Assyrians in Iran
Assyrians producing butter in Persia
|Regions with significant populations|
|Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Protestant|
Assyrians in Iran (Persian: آشوریان در ایران), or Iranian Assyrians, are an ethnoreligious and linguistic minority in present-day Iran. The Assyrians of Iran are a Semitic people who speak modern Assyrian, a neo-Aramaic language descended from Classical Syriac and elements of Akkadian, and are Eastern Rite Christians belonging mostly to the Assyrian Church of the East and, to a lesser extent, to the Chaldean Catholic Church. They share a common identity, rooted in shared linguistic and religious traditions, with Assyrians in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as with the Assyrian diaspora.
The Assyrian community in Iran numbered approximately 200,000 prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. However, after the revolution many Assyrians left the country, primarily for the United States, and the 1996 census counted only 32,000 Assyrians. Current estimates of the Assyrian population in Iran range from 32,000 (as of 2005[update]) to 50,000 (as of 2007[update]). The Iranian capital, Tehran, is home to the majority of Iranian Assyrians; however, approximately 15,000 Assyrians reside in northern Iran, in Urmia and various Assyrian villages in the surrounding area.
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ratified in 1979, recognizes Assyrians as a religious minority and reserves for them one seat in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Iranian parliament. As of 2004[update], the seat was occupied by Yonathan Betkolia, who was elected in 2000 and reelected in the 2004 legislative election.
Today, scholars estimate that there are only around 5,000 Assyrians left in the historically Assyrian city of Urmia.
There were about 200,000 Assyrians in Iran at the time of the 1976 census. Many emigrated after the revolution in 1979, but at least 50,000 were estimated to be still in Iran in 1987.
Assyrians have a long history in Iran. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–608 BC), much of western Iran (including Medes, Persia, Elam and Gutium) was subject to Assyria. After the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Assyria was ruled by Persia from 539 BC. Assyrians have possibly existed in north-western Iran for many thousands of years.
The traditional home of the Assyrians in Iran is along the western shore of Lake Urmia from the Salmas area to the Urmia plain. During the Assyrian Genocide, which took place in World War I, the Ottoman Army and Kurdish tribes along the Iranian-Turkish border carried out massacres and deportations on the Assyrians both in the mountains and on the rich plains, resulting in the death of 300,000 Assyrians. In 1914 alone, they attacked dozens of villages and drove off all the inhabitants of the district of Gawar. The Assyrians armed themselves and for a time successfully repelled further attacks under the leadership of Agha Petros, seizing control of much of the Urmia region and defeating Ottoman forces and their Kurdish and Azeri allies. However lack of ammunition and supplies, due mainly to the withdrawal of Russia from the war, and the collapse of allied Armenian forces led to their downfall. Massively outnumbered, surrounded, undersupplied and cut off, the Assyrians suffered terrible massacres. By the summer of 1918 almost all surviving Assyrians had fled to Tehran or refugee camps in Iraq. Local Kurds and Turks (Azari) took the opportunity of the last phases of World War I to rob Assyrian homes, carry off young women, and leave those remaining destitute. The critical murder that sowed panic in the Assyrian community came when Kurdish militias, under Agha Ismail Simko, assassinated the Patriarch, Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI, on March 3, 1918, under the pretext of inviting him to negotiations.
- Assyrian Church of the East
- Chaldean Church of Babylon
- Assyrian Evangelical Church
- Assyrian Pentecostal Church
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - Urmia - 1st century
- St. Cyriacus (Mar Kuryakus) Church - Urmia - 18th century
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - Urmia - CharBakhsh - 5th century
- Holy Gabriel (Mar Gabriel) Church - Urmia - Ordushahi - 19th century
- St. Shalita (Mar Shalita) Church - Urmia - Shirabad - 19th century
- St. Joseph (Mar Yozep) Church - Urmia - Shirabad - 1897
- St. Sarkis (Mar Sargiz) Church - 5 km SW of Urmia - Seir - 5th century
- Holy Zion (Mar Sehyon) Church - 8 km E of Urmia - Golpashan
- St. George (Mar Gevargiz) Church - 8 km E of Urmia - Golpashan - 1905
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - 8 km E of Urmia - Golpashan
- Sts. Peter-Paul (Mar Petros-Paulos) Church - 10 km E of Urmia - 8th century - believed to be built by Bukhtishu
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - 32 km E of Urmia - Mavana
- St. Daniel (Mar Danial) Church - 25 km N of Urmia - Nazlu River - 5th century - destroyed in World War I, rebuilt
- St. John (Mar Yokhanah) Church - 45 km N of Urmia - Jamalabad - 5th century
- St. John (Mar Yokhanah) Church - 24 km N of Urmia - Adeh - 1901
- St. Sabrisho (Mar Sabrisho) Church - 30 km N of Urmia - Mushiabad - 1880
- St. George (Mar Gevargiz) Church - 35 km N of Urmia - Sopurghan - 1830
- St. John (Mar Yokhanah) Church - 40 km N of Urmia - Gavilan - 5th century
- St. John (Mar Yokhanah) Church - 40 km N of Urmia - Gavilan - 19th century
- St. Thomas (Mar Toma) Church - 30 km W of Urmia - Balulan - 7th century
- St. Cyriacus (Mar Kuryakus) Church - Salmas - Kohneshahr - 12th century
- St. James (Mar Yakob) Church - Salmas - Kohneshahr - 19th century
- St. Khinah (Mar Khinah) Church - Salmas - Sarna
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - Salmas - Savera
- Vank - 2 km S of Salmas - Khosrowabad - 5th century - The Holy Cross of Jerusalem was kept here for a while.
