Azerbaijan (Iran)

Not to be confused with the Republic of Azerbaijan.
For other uses, see Azerbaijan (disambiguation).

Four provinces of Iranian Azerbaijan region.

Coordinates: 37°36′N 47°00′E / 37.6°N 47.0°E / 37.6; 47.0 Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan (Persian: آذربایجان Āzarbāijān [ɒːzærbɒjdʒɒːn]; Azerbaijani: آذربایجان Azərbaycan [ɑzærbɑjdʒɑn]), also known as Iranian Azerbaijan,[1] is a region in northwestern Iran that borders Iraq, Turkey, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Iranian Azerbaijan is administratively divided into West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Ardabil, and Zanjan provinces. The region is mostly populated by Azerbaijanis, with minority populations of Kurds, Armenians, Persians, Talysh, and Assyrians.

Iranian Azerbaijan is the land originally and historically called Azerbaijan; the Azerbaijani-populated Republic of Azerbaijan appropriated the name of the neighbouring Azerbaijani-populated region in Iran during the 20th century.[2][3][4] Historic Azerbaijan was called Atropatene in antiquity and Aturpatakan in the pre-Islamic Middle Ages. Some refer to Iranian Azerbaijan as South (or Southern) Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan as Northern Azerbaijan,[5] although others believe that these terms are irredentist and politically motivated.[6][7][8]

Prior to the Russo-Persian wars of the 19th century, the Azerbaijani people were distributed throughout the north-western Persian Empire, with the highest concentrations in Persian provinces that correspond to contemporary Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Following military defeats at the hands of the Russian Empire, Qajar Persia ceded all of its territories in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia to Russia via the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813 and the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828.[9] Since then the Azerbaijani people have been partitioned between nations.[10] The territories south of the Aras River, which comprised the region historically known as Azerbaijan, became the new north-west frontier of the Persian Empire and later Iran.[11] The territories north of the Aras River, which were not known by the name Azerbaijan at the time of their capture by Russia, were absorbed into the Russian Empire, renamed the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic during the country's short-lived independence from 1918 to 1920,[12] incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, and finally became the independent Republic of Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union dissolved.

Etymology and usage

The name Azerbaijan itself is derived from Atropates,[13] the Persian[14][15][16] 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."[17] 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."[18] According to the Encyclopaedia 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 Atropatíni (᾿Ατροπατήνη), Byzantine Greek Adravigánon (᾿Αδραβιγάνων), Armenian Atrpatakan, Syriac Adhorbāyghān."[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

With Qajar Iran being forced to cede to Imperial Russia its Caucasian territories north of the Aras River (that is, modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan) during the course of the 19th century, through the treaties of Gulistan (1813) and Turkmenchay (1828), vast amounts of soil were irrevocably lost. Following the disintegration of the Russian Empire in 1917, as well as the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, in 1918, the leading Musavat government adopted the name "Azerbaijan" for the newly established Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was proclaimed on May 27, 1918,[22] for political reasons,[23][24] even though the name of "Azerbaijan" had always been used to refer to the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran.[2][3][4] Thus, until 1918, when the Musavat regime decided to name the newly independent state Azerbaijan, this designation had been used exclusively to identify the Iranian province of Azerbaijan.[3][4][12][25]


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 south-east of Lake Urmia centred 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.[26]

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 Encyclopaedia 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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29][30]

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 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 the Muslims to enter Azerbaijan. The Muslims then invaded Azerbaijan and captured Isfandiyar, the son of Farrukhzad. Isfandiyar then promised, in return for his life, that he would agree to surrender his estates in Azerbaijan and aid the Muslims in defeating his brother, Bahram. Bahram was then defeated, and sued for peace. A pact was drawn up according to which Azerbaijan was surrendered to Caliph Umar on usual terms of paying the annual Jizya.

Muslims settled in Azerbaijan as they did in many parts of Iran. According to the Iranian Azerbaijani historian Ahmad Kasravi, more Muslims settled in Azerbaijan compared to other provinces due to the province's plentiful and fertile pastures. Local revolts against the Caliphate were common and the most famous of these revolts was the Persian Khurramite movement.

