Ethnic Minorities and the Question of Liberal Multiculturalism in Iran
The place of ethnic minority movements in Iran has always been a contested issue in the social media and public discourse, though there is very little theoretical research that aims to combine the normative demands for liberal democracy on the one hand and minority ethnic groups’ rights on the other. Addressing this shortcoming in the literature, this chapter considers whether the theory of minority rights developed by the Canadian theorist of multiculturalism Will Kymlicka can be exportable to the Iranian context. If a society has a state-sponsored official language and culture through which both economy and state function, Kymlicka argues, this advantages those people who belong to the majority language (in Iran, Persians) and disadvantages minorities, who lack such nation-building tools. Focusing on Kymlicka’s distinction between multinational and polyethnic rights in a pluralistic society, the chapter argues that what Kymlicka refers to as ‘polyethnic rights’ provides a reasonable basis to defend a pro-integration model of ethnocultural justice to accommodate ethnic diversity in Iran.