The Iranian population - Cities and countryside
In Iran there are around 1148 (2015) cities and thousands of villages. Out of the total population, the urbanized percentage is 74% in 2016, due to the growing trend towards urbanization, with immigration from rural areas, the transformation of medium-sized countries into real towns (496 1988 cities have now become 1148, of which about 339 large), the absorption of villages and hamlets in urban centers and the formation of new urban communities.
Of the 31 provinces (ostan: the term actually indicates territorial entities comparable to those that in Italy are defined "regions") in which the territory of Iran is divided, that of Tehran is the most populated: the metropolis alone has more than 12 million inhabitants; follow the Razavi Khorassan, the lsfahan, Fars, Khuzestan, the Oriental Azarbaydjan and Mazandaran.
The Iranian population - National and ethnic groups
The Iranian ethnic majority comes from the ancient tribes of the Arii. The Fars people, that is the Persians properly so called, a minority of which is also found in the Republic of Tajikestan, populate almost all of Iran, focusing in particular on the provinces of Tehran, Isfahan, Fars, Khorassan, Kerman and Yazd. The largest and most permanent ethnic minorities are the Kurds, the Turks and the Iranian Arabs, in addition to the Baluchi. There are also ethnic and nomadic tribes or former nomads. Most of these tribes are descended from populations that had invaded the country in the first millennium BC, coming from Central Asia. Most of the populations of central Iran are of Aria descent, while others, such as the Arabs of Khuzestan and Khorassan, the Turks of Quchan, the Qashqai tribes, the Shahsavans and the Afshar tribes of Azarbaydjan, the Turkmen, descend peoples who have invaded Iran at different times. It must be said, however, that despite numerous researches, scholars are not unanimous about various questions relating to the history and anthropology of these groups.
There are many subdivisions and ramifications for each of the main ethnic groups, as well as dozens of minor tribes, but the high degree of social, political and economic integration, guaranteed among other things by the Constitution, allows a coexistence absolutely free of conflicts or frictions .
The Iranian population - The settled ethnic minorities
The Kurds, who probably descend from the ancient Medes, reside in the mountainous regions of western Iran, in a vast territory that extends from the northernmost border of Azarbaydjan to the warm plains of Khuzestan. The Kurds are divided into numerous tribes, which can be classified in some main ramifications: a) the northern Kurds of Maku and the north-western Azarbaydjan; b) the Mahabad Kurds, who live in the area between Lake Urumiyeh and the mountains of the Kurdistan proper; c) the Kurds of Sanandaj; d) the Kurds of Kermanshah, from the Zagros mountains to the Khuzestan plain. Among the many clans, the most relevant are the Mokri, in the north of Kurdistan, the Bani-Ardalan in the south (Sanandaj), the Jaaf even further south and the Kalhor in southernmost Kurdistan, bordering the Kermanshahan.
Also in western Iran, in the Lorestan region, live the Lories, which under the historical profile seem to be of the same ethnic origin as the Kurds. The Lories are divided into four main groups: the Bala Garideh, the Delfan, the Selsseleh and the Tartan. The first are the "pure" Lories, in turn divided into important tribes such as the Dirakvand, the Janaki, the Amaleh, the Sagvand and others. Most of them are farmers and breeders.
The Turks are the largest non-Farsi language ethnic group living in Iran. Regarding the origin of the Iranian Turks, there are two schools of thought. The first claims that they are descendants of the Turks who had immigrated to Iran in the seventh and eleventh centuries, or had repeatedly invaded parts of Iran. The second, on the other hand, believes that they are the descendants of ancient Persian populations to whom invaders have imposed their language over the centuries. The Iranian Turks live mainly in the north-west of Iran, in the Eastern and Western Azarbaydjian regions (Tabriz and Urumieh are their respective capitals), in the Zanjan region up to Qazvin, in Hamedan and surroundings, in Tehran, in hinterland of Qom and Saveh, in the Khorassan region, and small groups or families in many other parts of Iran.
