Tribal Hands and Ethnic Votes: Ethnicity, Regionalism and Elections in Iran

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Iran is facing a serious domestic challenge. Non-Persian ethnic minorities are mobilizing to claim their rights under an Islamic Republic, which minority activists claim is systematically neglecting and discriminating against them. Yet contemporary Iranian ethnic politics is severely understudied and media coverage rarely engages with it. This article explores the ways in which ethnicity play into Iranian domestic politics in subtle, intricate and highly important ways. For this purpose, it focuses on how the interconnected factors of ethnicity, regionalism and tribalism figured in the 2013 combined presidential and local council elections in Iran in a particular province that has a history of ethnic tensions. Incidentally, these elections brought Hassan Rouhani, a moderate cleric, to power as president. Amongst his electoral promises was to end the securitization of the minority issue. This article serves to illustrate some of the barriers to a transformative ethnic politics -- barriers that the new president will have to overcome to enact real change.
TidsskriftEthnic and Racial Studies
Udgave nummer14
Sider (fra-til)2534-2550
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2015


  • Det Humanistiske Fakultet - Iran, Ethnicity, Regionalism, Nationalism, Sectarianism, Minorities, Security, Khuzestan, Arab World, Arabs, Sociology

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