Abbasids and Seljuks

After the revolt of Babak Khorramdin, who was a Zoroastrian of neo-Mazdakite background, the Abbasid caliphate's grip on Azerbaijan weakened, allowing native dynasties to rise in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan was taken over by the Kurdish Daisam and the Sallarid Marzuban, the latter 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 different parts 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 Atabakan-e-Azerbaijan and Atabakan-e-Maragheh. It was later invaded by the Khwarizm Shah Jalal ad-din who held Azerbaijan until the advent of the Mongol invasions.

In the early years of the 13th century, large parts of Azerbaijan were conquered by the Kingdom of Georgia, at the time led by Tamar the Great. Under the command of the brothers Zakaria and Ivane Mkhargrdzeli, the Georgians conquered Ardabil and Tabriz in 1208, and Qazvin and Khoy in 1210.[31][32][33][34]

Mongols and Turkmes

The Mongols under Hulagu Khan established their capital at Maragheh. The book Safina-yi Tabriz describes the general state 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 became the capital of the Kara Koyunlu empire.

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

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. Around the same time, the population of what is now Azerbaijan and Iran were converted to Shiism,[35] and both nations remain the only nations in the world with a significantly Shia majority, with Iran having the largest Shia population by percentage, with the Republic of Azerbaijan having the second largest Shia population by percentage.[36][37]

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 archrivals. 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. At 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 remained 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 re-subjugation of Georgia in 1795, Iran would eventually irrevocably lose all of the Caucasus region to neighbouring Imperial Russia during the course of the 19th century, which had a crucial impact on the region of modern-day Iranian Azerbaijan. Shortly after the reconquest of Georgia, Agha Mohammad Shah was assassinated while preparing a second expedition in 1797 in Shusha (modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan).[38] The reassertion of Iranian hegemony over Georgia did not last long; in 1799 the Russians marched into Tbilisi,[39] 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 thanks to the 19th century Russo-Persian Wars.[11]

Since the late 17th/early 18th century, the Russians were actively pursuing an expansionist policy towards its neighbouring empires to its south, namely the Ottoman Empire and the successive Iranian kingdoms. Agha Mohammad Khan's death and the Russian troops entering the Iranian possession of Tbilisi in 1799, led directly to the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), the first of a number of Russo-Persian wars during the 19th century,[38] and the most devastating and humiliating one. By the end of the war in 1813 and the resulting Treaty of Gulistan, Qajar Iran was forced to cede Georgia, most of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, and Dagestan to Russia. The only Caucasian territories remaining in Iranian hands were what is now Armenia, the Nakhichevan Khanate and the Talysh Khanate. The next war, the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828), resulted in an even more humiliating defeat, with Iran being forced to cede remaining Caucasian regions,[11] as well as having Russian troops temporarily occupying Tabriz and Iranian Azerbaijan. As Iran was unwilling to 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 Caucasus region were only severed by the superior Russian force of Russia through these 19th century wars.[38]

The area to the North of the river Aras, which included the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia, were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia during the 19th century.[9][11][40][41][42][43][44]

Through the course of the 19th century Iran lost to Russia regions[11] which had been part Iran for three centuries.[38] By the end of the 19th century, the border between Iran and Russia was set more southwards, at the Aras River, which is currently the border between Iran and Armenia - Azerbaijan. Thanks to the forced ceding of territory by Iran to Russia, Azerbaijanis are currently split between Iran and the neighbouring Republic of Azerbaijan.[10]

Subsequently, the Russians were very influential in Northern Iran including Azerbaijan (as 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 as a result to this Russian influence.


Khanates in the Caucasus and the Iranian Azerbaijan, 18th-19th centuries.[45]

Khanates of the Iranian Azerbaijan were various principalities established by Iran on their territories in the Iranian Azerbaijan from the late Safavid to the Qajar dynasty, as opposed to those they established to the north of the Aras river (see; Khanates of the Caucasus). The Khanates were mostly ruled by Khans of Turkic Azerbaijanis origin.[46]

Contemporary age

The Russian (Tsarist) army occupied Iranian Azerbaijan in 1909 and again in 1912–1914 and 1915–1918, followed by Ottoman forces in 1914–1915 and 1918–1919; Bolshevik forces occupied Iranian Azerbaijan and other parts of Iran in 1920–1921,[47] and Soviet forces occupied Iranian Azerbaijan in 1941, creating a very short-lived autonomous, Soviet-supported state from November 1945 to November 1946,[48] 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.[49][50] 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.[51]


Iranian Azerbaijan is generally considered the north-west portion of Iran comprising the provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, and Ardabil,[52] Zanjan,[53] and some parts of Hamadan[54] and comprising an area of 122,871 square kilometres (47,441 sq mi). It shares borders with the Republic of Azerbaijan,[55] 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 flow into either Urmia Lake or the Caspian Sea (both of which are endorheic). Some of the major rivers are:

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 the Aras River to 2896m and covers an area of 78560 hectares. The biosphere is also home to some 23,500 nomads.[59] 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.


