Over 70 ethnic groups, some being small nomadic groups
Persian (Farsi, Dari, Tajik) 30 million
Kurd (6) 5 million
Azeri (Azari) 11,224,000
Hazara (speaking Dari) 687,000
Arab (mainly southwest and Iraq border) 2 million
Christian minorities 0.2%
Armenian and Assyrian
Gypsy (Nawar and Ghorbati) 1,470,000
Refugees. At one time 4.5 million Afghans, Iraqi Kurds, Shi”a Arabs and Tajiks were refugees in Iran. Maybe up to 1.5 million remain, but now they are somewhat integrated into Iran.
Official language Persian (Farsi; Dari and Tajik are major dialects); spoken by 83% of Iranians.
Shi’a Islam is the state religion and 93% of Iranians follow this. Sunni Islam is respected and is largely followed by the Turkoman, Kurd and Baluch populations. All other deviations or defections from Islam are severely handled. Constitutionally the rights of Jews, Zoroastrians and Christians are guaranteed, but closely monitored. All Christian proselytism is forbidden.
Religion type: % of population Approx number
Muslim 99.02 67,038,717
Baha’I 0.52 352,051
Christian 0.33 220,000
Other 0.10 67,702
Jewish 0.03 25,000
- Pray for political change and a government that is truly accountable to their people and which respects human rights.
- Pray that the shackles of economic recession and political tyranny may be shattered and many Iranians find true liberty in believing in Jesus.
- Pray that this land may open up again for the proclamation of the gospel.
- Pray for the Iranian Diaspora…nearly 5 million Iranians who have found refuge in USA, Canada, Western Europe, Turkey, Gulf States and other lands where they can be evangelized.
- Pray for networks of over 70 Iranian Diaspora churches, their growth in grace, unity and preparation for return to minister one day in Iran.
- Pray for training of Iranian Christian workers
- Pray that agencies around the world may pray, plan and network together with Iranian believers in preparation for that day.
- Pray for unreached peoples – Iran is home of some of the largest totally unreached peoples in the world; only in eight of the 70 ethnic groups are there known groups of believers.
Area: 1,648,196 square kilometers
Situated between the Caspian Sea in north and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf in south. A central desert ringed by mountains.
Tehran 11 million
Mashhad 2.15 million
Isfahan 1.63 million
Tabriz 1.28 million
Shiraz 1.13 million
Oil provides 75% of export earnings. Carpet sales provides 11%.
The policies of the current religious leaders have reversed much of the progress made under the Shah. National paranoia, and the flight of the business and technology elite followed. Inefficiency, corruption, war with Iraq and economic sanctions imposed by the West brought Iran to the brink of disaster in the 1980s. There has been a slow improvement since 1990 and the lot of the rural poor has greatly improved. Rapid population growth outstrips the means to feed and employ all.