Azerbaijan (Iran)

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Four provinces in Iranian Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan (Iran) in the Iranian Map.

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Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan (Persian: آذربایجان‎‎ Āzarbāijān; Azerbaijani: آذربایجانAzərbaycan), also Iranian Azerbaijan,[1] is a region in northwestern Iran. It is also historically known as Atropatene and Aturpatakan. The region is referred by some as South Azerbaijan or Southern Azerbaijan;[2] however, some scholars and sources view these terms as being irredentist and politically motivated.[3][4][5]

Following the Russo-Persian Wars of the 19th century, and the resulting Treaty of Gulistan of 1813 and the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828, Qajar Iran was forced to irrevocable cede all of its territories in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia proper to neighboring Imperial Russia, amongst which was the territory of the current Republic of Azerbaijan.[6] Iranian Azerbaijan, became the northwestern frontier instead, as opposed to priorly the territories that now comprise Georgia and Dagestan.[7] The bulk of the Azerbaijanis stayed in Iran, in Iranian Azerbaijan precisely, following the territorial partition with Russia with the new border set at the Aras River, while the rest of the Azerbaijanis together with the territory of the contemporary adjacent Republic of Azerbaijan, were absorbed into and ceded to Russia. In 1918, the territory of the nowadays Republic of Azerbaijan was to be named Azerbaijan as well upon establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the decision of the leading Musavat party to adopt the name for the newly established republic,[8] while priorly the territory was known as "Arran" and "Shirvan" by the Iranian rulers as well as all others. The two territories of Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan are the traditional homeland of the Azerbaijanis, who following the outcome of the 19th century Russo-Persian Wars, were parted between the two empires instead of priorly being always part of one, and subsequently nowadays they are partitioned between two nations following the dissolution of the Soviet Union; Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan.[9] The majority in Azerbaijani region are ethnic Azerbaijanis, however minorities of Armenians, Persians, Kurds, Talysh, and Assyrians are present as well.

The region has, as well as vice versa, played a pivotal role in the historical development of the Caucasus region, as well as neighbouring Anatolia, and more inland regions of modern-day Iran, and its history is inseparable from the history of the contemporary Azerbaijani Republic. Nowadays, the region borders, clockwise, Iraq, Turkey, Nakhchivan, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The provinces comprising the region are West Azerbaijan Province, East Azerbaijan Province, Ardabil Province, and Zanjan Province.

Etymology and usage

The name Azerbaijan itself is derived from Atropates,[10] the Persian[11][12][13] Satrap (governor) of Medea in the Achaemenid empire, who ruled a region found in modern Iranian Azerbaijan called Atropatene. Atropates name is believed to be derived from the Old Persian roots meaning "protected by fire."[14] The name is also mentioned in the Avestan Frawardin Yasht: âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide which translates literally to: "We worship the Fravashi of the holy Atare-pata."[15] According to the Encyclopedia of Islam: "In Middle Persian the name of the province was called Āturpātākān, older new-Persian Ādharbādhagān آذربادگان/آذرآبادگان, Ādharbāyagān, at present Āzerbāydjān/Āzarbāydjān, Greek ᾿Ατροπατήνη, Byzantine Greek ᾿Αδραβιγάνων, Armenian Atrpatakan, Syriac Adhorbāyghān."[16] The name Atropat in Middle Persian was transformed to Adharbad and is connected with Zoroastrianism. A famous Zoroastrian priest by the name Adarbad Mahraspandan is well known for his counsels.[17] Azerbaijan, due to its numerous fire-temples has also been quoted in a variety of historic sources as being the birthplace of the prophet Zoroaster although modern scholars have not yet reached an agreement on the location of his birth.[18]

Upon Qajar Iran's forced ceding of its Caucasian territories north of the Aras River, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan in the course of the 19th century to Imperial Russia, through the treaties of Gulistan (1813) and Turkmenchay (1828), the latter was eventually named Azerbaijan as well, following disintegration of the Russian Empire and the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918 by the Musavat party.[8]


Caspian sea and Azerbaijan position on the left side of the map in the 10th century. Original map is in Ṣūrat al-’Arḍ (صورة الارض; "The face of the Earth") Ibn Hawqal (977) Beyrut) page 419
An old map of Azerbaijan and its neighboring regions depicted by the Ibn Hawqal 1145 AD.
The Tabula Rogeriana, drawn by Muhammad al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily in 1154. Azerbaijan in south west of Caspian sea. South is towards the top.

Pre-Islamic period

The oldest kingdom known in Iranian Azerbaijan is that of the Mannea who ruled a region southeast of Lake Urmia centered around modern Saqqez. The Manneans were a confederation of Iranian and non-Iranian groups. According to Professor Zadok:

it is unlikely that there was any ethnolinguistic unity in Mannea. Like other peoples of the Iranian plateau, the Manneans were subjected to an ever increasing Iranian (i.e., Indo-European) penetration.[19]

The Mannaeans were conquered and absorbed by an Iranian people called Matieni, and the country was called Matiene, with Lake Urmia called Lake Matianus. Matiene was later conquered by the Medes and became a satrapy of the Median empire and then a sub-satrapy of the Median satrapy of the Persian Empire.

