Woman in protest march holding megaphone



Note on Culture
Iranian Community in NSW
Mental Health
Mental Health Resources in Farsi
Service Providers
Iranian Community Organisations in NSW

Download a PDF version of this profile - current 25 October 2022 (PDF 424.8KB)
Webpage last updated 25 October 2022

Note on Culture


This profile has been prepared by the Transcultural Mental Health Centre. It aims to provide general information about Iranian people and culture. It is not prescriptive and cannot be applied to every individual born in Iran or with Iranian heritage. It is important to remember that culture is more than a set of inherited traditions and beliefs. Culture is shaped by historical, political, social and economic circumstances and is constantly evolving and changing as it circulates across nations and geographic boundaries.

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Iran is an ethnically diverse country in southwestern Asia. The predominant ethnic and cultural group in Iran are people who identify as Persians. There are also Turkish speaking and Arabic speaking people as well as people who identify as Kurds, Baloch, Bakhtyārī, Lurs, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Baha’is and other minority groups. Persian (Farsi) is the official language of Iran. The majority of the Iranian population identify as Muslim (99.45%) with most being Shi’a (Shi’ite) and a minority of 5 -10% being Sunni. Iran has a rich cultural history extending back thousands of years. A distinctive Persian identity engenders a strong sense of pride and belonging among Iranians. Iranian culture and people have a history of progressiveness and education is greatly valued.

In 1979 an Islamic Revolution overthrew the secular monarchy establishing the Islamic Republic that continues today. The Islamic Revolution was followed by a protracted war with Iraq that lasted for nearly eight years and was marked by enormous loss of life, Iraq’s use of chemical weapons and economic devastation. Today in Iran the executive, parliament and judiciary are overseen by several bodies dominated by the clergy, with ultimate authority currently resting with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The government is authoritarian, imposing conservative interpretations of Islam on the population. Iran’s human rights record is poor with critics of the government frequently persecuted and arrested and the rights of women suppressed.

Recently protests have erupted across Iran, following the killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing her hijab correctly. Amini’s death has become a focal point for anti-government protests involving women and men from all sections of society and age groups that have spread across dozens of cities and towns. The government has attempted to suppress the protests with force. Due to media censorship the loss of life is difficult to measure, however Iran Human Rights Watch has said that at least 200 people, including 23 children have been killed by security forces.

These events are causing immense distress and anxiety for Iranian communities in Australia and throughout the world.

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Iranian Community in NSW


According to the 2021 Census:

  • There are 27,515 people born in Iran living in NSW. This is a 15% increase from the 23,943 people who reported being born in Iran in the previous census in 2016.
  • There are more men (53%) than women (47%) born in Iran living in NSW.
  • There are 31,555 people living in NSW with Iranian ancestry.
  • The languages used most frequently by those born in Iran living in NSW are Persian (excluding Dari) 19,494 (71%), English 2,554 (9%), Arabic 1,134 (4%), Armenian 1,085 (4%), Assyrian Neo-Aramaic 999 (4%), Kurdish 391 (1%), Dari 256 (1%), Hazaraghi 211 (1%) and Azeri 153 (1%).
  • 77% of those born in Iran are able to speak English very well or well, while 19% are unable to speak English well or not at all.
  • Of those people born in Iran 36% profess no religion, 25% are Muslim, 9% Baha’i 4% Western Catholic and 3% Christian (not further defined).

History of Iranian Migration to Australia


Significant migration from Iran to Australia began after the World War II with service workers largely employed in the oil industry. Following the Islamic revolution and overthrow of the Shah in 1979 and the eight-year Iran/ Iraq war beginning in 1980 there was increased migration to Australia. Migrants included political refugees as well as professionals leaving Iran due to economic and political hardship. These factors continue to impact on migration from Iran to Australia today, with around 45% of people born in Iran living in NSW having arrived in Australia between 2011 and 2021.

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The following profiles provide information about Iranian culture.


ACT Health Community Profile Iran (PDF 354.80KB)

Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne) Iranian Cultural Profile (PDF 200KB)
SBS Cultural Atlas – Iranian Culture

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Mental Health


In response to a question about long-term health conditions in the 2021 Census, 6% of people born in Iran living in NSW indicated that they had experienced a long-term mental health condition (including depression or anxiety). This compares to 8% of people born in Australia and 4.9% of all people born overseas who indicated that they had experienced a long-term mental health condition.

