International media and most analysts observing Iran’s protests have so far focused on the anti-theocratic sentiments and economic factors that drive mass grievances, leaving out the ethnic dimension. However, understanding Iran’s periphery and the grievances of its ethnic minorities is essential in explaining the recent revolution in Iran and the government’s disproportionate use of force against ethnic minorities.
Iran’s population is estimated at around 87,000,000, roughly half of whom are ethnic Persians that predominantly live in central Iran, the rest being Kurds, Baluchis, Azeris, Arabs, Turkmen, Lurs, and Caspian ethnic groups. Although the successive regimes in Iran have succeeded in tackling ethnic uprisings, they lost the ideological and political war against minority ethno-nationalisms.
The brutally blatant murders of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) chairman, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Muneer Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch of the Baloch Republican Party in Turbat on the 3rd of April after their abduction from office of Kachkol Ali may come to haunt the federation as the day on which the dream of keeping Balochistan in the federation eventually unraveled and also be remembered as the day when Baloch finally gave up on the dream of living within the intransigent federation which has never cared much for their rights or their sentiments.
This blatant violation of human and political rights of Baloch cannot be attributed to some rogue elements within the establishment nor can be blamed on ‘hidden-hands’. The details point an accusing finger at those who have always been calling the shots in Balochistan and who with this abominable act wanted to convey message to those who fight for their rights that they will be given no quarters. This outrage was deliberately committed with the intention to suppress dissent and resentment.