Episode 3: Educational and Cultural Limitations for Unrecognized Minorities in Iran

The third session of Siamak Pourzand Foundation’s Legal Salon podcast series focuses on the limitations put in place against the educational and cultural endeavors of religious minorities, in particular those unrecognized by the law, in Iran. This session specifically addresses some of the challenges faced by the Baha’i community and Darvish circles. Baha’is are denied from many rights including the right to higher education. Similarly, Darvish mystical circles also often face persecutions when practicing their cultural and religious ceremonies and practices.

According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the official religion of Iran is Islam of the Twelver Ja’fari Shia School. The Constitution also recognizes Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians as the only recognized religious minorities. This is not to say that the recognized religious minorities, other schools Islam or even Shia Muslims, do not experience restrictions and persecutions in today’s Iran. According to Article 14 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “(…) the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Muslims are required to treat the non-Muslim individuals with good conduct, in fairness and Islamic justice, and must respect their human rights (…)”. Even though the Constitution calls for justice and fairness when it comes to the way Muslims should treat non-Muslims, the Islamic Republic is not interested in granting equal rights to non-Muslims, or even to certain schools of Islam. Further, while the Constitution asks for conditional fairness and justice in treating non-Muslims, it does not secure equal rights for them.

Mehrangiz Kar and Nargess Tavassolian
Legal Salon is one of Siamak Pourzand Foundation’s podcast series that addresses the legal discussions surrounding the emergence and expansion of underground arts and culture in contemporary Iran. The discussions are conducted by Mehrangiz Kar, prominent lawyer, writer and human rights advocate, and Nargess Tavassolian, legal analyst with a PhD in Law from SOAS University of London. Pooya Jahandar, social media expert, has also contributed to the production of this podcast series.


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  • © Siamak Pourzand Foundation, 2014