The following articles describe some of the factors that might impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Iranian migrants in Australia. These include:

  • Language barriers: lack of English language skills impacting on the ability to communicate, to access services and find employment
  • Social isolation and distance from extended family, lack of social support
  • Discrimination and prejudice
  • Changes in gender roles and expectations
  • Pre-migration experiences of war and political oppression
  • Lack of knowledge of the mental health system, fear of disclosure and privacy issues
  • Discomfort with psychotropic medications and preference for herbal and other traditional treatments
  • Somatization common e.g. chest pain, headache etc.
  • Stigma about mental illness and reluctance to seek help.

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Mental Health Literature


Note: Where available we have provided links to the full text of articles. To obtain the full text of other articles contact your hospital or local library.

Alim, M., Due, C., & Strelan, P. (2019). Perceptions of forgiveness in response to systemic injustice among Iranian refugees. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 25(3), 255–258. https://doi.org/10.1037/pac0000355

Alizadeh-Khoei, M., Mathews, R. M., & Hossain, S. Z. (2011). The role of acculturation in health status and utilization of health services among the Iranian elderly in metropolitan Sydney. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 26(4), 397-405. 

Amini, B., Raheel, O., Exum, A., & Fazzino, T. L. (2022). Mental health of Iranian immigrants and their descendants: A review. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 53(2), 192. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2022-05644-001

Asghari-Fard, M. & Hossain, S. Z. (2017). Identity construction of second-generation Iranians in Australia: influences and perspectives. Social Identities, 23(2), 126-145. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504630.2016.1207515

Chinekesh, A., Hosseini, S. A., Mohammadi, F., Motlagh, M. E., Eftekhari, M. B., Djalalinia, S., & Ardalan, G. (2018). An explanatory model for the concept of mental health in Iranian youth. F1000Research, 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5832920.2

Dastjerdi, M. (2012). The case of Iranian immigrants in the greater Toronto area: a qualitative study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 11(1), 9. https://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-9276-11-9

Dastjerdi, M., Olson, K., & Ogilvie, L. (2012). A study of Iranian immigrants’ experiences of accessing Canadian health care services: a grounded theory. International Journal for Equity in Health, 11(1), 55. https://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-9276-11-55

Falahat, K., Baradarn Eftekhari, M., Dejman, M., Forouzan, A. S., Mahmoodi, Z., Padyab, M., & Tavassoli, S. (2022). Determining the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy interventions based on the transdiagnostic approach in the treatment of common mental health problems: Presenting an experience from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Brain and Behavior, 12, e2551 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/brb3.2551

Fathi, A., Renner, W., & Juen, B. (2015). Group Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depressed Iranian Migrants in Austria. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 7(2), 88. https://ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ijps/article/view/49486

Green, B. A., & Latifi, Y. (2021). No One Smiles at Me: The Double Displacement of Iranian Migrant Men as Refugees Who Use Drugs in Australia. Social Sciences, 10(3), 85. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030085

Hajebi, A., Motevalian, S. A., Rahimi-Movaghar, A., Sharifi, V., Amin-Esmaeili, M., Radgoodarzi, R., & Hefazi, M. (2018). Major anxiety disorders in Iran: prevalence, sociodemographic correlates and service utilization. Psychiatry, 18(1), 261. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-1828-2

Hosseini, A., Kakuma, R., Ghazinour, M., Davern, M., Evans, W. P., & Minas, H. (2017). Migration experience, resilience and depression: a study of Iranian immigrants living in Australia. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 10(1), 108-120. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17542863.2016.1270977

Jafari, S., Baharlou, S., & Mathias, R. (2010). Knowledge of determinants of mental health among Iranian immigrants of BC, Canada: A qualitative study. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 12(1), 100-106. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10903-008-9130-x

Jannati, E., & Allen, S. (2018). Parental Perspectives on Parent–Child Conflict and Acculturation in Iranian Immigrants in California. The Family Journal, 26(1), 110-118 https://www.immigrationresearch.org/system/files/Parental_Perspectives_on_Parent-Child_Conflict_and_Acculturation_in_Iranian_Immigrants_in_CA.pdf

Jay, M. et al. (2022) Political abuse of Iranian psychiatry and psychiatric services. The Lancet, Volume 0, Issue 0 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)02183-3/fulltext 

Malekian, A., Afshar, H., & Ahamadzadeh, G. (2013). Cultural Issues in Anxiety Disorders: Some Particularities of the Iranian Culture. International Journal of Body, Mind and Culture, 1(1), 54-58.

