Ethno-Religious Dynamics in the Islamic Republic of Iran

• The Iranian government is reluctant to specify the demographic distribution of ethno-religious groups in its census reports in order to keep the ethno-religious issues low profile.

•The rigid official ideology in Iran leaves little room for diversity and pluralism.

• Although Jews, Zoroastrians and Armenians are specified as the only recognized religious minorities in Iran’s Constitution, in practice, Sunnis constitute the largest religious minority since for Iran’s Shiite leadership, Islam is identical with Shi’ism.

• Baha’i children are not only banned from studying in Iranian schools and universities, but they are also banned from acquiring education through any other means.

• The ethnic policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an extension of the pre-1979 revolutionary policies.

• The post-monarchy revolutionary leaders, instead of abandoning the security-oriented assimilationist approach toward the ethnicities, have consolidated it by a religious discourse which is based on the denial of religious differences.

• There is a trust deficit between the Shiite Persian dominated Iranian elites and the non-Shiite and non-Persian ethno-religious minorities in Iran.

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