On the margins of minority life: Zoroastrians and the state in Safavid Iran

Ghereghlou, Kioumars

This article looks at the treatment of the Zoroastrians by central and provincial authorities in early modern Yazd, Kirman and Isfahan, emphasizing the institutional weaknesses of the central or khāsṣạ protection they were supposed to benefit from under the Safavids (907–1135/1501– 1722). It is argued that the maltreatment the Zoroastrians endured under the Safavids had little to do with religious bigotry. Rather, it arose from rivalries between the central and the provincial services of the Safavid bureaucracy, putting Zoroastrians in Yazd, Kirman, Sistan and Isfahan at risk of over-taxation, extortion, forced labour and religious persecution. The argument developed in this article pivots on the material interest of the central and the provincial agents of the Safavid bureaucracy in the revenue and labour potentials of the Zoroastrians, and the way in which the conflict of interest between these two sectors led to such acts of persecution as over-taxation, forced labour, extortion and violence


Also Published In

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Iranian Studies
Published Here
March 3, 2017