The Turcomanni, a Turkish-speaking ethnic minority, live in the Turkic Sahra and in the fertile plains of the Gorgan, on the border with Turkmenistan, between the river Atrak, the Caspian Sea, the Quchan mountains and the Gorgan river; their most important cities are Gonbad Kavus, Bandar Turkman, Aq-Qala and Gomishan. Descendants of the Turks of Central Asia, settled in Iran in 550 AD, but began to organize themselves in tribes only from 750 AD In the 1885 were divided between Iran, Russia and Afghanistan. The main tribes of the Iranian Turcoman are the Kuklani and the Yamoti; the first, living in the Sahra, are divided into six ramifications; the latter in two great clans, the Atabai and the Jaafarbai.
As for the Arabs in Iran, some historians believe that the first Arab tribes migrated to Khuzestan, in the south-western part of the country where they still live, in the early centuries AD, probably coming from the Arabian Peninsula. Today the Arab-Iranian tribes are scattered in an area that extends from the Rud and from the Persian Gulf, to the south, up to Susa in the north. The most important tribe is the Bani-Kaab, whose numerous clans inhabit the island Minou, Khorramshahr, Shadegan on both banks of the river Karoun, up to Ahwaz. The House of Kassir People inhabits Ahwaz and the area between the Dezful River and the Shushtar River. Other tribes are the Bani-Lam, the Bani-Saleh, the Bani-Torof, the Bani-Tamim, the Bani-Marvan, the Al-Khamiss, the Bavi and the Kenan. There are no precise data on their numerical consistency, also due to of the intense migration of these populations from Khuzestan to other parts of Iran following the Iraqi invasion of the 1980.
The Baluchi live in Baluchistan, an arid region in the southeastern part of the Iranian plateau, between the Barman desert and the Bam and Beshagard mountains, to the western border of Pakistan. In fact, Baluchistan is divided between Iran and Pakistan, and the frictions between the two countries regarding the territories belonging have been resolved with an agreement in 1959. The most important cities of Iranian Baluchistan, which remains one of the most backward territories in the country, are Zahedan and Zabol. Historically, the Baluchi had taken refuge in Makran, coming from Kerman, to escape the Seljuks in the eleventh century; at that time they were nomads and organized in a tribal system. Even today they are divided into numerous clans, the most important of which are the Baveri, the Balideh, the Bozorgzadeh, the Riggi. Some tribes (Sarbandi, Shahraki, Sargazi and others) in the area of Sistan, which is a unique region with Baluchistan, are considered to be Baluchos, but they speak Sistani.
Then there are the minorities of the Jews, the Armenians and the Assyrians, significant especially from the point of view of religion.
The Iranian population - Nomadic minorities
The nomads living in Iran are generally cattle breeders, but they integrate this simple economy with agricultural side activities and craftsmanship. They are all organized in tribal structures, and each tribe has its own territory, as well as its own specific administrative and social organization; the tribes are all 101, but there are also independent 598 clans. Only the regions of Kurdistan and Yazd do not have nomadic tribes on their territory; the Kerman and Hormuzgan regions have the largest number, but the largest number of clans live in Sistan -Baluchistan and Khorassan. The nomadic tribes have many ethnic origins: Turks, Turcomanni, Persians, Kurds, Lori, Arabs and Baluchi.
Changes in economic, political, and social structures that occurred in the twentieth century have produced notable developments in tribal systems. The Islamic Republic has always tried to defend the typical characteristics of these ethnic groups, above all for two reasons: the important role they play in the breeding and production of meat, and the political problems that their forced settling could generate. Nevertheless, the difficulties of nomadism, the bureaucratic problems related to land ownership, and the continuous increase in the prices of goods and tools necessary for nomadism itself have triggered a certain tendency towards spontaneous de-registration. Between the 1974 and 1985 almost one hundred thousand nomad families have become permanent, of which nine tenths have chosen to reside in urban centers.
Among the nomads, the Turkish-speaking Qashqai tribe is the most important in southern Iran: their territory extends from Abadeh and Shahreza in the Isfahan region to the Persian Gulf coast. They are divided into numerous clans, the most important of which are the Kashkuli, the Shish Blocki, the Farsi Madan, the Safi Khani, the Rahimi, the Bayat, the Darreh Shuyi. It is thought that they all descended from the Turkish Khalaj clan, which lived between India and Iranian Sistan and later migrated to central and southern Iran.
