of Fars in southwestern Iran. ... Lurs can refer to: Ancient wind instruments, see Lur An Iranian ethnic group; see: Lorestan Lurs, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, a commune of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Qashqai (also spelled Ghashghai, Qashqay, Kashgai and Qashqai). ... The word tribalism can refer to two related but distinct concepts. ...



Many of these ethnic groups have their own languages, cultures, and often literature. Their differences occasionally emerge as political ambitions. Some of these groups are also religious minorities. For instance, the majority of Kurds and Baluchis are Sunni Muslims, while the state religion in Iran is Shi'a Islam. The overwhelming majority of Persians and Azeris are Shi'a. The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning to cultivate, generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ... Literature is literally acquaintance with letters as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning an individual written character (letter)). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts, which in Western culture are mainly prose, both fiction and non-fiction... The Hindu Temple in Bandar Abbas, Iran, built during the Qajar era for Indian soldiers serving in the British Army during the British occupation. ... The Kurds are an ethnolinguistic group inhabiting parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey (a contiguous region commonly referred to as Kurdistan). ... The Baloch (Persian: بلوچ alternative transliterations Baluch, Balouch, Balooch, Balush, Balosh, Baloosh, Baloush et al. ... Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. ... Shia Islam ( Arabic شيعى follower; English has traditionally used Shiite or Shiite) is the second largest Islamic denomination; some 20-25% of all Muslims are said to follow a Shia tradition. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Azerbaijanis. ...


One of the major internal policy challenges during the centuries up until now for most or all Iranian governments has been to find the appropriate and balanced approach to the difficulties and opportunities caused by this diversity, particularly as this internal diversity has often been readily utilized by foreign powers.


Current policy

The current governmental policy can be characterised by a mixture of celebrating and furthering cultural diversity under a joint Iranian national umbrella, while holding down (occasionally violently) political separatism. Some ethnic minorities have reported racial or religious discrimination. Separatism involves setting oneself or others apart. ... An African-American man drinks out of the colored only water cooler at a racially segregated street car terminal in the United States in 1939. ... Religious discrimination is valuing a person or group lower because of their religion, or treating someone differently because of what they do or dont believe. ...


Many Iranian provinces have radio and television stations in local language or dialect. School education is in Persian, the Iranian official language, but use of regional languages is allowed under the constitution of the Islamic Republic. Article 15 of Iran's constitution stipulates: Persian is a language spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... An official language is a language that is given a privileged legal status in a state, or other legally-defined territory. ... A regional language is a language spoken in a part of a country - it may be a small area, a federal state or province, or a wider area. ... The December 1979 constitution, and its 1989 amendment, define the political, economic, and social order of the Islamic Republic of Iran. ...

"The Official Language and script of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian. Official documents, correspondence, and texts, as well as text-books, must be in this language and script. However, the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian."

Article 19 of the constitution adds:

"All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege."

However, human rights groups have accused the Iranian government of violating constitutional guarantees of equality. In a report entitled Iran: New government fails to address dire human rights situation, published in February 2006, Amnesty International says:

Despite constitutional guarantees of equality, individuals belonging to minorities in Iran, who are believed to number about half of the population of about 70 millions, are subject to an array of discriminatory laws and practices. These include land and property confiscations, denial of state and para-statal employment under the gozinesh criteria and restrictions on social, cultural, linguistic and religious freedoms which often result in other human rights violations such as the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience, grossly unfair trials of political prisoners before Revolutionary Courts, corporal punishment and use of the death penalty, as well as restrictions on movement and denial of other civil rights.[1]

Many members of ethnic minorities have made a successful political career. Most provincial governors and many members of the local ruling classes and clergy are members of the relevant ethnic groups. Many, if not most, members of the national cultural and political elite have mixed roots.


