Sunni Growth In Iran | How many Sunnis live in Iran?

People inside Iran, especially in the last two decades have realised how much more religious and conservative Iranian Sunnis are compared to their Shi’ite countrymen.  This is based on numerous factors, one undoubtedly includes the  widespread distrust and often dislike of the Shia clergy by a large number of Iranian Shi’ites, a phenomenon that is pretty much non-existing amongst Iranian Sunnis. On top of that there is the high fertility rate amongst Iranian Sunni that has caused Shi’ite hardliners in Iran to express their worries about worrying decline of the Shi’ite population of Iran and the steadily growing Sunni population (where birth rates are often more than double and thrice compared to the Shia population). Some Shia clerics even have openly called for government intervention to reduce (!) the number of Iranian Sunni by means such as not giving them passports.

The same Mahdi Daneshmand who is arguably one of the most popular Shia preachers inside Iran made few years ago another bitter confession:

And he is by far not an isolated case. His hysteria is shared by other Shia clerics and politicans who are all well aware of the fast growing Sunni population of Iran and the decline of the Shia population:

Around one million ethnic Persian Sunnis live in the south-ern provinces of Hormozgan and Fars and in north-ern Khorasan. The majority of Sunnis are ethnic Kurds, Baluch, and Turkmen, whose ethnic brethren extend be-yond Iran’s borders. There are also a seizable number of Iranian Arab Sunnis in the Hormozgan, Fars and Bushehr province and a growing Arab Sunni population in the once virtually 100% Shi’ite province of Khuzestan (Ahwaz).

Also noteworthy is the growth of Sunnism amongst Iranian Shi’ites, many of whom have converted to Sunnism over the last years, a phenomenon that has been recognised even by western think tanks.

According to official figures, ninety-nine percent of Iranians are Muslim, with the remainder being Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. Some 300,000 Bahais, the largest non-Muslim minority, the Sunnis, are conveniently (for the regime) not recognized as a religious group in the Iranian Constitution and are not included in the official census. The figures also do not give a breakdown of Sunnis and Shi’ites.
The outdated figures that estimate a Sunni population of around 8 million can arguably be doubted and challenged. Iranian Sunni leaders and observers put the total between 12 and 25 percent and according to our researcher at we believe the the truth is somewhere in the middle i.e. a total of around 16 million (20%) of a population of over 81 million are Sunnis in Iran.