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|Tehran, Khuzestan, Tabriz, New Julfa, Peria, Bourvari|
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Iranian-Armenians (Armenian: Իրանահայ Iranahye), sometimes called Persian-Armenians (Պարսկահայ Parskahye), are Iranian citizens who are ethnically Armenian. They are mostly concentrated in Tehran, Tabriz and Jolfa district, Isfahan, and an estimated 120,000 - 150,000 currently reside in Iran. The Iranian-Armenians were very influential and active in the modernization of Iran during the 19th and 20th centuries. After the Iranian Revolution, many Armenians emigrated to Armenian diasporic communities in North America and Western Europe. Today the Armenians are Iran's largest Christian religious minority. Despite their cultural Armenian identity in Iran, no sizeable numbers of Iranian-Armenians hold Armenian citizenship. It is commonly noted that, due to their migration to the Persian Empire many centuries ago, Armenians of Iran are the most friendly of Armenians with their Persian compatriots and neighbors and have adopted a number of their traditions while simultaneously keeping their distinct Christian faith and Armenian traditions.
- 1 Early history
- 2 20th century until 1979
- 3 Armenians after the Islamic Revolution (1979–present)
- 4 Distribution
- 4.1 Azerbaijan
- 4.2 Other parts of Iran
- 5 Culture and language
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
On the Behistun inscription of 515 BC, Darius the Great indirectly confirmed that Urartu and Armenia are synonymous when describing his conquests. Armenia became a satrap of the Persian Empire for a long period of time. Regardless, relations between Armenians and Persians were cordial.
The cultural links between the Armenians and the Persians can be traced back to Zoroastrian times. Prior to the 3rd century AD, no other neighbor had as much influence on Armenian life and culture as Parthia. They shared many religious and cultural characteristics, and intermarriage among Parthian and Armenian nobility was common. For twelve more centuries, Armenia was under the direct or indirect rule of the Persians. While much influenced by Persian culture and religion, Armenia also retained its unique characteristics as a nation. Later, Armenian Christianity retained some Zoroastrian vocabulary and ritual.
In the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks drove thousands of Armenians to Iranian Azerbaijan, where some were sold as slaves and others worked as artisans and merchants. After the Mongol conquest of Iran in the 13th century many Armenian merchants and artists settled in Iran, in cities that were once part of historic Armenia such as Khoy, Maku, Maragheh, Urmia, and especially Tabriz.
Although Armenians have a long history of interaction with Persia/Iran, Iran's Armenian community emerged when Shah Abbas relocated an estimated 400,000 Armenians from Nakhichevan to an area of Isfahan called New Julfa in the early 17th century, which was created to become an Armenian quarter. Iran quickly recognized the Armenians' dexterity in commerce. The community became active in the cultural and economic development of Iran.
Bourvari (Armenian: Բուրւարի) is a collection of villages in Iran, between the city of Khomein (Markazi Province) and Aligoodarz (Lorestān Province). It was mainly populated by Armenians who were forcibly deported to the region by Shah Abbas of the Safavid Persian Empire during the Ottoman-Persian War. The following villages populated by the Armenians in Bourvari were: Dehno, Khorzend, Farajabad, Bahmanabad and Sangesfid.
20th century until 1979
The Revolution of 1905 in Russia had a major effect on northern Iran and, in 1906, Iranian liberals and revolutionaries, demanded a constitution in Iran. In 1909 the revolutionaries forced the crown to give up some of its powers.
Thousands of Armenians had escaped to Iran during the Armenian genocide. The community experienced a political rejuvenation with the arrival of the exiled Dashnak leadership from Armenia in 1921. Further immigrants and refugees from the Soviet Union continued to increase the Armenian community until 1933. The modernization efforts of Reza Shah (1924–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah (1941–1979) gave the Armenians ample opportunities for advancement and Armenians gained important positions in the arts and sciences, economy and services sectors, mainly in Tehran, Tabriz, and Isfahan that became major centers for Armenians.
Armenian churches, schools, cultural centers, sports clubs and associations flourished and Armenians had their own senator and member of parliament, 300 churches and 500 schools and libraries served the needs of the community.
Armenian presses published numerous books, journals, periodicals, and newspapers, the prominent one being the daily "Alik".
