Iran is a predominantly Muslim country with thriving Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian communities. Shia and Sunni Muslims make up 98% of Iran’s population and the remaining two percent of the population are Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian.
The recognized religions of the country (Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism) are allowed the freedom to openly practice their respective faiths.
Zoroastrianism is the oldest and first religion of Iran. There are around 30,000 Zoroastrians living in the country today. The Zoroastrian community worships in fire temples the most notable of which are the Adrian Temple in Tehran and the Atash Behram Fire Temple of Yazd. Zoroastrians have one representative in Iran’s Majlis (parliament).
The Christians are mainly Armenians and Assyrians. The Armenian population of Iran is estimated at 200,000. Armenians have their own schools where children are educated according to their religion. Armenians have two seats in Iran’s Majlis (parliament).
The Assyrian Christian population of Iran is estimated to be 10,000. Assyrians have one representative in Iran’s Majlis (parliament).
Iran is also home to a small group of Catholics and Protestants.
There are some 600 churches in Iran. One of the most prominent UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Iran is the Armenian Monastic Ensemble in the western part of the country. The ensemble consist of St. Stepanos Monastery, Dzordzor Chapel and the Saint Thaddeus Monastery also known as the Black Church which Armenians believe this is the world’s oldest church and was built by St. Jude the apostle in 68 CE.
The Jewish community in Iran has around 10,000 members. There are about 10 Synagogues in Tehran most notably Abrishami Synagogue where Jewish Iranians are free to worship every day. The Jewish community also has schools where children are educated according to the teachings of their faith. There are also Jewish hospitals where any Iranian is free to receive treatment. Jewish Iranians have one seat in Iran’s Majlis (parliament).
As the main religion of Iran, Islam has, since its advent, deeply impacted the culture, arts, architecture and scholarly endeavors of the Iranian plateau and the world. There are approximately 70, 000 mosques in the country some of which have garnered worldwide fame for their unique history and exceptional architectural features such as the Jame Mosque of Isfahan, which has influenced mosque design throughout Asia, the Pink Mosque of Shiraz and the Jame Mosque of Yazd, which has the tallest minarets in the country.