State of Mind, State of Order: Reactions to Ethnic Unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran



By analysing the symbols and language employed in official statements on two cases of ethnic minority unrest in Iran in 2005–6, the article shows how the Islamic Republic's ideologues and leaders are responding to threats against national security and to alternative definitions of identity. In this emerging discourse, religious and secular notions of patriotism and loyalty are interwoven and an Islamist/nationalist conceptualisation of Iranian nationhood is defended. This interesting process of paradoxical dynamics is an important part of the ongoing struggle to define the identity of Iran in a region boiling with political and cultural conflicts.