The Bakhtiari live in the mountainous region between the Chaharmahal, Fars, Khuzestan and Lorestan. They are divided into two branches: the Haft Gang and the Chahar Gang. The first consists of 55 clan, the second of 24 (the clans can be composed of both Arabs and Lori). There are different ideas about their origin; however, it is thought that they are descended from Kurdish cores. The clothing of the Bakhtiari, characterized by very wide trousers, with a round hat and a short tunic, still recalls the age of the Arsacidi, or Parti. The Bakhtiari leaders exercised significant influence on political developments since the Safavid era; some of them helped the constitutional revolutionaries to conquer Teheran, when King Qajar Mohammad Ali Shah suspended Parliament and the Constitution (1907).
Among the other nomadic tribes, we must remember Afshar and Shahsavan, of the Afghan ethnic group, who live on the slopes of Mount Sabalan in the summer while in the winter they move towards the Caspian coast; and the Guilaki, who speak a pure Persian dialect and live in maritime regions.
The Iranian population - National religion and religious minorities
The official religion of Iran is the Islam of the Imamita Sciita Giafarita school (Art. 12 of the Constitution). The other Islamic schools, such as the Hanafita, the Shafi'ita, the Malekita, the Hanbalita and the Zaidita are considered with absolute respect, and their followers are totally free to profess, teach and perform the acts of worship envisaged by their respective Canons, and in accordance with their religious jurisprudence, their private legal contracts (including marriage, divorce, inheritance, wills) and related disputes are recognized by law in the courts. In every region where the followers of these schools make up the majority, local regulations, within the limits of power of the Councils, are conformed to the respective prescriptions, in the safeguard of the rights of the followers of other schools.
Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians are the only recognized religious minorities (Art 13 of the Constitution), and within the limits of the law they are free to carry out their religious rites and ceremonies, and in private legal contracts and religious instruction they are free to operate according to their own rules. In the Parliament (Art. 64 of the Constitution) the Zoroastrians and the Jews elect respectively a Representative; Assyrian Christians and Chaldean Christians elect only one common Representative; the Armenian Christians elect a Representative for the North and one for the South. At the end of each decade these religious minorities, in the event of an increase in their respective populations, elect a further Representative for every one hundred and fifty thousand people added. At the inauguration of each new Parliament (Article 67 of the Constitution) the Representatives of religious minorities take an oath on their respective sacred Books.
Although almost 90 percent of the Iranian population is Shi'ita, the variety of ethnicities is accompanied by a plurality of confessions, in a climate of great tolerance and mutual acceptance of which the constitutional norms mentioned are the first political expression: churches and temples, belonging to the major religions of the world, they work freely, and mosques can also be visited by non-Muslims.
Most Iranian Kurds are Sunni Muslims from the Shafeite school; others are followers of the confessions Yazida and Ahle-e Haq, but also the Qaderi and Naqshbandi currents of Sufism are common in parts of Iranian Kurdistan, especially in its southern territory.
The majority of Iranian Turcomannies follow the Sunni school of the Hanafiti; others belong to the Naqshbandi Sufism.
Around the tomb of Esther, in Hamadan, lives a Jewish colony established in the area since the time of liberation from Babylon, but the Iranian Jews live in all the major cities of the country, where there are in total about 30 synagogues, and have retained their identity ethnic, linguistic and religious.
The Zoroastrians, who practice the ancient faith of the Avesta and of Zarathustra, live mainly in the area between Yazd and Kerman, where there are numerous "Towers of Silence".
The Christian community, especially of the Georgian rite, constitutes the 0,7 per cent of the population. The Armenians, about two hundred thousand, live in Iran for 400 years, that is since (early part of the seventeenth century) the king Safavid Abbas Shah forced three hundred thousand of them to move to the country from Armenia for economic and political reasons. They were settled in the Jolfa area, near Isfahan, and in the Gilan region. Later, they moved to Tehran, Mazandaran, and elsewhere. The Armenian episcopate and two Armenian deputies in Parliament are the official representatives of the community; Tehran publishes his newspaper, Alik. The Assyrian community is one of the oldest ethnic groups in Iran; they are represented in Parliament by a deputy and have their own churches and associations, as well as their own publishing publications. The Armenians have about 40 schools, of which eight Superiors; like the Assyrians, they freely practice their religious faith in many churches, and can freely associate themselves. The Armenian churches and the monastery-fortress of St. Taddeo, in northern Azarbaydjan, are visited by thousands of Christian pilgrims.