Mianji, F., Tomaro, J.& Kirmayer, L.J. (2020). Linguistic and cultural barriers to access and utilization of mental health care for Farsi-speaking newcomers in Quebec. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 16(4), 495-510. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-08-2019-0074

Mirabzadeh, A., Eftekhari, M. B., Falahat, K., Sajjadi, H., Vameghi, M., & Harouni, G. G. (2018). Positive Mental Health from the perspective of Iranian society: A qualitative study. F1000Research, 7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801562.1

Mohamadi, K., Ahmadi, K., Ashtiani, A. F., Fallah, P. A., Ebadi, A., & Yahaghi, E. (2014). Indicators of mental health in various Iranian populations. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 16(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3965873

Moztarzadeh, A., & O’Rourke, N. (2015). Psychological and sociocultural adaptation: Acculturation, depressive symptoms, and life satisfaction among older Iranian immigrants in Canada. Clinical Gerontologist, 38(2), 114-130. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07317115.2014.990601

Nahidi, S. (2014). Mental Health and Psychological Help-Seeking of Iranian International Students at UNSW Australia. PHD Thesis. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine. UNSW http://hdl.handle.net/1959.4/54468

Nahidi, S., Blignault, I., Hayen, A., & Razee, H. (2018). Psychological Distress in Iranian International Students at an Australian University. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 20(3), 651-657. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316689931_Psychological_Distress_in_

Newnham, E. A., Pearman, A., Olinga-Shannon, S., & Nickerson, A. (2019). The mental health effects of visa insecurity for refugees and people seeking asylum: a latent class analysis. International journal of public health64(5), 763-772. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-019-01249-6

Rashidian, M., Hussain, R., & Minichiello, V. (2013). ‘My culture haunts me no matter where I go’: Iranian-American women discussing sexual and acculturation experiences. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 15(7), 866-877. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13691058.2013.789128

Reichardt, J., Ebrahimi, A., Dehsorkhi, H. N., Mewes, R., Weise, C., Afshar, H., Reich, H. (2018). Why is this happening to me?–a comparison of illness representations between Iranian and German people with mental illness. BMC Psychology, 6(1), 33. https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-018-0250-3

Rostami, R., Wells, R., Solaimani, J., Berle, D., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., Silove, D., & Steel, Z. (2022). The mental health of Farsi-Dari speaking asylum-seeking children and parents facing insecure residency in Australia. The Lancet Regional Health-Western Pacific27, 100548. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666606522001638

Shirpak, K. R., Maticka-Tyndale, E., & Chinichian, M. (2011). Post migration changes in Iranian immigrants’ couple relationships in Canada. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 42(6), 751-770. https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/jcfs.42.6.751

Shishehgar, S., Gholizadeh, L., DiGiacomo, M., & Davidson, P. M. (2015). The impact of migration on the health status of Iranians: an integrative literature review. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 15(1), 20. https://bmcinthealthhumrights.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12914-015-0058-7

Shishehgar, S., Gholizadeh, L., DiGiacomo, M., & Davidson, P. M. (2021) A qualitative study of experiences of asylum-seeker women of living in detention centres: confinement versus safety. Contemporary Nurse, 57(1-2), 51-64 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10376178.2021.1927771

Simkhada, B., Vahdaninia, M., van Teijlingen, E. and Blunt, H. (2021). Cultural issues on accessing mental health services in Nepali and Iranian migrants communities in the UK. Int J Mental Health Nurs, 30, 1610-1619. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/inm.12913

Taghva, A., Farsi, Z., Javanmard, Y., Atashi, A., Hajebi, A., & Khademi, M. (2017). Stigma barriers of mental health in Iran: a qualitative study by stakeholders of mental health. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 12(3), 163. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5640577