According to Encyclopædia Britannica, the Medes were an:

Indo-European people, related to the Persians, who entered northeastern Iran probably as early as the 17th century BC and settled in the plateau land that came to be known as Media.[20]

After Alexander the Great conquered Persia, he appointed (328 BC) as governor the Persian general Atropates, who eventually established an independent dynasty. The region, which came to be known as Atropatene or Media Atropatene (after Atropates), was much disputed. In the 2nd century BC, it was liberated from Seleucid domination by Mithradates I of Arsacid dynasty, and was later made a province of the Sassanid Empire of Ardashir I. Under the Sassanids, Azerbaijan was ruled by a marzubān, and, towards the end of the period, belonged to the family of Farrokh Hormizd.

Large parts of the region were conquered by the Kingdom of Armenia. Large parts of the region made up part of historical Armenia. The parts of historical Armenia within what is modern-day Azerbaijan comprise; Nor Shirakan, Vaspurakan, and Paytakaran. Vaspurakan, of which large parts were located in what is modern-day Iranian Azerbaijan is described as the cradle of Armenian civilization.[21]

On 26 May 451 AD, a very important battle was fought that would prove immensely pivotal in Armenian history. On the Avarayr Plain, at what is modern-day Churs (modern-day West Azerbaijan Province), the Armenian Army under Vardan Mamikonian clashed with Sassanid Persia. Although the Persians were victorious on the battlefield itself, the battle proved to be a major strategic victory for Armenians, as Avarayr paved the way to the Nvarsak Treaty (484 AD), which affirmed Armenia's right to practice Christianity freely.[22][23]

Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, briefly held the region in the 7th century until peace was made with the Sassanids. After the Islamic Conquest of Iran, Arab invaders converted most of its people to Islam and made it part of the caliphate.

Islamic period

Sasanian and early Islamic period

During the Arab invasion of Iran, the name of the Spahbed of Iran, was Rostam Farrokhzad, the son of Farrukh Hormizd, who was the son of Vinduyih, the uncle of Khosrau I and brother of the Sasanian usurper Vistahm. Rustam himself was born in Azerbaijan and led the Sasanian army into battle. He is also mentioned in the Shahnameh.

The Sasanian army was defeated at the battle of al-Qādisiyyah and Rostam Farrokhzad, along with many other Sasanian veterans was killed. In 642, Piruz Khosrow, one of the Sasanian survivors during the battle of al-Qādisiyyah, fought against the Muslims at Nahavand, which was a gateway to the provinces of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Caucasian Albania. The battle was fierce but the Sasanian troops lost during the battle. This opened the gateway for Muslims into Azerbaijan. The Muslims then invaded Azerbaijan, and captured Isfandiyar, the son of Farrukhzad. Isfandiyar then promised in return for the safety of his life he would agree to surrender his estates in Azerbaijan and aid the Muslims in defeating his brother, Bahram. Bahram was then defeated, and also sought for peace. A pact was drawn according to which Azerbaijan was surrendered to Caliph Umar on usual terms of paying the annual Jizya.

Muslims settled in Azerbaijan like many parts of Iran. According to the Iranian Azerbaijani historian Ahmad Kasravi, the Muslims also settled in Azerbaijan more numerously than other provinces due to its wide and green pastures. Local revolts against the Caliphate were common and the most famous of these revolts was the Persian Khurramite movement.

Abbasid and Seljuqids

After the revolt of Babak Khorramdin who was a Zoroastrian of neo-Mazdakite background, the grip of the Abbasid caliphate on Azerbaijan weakened, allowing native dynasties to rise in Azerbaijan. Later on Azerbaijan was taken by the Kurdish Daisam and the Sallarid Marzuban, the latter who once again united it with Arran, Shirvan, and most of Eastern Armenia. After confrontations with the local Dailamite and Kurdish populations who had already established their own dynasties and emirates in vast areas of Azerbaijan, the Seljuks dominated the region in the 11th and early 12th centuries, at which point Turkification of the native populations began. In 1136, Azerbaijan fell to the lot of the Atabakan-e-Azerbaijan and Atabakan-e-Maragheh. It was later invaded by the Khwarizm Shah Jalal ad-din until the advent of the Mongol invasions.

Mongol and Turkmen Period

The Mongols under Hulagu Khan established their capital at Maragheh. The Safina-yi Tabriz is a book that describes the general intellectual condition of Tabriz during the Ilkhanid period. After being conquered by Timur in the 14th century, Tabriz became an important provincial capital of the Timurid empire. Later, Tabriz becamse the capital of the Qara Qoyunlu empire.