The Iranian population - Language, writing, calendar
The official language of Iran is Farsi. The Farsi, or neopersian, belongs to the Indo-European linguistic family, branch "shatam", an indoiranic group (the "shatam" branch, which includes the indoiranic, the Slavic, the Armenian and the Latvian-Lithuanian, is so called by the Sanskrit word shatam, which means "one hundred", because it responds with the sound "sh" to the sound "k" of other Indo-European languages, such as Greek, Latin, Germanic, Celtic and Tocarius: for example the Latin word "octo" , that is "eight", corresponds to the Persian "hasht").
The Farsi was formed as an autonomous language about a thousand years ago, and despite the evolution over the centuries the language in use today is "substantially the same as that of the great masterpieces of the golden age" (see Giovanni MD 'Erme , Neo-Persian Grammar, Naples 1979). The Middle-Persian, or parsik, language of the Sassanid age (III-VII century AD), constitutes the "bridge" between the ancient Persian used in the cuneiform inscriptions of the Achaemenid era (Vl-IV century BC, in their turn preceded from the proto-indoiranic) and the neo-Persian.
For writing, the Farsi uses the Arabic alphabet, which flows from right to left, with the addition of four letters, but its grammatical and syntactic construction is Indo-European. Farsi has received massive lexical loans primarily from Arabic, but also from French, German and English - especially in this century, and especially for the names of "modern" objects or concepts transmitted by the West to Persian culture. . However, in the second decade since the Revolution a work of progressive replacement of the Arabic and European terms has begun in the country with terms taken from Farsi codified by the great classical authors, directly or with the juxtaposition of pairs of nouns, adjectives or adverbs. to be able to name also what in the past centuries did not exist. The juxtaposition is one of the three classical methods with which Farsi creates words, and as one can guess, his extreme flexibility allows us to often overcome the boundaries of classical "vocabulary", as is typical of contemporary Persian writers. The new terms have mostly spread thanks to their spontaneous adoption by writers, journalists and intellectuals in general.
The Kurds speak the ancient Persian language (Indo-European) or north-western Iran; the two dialects Gurani (Southern Kurds) and Zaza (Western Kurds) are however very different from the Kormanji (pure Kurdish). The dialects spoken in Sanandaj, Kermanshahan and Suleymanieh (Iraq) are variants of the Kormandji.
The Turk spoken in Iran by ethnic Turkish populations is associated with the Turkish spoken in the Caucasus, but has undergone different evolutions in different regions. The dialect spoken in both Iranian regions called Azarbaydjian is the Oghoz (equal to the language of the Azarbaydjian Republic); the Oghoz language population is divided into two groups, northern and southern, depending on the accent; among the Iranian Turks the accent of the southern type prevails, influenced by the Farsi. The Turcoman ethnic minority speaks Turkish with the Eastern Oghoz accent, the same that is spoken in Turkmenistan. The Iranian Arabs speak the Arab of the origins.
The Baluchi speak Baluchi, the language of western Iran of an Indo-European family influenced by the dialects of eastern Iran.
Il Sistano is a Persian dialect almost completely obsolete.
The Persian calendar begins roughly the 21 March of each year (with the Nowruz) to end the 20 following March; it is of the solar type, because it sets the beginning of the year exactly at the spring equinox. The precise moment in which the change of the year occurs is therefore calculated on the basis of the solar calendar of Egira (to be pronounced with the accent on the E), that is from the trip of the Prophet Mohammad on Thursday 13 September of 622 AD, thirteen years after the beginning of his preaching.
The time difference between Italy and Iran is two and a half hours (for example, when in Italy it is midday, in Iran it is 14,30). The relationship does not change due to summer time, as it is also used in Iran. The time zone is unique throughout the country.