Iran Population and Religion

Iran, officially Farsi Jomhori-e Islami-e Iran, German Islamic Republic of Iran, state in Western Asia with (2018) 81.8 million residents; The capital is Tehran.

Country Overview

According to aceinland, Iran is an Islamic republic in the Middle East with the nine million metropolis of Tehran as its capital. The highlands with steppe and desert basins without drainage as well as oases in the center and on the edges are divided by mountain chains and bordered to the west by the Zagros Mountains and to the north by the Elburs Mountains. Summers are dry and hot in the highlands, warm and humid on the Caspian Sea , and very humid in the lowlands of the Persian Gulf. Most of the precipitation falls on the northern edge of the Elbe. Winter can be very severe in the north. The country is prone to earthquakes and suffers from a lack of water.

Greater Tehran and the northern flank of the Elbe are the most densely populated regions. Two thirds of the country are almost uninhabited. Iran is a multi-ethnic state, half of the population are Persians, the largest minority are Azerbaijanis. Shiite Islam (Imamites) is the state religion. Islamic principles determine law, legislation and social life. The general level of education was raised with high government spending. Almost nine out of ten young people now go to secondary school.

Iran looks back on a long history. Persian empires encompassed large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia in antiquity. Persian literature, art, and architecture led Islamic culture to flourish. The foundations of today’s state were laid in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 19th century, Iran became the plaything of major European powers. The Shahs the Pahlavi dynasty (1921–79) modernized the country and made it a strong regional power. Rich deposits of oil and natural gas form the basis of the state-controlled economy. One tenth of the national area is used for arable farming. Under the rule of Shiite clergy (from 1979) an authoritarian state emerged that gave its citizens only a few freedoms. Press and internet censorship are very strict. The political opposition to the USA and Iran’s nuclear program led to international punitive measures against the Islamic Republic.


More than 50% of the population speak New Persian (Farsi; Persian language), another 25% (Kurds , Mazandarans, Lurs , Baluch) speak related Iranian languages. The most important minority are the Azerbaijanis (18%) and others. Turkic-speaking peoples as well as Arabs and Armenians. The population density (2017) is 50 residents / km 2. The population is concentrated in the Caspian coastal lowlands, around the capital Tehran and in the western mountainous countries.

74% of Iranians live in cities. Almost two thirds of the country are as good as uninhabited; only a few nomads roam the arid areas.

Since the Islamic revolution , over 1 million people have fled or emigrated to western countries. On the other hand, at the end of 2018, 979,400 refugees, mainly from Afghanistan , were living in Iran.

The biggest cities in Iran

Biggest Cities (Residents 2016)
Tehran 8 694 000
Meshhed 3 001 000
Isfahan 1 961 000
Karaj 1,593,000
Tabriz 1,559,000


The constitution defines Twelve Shiite Islam (Imamites) as the state religion and fully respects the other Shiite traditions and Sunni schools of law. Christians, Jews and Parsees are recognized as religious minorities and can practice their religion and run their own schools within the framework of general laws. The Baha’is , who are officially considered to be “apostates” to Islam, are not recognized as a religious minority. The government and the Muslims submit the constitution with reference to the Koran (Sura 60, 8) and Islamic law imposes the obligation to treat non-Muslims with respect and respect for their natural human rights, if these in turn are loyal to the Islamic Republic.

More than 99% of the population are Muslim. With an estimated 89–94%, the Shiites make up the vast majority of Iranian Muslims. The majority of Kurds profess Sunni Islam. The largest religious minority are the Bahais (around 0.3% of the population). The Christians (approx. 0.2% of the population) belong to 70% of the Armenian Church (Catholic of Cilicia); other Eastern Churches are the Assyrian (East Syrian) Church (” Nestorians “) and the Greek Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Antioch); the Catholic Church is represented with three rites: the Armenian Catholic Church, the Chaldean Church and Catholics of the Latin Rite (exemtes Archdiocese of Isfahan). Even smaller religious minorities are the Parsees and Mandaeans in the south-east of the country. The Jewish community, whose history dates back to the 6th century BC. BC, has an estimated 10,000 to 35,000 members (before the Islamic Revolution around 85,000); Tehran is the center of Jewish life; further churches exist in Shiraz and Isfahan.

Iran Population and Religion

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