Safavid, Afshars and Qajars and loss of the adjacent Caucasian territories

File:Azerbaijan khanates all XVIII-XIX.png
Khanates in the Caucasus and the Iranian Azerbaijan, 18th-19th centuries.[24]

It was out of Ardabil (ancient Artavilla) that the Safavid dynasty arose to renew the state of Persia and establish Shi'ism as the official religion of Iran. At the same time in history, the population of nowadays Azerbaijan and Iran were converted to Shiism,[25] and both nations remain the only officially vast majority Shia nations in the world, with Azerbaijan having the second largest Shia population by percentage right after Iran.[26] The Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world after Iran.[27]

After 1502, Azerbaijan became the chief bulwark and military base of the Safavids. It was the chief province from which the various Iranian empires would control their Caucasian provinces, all the way up to Dagestan in the early 19th century. In the meantime, between 1514 and 1603, the Ottomans sometimes occupied Tabriz and other parts of the province during their numerous wars with their Safavid ideological and political arch rivals. The Safavid control was restored by Shah Abbas but during the Afghan invasion (1722–8) the Ottomans recaptured Azerbaijan and other western provinces of Iran, until Nader Shah expelled them. In the beginning of the reign of Karim Khan Zand, the Azad Khan Afghan unsuccessfully revolted in Azerbaijan and later the Dumbuli Kurds of khoy and other tribal chiefs ruled various parts of the territory. Azad Khan was defeated however by Erekle II. With the advent of the Qajars, Azerbaijan became the traditional residence of the heirs-apparent. Even until then Azerbaijan stayed the main area from where the high ranked governors would control the various territories and Khanates of the Caucasus while the main power stayed in Tehran.

Though the first Qajar Iranian ruler, Agha Mohammad Khan, had reconquered the Caucasus and all of Iran in several swift campaigns, such as the harsh resubjugation of Georgia in 1795, Iran would eventually irrevocably lose all of the Caucasus region shortly after to neighbouring Imperial Russia in the course of the 19th century, which all related events had a crucial impact on the region of modern-day Iranian Azerbaijan. Agha Mohammad Shah was shortly after his reconquering of Georgia assassinated while preparing a second expedition in 1797 in Shusha (modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan)[28] Reassessment of Iranian hegemony over Georgia did not last long; in 1799 the Russians marched into Tbilisi,[29] which would mark the beginning of the end of the Iranian-ruled domains in the Caucasus, comprising modern-day Georgia, Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Dagestan eventually in the course of the 19th century through the Russo-Persian Wars.[7]

The Russians were already actively occupied with an expansionistic policy towards its neighboring empires to its south, namely the Ottoman Empire and the successive Iranian kingdoms since the late 17th/early 18th century. Following Agha Mohammad Khan's death and the Russian troops entering the Iranian possession of Tbilisi in 1799, it laid the direct uplead to the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), which would be the first Russo-Persian War of the 19th century,[28] and the most devastating and humiliating one. By the end of the war in 1813 and the outcoming Treaty of Gulistan, Qajar Iran was forced to cede Georgia, most of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, and Dagestan to Russia. By now, the only Caucasian territories remaining in Iranian hands were what is nowadays Armenia, the Nakhichevan Khanate and the Talysh Khanate. The next and last war, the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) turned out in an even more humiliating defeat, with Iran being forced to cede abovementioned regions,[7] as well as with the Russian troops temporarily occupying Tabriz and Iranian Azerbaijan. As Iran could not allow the Russians to gain possession over its Caucasian territories in the North Caucasus and South Caucasus, the millennia old ancient ties between Iran and the Caucaus region could only be severed by a superior force from outside, which would be Russia through these wars of the 19th century.[28]

The area to the North of the river Aras, among which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.[6][7][30][31][32][33][34]

Following the course of the 19th century by which thus Iran lost aforementioned regions,[7] all territories which had made part of the concept of Iran for three centuries,[28] the border between Iran and Russia was now to be set more southwards, at the Aras River, which is nowadays the border between Iran and Armenia - Azerbaijan. By these forced irrevocable cedings of swaths of territory Iran, it is also the direct reason why the Azerbaijanis are nowadays split between Iran and the neighbouring Republic of Azerbaijan.[9]

Following the start of a period of high amounts of Russian influences in all of Northern Iran including Azerbaijan (all of Northern Iran fell into Russia's sphere of influence for decades), after 1905 the representatives of Azerbaijan were very active in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution in particular as a response to this.

