Ethnic Rights

Sources estimate that non-Persian ethnic groups make up roughly 35-40% of the population of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many high-ranking officials in the Islamic Republic are from Iran's many ethnic minorities--including Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, who is from the Turkic-speaking Azeri population. The grievances of Iran's ethnic minorities often go unaddressed, however, not unlike those of its majority Persians.

Iranian citizens of Kurdish, Azeri, Arab and Balouch populations, among others, often face institutionalized discrimination. Meanwhile, peaceful calls for the expansion of their cultural and linguistic rights are often faced with harsh repression. While the criminalization of dissent is pervasive throughout the Islamic Republic, the documents below present examples of how it disproportionately affects Iran's ethnic minority populations.

Sanandaj airport

Haunted Memories: The Islamic Republic’s Executions of Kurds in 1979

This report provides a detailed account of the unlawful summary trials and executions that took place in the Kurdish regions of Iran during August and September of 1979. ... Read more

Interview with Abulhassan Bani Sadr

In this revealing interview with IHRDC, former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) Abulhassan Bani Sadr provides a window into the course of dealings between the IRI government and Iran’s Kurdish minority in 1979 and 1980. ... Read more

Witness Statement: Shima Asaadi

Shima Asaadi, a young Kurdish Iranian woman from Sanandaj, Iran, describes her multiple arrests and her expulsion from university on account of her activities with ... Read more