Iranians in Iraq
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Moaved. (Discuss) Proposed since October 2013.|
|500,000 - 1,000,000|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Karbalā', Najaf, Baghdād
Baṣrah, Wāsit, Maysān
|Persian, Lurish, Arabic|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Persians, Lurs, Iraqis|
Historically, and for most of Iran's history, Iraq was a core part of Iran (the capital province in many periods). It is where the Achaemenid capital Babylon, and the Parthian and Sassanian capital Ctesiphon were located. Even though Iraqis spoke Semitic rather than Iranic language, Iraq was always regarded as Irān (Iran proper); never as Anīrān (non-Iran).
Persian settlement in Iraq goes back to the 6th century BC when the Achaemenid Persians annexed Iraq (Babylonia) and its empire, and made Babylon their winter capital. Persians henceforth became a ruling minority in Iraq, and would rule Persia from Iraq for most of antiquity.
|“||According to Sassanian documents, Persians distinguished two kinds of land within their empire: "Īrān" (Iran proper), and "Anīrān" (non-Iran). Iraq was considered to be part of Īrān.
As Wilhelm Eilers observes: "For the Sassanians, too [as it was for the Parthians], the lowlands of Iraq constituted the heart of their dominions". This shows that Iraq was not simply part of the Persian Empire—it was the heart of Persia.
During the Sassanid Empire, from the 3rd century to the 7th century, the major part of Iraq was called in Persian Del-e Īrānshahr (lit. "The Heart of Iran"), and its metropolis Ctesiphon (not far from present-day Baghdad) functioned for more than 800 years as the capital city of Iran.
The Babylonian aristocracy became increasingly Persianized and commonly intermarried with Persian families, who likewise became increasingly Aramaicized. Culturally, there was very little to distinguish Aramaean notables from their Persian counterparts in the Sassanid era.
The Two Iraqs
As during antiquity, Iraq and western Iran continued to have a close relationship during the Abbasid era and later centuries. So much so that the two regions came to share the same name. The western-central region of Iran (ancient Media) was called 'Irāq-e 'Ajamī ("Persian Iraq"), while central-southern Iraq (Babylonia) was called 'Irāq al-'Arabī ("Arabic Iraq") or Bābil ("Babylon").
For centuries the two neighbouring regions were known as "The Two Iraqs" ("al-'Iraqain"). The 12th century Persian poet Khāqāni wrote a famous poem Tohfat-ul Iraqein ("A Gift from the Two Iraqs"). The city of Arāk in western Iran still bears the region's old name, and Iranians still traditionally call the region between Tehran, Isfahan and Īlām "ʿErāq".
Thus, throughout the medieval and early modern era, an 'Iraqi' may have been from either Iraq or western Iran, and may have spoken Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Lurish, or several of these languages.
Shīʿa Iraqis and Persian Shīʿa Iraqis were persecuted under the Ba'ath dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Persians were expelled from Iraq by the Ba'athist dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of whom had lived in Iraq for generations and had married into Iraqi families.
Following the fall of the Ba'ath regime in 2003 and the empowerment of Iraq's majority Shīʿa community, relations with Iran have flourished in all fields.
Historically, Persian settlement in Iraq has chiefly been in that part of the country historically known as Babylonia (or Sumer and Akkad); from around Baghdad to the Persian Gulf, today comprising the Shīʿa region of Iraq.
The number of Persians in Iraq today is around 500,000, however the number of Iraqis of Persian origin is likely to be several million.
Iraqis and Persians have a huge amount of shared culture and shared civilization.
Persians in Iraq do not segregate themselves as an ethnic minority, rather they blend with Persianate Shīʿa Iraqis as one ethnic group. Knowledge of Persian is widespread in cities such as Karbalā', Najaf, and parts of Baghdād and Baṣrah. The cultural atmosphere is very similar to that in Iran.
Millions of Iranians visit Iraq every year, for religious, cultural, social and business activities. Many families are spread between Iraq and Iran.
- Buck, Christopher (1999). Paradise And Paradigm: Key Symbols In Persian Christianity And The Baháí̕ Faith. SUNY Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7914-4061-2.
- Marcinkowski, Christoph (2010). Shi'ite Identities: Community and Culture in Changing Social Contexts. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 83. ISBN 978-3-643-80049-7. "During the time of the Sasanids, Iran's last dynasty before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century, the major part of Iraq was called in Persian Del-i Īrānshahr (lit. 'Heart of Iran'), and its metropolis Ctesiphon (not far from present-day Baghdad) functioned for more than 800 years as the capital city of Iran."
- Yavari, Neguin (1997). Iranian Perspectives on the Iran-Iraq War; Part II. Conceptual Dimensions; 7. National, Ethnic, and Sectarian Issues in the Iran-Iraq War. University Press of Florida. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-8130-1476-0. "Iraq with its capital of Ctesiphon was called by the Sasanian kings the 'heart of Iranshahr,' the land of Iran... The ruler spent most of the year in this capital, only moving to the cities of the highlands of Iran for the Summer."
- Morony, Michael G. (1984). Iraq After The Muslim Conquest. Gorgias Press. pp. 171–173. ISBN 9781593333157.
- Nakash, Yitzhak (2003). The Shi'is of Iraq. Princeton University Press. pp. 100–102. ISBN 978-0-691-11575-7.
- "Iraq – People Groups". Joshua Project. Retrieved 21 September 2011 (including Persian Lurs).