Iranian Australian

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Iranian Australian
Total population
34,453 (by birth, 2011)
36,168 (by ancestry, 2011)
Regions with significant populations
New South Wales, Victoria
Australian English, Persian, Azerbaijani and other languages of Iran
Predominantly Twelver Shia Islam, Minorities of Sunni Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Bahá'í Faith, Zoroastrianism, Irreligion

Iranian Australians or Persian Australians are Australian citizens of Iranian background or descent.


It is difficult to trace the immigration to Australia from the region designated by the modern world as the Middle East or traditionally, as Asia Minor, because of the way in which immigration officials on both sides have kept records. The first wave of immigration from Iran to Australia, from 1950 to 1977, was relatively insignificant in terms of the number of immigrants. Annually, only a few hundred entered Australia as immigrants during the period, along with a few thousand non-immigrants, including students and visitors. The vast majority of Iran's emigrants left their homeland just after the 1979 revolution. For the period 1978-1980, the average number of Iranians entering Australia as non-immigrants annually increased to more than 5,000. From the period 1980-1988, there was a strong trend of emigration to Australia due to the ongoing Iran-Iraq war, which came about after the Hussein regime invaded Iran in 1980, sparking an 8 year long war. Iran quickly repelled Iraq's armed forces into Iraqi territory, and in turn invaded Iraq, where the majority of the war was fought. Several offers of ceasefire by Iraq were rejected by Iran during that period and the war finally ended with the full backing of the United Nations pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 598. It took several weeks for the Iranian armed forces to evacuate Iraq after the war's end in 1988.

Iranians in Sydney predominantly speak Persian and practice the Persian culture, which includes Nowruz. Along religious lines, both Muslim and non-Muslim Iranians reside in Australia. Non-Muslim Iranians include Iranian Christians, Iranian Baha'is and Iranian Zoroastrians. The Bureau of Statistics reports that "At the 2011 Census the major religious affiliations amongst Iran-born were Islam (12 686) and Baha'i (6269). Of the Iran-born, 18.4 per cent stated 'No Religion' which was lower than that of the total Australian population (22.3 per cent), and 9.4 per cent did not state a religion."

Several sources have noted estimates of several million of the seventy million Iranians residing in Iran have left Iran since the 1979 revolution, the majority of which currently reside in the United States and Western Europe.

In 1981 the Minister for Immigration at the time, the Hon Ian Macphee, under Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced a Special Humanitarian Assistance (SHP) Program for Iranians to seek immigration to Australia. These included Iranians affected by the devastating impacts of the Iran-Iraq war and other religious minorities. See also Baha'i Faith in Australia. Government agencies have observed closely the resettlement of Iranian immigration to Australia. One report observed many were professionally qualified and displayed a determination to re-establish themselves quickly; they tended to remain in migrant hostels for short periods; they had high expectations of successful settlement, and strong career ambitions. General Iranian immigration to Australia mostly occurred from 1980s to late 1990s. The Iranian-Australian community, in line with similar trends in Iran and other countries around the world, has produced a sizable number of individuals notable in many fields, including Law, Medicine, Engineering, Business and Fine Arts.


Large concentrations[clarification needed] of Iranian Australians live in the state of New South Wales, particularly around Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong. There are also large concentrations in Melbourne.

Smaller but also significant[clarification needed] communities can be found in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Iranian Australians are a very religiously diverse group of people. Due to religious persecution of minorities in Iran, many Iranians have migrated to Australia as refugees in order to avoid persecution back home.

Iranian Australian census[edit]

In 1991, the ABS figures revealed an Iranian population of 12,914.[1] In 2004, 18,798 people in Australia claim to be of Iranian ancestry.[2]

By 2005, Iranian Australians had reached 24,588 with 11,536 of these residing in New South Wales.[1] The largest populations of Iranian-Australians can be found in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland.

Iranian Australians have founded or participated in senior leadership positions of many major companies, including many Fortune 500 and Australian branch of companies such as GE, Intel, Verizon, Motorola, and AT&T.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Aidani, Mammad (December 2007). "Displaced Narratives of Iranian migrants and Refugees: Constructions of Self and the Struggle for Representation" (PDF). Education and Human Development School of Psychology. Victoria University. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  2. ^ Khoo, Siew-Ean; Lucas, David (2004-05-24). "Australian' Ancestries" (PDF). Australian Census Analytic Program. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-07-20.