Minorities and Foreigners in a Provincial Iranian City: Bahāʾis in the Russian Consulate of Isfahan in 1903

In: Journal of Persianate Studies
Saghar Sadeghian Yale University

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This article is about the struggles of a persecuted confessional minority in Qajar Iran. It shows that the massacre of the Bahāʾis in Isfahan in 1903 was representative of the ongoing power struggles in the city. Previous scholarship that has briefly explored these events has relied primarily on a handful of British diplomatic sources. Drawing on unexplored documents in British and Iranian archives, this article provides crucial details about the social dynamics on the ground and stresses the role of key actors involved in this episode in Iranian history. In the process, the article puts together the socio-economic contexts of the events in Isfahan, explains why the Bahāʾis sought foreign protection, and analyzes the attitudes of powerful local actors such as Zell al-Soltān and Āqā Najafi.

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