Minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution

Document Type : Research Paper



The study of the rights of minorities and ethnic groups in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution indicates that despite the absence of a specific and coherent pattern and the failure to make use of mainstream models for the attraction and confirmation of the minorities’ participation in this legal instrument, the rights of the groups in question are referred to and reserved in various ways. In the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, three categories of ethnic group, religious minority and denominational minority have been distinguished, and while the religious minority may be combined with the two other groups, separate rights have been provided for each of them which themselves can be amalgamated.   Undoubtedly, the rights of minorities are discussed when there is kind of difference, and most of Iranians and the religious government arising from the Constitution are largely different from the religious minorities. Hence, the designers of the Constitution have paid much attention to the religious minorities whereas the mere ethnic minorities have not been subject to much attention.   Apart from the seats reserved for the religious minorities in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, there is a one-article act providing for the respect for their religious rights and performance of their religious rituals. However, religious and ethnic minorities, due to their commonalties in religion, have been regarded as part of the majority Iranian society in terms of social and political rights. Therefore, in cultural domain, their rights for continuing their cultural existence have been sanctioned and the freedom of religious rituals for the Muslim denominational minorities has been respected according to the act in question.


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