The Achilles heel of Iran

By Peter Skurkiss:

When it comes to Iran, most analysts and commentators speak as if the country were a homogenous monolith comprising Persians. It is not. In fact, the seldom mentioned Achilles heel of Iran is its diverse ethnic and religious make-up. This is highlighted by Brenda Shaffer of Georgetown University, who is a leading expert on Iran’s ethnic minorities.

Shaffer projects that Iran’s current population of more than eighty-five million is made up of forty-two million Persians, an estimated twenty-seven million Azerbaijanis, and roughly eight million Kurds, five million Arabs, two million Turkmen, and one-and-a-half million Baluch.

So although the Persians dominate and are the largest ethnic group in Iran, nearly half of Iranians define themselves as non-Persians. And these non-Persian groups are not happy campers. Each of them has its own customs, history, culture, and often languages. And as Peter Zeihan notes in The Accidental Superpower, Iran’s geography does not help solidify the country. It’s a country with mountains and highland valleys.

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