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Mental Health Resources in Farsi


Transcultural Mental Health Centre – Farsi

A Practical Guide. A good night's sleep - Farsi        
A Practical Guide. Problem solving - Farsi
A Practical Guide. Promoting wellbeing - Farsi        
A Practical Guide. Stress and stress management - Farsi
Carer Support Program Brochure - Farsi      
Coping Personally with War - Farsi
Healthy Kids. Anorexia Nervosa in Children - Farsi
Healthy Kids. Anxiety in Children - Farsi
Healthy Kids. Depression in Children - Farsi
Healthy Kids. Disruptive Disorders in Children - Farsi          
Kessler 10 - Farsi
Whose recovery and outcome are they anyway? - Farsi

All TMHC resources in Farsi
English versions of TMHC resources


Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Top Tips for Safe Health Care - Farsi
Top Tips for Safe Health Care - English


Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health

Glossary of terms - mental health services – Farsi /English


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health – Resources in Farsi

What is an anxiety disorder?
What is a bipolar mood disorder?
Challenging behaviours
What is a depressive disorder?
What is an eating disorder?
What is mental illness?
What is a personality disorder?
What is schizophrenia?
Supporting parents and families: the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Getting Professional Mental Health Help - What are the steps?
Download Embrace resources in English here


Headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Headspace flyer – Farsi
Headspace flyer - English


Multicultural Health Communication Service

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) - Farsi
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) - English


North Western Melbourne PHN

Getting to know health care in Australia: A pocket guide for new arrivals – Farsi
Getting to know health care in Australia: A pocket guide for new arrivals – English


Refugee Trauma & Recovery Program UNSW Sydney (RTRP)

RTRP Treatment Program For PTSD - Farsi/ English

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Service Providers


Transcultural Mental Health Centre (TMHC) 

Transcultural Mental Health Line 1800 648 911
If you require information or support for a mental health concern, either for yourself or someone you care for, call the Transcultural Mental Health Line on 1800 648 911.
The line operates for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in NSW from Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm.
At other times please call the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.


Clinical Consultation and Assessment Service 9912 3851

Public mental health services can call TMHC’s Clinical Consultation and Assessment Service on (02) 9912 3851, Monday to Friday between 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.


Strengthening the Mental Health of New and Emerging Refugee Populations

TMHC’s community capacity building program for refugees provides mental health and wellbeing information sessions for community groups and service providers who work closely with communities and distribution of mental health and wellbeing resources, including language-specific resources. The Program also works with community and service providers to develop initiatives tailored to specific needs

Email: [email protected]

NSW Refugee Health Service

The NSW Refugee Health Service aims to protect and promote the health of refugees and people of refugee-like backgrounds living in NSW, including early health assessment and educates health service providers on refugee health and related issues and acts as a link between agencies working with refugees and health services.

Phone: (02) 9794 0770

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.swslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/refugee


Mental Health Community Living Supports for Refugees

Community Living Supports (CLS) is a NSW state-wide program which supports people with a severe mental illness to live and participate in the community in the way they want to.

Mental Health Community Living Supports for Refugees (MH-CLSR) is a community-based program located in seven Local Health Districts (LHDs) that provides support for refugees and asylum seekers with mental health issues to live and participate in the community in the way that they want to.

Local MH-CLSR service providers in NSW are:

South Western Sydney Local Health District

Call New Horizons: 1300 726 372

Or STARTTS: 02 9646 6666 (ask for CLS-R)

Email: [email protected]


Sydney Local Health District

Call New Horizons: 1300 726 372

Or STARTTS: 02 9646 6666 (ask for CLS-R)

Email: [email protected]


Mid North Coast Local Health District

Call New Horizons: 1300 726 372

Or STARTTS: 02 9646 6666 (ask for CLS-R)

Email: [email protected]



Hunter New England Local Health District

Call STARTTS: 02 9646 6666 (ask for CLS-R)

Email: [email protected]


Murrumbidgee Local Health District

Call Australian Red Cross: 0478252652 (state language if interpreter needed)

Email: [email protected]


Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

Call Grand Pacific Health: (02) 42869200

Website: Community Living Supports for Refugees


Western Sydney Local Health District

Call Anglicare Sydney: 1300 111 278

Email: [email protected]



NSW Mental Health Line -  Call 1800 011 511

The Mental Health Line offers professional help and advice and referrals to local mental health services.  You can use the telephone Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) to speak to a mental health professional at the Mental Health Line. Call TIS on 131 450 and ask them to ring the Mental Health line on 1800 011 511.  


