Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Ethnic Challenges in Iran: A Case Study of Ardabil

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Ethnic Challenges in Iran: A Case Study of Ardabil

Article excerpt


One of the problems of an international community like Iran is the ethnic group and the challenges that in many cases have jeopardized many countries and led to the collapse of political systems. The aim of the present study is to find the reasons and causes for these challenges and ethnic crises in Iran with the emphasis on ethnic studies in Ardabil as a case study. This study attempts to provide the appropriate guidelines for the management of ethnic diversity and appropriate policy to respect the characteristics, values, and cultures of the ethnic groups and thus creating solidarity and enhancing national integrity. This paper focuses on the current crises, especially the crises that occurred due to the insults of a state newspaper against Turkish citizens of Azerbaijan in 2005. So, the main question of this study addresses the causes of this challenge in Ardabil province and whether these factors were constant or have changed as the time is passed.

The findings of this study show that the ethnic, social, and other kinds of insults against ethnic groups had a significant role in creating ethnic challenges in the destruction of national solidarity for 99 %, the ethnic discrimination and injustice against ethnic groups for 97%, the role of multiculturalism and respect for ethnic groups' cultures in national solidarity for 89%, and finally discrimination in government economic investment in Ardabil comparing with central provinces of the country for 85%.

The results obtained in this study indicate that the role of internal factors comparing with the external counterparts on ethnic crisis in Ardabil province is very notable.

Key words: Iran; Ardabil province; Conflict; Crisis; Ethnic groups; National solidarity


Ethnicity, ethnic rights, and ethnic claims are consequences of the modernity and the New World Order, the order that has been unable to solve thousands of conflicts and the ethnic or minorities' contest around the world. Ethnicity has fought for paving its way in the community and has had the bloodshed and destruction in the aftermath.

Following the collapse of the bipolar system, the 1990s era witnessed the sudden ethnic-racial conflicts more than before. If up to that time the ethnicities were mostly repressed by autocratic and communalistic governments and governmental socialism, the new forms of competition between the groups would have emerged due to the decline of ideological conflicts between east and west camps and the end of the cold war. Now, ethnicity is an independent framework in which music, food, art, literature, and dressing are significant; ethnic identity has changed to an independent variable in domestic, regional, and international policies.

Many scholars of international relations think that with the decline of the Soviet Union in 1991, and decomposing the multiethnic group countries such as Czech Republic into two republics and also the former Yugoslavia into six republics, ethnicity has increasingly been notified as the recent manifestations of identity policy (Ghavam, 2005, p.246). With the spread of ethnic conflicts and increasing importance in international politics during the 1980s and 1990s we witnessed a growing interest in the issue of ethnicity and nationalism in the various branches of the social sciences. In this respect, the Middle East has attracted many researchers of ethnicity affairs and nationalism due to its diverse religious, linguistic, and racial ethnicity (Edwards, 2003, p.220).

The Middle East countries, which have experienced conquest attacks, colonization, immigration, etc. during the history, have formed the boundaries of their land not on the basis of various ethnic groups but on the basis of occupation and colonialism at different courses of history. Since long, Iran, as part of a Middle East country, has been a country with various ethnic groups, and rich cultures and ways of living, religion, and language. …

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