Modern Period

The Russian (Tsarist) army occupied Iranian Azerbaijan in 1909 and again in 1912–1914 and 1915–1918; Ottoman forces occupied her in 1914–1915 and 1918–1919; Bolshevik forces occupied Iranian Azerbaijan and other parts of Iran in 1920–1921,[35] and Soviet forces occupied Iranian Azerbaijan in 1941, creating a very short-lived autonomous, Soviet-supported state from November 1945 to November 1946,[36] which was dissolved after the reunification of Iranian Azerbaijan with Iran in November of the same year. The period roughly from the last major Russo-Persian War up to this date is so called the period of high Russian influences in Iran. All of Northern Iran, including Iranian Azerbaijan, Gilan, Mazandaran, Qazvin, and many other places all the way up to Isfahan fell into the Russian sphere of influence. Russian armies were stationed in many regions of Iranian Azerbaijan, Russian schools were founded, and many Russians settled in the region, but less than in Gilan and Mazandaran. Also Azerbaijan saw the large influx of the so-called White émigrées who fled to Iran following the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. The history of Iran, especially its contemporary history has proven that the Azerbaijani people are one of the most patriotic people in Iran. Iranian nationalism is partly the product of Azerbaijani intellectuals.[37][38] Azerbaijani provinces have played a major in the cultural and economic life of Iran in both the Pahlavi era as well as the Iranian Constitutional and Islamic revolution.


The Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan, both West and East, possess a large number of monuments from all periods of history.[39]


Iranian Azerbaijan is generally considered the northwest portion of Iran comprising the provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, and Ardabil,[40] Zanjan,[41] and some parts of Hamadan[42] and comprising an area of 122,871 square kilometres (47,441 sq mi). It shares borders with the Republic of Azerbaijan,[43] Armenia, Turkey, and Iraq. There are 17 rivers and two lakes in the region. Cotton, nuts, textiles, tea, machinery, and electrical equipment are main industries. The northern, alpine region, which includes Lake Urmia, is mountainous, with deep valleys and fertile lowlands.

The region is bounded in the north by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan and in the West by Lake Urmia and Kurdish-inhabited areas of Iran, and in the East by the Talyshstan and Gilan.



Most of the biggest rivers in Azerbaijan are flowing either to Urmia Lake or Caspian sea:

Biosphere Reserve

Mountains of Arasbaran

Arasbārān in the former Qaradagh, is a UNESCO registered biosphere reserve (since 1976) and an Iranian Dept. of Environment designated "Protected Area" in East Azarbaijan Province, Iran, with a varying altitude from 256m in the vicinity of Aras River to 2896m and covers an area of 78560 hectares. The biosphere is also home for 23,500 nomads who are living in transition buffer in 2000 altitude.[47] Arasbaran is confined to Aras River in the north, Meshgin Shahr County and Moghan in the east, Sarab County in the south, and Tabriz and Marand counties in the west.



Mugan plain is a plain in northwestern Iran and the southern part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The highest density of irrigation canals is in the section of the Mugan plain which lies in the Republic of Azerbaijan. It is located on the bank of the Aras river extending to Iran. It contains highest density of irrigation canals is in the Mugan plain.[52]

Urmia Plain is a region in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran is situated on western side of Lake Urmia, eastern side of Turkish border.[53]


in Azerbaijan

Province Governor-general Representative of the Supreme Leader Province Governor-general Representative of the Supreme Leader
East Azerbaijan
Easmaeil Jabbarzadeh
Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari
West Azerbaijan
Ghorbanali Saadat
Mehdi Ghoreyshi
Ardabil Province
Majid Khodabakhsh
Hassan Ameli
Zanjan Province
Jamshid Ansari
Ali Khatami

in Assembly of Experts

84 people are members of Assembly of Experts, that 11 of them are representative of Azerbaijan region. Ali Meshkini from Meshgin Shahr[54] in the Ardabil Province was Chairmen of the Assembly of Experts since 1983 to 2007.

  • 5 representative of East Azerbaijan.
  • 3 representative of West Azerbaijan.
  • 2 representative of Ardabil Province.
  • 1 representative of Zanjan Province.
Name Province Name Province Name Province Name Province
Hashem Hashemzadeh Herisi
East Azerbaijan
Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari
East Azerbaijan
Mohammad Feyzi
East Azerbaijan
Mohammad Taghi Pourmohammadi
East Azerbaijan
Mohammad Vaez Mousavi
East Azerbaijan
Asghar Dirbaz
West Azerbaijan
Ali Akbar Ghoreyshi
West Azerbaijan
Hassan Namazi
West Azerbaijan
Hassan Ameli
Ardabil Province
Ebrahim Seyyed Hatami
Ardabil Province
Mohammad Taghi Vaezi
Zanjan Province

in Islamic Consultative Assembly

290 person are members of Islamic Consultative Assembly, that 44 of them are representative of Azerbaijan region.

