Sikhs form a very small minority in Iran, with a 2011 estimate stating some 60 to 100 families to be residing in Iran.[1][2] Members of the community speak Punjabi among themselves, and Persian and Balochi with the larger community.[3] Most Sikhs living in Iran are Iranian citizens.[4]


The first presence of Sikhs to Iran began in the 1900, when both Sikh business people as well as Sikh troops in the British military during its occupation of Iran. The primary target of Sikh immigration was initially the hamlet of Zahedan, near the border with then British India (now Pakistan) during the 1920s when the Trans-Iranian Railway project was started.[5][6] According to a folk etymology it is believed that when Reza Shah visited the city he saw Sikhs in white robes living there and thus changed the name from Dozdab (Land of thieves) to Zahedan (plural of the persian word zâhid (زاهد), meaning 'pious') after the Sikhs who were considered zâhid (Sages) by him.[7]

An Indian school was started in 1930s located in Zahedan serving Sikh families.[8] It was shifted to Tehran in 1952 and became Kendriya Vidyalaya Tehran in 2004.[9]

In 1979 there were around 250 Sikhs in Zahedan who own motor parts distributorships, construction firms and import-export companies.[6] After the Iranian Revolution a number Sikhs left for India and Europe and remaining shifted to the capital city of Tehran.[8][7]

In 2019 State Government of Punjab, India announced that a chair will be installed in the name of Guru Nanak in 11 universities, of which seven are in Punjab, three in other parts of India and one University of Religions and Denominations in Iran. The Chair will conduct research on life and teachings of Guru Nanak.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Chaudhury, Dipanjan Roy (20 May 2016). "Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Iran Gurdwara" – via The Economic Times.
  2. ^ Ghosh, Bobby. "Iran's Sikhs get a better deal than many other minorities". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  3. ^ Carina Jahani; Agnes Korn; Paul Brian Titus (2008). The Baloch and Others: Linguistic, Historical and Socio-political Perspectives on Pluralism in Balochistan. Reichert Verlag. p. 250. ISBN 978-3-89500-591-6.
  4. ^ Ghosh, Bobby. "Iran's Sikhs get a better deal than many other minorities". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  5. ^ "The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum - Lead Article". 2001-04-22. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  6. ^ a b Weisskopf, Michael (December 26, 1979). "Sikhs Play Key Role In Iranian Province" – via
  7. ^ a b "Iran's connection to India's Sikhs".
  8. ^ a b Ians (2012-08-29). "Kendriya Vidyalaya Tehran teaches it all". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  9. ^ "International Schools in Tehran: Indian KV School". December 7, 2017.
  10. ^ "Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Announces Chair in Name of Guru Nanak for 11 Universities". News18.