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Iranians /

Bakhtiari warrior

Bakhtiari warrior in traditional costume.

Bakhtiari warrior

Bakhtiari men in folk dance.

Iranian people of about 1.3 million (2009 estimate) living in southwestern Iran, especially the provinces of Lorestan; Khuzestan; Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari; and Esfahan.
Around 1 million of them speak Lori, with their own dialect, the remaining 300,000 Persian.
The Bakhtiari belong to one of two major groups, Chahar Lang and Haft Lang, each headed by a single powerful family. Bakhtiaris are Shi'i Muslims.
In their societies, women enjoy more freedom than in several other Iranian societies. A part of the Bakhtiari population are still living nomadic lives, with the migration between winter and summer quarters. The Bakhtiaris have been important in the development of the modern Iranian state, taking control of Teheran in 1909, forcing Shah Mohammad Ali to abdicate. When Reza Shah Pahlavi became shah, he tried to suppress the Bakhtiaris, having enough success to eradicate them as an important power in Iran. In modern times, Bakhtiaris have been quite successful in the Iranian society, with several notable politicians.

By Tore Kjeilen