Electorate According to County
Electoral district of East Azerbaijan
Tabriz, Osku, Azarshahr
2 n
Kaleybar, Khoda Afarin
Marand, Jolfa
Maragheh, Ajabshir
Hashtrud, Charuymaq
Ahar, Heris

Electoral district of West Azerbaijan
3 (1 person Kurd)j
Miandoab, Shahin Dezh, Takab
2 o
Khoy, Chaypareh
1 (Kurd)
1 (Kurd)
Maku, Poldasht, Showt, Chaldoran 
Nagadeh, Oshnavieh
1 (Kurd)
Piranshahr, Sardasht
1 (Kurd)

Electoral district of Ardabil Province
Ardabil, Nir, Namin, Sareyn
Meshgin Shahr 
Khalkhal, Kowsar
Bileh Savar, Parsabad

Electoral district of Zanjan Province
Zanjan, Tarom
Abhar, Khorramdarreh 
Ijrud, Mahneshan

in cabinet of Iran


Country Name City Province Country Name City Province
Turkish Consulate in Tabriz[60]
East Azerbaijan
Turkish Consulate in Urmia[61]
West Azerbaijan
Republic of Azerbaijan Consulate in Tabriz[62]
East Azerbaijan


In Azerbaijan based several division and Brigade, the most important Included:

Type Name City Province Type Name City Province
Division (military) of Army
Lashkar-e 21 Hamza Azerbaijan
East Azerbaijan
Division (military) of Army
Lashkar-e 64 Piyade Urmia
West Azerbaijan
Military airbase of Air force
Tactical Air Base 2, or Paygah Dovvom-e Shekari
East Azerbaijan
Agency of Navy
Navy Office of Tabriz
East Azerbaijan


Industry and mining of Iranian Azerbaijan in North-west

Companies and industries

Industries include machine tools, vehicle factories, oil refinery, petrochemical complex, food processing, cement, textiles, electric equipment, and sugar milling. Oil and gas pipelines run through the region. Wool, carpets, and metal ware are also produced. In some factories and major companies in Azerbaijan include:

  • Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company: is a tractor manufacturing company with headquarters in Tabriz.[63] Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company is currently exporting 13 different products to ten countries.[63] and has qualified for ISO 9001, and has also received rewards regarding quality and exporting.[63]
  • Goldstone Tires: operating under the brand Goldstone Tires is an Iranian tire manufacturer for automobiles, commercial trucks, light trucks, SUVs, race cars, airplanes, and heavy earth-mover machinery in Ardabil. Artawheel Tire is currently the largest non-government owned tire manufacturer in Iran by marketshare.[64] The company currently has agreements with Iran Khodro to develop tires for the Peugeot 206 Models[65]
  • Mashin Sazi Tabriz: which is also called by its abbreviation MST, is a Machine tool manufacturing factory in Tabriz. The major products of the factory are machinery tools such as turning machines, milling machines, drilling machines, grinding machines.
  • Rakhsh Khodro Diesel: is an Iranian truck manufacturer established in 2005 and located in Tabriz. This company is strategic partner of Kamaz of Russia, JAC and Jinbei of China and Maz-Man of Belarus and produces Kamaz trucks, JAC light trucks and its own designed minibus. Its headquarters is in Tabriz.
  • Iran Khodro: is the leading Iranian vehicle manufacturer, with headquarters in Tehran.[66] The company's original name was Iran National. In addition to Tehran, largest car factory in Iran have 5 automobile factories throughout the Iran. and "Iran Khodro - Tabriz" have produces capacity 61,000[67] Bardo Pick-up[68] in year. also this Irankhodro site produces 100 Samand in day.[69]
  • Tabriz International Exhibition Center: which is a complex with vast exhibition infrastructures, is located in the eastern part of Tabriz. It holds tens of exhibitions based on a yearly schedule. There are 46 exhibitions scheduled for the current Iranian year. The most famous fair is TEXPO, which is a general trade fair.
  • Aras Free Zone: is situated in East Azarbaijan province, in the north-west of Iran, adjacent to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan.[70] Existence of the greenhouse town in the AFTZ, which has been built upon cooperation of Agricultural Jihad Ministry, has paved the ground for presence of investors in the arena of planting hydroponic products.[70] The 500-megawatt combined cycle power plant project which is currently underway in AFTZ as a joint investment venture with foreign parties.[70]
  • Maku Free Zone: is situated in West Azarbaijan province, in the north-west of Iran, adjacent to Turkey.
  • and other major petrochemical companies, oil refineries and industries are including Machine works Company of Tabriz, Iranian Diesel Engine Manufacturing (IDEM), Tabriz Oil Refinery, Tabriz Petrochemical, Copper Mine Songon, etc.

Rug and Carpet

The Ardabil Carpet and Tabriz rug the best kind of Iranian carpet. Now 40 percent of Iranian carpet exports are carried through East Azarbaijan.[71] Azerbaijani carpets and rugs are important:


Grains, fruits, cotton, rice, nuts, and tobacco are the staple crops of the region.



