Mazanderani in Iran

The Mazanderani have only been reported in Iran
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Mazanderani live in northern Iran's Mazandaran province, bordering the Caspian Sea. It is there that early Iranian civilization flourished. Historically, this province had been invaded by outsiders, beginning with the Mongols in the 1200s and 1300s. In 1723, the region was conquered by the Russian Empire. The coast of the province is dominated by marshy plains. Farther inland, it merges into the highlands. Although the province is strategically located on the Caspian Sea, the coast lacks good natural harbors. This has forced them to build an artificial harbor.

The Mazanderani are an ethnic mix of Turkic tribes, Armenians, and Russian immigrants. Other smaller groups include the Qadikolahi and the Palavi. The language of the majority, also called Mazanderani (or Palari), remains unwritten. This language is closely tied to Farsi, the official language of Iran.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Agriculture dominates the economy of the entire Mazandaran region. Most Mazanderani are settled farmers who grow crops such as rice, wheat, barley, tea, fruits, and cotton. They also raise some cattle. In addition to farming, the Mazanderani are famous for raising Arabian horses.

The mid-1970s saw a number of agricultural reforms in Mazandaran province. Farming became a large-scale business operation that included the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural products, as well as the manufacturing of farm machinery, equipment, and supplies. At the same time, major agricultural movements were encouraged by the influx of large investments that were made as a result of the oil boom. Many new businesses were introduced, including cement, textile, and cotton industries. Fisheries also sprang up all along the coastal areas. Today, the coastal fisheries of this region harvest some of the finest caviar in the world.

Although many Mazanderani farmers are settled, some maintain the nomadic lifestyle of their ancestors. These nomads use the higher, cultivated regions for grazing their animals. Their herds include a certain breed of humped cattle, as well as buffalo, which are used as beasts of burden.

Since most of the people in the Mazandaran province are Muslim, their society is organized according to the guidelines of traditional Islamic communities. The family is the major social unit and is led by the father. Although the Koran gives women equal status in Islamic society, in reality, they are usually second class citizens with little or no political freedom.

Today, nearly all Mazanderani people are Shia Muslims.
What Are Their Beliefs?

Although Mazandaran was the last province in Iran to be converted to Islam, the Mazanderani are now virtually all Muslim. They belong to the Ithna-Ashari sect of Islam and their independent character makes them unique in Iran.

As Muslims, the Mazanderani believe in one omnipotent god, Allah. They are taught that the ultimate purpose of humanity is to worship him and to build a social order that is not corrupt. Their religious practices include praying, fasting, giving to the poor, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. They hold the imams (religious rulers claiming descent from Mohammed) in very high esteem, since they believe that only the imams can interpret the true meaning of the Koran.

What Are Their Needs?

Many of the Mazanderani are uneducated. The fact that their language is not yet in written form presents a roadblock to their cultural and spiritual progress. Perhaps Christian teachers will have the greatest opportunity to work among this people group. There is a university in the town of Babol that may provide open doors for linguists who are willing to create a written script for the Mazanderani language.

Prayer is the key to seeing these precious people reached with the Good News.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Iran and share Christ with the Mazanderani.
Pray for the salvation of key Mazanderani leaders who will boldly proclaim the Gospel.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Mazanderani towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will open the hearts of Iran's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
Ask the Lord to raise up intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for the Mazanderani.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Mazanderani.

Scripture Prayers for the Mazanderani, Tabri in Iran.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

People Name General Mazanderani
People Name in Country Mazanderani, Tabri
Natural Name Mazanderani
Pronunciation mah-zahn-dah-RAH-nee
Alternate Names Tabari; Tabri
Population this Country 2,586,000
Population all Countries 2,586,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 52
People ID 13610
ROP3 Code 106450
ROP25 Code 305306
ROP25 Name Mazanderani
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 9  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country North near Caspian Sea, Mazandaran Province; some also in Semnan and Golestan provinces.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 9  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country North near Caspian Sea, Mazandaran Province; some also in Semnan and Golestan provinces..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Mazanderani, Tabri in Iran Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.67 %)
1.67 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
98.33 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Mazandarani (2,586,000 speakers)
Language Code mzn   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Mazandarani (2,586,000 speakers)
Language Code mzn   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Mazandarani
Photo Source EveryTongue 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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