  1. ^ "Saline Systems; Urmia Salt Lake, Iran". Retrieved 4 September 2011. 


The Mugan plain is a plain located between 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.[63]

The Urmia Plain is in the West Azerbaijan Province, situated on western side of Lake Urmia and the eastern side of Turkish border.[64]


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 Asadollad Darvish Amiri Ali Khatami

Assembly of Experts

Of the 86 members of Assembly of Experts, 11 are representative of the Azerbaijan region. Ali Meshkini from Meshgin Shahr[65] in the Ardabil Province was Chairmen of the Assembly of Experts since 1983 to 2007.

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
Ali Malakouti East Azerbaijan Asghar Dirbaz West Azerbaijan Ali Akbar Ghoreyshi West Azerbaijan Javad Mojtahed Shabestari West Azerbaijan
Hassan Ameli Ardabil Province Fakhraddin Mousavi Ardabil Province Mohammad Reza Doulabi Zanjan Province

Islamic Consultative Assembly

Of the 290 members of Islamic Consultative Assembly, 44 are representative of Azerbaijan region. in the Azerbaijan region 40/44 Azerbaijani are in parliament the members of Fraction of Turkic regions.[66]

Electorate According to County

Cabinet of Iran


Country Name City Province Country Name City Province
 TurkeyTurkish Consulate in Tabriz[72]TabrizEast Azerbaijan  TurkeyTurkish Consulate in Urmia[73]UrmiaWest Azerbaijan
 AzerbaijanRepublic of Azerbaijan Consulate in Tabriz[74]TabrizEast Azerbaijan


In Azerbaijan are based several Iranian Army and Sepah divisions and brigades, including:

Type Name City Province Type Name City Province
Operational Headquarter of Army in North-West Northwestern Operational Headquarter of Ground Forces of Islamic Republic of Iran Army Urmia West Azerbaijan Division (military) of Army 64th Infantry Division of Urmia Urmia West Azerbaijan
Division (military) of Army 21st Infantry Division of Azerbaijan Tabriz East Azerbaijan Logistic Headquarter of Army Maraqeh District 4 Headquarter Maragheh East Azerbaijan
Brigade of Army 40th Infantry Separate Brigade of Sarab Sarab & Ardabil East Azerbaijan & Ardabil Province Brigade of Army 41st Infantry Separate Brigade of Qushchi Urmia West Azerbaijan
Separate Brigade of Army 36th Armored Separate Brigade of Mianeh Mianeh East Azerbaijan Army Training Centre of Army 03 Ajabshir Recruit Training Centre Ajab Shir East Azerbaijan
Military airbase of Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation Havanirooz Tabriz Base Tabriz East Azerbaijan Military airbase of Air force Tactical Air Base 2, or Paygah Dovvom-e Shekari Tabriz East Azerbaijan
Agency of Navy Navy Office of Tabriz Tabriz East Azerbaijan
Tape Name City Province Tape Name City Province
Provincial CorpsArdabil Hazrat Abbas Provincial Corps Ardabil Ardabil province Provincial Corps West Azerbaijan Shohada Provincial Corps Urmia West Azerbaijan
Provincial Corps East Azerbaijan Ashura Provincial CorpsTabriz East Azerbaijan Provincial Corps Zanjan Ansar al-Mahdi Provincial CorpsZanjan Zanjan province


Industry and mining of Iranian Azerbaijan in North-west

The economy in Iranian Azerbaijan is based on Heavy industries, food industries, agriculture, and handicraft. The biggest economic hub is Tabriz which contains majority of heavy industries and food industries. Iranian Azerbaijan has two free trade zones designated to promote international trade: Aras Free Zone and Maku Free Zone. The agriculture industries in Iranian Azerbaijan is relatively better than many other parts of the country because of comparatively higher precipitation. The handicrafts is mostly a seasonal industry mostly in rural areas during winter time when the agriculture season is finished. There are 500 important production and industrial unit in this area.[75] in October 2016, 500 Regional economic giant was introduced in 5 areas and 19 groups.[76][77]