Iranian Azerbaijanis, 2012

Iranian Azerbaijanis also known as Azerbaijani Turks, a Turkic-speaking people of mixed Caucasian, Iranian and Turkic origin,[78] who number 16a[79][80] — 17b[81] — 21.6c[82] — 24 percentd[83] and also 15e[84] — 15.5f[85] — 16 milliong[86] of Iran's population, and comprise by far the second-largest ethnic group in the nation.[87] In the Azerbaijan region, the population consists mainly of Azerbaijanis.[40] Azeris are the largest group in Iranian Azerbaijan, while Kurds are the second largest group and a majority in many cities of West Azerbaijan Province.[88] Iranian Azerbaijan is one of the richest and most densely populated regions of Iran. Many of these various linguistic, religious, and tribal minority groups, and Azeris themselves have settled widely outside the region.[89] The majority Azeris are followers of Shi'a Islam. The Iranian Azerbaijanis, mainly reside in the northwest provinces, including the Iranian Azerbaijan provinces (East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardabil, and Zanjan), as well as regions of the North[90] to Hamadan County[91] and Shara District[91] in the East Hamadan Province, some regions Qazvin Province[41][92] and also Azerbaijani minorities living in Markazi,[93] Kordestan,[94] Gilan[95][96] and Kermanshah.h[97]

Smaller groups, such as Armenians, Assyrians, Talyshs, Jews, Circassians, (and other Peoples of the Caucasus), and Persians also inhabit the region.[citation needed]


The majority of Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan are followers of Twelver Shia Islam.[98] Azerbaijanis commemorate Shia holy days (ten first days of the holy month of Muharram) minority Sunni Azerbaijani Turks (Shafi and Hanafi) who live in the Ardabil Province (Hashatjin[99] and villages of Bileh Savar County)[100] and West Azarbaijan province (near the cities of Urmia, Khoy and Salmas) and have population about 200,000 people in this area.[101]


Azerbaijani people mostly live in northwest parts of Iran. But large Azerbaijani populations can be found in Khorasan[102] especially Mashhad.[103] and central Iran due to internal migration to Tehran,[102] Karaj,[92] Qum[102] wherever they have settled they have become prominent not only among urban and industrial working classes but also in commercial, administrative, political, religious, and intellectual circles.[102] millions of Azaris live in the capital,[104] for example Azerbaijanis make up 25%[105]– 33%[41][92] of Tehran and Tehran Province's population. They are the largest ethnic groups after Persians in Tehran and the Tehran Province.[106] also Governor of Tehran, is Hossein Hashemi[107] from Sarab in East Azerbaijan.[108] and Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of Iran was born Mashhad, origin Azeri[109][110][111] from Khameneh. Varliq and Azari journals is printed by the Azerbaijani people in Tehran.


Four provinces in Iranian Azerbaijan the current division of Iran

According to the population census of 2012, the four provinces of East Azerbaijan (2012 pop. 3,724,620), West Azarbaijan (2012 pop. 3,080,576), Zanjan (2012 pop. 1,015,734), and Ardabil (2012 pop. 1,248,488) have a combined population of 9 million people.[112]

Administrative divisions

Azerbaijan's major cities are Tabriz[41][92] (the capital of East Azerbaijan), Urmia[41][92] (the capital of West Azerbaijan), Zanjan[41][92] (the capital of Zanjan Province), Ardabil[41][92] (the capital of Ardabil Province) and Major cities non-capital of Province's Azerbaijan are Khoy and Maragheh.[41][92]

Rank Name Image County Province Population (County) Rank Name Image Country Province Population (County)
Municipality of Tabriz.jpg
Tabriz County
East Azerbaijan
Seh gonbad.jpg
Urmia County
West Azerbaijan
Sheikh-safi tomb.JPG
Ardabil County
Ardabil Province
Jemeh mosque Zanjan.jpg
Zanjan County
Zanjan Province
Stone gate of Khoy.JPG
Khoy County
West Azerbaijan
City Square of Miandoab.jpg
Miandoab County
West Azerbaijan
Maragheh County
East Azerbaijan
Shah Abbasi caravanserai of Marand.JPG
Marand County
East Azerbaijan

New administrative divisions

New 5 Regions of Iran, North-West called Regions 3 and capital regions 3 is Tabriz[113]

Ministry of Interior of Hassan Rouhani's government stated:[114] 31 Province in Iran conversion to Region, and 3rd Region in North-West Iran named Region 3 that are included East Azerbaijan Province, West Azerbaijan Province, Ardabil Province, Zanjan Province, Gilan Province and Kurdistan Province.[115][116][117][118][119]


Sassanid king, Bahram Gur is a great favourite in Persian tradition and poetry. Depiction of Nezami's "Bahram and the Indian Princess in the Black Pavilion" Khamse ("Quintet"), mid-16th century Safavid era.