Armenians after the Islamic Revolution (1979–present)
Later Iranian governments have been much more accommodating and the Armenians continue to maintain their own schools, clubs, and churches. The fall of the Soviet Union, the common border with Armenia, and the Armeno-Iranian diplomatic and economic agreements have opened a new era for the Iranian Armenians. Iran remains one of Armenia's major trade partners, and the Iranian government has helped ease the hardships of Armenia caused by the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan and Turkey. This includes important consumer products, access to air travel, and energy sources (like petroleum and electricity). The remaining Armenian minority in the Islamic Republic of Iran is still the largest Christian community in the country, far ahead of Assyrians. The Armenians remain the most powerful religious minority in Iran. They are appointed five seats in the Iranian Parliament (the most within the Religious minority branch) and are the only minority with official Observing Status in the Guardian and Expediency Discernment Councils. Today in Iran there are about 120,000 - 150,000 self-identifying Armenians left. Half of which live in the Tehran area. A quarter live in Isfahan, and the other quarter is concentrated in Northwestern Iran or Iranian Azerbaijan. The majority of Armenians live in the suburbs of Tehran, most notably Narmak, Majidiyeh, Nadershah, etc.
Armenians are one of the indigenous people of Azerbaijan. The western and northern areas of Azerbaijan historically were part of the Kingdom of Armenia. In 387 AD when the Sasanian Empire and the Byzantine Empire split Armenia, the Armenians ceded the areas of Nor Shirakan, Paytakaran, and the eastern half of Vaspurakan to the Persians, these territories comprise the western and northern regions of Azerbaijan. Following the Russo-Persian War (1826–28) about 40,000 Armenians left Azerbaijan and resettled in Russian Armenia. The area retained a large Armenian population until 1914 when World War One began the Azerbaijan was invaded by the Ottomans who slaughtered much of the local Armenian population. Prior to the Ottoman invasion there were about 150,000 Armenians in Azerbaijan, 30,000 of them were in Tabriz. About 80,000 were massacred, 30,000 fled to Russian Armenia, and the other 10,000 fled the area of the modern West Azerbaijan Province and took refuge among the Armenians of Tabriz. After the war ended in 1918 the 10,000 refugees in Tabriz returned to their villages, but many would resettle in Soviet Armenia in the coming decades, and currently about 4,000 Armenians remain in the countryside and about 2,000 remain in Tabriz. This is a list of previously or currently Armenian inhabited settlements:
- Kohneshahr, Akhtekhaneh, Aslanik, Charik, Drishk, Qalasar, Qezeljeh, Haftvan, Khosrowabad, Goluzan, Sheitanabad, Payajuk, Karabulagh, Hodar, Malham, Saramolk, Sarna, Savera, Zivajik, Kojamish and Ula.
(Vormi/Urmia in Armenian) now in Urmia County in West Azerbaijan Province:
- Urmia, Balanej, Badelbo, Surmanabad, Jamalabad, Gardabad, Ikiaghaj, Isalu, Karaguz, Nakhichevan Tepe, Reihanabad, Sepurghan, Karabagh, Adeh, Dizej Ala, Khan Babakhan, Kachilan, Shirabad, Charbakhsh,, Chahar Gushan, Rahava, Ballu, Darbarud, Kukia and Babarud.
(Her in Armenian)now in Khoy County in West Azerbaijan Province:
(Juła in Armenia):
- Upper Darashamb, Middle Darashamb and Lower Darashamb.
- Ardabil .
Other parts of Iran
In 1604 and following years, during Ottoman-Persian War, about 500,000 Armenians forced to move to Central Iran as part of Shah Abbas I scorched earth policy. Many died crossing the Arax River, and those that survived the river crossing most likely perished while spending the winter in the mountains of Azerbaijan. About 200,000 Armenians were alive the following spring. 160,000 of them would resettle in central Iran and 40,000 of them would resettle in Farahabad in Mazandaran. The climate in the summer in Farahabad was unhealthy and large numbers of the inhabitants died of epidemics, particularly malaria. The surviving Armenians returned to their homes north of the Arax River. The Armenians that resettled in central Iran built hundreds of new villages. The Armenians of Julfa resettled along the Zayanderud and built the New Julfa quarter in Isfahan. Some also resettled in Hamadan, Qazvin and Shiraz. The non-Julfa Armenians that resettled in central Iran were resettled in the area that stretched from Qazvin and Hamadan in the north to Isfahan in the south. They built hundreds of villages in 12 rural clusters. Between 1722-1729 the Afghans invaded Iran and the Armenians of central Iran were subjugated, harassed, and heavily taxed. The Armenians were forced to provide the Afghan invaders with rations. From 1747-1762 Persia experienced a civil war following the assassination of Nader Shah Afshar in 1747. During the 18th century many Armenians were executed and abducted. As a result of these horrific years many 80% of the Armenian was lost, many fled for British India (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma), British Malaya (Malaysia & Singapore), for the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), and Russia. In 1870 a famine ravaged Iran and 2 million people lost their lives. By 1914 there were only 80,000 Armenians in central Iran. List of Armenian villages in central Iran:
(Kiazaz in Armenian) now in Shazand County in Markazi Province:
(Kiamara in Armenian) now in Khomeyn County in Markazi Province:
- Lilian, Qurchibash, Chartagh, Davudabad, Kandha, Darreh Shur, Mazra, Saki, Kajarestan and Mazraeh Qasem.