Free trade zones and exhibition centers

Heavy 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:

Rugs and carpets

The Ardabil Carpet and Tabriz rug the best kind of Iranian carpet. Now 40 percent of Iranian carpet exports are carried through East Azarbaijan.[87] Azerbaijani carpets and rugs are important:

Food industries

More than fifty percent of entire Iranian food exports are carried from Iranian Azerbaijan.[92] The major hub for the food industry in the region is Tabriz which includes the Shirin Asal, Aydin, Shoniz, Anata, Baraka and Chichak manufacturers.[93] Outside of Tabriz Minoo Industrial Group in Khorramdarreh is another nationally recognized food manufacturer.[94]


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



See also: Iranian Azerbaijanis, List of Iranian Azerbaijanis, Category:Iranian Azerbaijani people by occupation, Demographics of Iran, and Ethnic minorities in Iran
Iranian Azerbaijanis, 2012.

Iranian Azerbaijanis, also known as Azerbaijani Turks, are a Turkic-speaking people of mixed Caucasian, Iranian and Turkic origin,[95] who number 16a[96][97] — 17b[98] — 21.6c[99] — 24 percentd[100] and also 15e[101] — 15.5f[102] — 16 milliong[103] of Iran's population, and comprise by far the second-largest ethnic group in the nation.[104] In the Azerbaijan region, the population consists mainly of Azerbaijanis.[52] 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.[105] 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.[106] 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[107] to Hamadan County[108] and Shara District[108] in the East Hamadan Province, some regions Qazvin Province[53][109] and also Azerbaijani minorities living in Markazi,[110] Kordestan,[111] Gilan[112][113] and Kermanshah.h[114]

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


The majority of Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan are followers of Twelver Shia Islam.[115] 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[116] and villages of Bileh Savar County)[117] and West Azarbaijan province (near the cities of Urmia, Khoy and Salmas) and have population about 200,000 people in this area.[118]


Azerbaijani people mostly live in northwest parts of Iran. But large Azerbaijani populations can be found in Khorasan[119] mostly in Mashhad city.[120] and central Iran due to internal migration to Tehran,[119] Karaj,[109] Qum[119] 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.[119] Azerbaijanis make up 25%[121]– 33%[53][109] of Tehran and Tehran Province's population. They are the largest ethnic groups after Persians in Tehran and the Tehran Province.[122] also Governor of Tehran, is Hossein Hashemi[123] from Sarab in East Azerbaijan.[124] and Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of Iran was born Mashhad, origin Azeri[125][126][127] 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.[128]

Administrative divisions

Azerbaijan's major cities are Tabriz[53][109] (the capital of East Azerbaijan), Urmia[53][109] (the capital of West Azerbaijan), Zanjan[53][109] (the capital of Zanjan Province), Ardabil[53][109] (the capital of Ardabil Province) and Major cities non-capital of Province's Azerbaijan are Khoy and Maragheh.[53][109]

Rank Name Image County Province Population (County) Rank Name Image Country Province Population (County)
Tabriz County East Azerbaijan 1,695,094[128] 2Urmia
Urmia County West Azerbaijan 963,738[128]
Ardabil County Ardabil Province 564,365[128] 4Zanjan
Zanjan County Zanjan Province 486,495[128]
Khoy County West Azerbaijan 354,309[128] 6Miandoab
Miandoab County West Azerbaijan 260,628[128]
Maragheh County East Azerbaijan 247,681[128] 8Marand
Marand County East Azerbaijan 239,209[128]

New administrative divisions

New 5 Regions of Iran, North-West called Regions 3 and capital regions 3 is Tabriz[129]

Ministry of Interior of Hassan Rouhani's government stated:[130] 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.[131][132][133][134][135]


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.