Azeris are culturally influenced by the other Iranians and have influenced them, as they have been part of historic Iran for centuries, if not the cornerstone of it. At the same time, being geographically and linguistically close to the other nations and countries, they have influenced and been influenced by their non-Iranian neighbors, specially Turkish people in Turkey and Russians. The people of Azerbaijan of Iran, same as the Republic of Azerbaijan, are mostly Shiite Muslims. This is not the case for the other Turkic speakers (who are mostly Sunni Muslims). Azeris in Iran as well as Azeris in the republic of Azerbaijan celebrate Nouruz for the turn of the new Iranian year, the arrival of spring. Azerbaijan has a distinct music, which is tightly connected to the Persian music, Turkish traditional music, Kurdish music and music of Caucasian people.In spite of severe restrictions and oppression, stronger than the oppression on Persian dances and music, Azeri dances and folk music continue to survive in Azerbaijan of Iran. Although Azerbaijani language is not an official language it is widely used, mostly in an oral tradition, among the Azeris in Iran.


Many poets that came from Azerbaijan wrote poetry in both Persian and Azerbaijani. Renowned poets in Azerbaijani language are Nasimi, Shah Ismail I (who was known with the pen-name Khatai), Fuzuli, Nasimi and Jahan Shah were probably born outside what is now Iranian Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani was the dominant language of the ruling dynasties of the Turkic rulers of the area such as the Ak Koyunlu,[120] Kara Koyunlu[121] and later it was used in the Safavid for court, until Isfahan became capital[122] and religious dignitaries, military.[123][124] In the 16th century, Azerbaijani literature further flourished with the development of Ashik (Azerbaijani: Aşıq) poetic genre of bards. During the same period, under the pen-name of Khatāī (Arabic: خطائی‎‎ for sinner)[125] Shah Ismail I wrote about 1400 verses in Azerbaijani,[126] which were later published as his Divan. A unique literary style known as qoshma (Azerbaijani: qoşma for improvisation) was introduced in this period, and developed by Shah Ismail and later by his son and successor, Shah Tahmasp and Tahmasp I.[120] In the span of the 17th century, 18th and 19th century, Fizuli's unique genres as well Ashik poetry were taken up by prominent poets and writers such as Qovsi Tabrizi, Shah Abbas Sani, Khasta Qasim, Mirza Fatali Akhundov, Seyid Abulgasim Nabati, Ali Mojuz and others.

An influential piece of post-World War II Azerbaijani poetry, Heydar Babaya Salam (Greetings to Heydar Baba) was written by Azeri poet Mohammad Hossein Shahriar who had already established himself as a notable. This poem, published in Tabriz in 1954 and written in colloquial Azerbaijani, became popular among Iranians and the people of Azerbaijan. In Heydar Babaya Salam, Shahriar expressed his identity as an Iranian Azerbaijani attached to his homeland, language, and culture. Heydar Baba is a hill near Khoshknab, the native village of the poet.

Azerbaijan is mentioned favorably on many occasions in Persian literature by Iran's greatest authors and poets. Examples:

گزیده هر چه در ایران بزرگان
زآذربایگان و ری و گرگان
All the nobles and greats of Iran,
Choose from Azerbaijan, Ray, and Gorgan.
Vis o Ramin

از آنجا بتدبیر آزادگان
بیامد سوی آذرآبادگان
From there the wise and the free,
set off to Azerbaijan

به یک ماه در آذرآبادگان
ببودند شاهان و آزادگان
For a month's time, The Kings and The Free,
Would choose in Azerbaijan to be

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Nine historical sites in Azerbaijan have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO:

Colleges and universities

There are many universities in Azerbaijan, included units and centers: public university and private university Islamic Azad University, Payame Noor University, Nonprofit educational institutions, University of Applied Science and Technology.

Some of the most prestigious public universities in the area are:

Row Colleges and universities City Province
1 Tabriz University Tabriz East Azerbaijan
2 Urmia University Urmia West Azerbaijan
3 Mohaghegh Ardabili University Ardabil Ardabil Province
4 Zanjan University Zanjan Zanjan Province
5 Sahand University of Technology Tabriz East Azerbaijan
6 Urmia University of Technology Urmia West Azerbaijan
7 Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS) Zanjan Zanjan Province
8 Tabriz University of Medical Sciences Tabriz East Azerbaijan
9 Urmia University of Medical Sciences Urmia West Azerbaijan
10 Ardabil University of Medical Sciences Ardabil Ardabil Province
11 Zanjan University of Medical Sciences Zanjan Zanjan Province
12 Tabriz Islamic Arts University Tabriz East Azerbaijan
13 Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University Tabriz East Azerbaijan
14 University of Maragheh Maragheh East Azerbaijan
15 Maragheh observatory Maragheh East Azerbaijan
16 University of Bonab Bonab East Azerbaijan


Azeri style is a style (sabk) of architecture when categorizing Iranian architecture development in Azerbaijan history. Landmarks of this style of architecture span from the late 13th century (Ilkhanate) to the appearance of the Safavid Dynasty in the 16th century CE.[132]


Ashik is a mystic bard, balladeer, or troubadour who accompanied his song be it a hikaye or a shorter original composition with a long necked lute. The modern Azerbaijani ashiq is a professional musician who usually serves an apprenticeship, masters playing saz, and builds up a varied but individual repertoire of Turkic folk songs.[133] and The Coffeehouse of Ashiks is a coffeehouse in cities of Azerbaijan where ashiks perform Turkish hikaye.[134] In cities, towns, and villages of Iranian Azerbaijan ashiks entertain audiences in coffeehouses.[135]



An ATA Airlines A320-200 landing at Tabriz International Airport

Ata Airlines is an airline based in Tabriz, Iran. Operates scheduled domestic services and international services in the Middle East, as well as charter services including Europe. Its main base is Tabriz International Airport. in this airplane company is in Azerbaijan with Eram Air.

