Taymour Harding

Ethnic Minorities and the Reformist Opposition in Iran's Political Process: A Brief Assessment

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Iran, Ethnic Minorities

This paper considers current and potential trends in the relation between ethnic minorities and the opposition movement in Iran. We focus on the consequences of growing state repression of opposition activists, including ethnic minorities in the non-Shi'a border territories. In particular, we argue that: while radicalization of ethnic tensions may consolidate the already existing ties between ethnic minorities and the opposition, it may also have the reverse effect. Ethnic groups may turn inward and more subversive than the opposition movement currently is, while the latter may increasingly become associated with the «Persian centre» at odds with their needs and grievances. However, given the volatile international/regional context, overt links with ethno-specific rights groups may incur the stigma of collusion with foreign-backed separatists, potentially eroding its support base.

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