Azerbaijanis, a Turkic people, have been culturally influenced by the Iranian peoples and have influenced them in turn, as they have been part of historic Iran for centuries, if not the cornerstone of it. At the same time, they have influenced and been influenced by their non-Iranian neighbors, especially the Turkish people and the Russians. Azerbaijanis in both Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan are mostly Shiite Muslims, unlike the other Turkic peoples, who are mostly Sunni Muslims. Azerbaijanis in Iran and in the republic of Azerbaijan celebrate Novruz, the Iranian new year celebrated at the arrival of spring. Azerbaijan has a distinct music that is tightly connected to Persian music, Turkish traditional music, Kurdish music, and the music of the Caucasian peoples. Despite severe restrictions and oppression, Azerbaijani dances and Azerbaijani folk music continue to survive in Iranian Azerbaijan. Although the Azerbaijani language is not an official language of Iran it is widely used, mostly orally, among the Iranian Azerbaijanis.


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,[136] Kara Koyunlu[137] and later it was used in the Safavid for court, until Isfahan became capital[138] and religious dignitaries, military.[139][140] 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)[141] Shah Ismail I wrote about 1400 verses in Azerbaijani,[142] 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.[136] 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:

RowColleges and universitiesCityProvince
1 Tabriz UniversityTabrizEast Azerbaijan
2 Urmia UniversityUrmiaWest Azerbaijan
3 Mohaghegh Ardabili UniversityArdabilArdabil Province
4 Zanjan UniversityZanjanZanjan Province
5 Sahand University of TechnologyTabrizEast Azerbaijan
6 Urmia University of TechnologyUrmiaWest Azerbaijan
7 Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS)ZanjanZanjan Province
8 Tabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizEast Azerbaijan
9 Urmia University of Medical SciencesUrmiaWest Azerbaijan
10 Ardabil University of Medical SciencesArdabilArdabil Province
11 Zanjan University of Medical SciencesZanjanZanjan Province
12 Tabriz Islamic Arts UniversityTabrizEast Azerbaijan
13 Azarbaijan Shahid Madani UniversityTabrizEast Azerbaijan
14 University of MaraghehMaraghehEast Azerbaijan
15 Maragheh observatoryMaraghehEast Azerbaijan
16 University of BonabBonabEast 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.[148]


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.[149] and The Coffeehouse of Ashiks is a coffeehouse in cities of Azerbaijan where ashiks perform Turkish hikaye.[150] In cities, towns, and villages of Iranian Azerbaijan ashiks entertain audiences in coffeehouses.[151]

Azerbaijan Cultural and Literature Foundation

Azerbaijan Cultural and Literature Foundation, was founded for the purpose of research, study and promote the study of the culture, art, language, literature and history of Azerbaijan in four province (East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardabil and Zanjan) of Azerbaijan region.[152]



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:

1 Tabriz International AirportTabrizEast Azerbaijan
2 Urmia AirportUrmiaWest Azerbaijan
3 Ardabil AirportArdabilArdabil Province
4 Zanjan AirportZanjanZanjan Province
5 Sahand AirportBonabEast Azerbaijan
6 Khoy AirportKhoyWest Azerbaijan
7 Parsabad-Moghan AirportParsabadArdabil 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.[153]


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


Sahand TV main building

TV and radio

Native language instruction

Azerbaijani language is not taught in Iranian schools; but for the first time at the level of academic education since 2016, Azerbaijani language and literature launched in Azerbaijan for Tabriz University.[154]


Ardabil Province
West Azerbaijan
Zanjan Province

East Azerbaijan


Sport Olympiad

For the first time, Sports Olympiad of northwest in 23 sports to host Ardabil city will be held the presence of West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Ardabil and Zanjan provinces.[159]

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

Major sport clubs

Representatives of Azerbaijani in the top leagues.

Cycling Team

Major sport events

Sports facilities

Large and important stadiums:

See also

Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Azerbāïjān.


    ^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  Ahmad Alirezabeighi, Zahra Saei, Masoud Pezeshkian, Mohammad Hosein Farhanghi, Shahabaddin Bimegdar, Mohammad Esmaeil Saeidi
    ^j Hadi Bahadori, Rohollah Hazratpour and Nader Ghazipour
    ^k Reza Karimi, Sodeif Badri and Mohammad Feyzi
    ^m  Ali Waqfchi and Fereydun Ahmadi
    ^n  Fardin Farmand and Yaqub Shivyari
    ^o  Homayun Hashemi and Jahanbakhsh Mohebbinia


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    External links

    Azerbaijani edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    تۆرکجه edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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