Separatist tendencies, led by some groups such as the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran and Komalah in Iranian Kurdistan, for example, had led to frequent unrest and occasional military crackdown throughout the 1990s and even to the present [2]. In Iran, Kurds have twice had their own autonomous regions independent of central government control: The Republic of Mahabad in Iran which was the second independent Kurdish state of the 20th century, after the Republic of Ararat in modern Turkey; and the second time after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran is a Kurdish opposition group which seeks autonomy for Iranian Kurdistan. ... Komalah (Komele in Kurdish) is a Marxist Kurdish opposition group. ... Iranian Kurdistan is a large mountainous region situated in the western and northwestern parts of Iran including the West Azerbaijan province as well as Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province, and Ilam Province. ... The 1990s decade refers to the years from 1990 to 1999, inclusive. ... An autonomous (subnational) entity is a subnational entity that has a certain amount of autonomy. ... Flag of the Republic of Kurdistan Qazi Mohammad president of the Republic of Kurdistan Republic of Kurdistan, Mehabad 1946 The Republic of Mahabad (also Republic of Kurdistan), established in Iranian Kurdistan, was the second independent Kurdish state of the 20th century after the Republic of Ararat in Turkey. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... Flag of the Republic of Ararat This article is about the Kurdish independence movement. ... Protestors take to the street in support of Ayatollah Khomeini. ... This page refers to the year 1979. ...


Similar tendencies have been observed in other provinces such as Balochistan, Khuzestan (see Ethnic politics of Khuzestan) and Iranian Azerbaijan. The Iranian part of Balochistan (or Baluchistan). ... Map showing Khuzestan in Iran Domes like this are quite common in Khuzestan province. ... Map showing Khuzestan in Iran This article focuses on the ethnic politics of Khuzestan, an oil-rich province in southwestern Iran Ethnic groups in Iran // Historical background Ethnic politics in Khuzestan revolves primarily around the issue of local control of resources. ... Iranian Azerbaijan or Iranian Azarbaijan (Persian: آذربایجان ایران; Āzārbāijān-e Irān), (Azeri: اذربایجان, c. ...


Historical notes

Iran (then called Persia) traditionally was governed over the last few centuries in a fairly decentralised way with much regional and local autonomy. In particular, weaker members of the Qajar dynasty often did not rule much beyond the capital Tehran, a fact exploited by the imperial powers Britain and Russia in the 19th century. The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau. ... The Qajar dynasty was the ruling family of Persia from 1781 to 1925. ... Map of Iran and surrounding lands, showing location of Tehran View from Jamaran looking southwest toward Elahiyeh, Jordan, and Shemiran districts of Tehran. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Reza Shah Pahlavi, and to a lesser degree his son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, successfully strengthened the central government by using reforms, bribes and suppressions. In particular, the Bakhtiaris, Kurds, and Lurs until the late 1940s required persistent military measures to keep them under governmental control. Shah Reza Pahlavi Reza Pahlavi (Persian: رضا پهلوی), (March 16, 1877–July 26, 1944), called Reza Shah the Great after his death, was Shah of Persia (later Iran) from December 15, 1925 to September 16, 1941. ... His Majesty Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (اعلیحضرت محمدرضا شاه پهلوی; October 26, 1919 – July 27, 1980) also knows as Aryamehr, was the last Shah of Iran, ruling from 1941 until 1979. ... // Events and trends World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrination, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atomic bomb. ...


See also

The Hindu Temple in Bandar Abbas, Iran, built during the Qajar era for Indian soldiers serving in the British Army during the British occupation. ... Iranian Kurdistan is a large mountainous region situated in the western and northwestern parts of Iran including the West Azerbaijan province as well as Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province, and Ilam Province. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
FT.com / In depth - US marines probe tensions among Iran’s minorities (1521 words)
Iran has repeatedly accused both the US and UK of inciting explosions and sabotage in oil-rich frontier regions where Arab and Kurdish minorities predominate.
Iran’s strongly centralised government does not release statistics on the ethnic groups that mainly inhabit sensitive border regions with Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Questions put to him were wide-ranging -- on the ethnic breakdown of Khuzestan province on the Iraq border, populations in cities, the level of discontent, the percentage of Arabs working in the oil industry, how they were represented in the central government, and their relations and kinship with Iraqi Arabs next door.
Ethnic minorities in Iran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (783 words)
Iran is an ethnically diverse state, with Persians forming the majority of the population.
In Iran, Kurds have twice had their own autonomous regions independent of central government control: The Republic of Mahabad in Iran which was the second independent Kurdish state of the 20th century, after the Republic of Ararat in modern Turkey; and the second time after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Iran (then called Persia) traditionally was governed over the last few centuries in a fairly decentralised way with much regional and local autonomy.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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