Swedish Iranians or Swedish Persians[1] consist of people of Iranian nationality who have settled in Sweden, as well as Swedish residents and citizens of Iranian heritage. As of 2019, there were 80,136 residents of Sweden born in Iran, as well as 40,883 born in Sweden with at least one Iranian-born parent.[2]

Swedish Iranians
ایرانیان سوئد
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Uppsala.
Swedish, Persian
(Armenian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Luri, and other languages of Iran)
Shi'a Islam, Irreligion, Christianity, Baháʼí Faith, Judaism, Sunni Islam, Zoroastrianism, Other


Swedish-Iranian is used interchangeably with Swedish-Persian,[1][3][4][5] partly due to the fact[6] that, in the Western world, Iran was known as "Persia". On the Nowruz of 1935, Reza Shah Pahlavi asked foreign delegates to use the term Iran, the endonym of the country used since the Sasanian Empire, in formal correspondence. Since then the use of the word "Iran" has become more common in the Western countries. This also changed the usage of the terms for Iranian nationality, and the common adjective for citizens of Iran changed from "Persian" to "Iranian". In 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, announced that both "Persia" and "Iran" could officially be used interchangeably.[7] However the issue is still debated today.[8][9]

There is a tendency among Swedish Iranians to categorize themselves as "Persian" rather than "Iranian", mainly to dissociate themselves from the Islamic regime of Iran which has been in charge since the 1979 Revolution, and also to distinguish themselves as being of Persian ethnicity, which comprise about 65% of Iran's population.[1][10] While the majority of Iranians come from Persian backgrounds, there is a significant number of non-Persian Iranians such as Azeris[11][12][13] and Kurds within the Iranian community of Sweden,[10][14] leading some scholars to believe that the label "Iranian" is more inclusive, since the label "Persian" excludes non-Persian minorities.[10] The Collins English Dictionary uses a variety of similar and overlapping definitions for the terms "Persian" and "Iranian".[15][16]


There are approximately 63,828 people[17] born in Iran living in Sweden today, as well as 28,600 people born in Sweden with at least one parent born in Iran. They are one of Sweden's largest immigrant groups, accounting for about 1.7% of the population.[18]

The very first wave of Iranian refugees consisted of 5,000 Iranian refugees who fled to Sweden in 1979-1980 most of them were middle-aged, middle-class Pahlavi supporters who were opposing the revolution. When the Iran-Iraq War broke out in 1980, almost 20,000 Iranian citizens found asylum in Sweden. Second generation Iranian Swedes are well-represented in higher education and in some well paying professions like dentistry and engineering.

About 60% percent of Swedish Iranians go on to higher education – more than the Swedish average (45%).[17] Iranian culture with its emphasis on education may be part of the reason for this. Becoming an engineer or a doctor is a mantra in many families. Abundantly represented minorities amongst the Swedish Iranians, like in other Iranian diaspora nations are Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Armenians and Assyrians.

Notable Iranians in Sweden

See also


  1. ^ a b c Daha, Maryam (September 2011). "Contextual Factors Contributing to Ethnic Identity Development of Second-Generation Iranian American Adolescents". Journal of Adolescent Research. 26 (5): 543–569. doi:10.1177/0743558411402335. S2CID 146592244. ... the majority of the participants self-identified themselves as Persian instead of Iranian, due to the stereotypes and negative portrayals of Iranians in the media and politics. Adolescents from Jewish and Baháʼí faiths asserted their religious identity more than their ethnic identity. The fact Iranians use Persian interchangeably is nothing to do with current Iranian government because the name Iran was used before this period as well. Linguistically modern Persian is a branch of Old Persian in the family of Indo-European languages and that includes all the minorities as well more inclusively.
  2. ^ "Population statistics". Statistiska Centralbyrån. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  3. ^ Nakamura, Raymond M. (2003). Health in America: A Multicultural Perspective. Kendall/Hunt Pub. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7575-0637-6. Iranian/Persian Americans – The flow of Iranian citizens into the United States began in 1979, during and after the Islamic Revolution.
  4. ^ Zanger, Mark (2001). The American Ethnic Cookbook for Students. ABC-CLIO. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-57356-345-1. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  5. ^ Racial and Ethnic Relations in America, Carl Leon Bankston,"Therefore, Turkish and Iranian (Persian) Americans, who are Muslims but not ethnically Arabs, are often mistakenly..", Salem Press, 2000
  6. ^ Darya, Fereshteh Haeri (2007). Second-generation Iranian-Americans: The Relationship Between Ethnic Identity, Acculturation, and Psychological Well-being. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-0-542-97374-1. Retrieved 21 December 2016. According to previous studies, the presence of heterogeneity is evident among Iranian immigrants (also known as Persians – Iran was known as Persia until 1935) who came from myriads of religious (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Armenian, Assyrian, Baháʼí and Zoroastrian), ethnic (Turk, Kurds, Baluchs, Lurs, Turkamans, Arabs, as well as tribes such as Ghasghaie, and Bakhtiari), linguistic/dialogic background (Persian, Azari, Gialki, Mazandarani, Kurdish, Arabic, and others). Cultural, religious and political, and various other differences among Iranians reflect their diverse social and interpersonal interactions. Some studies suggest that, despite the existence of subgroup within Iranian immigrants (e.g. various ethno-religious groups), their nationality as Iranians has been an important point of reference and identifiable source of their identification as a group across time and setting.
  7. ^ Yarshater, Ehsan Persia or Iran, Persian or Farsi Archived 2010-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, Iranian Studies, vol. XXII no. 1 (1989)
  8. ^ Majd, Hooman, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran, by Hooman Majd, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, September 23, 2008, ISBN 0385528426, 9780385528429. p. 161
  9. ^ Frye, Richard Nelson (2005). Greater Iran: A 20th-century Odyssey. Mazda. ISBN 9781568591773. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Bozorgmehr, Mehdi (2009). "Iran". In Mary C. Waters; Reed Ueda; Helen B. Marrow (eds.). The New Americans: A Guide to Immigration since 1965. Harvard University Press. p. 469. ISBN 978-0-674-04493-7.
  11. ^ Svante E. Cornell (20 May 2015). Azerbaijan Since Independence. Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-317-47621-4.
  12. ^ Barbara A. West (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. Infobase Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-4381-1913-7.
  13. ^ James Minahan (1 January 2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1766. ISBN 978-0-313-32384-3.
  14. ^ Elizabeth Chacko, Contemporary ethnic geographies in America // Ines M. Miyares, Christopher A. Airriess (eds.), Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, pp. 325–326
  15. ^ "Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition". Collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  16. ^ "Definition of "Persian"". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Klassresa är möjlig trots hinder". SvD.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  18. ^ "be0101_Fodelseland_och_ursprungsland (XLS)".
  19. ^ "Chair no. 15 - Jila Mossaed | Swedish Academy". www.svenskaakademien.se. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  20. ^ "The COMSOL Group - the Origin of Multiphysics Software".

External links