- Shapurabad, Khorzand, Parmishan, Pahra, Farajabad, Sang-e Sefid, Bahramabad, Dehnow, Qareh Kahriz, Nasrabad, Goran, Jowz, Cherbas, Jahan Khosh and Anuj.
(Giapla in Armenian) now in Azna County in Lorestan Province and Shazand County in Markazi Province:
- Zarneh, Upper Khoygan, Nemagerd, Gharghan, Sangbaran, Hezar Jarib, Singerd, Lower Khoygan, Adegan, Hadan, Milagerd, Surshegan, Savaran, Chigan, Derakhtak, Punestan, Qaleh Khajeh, Aznavleh, Bijgerd, Khong, Moghandar, Nanadegan and Darreh Bid.
now in Tiran & Karvan County in Isfahan Province:
Lenjan and Alenjan
- Khansarak, Kelisan, Mehregan, Pelart, Semsan, Kaleh Masih, Garkan, Zudan, Barchan, Jushan, Bondart, Koruj, Zazeran, Kapashan and Mamad.
- Vastegan, Geshnigan, Shalamzar, Gandoman, Sirak, Boldaji, Mamura, Mamuka, Hajiabad and Ahmadabad, Livasian and Zorigan.
The settlements of Lenjan, Alenjan and Karvan disappeared in the 18th century. The other settlements depopulated in the middle of 20th century due to emigration to New Julfa, Teheran or Soviet Armenia (in 1945 and later in 1967). Currently only 1 village (Zarneh) in Peria is totally, and 4 other villages (Upper Khoygan, Gharghan, Nemagerd and Sangbaran) in Peria and 1 village (Upper Chanakhchi) in Gharaghan are partially settled by Armenians. Other than these settlements there is an Armenian village near Gorgan (Qoroq) which is settled by Armenians recently moved from Soviet territory.
Culture and language
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In addition to having their own churches and clubs, Armenians of Iran are one of the few linguistic minorities in Iran with their own schools.
The Armenian language used in Iran holds a unique position in the usage of Armenian in the world. Usually, the traditional Armenian diaspora worldwide that emanated from the Ottoman Empire and emigrated to the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, uses Western Armenian. However the Armenians of Iran, owing to their proximity to the Armenian Republic, actually speak an Eastern Armenian dialect that is very close to that used in Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
However in stark departure from their other Eastern Armenian brethren, the Iranian-Armenians have stuck to the Traditional Armenian orthography known as "Mashdotsian orthography" and spelling, whereas almost all other Eastern Armenian users have adopted the Reformed Armenian Orthography known as "Abeghian orthography" applied in Soviet Armenia and continued in the present Republic of Armenia.
This makes the Armenian language used in Iran and in the Armenian-Iranian media and publications unique, applying elements of both major Armenian language branches (pronunciation, grammar and language structure of Eastern Armenian and the spelling system of Western Armenian).
- Iranian Armenians live in: Bourvari, Peria, New Julfa
- Armenia–Iran relations, Armenians in the Persian Empire
- Ethnic minorities in Iran, Christians in Iran
- List of Armenian churches in Iran
- List of Iranian Armenians
- Media: Alik, Arax (weekly),
- Sports: F.C. Ararat Tehran, Ararat Tehran BC, Pan-Armenian Games
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- Jafalian, Annie, ed. (2011). Reassessing Security in the South Caucasus: Regional Conflicts and Transformation. Ashgate Publishing. p. 143. ISBN 9781409476474.
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- "Iran's religious minorities waning despite own MPs". Bahai.uga.edu. 2000-02-16. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
- Golnaz Esfandiari (2004-12-23). "A Look At Iran's Christian Minority". Payvand.com. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
- "Իրանի Կրոնական Փոքրամասնություններ". Lragir.am. 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Իրանահայ «Ալիք»- ը նշում է 80- ամյակը[dead link]
- Հայկական Հանրագիտարան. "Հայերն Իրանում". Encyclopedia.am. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Թամարա Վարդանյան. "Իրանահայ Համայնք. Ճամպրուկային Տրամադրություններ". Noravank.am. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Edmon Armenian history". Home.wanadoo.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Armenians in Iran.|
- Armenian Iranians news portal
- Hamaynk: Iranian Armenian News Network
- "Iranian Armenians" BBC Persian
- Alik, Armenian daily in Iran
- Arax Armenian weekly in Iran