- St. Sarkis (Mar Sargiz) Church - 2 km S of Salmas - Khosrowabad - 1869
- St. George (Mar Gevargiz) Church - 2 km S of Salmas - Khosrowabad - 1845
- Church - 12 km SW of Salmas - Akhtekhaneh - 1890
- St. Sarkis (Mar Sargiz) Church - 2 km S of Salmas - Khosrowabad - 1869
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - Sehna
- St. George (Mar Gevargiz) Church - Teheran (Bagh-e-Shah) - 1962
- Holy Mary (Mart Maryam) Church - Teheran (Sarbaz St.) - 1978
- St. Joseph (Mar Yozep) Church - Teheran (Forsat St.) - 1950
- Holy Virgin Church - Teheran (Appadana St.)
- Chaldean Catholic Chapel - Eslamshahr Catholic Cemetery - 1967
- St. Thomas (Mar Toma) Church - Teheran (Amirabad) - 1967
- Assyrian Brotherhood Church - Teheran (ShahrAra St.)
Famous Assyrians from Iran
- Andre Agassi - Assyrian-Armenian Tennis player
- Ramona Amiri, Miss World Canada 2005
- Mike Agassi, Olympic boxer and father of Andre Agassi
- Eprime Eshag, Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford
- Alexander L. George, Graham H. Stuart Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Stanford University
- George Malek-Yonan, procured a seat in the Iranian Parliament for Assyrians
- Rosie Malek Yonan, actor, author and activist
- Evin Agassi, music artist
- Bukhtishu family - Famous physicians in the Middle Ages
- The following are Assyrians from the Sanaya region
- Mar Youhannan Semaan Issayi, Archbishop of Assyro-Chaldean Metropolitan Tehran
- Dr. Estiphan Panoussi, Professor, Researcher, Linguist
- Albert Bavi, General Manager of Power & Water, Tehran Division
- Paul Caldani, Composer, Writer, Music Researcher
- Dr. Younan Nowzaradan,M.D., F.A.C.S. General and Vascular surgeon,specializing in laparoscopic roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
- Dr. Philip Nowzaradan, M.D. A Family Doctor, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
- Fred Khachik, Chemist, Research scientist,professor .
- Cyrus Adari, M.D., Researcher.
- Villard Salibi, Designer, Artist
- Henry Oshana Shirabadi,Teacher of physics.
- Dr. Sargon Bet Oushana, Assyrian Parliament Representative, M.D., surgeon,
- Christians in Iran
- Ethnic minorities in Iran
- List of Assyrian settlements
- Religious minorities in Iran
- Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Urmia
- Hooglund (2008), pp. 100–101.
- Hooglund (2008), pp. 100–101, 295.
- Hooglund (2008), p. 295.
- BetBasoo, Peter (1 April 2007). "Brief History of Assyrians". Assyrian International News Agency. Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- Hooglund (2008), pp. 128–129.
- .Evidence in Stone and Wood: The Assyrian/Syriac History and Heritage of the Urmia Region in Iran
- Iran A Country Study By Federal Research Division - Page 128
- David Gaunt, "The Assyrian Genocide of 1915", Assyrian Genocide Research Center, 2009
- Hooglund, Eric (2008). "The Society and Its Environment". In Curtis, Glenn E.; Hooglund, Eric. Iran: A Country Study (PDF). Area Handbook Series. United States Library of Congress, Federal Research Division (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. pp. 81–142. ISBN 978-0-8444-1187-3. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Eden Naby, “The Assyrians of Iran: Reunification of a ‘Millat,’ 1906-1914” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 8. (1977) pp. 237–249
- Eden Naby, “The Iranian Frontier Nationalities: The Kurds, the Assyrians, the Baluch and the Turkmens,”Soviet Asian Ethnic Frontiers, ed.by McCagg and Silver (New York, Pergamon Press, 1979).
- Eden Naby, “Christian Assyrian Architecture of Iran,” News – Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions (Spring 1998) vol. 5, no. 2, p. 7, 10.
- Eden Naby, "Ishtar: Documenting the Crisis in the Assyrian Iranian Community," MERIA 10/4 (2006)http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2006/issue4/Naby.pdf