Commercial and Passenger airports in Azerbaijan:

Row Airport City Province
1 Tabriz International Airport Tabriz East Azerbaijan
2 Urmia Airport Urmia West Azerbaijan
3 Ardabil Airport Ardabil Ardabil Province
4 Zanjan Airport Zanjan Zanjan Province
5 Sahand Airport Bonab East Azerbaijan
6 Khoy Airport Khoy West Azerbaijan
7 Parsabad-Moghan Airport Parsabad Ardabil Province


Meshginshahr suspension bridge, Middle East's largest suspension bridge in height of 80 meters.


Tabriz Railway Station is a was founded in Tabriz, in 1917; the current building was built during second Pahlavi era by Iranian architect Heydar Ghiaï-Chamlou. The first railroad arriving to Tabriz had been built by Russian. The railway started from Jolfa, a city on the border of Iran and the modern Republic of Azerbaijan.

Active lines this railway included: Tabriz — Tehran, Tabriz — Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Tabriz — Turkey.


Tabriz Metro being built in the Tabriz City since 2001. this metro have 5 line (4 line is main, 1 line is vicinity) and the total length is 75 kilometers. one's line Tabriz metro El-Golu in southeast connect to Laleh district in the southwest.[136]


type Number Road Distance (Km) City of Origin City of Destination Location Image
Freeways Freeway 2 (Iran) 600 Tehran Tabriz (Az) Road 2 (Iran).jpg Tehran Karaj Rd.jpg
Highways and Roads Road 11 (Iran) 325 Jolfa (Az) Baneh Road 11 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 12 (Iran) 572 Bazargan (Az) Bileh Savar (Az) Road 12 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 14 (Iran) 460 Razi, Ardabil (Az) Salmas (Az) Road 14 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 16 (Iran) 428 Astara Serow (Az) Road 16 (Iran).jpg Lake Urmia bridge 2010.jpg
Highways and Roads Road 21 (Iran) 978 Ilam Jolfa (Az) Road 21 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 22 (Iran) 428 Sarakhs Khalkhal (Az) Road 22 (Iran).jpg Golestan jungle.jpg
Highways and Roads Road 23 (Iran) 390 Miandoab (Az) Hamadan Road 23 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 24 (Iran) 142 Hashtrud (Az) Bonab (Az) Road 24 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 26 (Iran) 151 Miandoab (Az) Piranshahr (Az) Road 26 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 27 (Iran) 245 Khomarlu (Az) Tabriz (Az) Road 27 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 31 (Iran) 539 Parsabad (Az) Manjil Road 31 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 32 (Iran) 880 Tehran Bazargan (Az) Road 32 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 33 (Iran) 155 Ardabil (Az) Bileh Savar (Az) Road 33 (Iran).jpg
Highways and Roads Road 35 (Iran) 155 Zanjan (Az) Khorramabad Road 35 (Iran).jpg


Sahand TV main building

TV and radio



Sahand Stadium: Has a capacity of about 70,000 and is located in Tabriz

Top sport clubs

Representatives of Azerbaijani in the top leagues.

Cycling Team

Important hosts

Sports facilities

Large and important stadiums:

See also


^a Reporting and estimation World Factbook and Library of Congress
^b Reporting and estimation Looklex Encyclopaedia
^c Reporting and estimation New America Foundation
^d Reporting and estimation Minority Rights Group International
^e Reporting and estimation Britannica Encyclopaedia
^f Reporting and estimation Ethnologue
^g Reporting and estimation Encyclopædia Iranica, The number of Turkic speakers in Iran today is estimated about 16 million, The majority are ethnic Azeris
^h Just in Sonqor County
^i  Reza Rahmani, Mohammad Esmaeil Saeidi, Masoud Pezeshkian, Mohammad Hosein Farhanghi, Mir-Hadi Gharaseyyed Romiani, Alireza Mondi Sefidan
^j Javad Jahanghirzadeh, Abed Fattahi and Nader Ghazipour
^k Mansour Haghighatpour, Kamaladin Pirmoazzen and Mostafa Afzalifard
^m  Mohammad Esmaeili (politician) and Mohsen Alimardani
^n  Bahlul Hoseini and Mohammad Ali Madadi
^o  Rohollah Beighi Eilanlu and Mehdi Isazadeh


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