Iran Population and Religion

According to, Iran has 81.8 million residents. The population is concentrated in the Caspian lowlands, in the greater Tehran area with almost 15 million residents and in the western mountain basins. The megacities of Isfahan and Shiraz are located there. Meshhed is the second largest city in Iran with around 3 million residents. It is located in the northeastern region of Khorasan. The previously high birth rate has fallen significantly since the 1990s and is now only half as high as in neighboring Iraq.

Farsi is the mother tongue of around half of the population. Their language is New Persian, also called Farsi. It is written in Arabic script and is also the official language. A quarter of the population are ethnic groups that speak other Iranian languages: Kurds in the northwest, Masandarans in the Caspian lowlands, Lurs in central western Iran and Baluch in the southeast. There are also Arabs , Armenians and Turkmens. The Azerbaijanis or Azeri in the north are the largest national minority in Iran with a further quarter of the population.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, more than 1 million people have fled or emigrated to western countries. On the other hand, almost 1 million refugees lived in Iran, mostly from Afghanistan.

90% of Iranians are Shiites. Shiite Islam is the state religion. Sunnis are recognized as a religious minority, as are Christians, Jews and Parsees (“fire worshipers”). This does not apply to the Baha’i religion, which originated in Iran.

The Islam and its rules are the basis for social coexistence and education. The state spends a lot of money on education. Almost nine out of ten young people now go to secondary school.

The woman is legally disadvantaged compared to the man. They are also subject to restrictions in public, for example when attending events, and special dress regulations, including a headscarf requirement. On the other hand, almost half of the students at universities are women.


Tabriz [ tε ː br ɪ s, also tε bri ː s], Tabriz, largest city in northwest Iran, capital of the province East Azerbaijan, (2016) 1.55 million mostly Turkic residents. Tabriz is 1,360 m above sea level at the fertile, well-watered foot of the volcano Sahend (Kuh-e Sakhend, 3 710 m above sea level) and has been hit several times by severe earthquakes.

It is an important traffic junction (with airport) and a busy trading city on the road and railway line from Tehran to Turkey and Armenia. Tabriz is the seat of the second oldest university in Iran (founded in 1945) and other universities. The architecturally very impressive large bazaar with many seraglio, still a center of the carpet trade today, bears witness to the flourishing of the city in the Levant trade in the 1st half of the 19th century and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. There are only a few modern industrial companies (petrochemicals, tractor works). Tabriz is the center of northwestern Iranian carpet production and was the seat of an important Safavid court manufacture.

The ruins of the citadel rise on the site of the Great Mosque of the vizier Ali Shah (1312-20; southwest side with mihrab preserved). The Blue Mosque (built in 1465) was badly damaged by earthquakes, but remained among other things. Portal and pillar walls with predominantly blue tile cladding are in place; Restoration and reconstruction work took place in 1967-78.

Tabriz did not develop into the center of Azerbaijan until the Islamic period on the site of a settlement that had already existed under the Sassanids (224–651). In the second half of the 13th century, the Mongolian Ilkhane made Tabriz the capital of Iran. Thanks to the support of Ghazan (1295–1304) and his courtiers, Tabriz became the most glamorous metropolis in the Near East. Because of the threat from the Ottomans, the Safavids moved the capital of Iran into the interior of the country in the first half of the 16th century; Tabriz was still the second most important city. Around 1900 Tabriz was Iran’s most dynamic trading center and the most important trading center for trade with Europe.

Iran Population

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