Iran is a culturally heterogeneous society that has been shaped by waves of migration over many centuries. While much of the domestic political and academic rhetoric chooses to highlight Iran’s resistance to foreign influence, the invaluable contributions of migrant communities have often been ignored or re-appropriated. Migrations from neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq have not only fostered an environment of socio-economic and intellectual exchange, but are crucial in dispelling the myth of Iran as homogeneous nation-state with impenetrable borders.
Since the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Afghans refugees escaping the horrors of war have flocked to Iran and Pakistan in search of safety and economic opportunities. Over subsequent decades, the destabilization of Afghan society by foreign troops and armed militias increased the number of registered refugees to approximately 1 million — the largest and oldest refugee population in the world…
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