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People and Society, Ethnic Groups

Turkic peoples, Mazandaran Province, Baluchis, Zagros Mountains, Mazandarani

Iranís population is made up of numerous ethnic groups. Persians migrated to the region from Central Asia beginning in the 7th century bc and established the first Persian empire in 550 bc. They are the largest ethnic group, and include such groups as the Gilaki, who live in Gilan Province, and the Mazandarani, who live in Mazandaran Province. Accounting for about 60 percent of the total population, Persians live in cities throughout the country, as well as in the villages of central and eastern Iran. Two groups closely related to the Persians both ethnically and linguistically are the Kurds and the Lurs. The Kurds, who make up about 7 percent of the population, reside primarily in the Zagros Mountains near the borders with Iraq and Turkey. The Lurs account for 2 percent of the population; they inhabit the central Zagros region. Turkic tribes began migrating into northwestern Iran in the 11th century, gradually changing the ethnic composition of the region so that by the late 20th century East Azerbaijan Province was more than 90 percent Turkish. Since the early 1900s, Azeris (a Turkic group) have been migrating to most large cities in Iran, especially Tehran. Azeris and other Turkic peoples together account for about 25 percent of Iranís inhabitants. The remainder of the population comprises small communities of Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Baluchis, Georgians, Pashtuns, and others.

Article key phrases:

Turkic peoples, Mazandaran Province, Baluchis, Zagros Mountains, Mazandarani, Azeris, Pashtuns, Persian empire, largest ethnic group, Assyrians, Georgians, ethnic composition, Persians, century bc, Tehran, Kurds, Central Asia, total population, borders, Iraq, large cities, Turkey, Accounting, remainder, country, Armenians


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