Persians (Persian فارسی‌زبان‎ [fɒːrsi-zæbɒːn]) are an Iranian people, the main population of Iran, an ethnolinguistic community of numerous regional population groups in Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, whose native language is Persian, represented by various dialects. The largest and leading component of the Iranian nation, united by a common sedentary agricultural and urban culture.
Making up slightly more than half (according to various estimates, from 56% to 63%) of the population of Iran, the Persians live throughout the country, but most of them are concentrated in the central, southern and eastern regions.
The Persians are known to be descendants of the Aryans, who had originally migrated from Central Asia or South Asia (Indus Valley).Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires that are well-recognized for their massive cultural, political, and social influence, which covered much of the territory and population of the ancient world. Throughout history, the Persian people have contributed greatly to art and science.Persian literature is one of the world's most prominent literary traditions.
The Persian language belongs to the western group of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Modern Persian is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire, itself a continuation of Old Persian, which was used by the time of the Achaemenid Empire. Old Persian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages attested in original text.
In Sasanian Iran III - VII centuries AD zoroastrianism was the state religion, and the majority of the Iranian-speaking population professed this religion. After the Arab conquest, the religion, deprived of state support and discriminated against at the official level, began to rapidly lose followers. Nevertheless, until the 9th-10th centuries, the Zoroastrian Persians made up a significant part of the population, especially in the northern, southern and eastern regions of Iran. The policy of the Abbasids made Islam more international and opened the way for the wide conversion of non-Arab peoples, including Persian-speaking ones. Initially, Sunnism dominated Iran, and many famous Persian scholars of the early Middle Ages were Sunnis (Abu Hanifa, Abu Davud, Hakim Nishapuri, Ghazali, al-Bukhari, Abu Isa at-Tirmizi, and others). Nevertheless, Isna-Ashari Shiism gradually began to spread from Iraqi centers. The final consolidation of this branch of Islam in Iran is associated with the rule of the Safavid dynasty, who declared Isna-Ashari Shiism as the state religion and launched a wide-ranging campaign to convert the Sunnis. Today, Shiism - the state religion of Iran - is practiced by more than 90% of the population and the vast majority of Persian speakers.
TOTAL POPULATION: about 55 million