The Islamic Republic of Iran is a mosaic of ethnic, sectarian and cultural identities and communities. Persians comprise only a little over half the country’s population but the official state religion is Shiite Islam and the official language is Persian, in which all government business and public instruction is conducted. However, millions of individuals from various ethnic, religious, and linguistic minority backgrounds also reside in Iran. These groups include: Azeri (constitute 25%), Baluchi, Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian, Baha’is and others. To varying degrees most of these minorities face discrimination, particularly in employment, education, and housing, and they tend to live in underdeveloped regions.[i]
The Baluchi community is an ethnic group straddles three countries Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Baluchi community, boasts a historical narrative that the colonial powers, has left the Baluch people divided among three countries without a country of their own. In their struggle to establish an independent Baluchistan they have felt the sharp end of respective state actions in each of this host states.[ii]
[i] Keith Crane, Rollie Zal, Jeffrey Martini, “Iran's political and demographic vulnerabilities,” RAND, 2008, P – 38.
[ii] Joshua Castellino and Kathleen A. Cavanavgh, “Minority rights in Middle East,” Oxford University Press, 2013, p -6.