The Iranian diaspora and the homeland: redefining the role of a centre

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Drawing from the multifaceted notions of diaspora mobilisation, this article analyses the complex attitudes of Iranian immigrants toward their homeland and assesses the functions and importance of the national centre in cases where the homeland is contested. As a diaspora fragmented along ethnic, religious, political and class lines, the Iranian diaspora(s) presents a challenge to any perception of a tightly bound community and solidarities based on common cultural and ethnic references. Based on a survey of opinions conducted among Iranian immigrants regarding the homeland, we argue that while the Iranian homeland occupies an important position in the construction of the diasporic identity, this diaspora(s) turns away from national politics and mobilises toward their homeland and imagines it in a way that is contrary to how it is constructed in the Iranian homeland. The Iranian diaspora(s) has developed a trans-national diasporic identity drawn from various sources, whether pre-Islamic Persian or multicultural, in a way that diminishes the importance of the national centre in the construction of its identity. Iranian immigrants are redefining Iran as a ‘referent-origin’ in a manner that maintains diaspora(s) cohesion and solidarity and meets their emotional needs, the transnational environment and the actual reality of the host countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-702
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Iran
  • demobilisation
  • diaspora
  • homeland
  • mobilisation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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