Hark Clinic at the Children's Hospital at Westmead

Provides health assessment for refugee kids every Friday through the outpatients department at the Children's Hospital at Westmead
Website: www.schn.health.nsw.gov.au/find-a-service/health-medical-services/refugee-service/chw


Mission of Hope

Mission of Hope was founded to establish a culturally, religiously and trauma informed service to the Muslim and other Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities in Sydney.
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://missionofhope.org.au


Hayat Line 1300 993 398 – Telephone Crisis Service

Mission of Hope’s Hayat Line is a free and confidential crisis support line and case management service designed for those from Muslims or culturally diverse and communities in Australia who are experiencing personal distress.
Operating Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm AEST

Phone: 1300 993 398


NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)

STARTTS provides culturally relevant psychological treatment and support, and community interventions, to help people and communities heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma.

Phone: (02) 9646 6700

Email:  [email protected]
Website: https://www.startts.org.au


Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program (RTRP)

The RTRP at the University of New South Wales is offers a free, confidential counselling program to help refugees or asylum-seekers who speak Dari or Farsi.

The treatment program is free and confidential and focuses on overcoming the effects of past traumatic events and the moral violations that occurred in the past.

For more information download a flyer about the program here or visit the RTRP website.

Call the RTRP on 0477 407 752 (note interpreters are available for telephone calls) or email [email protected].


Settlement Services International (SSI)

SSI is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. SSI works with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.

Phone: 02 8799 6700

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.ssi.org.au

Bilingual mental health professionals


Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)

The AASW Directory for Social Workers can be searched by language preference.


Australian Psychological Society

Find a psychologist. Search for a psychologist using issue, name, location or area of practice, then refine result by selecting from ‘Preferred Language’ www.psychology.org.au/Find-a-Psychologist


Psychology Today Directory

Directory of psychologists in NSW select Language from ‘More’ www.psychologytoday.com/au/counselling/nsw/sydney


Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Find a Psychiatrist directory can be searched using location, language, problem area and practice details. www.yourhealthinmind.org/find-a-psychiatrist


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Iranian Community Organisations in NSW


Ability Beyond Boundaries

– raising awareness about disability with a focus on the Persian community
PO Box 903, Auburn NSW 1835

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +612 8123 7760
Website: https://www.abilitybeyondboundaries.com.au



Aknoon Cultural Centre

Iranian (Persian-speaking) Community in Sydney, Australia20 Burdett Street, Hornsby, NSW 2077Email: [email protected]

Website: http://aknoon.com.au


Australian Iranian Community of Newcastle
57 Yule Rd, Merewether NSW 2291Email: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IranianNewcastle


Australian Iranian Community Organisation

18 Kendall Street, Harris Park, NSW 2150
Phone: 02 8626 7095
Email: [email protected]  


Iranian Football Association Australia

PO BOX 3032, North Turramurra NSW 2074
Website: www.ifaa.org.au


Iranian House of Music

Email: [email protected]


Iranian Senior Women's Association

Phone: + 61 407 228 058Website: http://www.iswasydney.com/413392206

Persian Herald

Website: https://www.persianherald.com.au



Persian Language Schools

https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/community-languages-schools/find-a-language-school (select Persian from the language list)



Radio Avaye Zan

Persian language program broadcast on Hornsby-Kuringai Radio Triple H 100.1 FM gives voice to the lives of Farsi speaking women in Australia.



SBS Persian




Sydney University Iranian Society

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/USYDIranianSociety

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Australian Bureau of Statistics (2022) Census Table Builder, 2021 Census, Cultural Diversity https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/microdata-tablebuilder/tablebuilder <viewed 25 October 2022>
Australian Government. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Iran Country Brief. https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/iran/iran-country-brief <viewed 20 October 2022>

BBC News (2022) Iran: A really simple guide to the protests. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-63240911 <viewed 20October 2022>

Evison, N. (2016) SBS Cultural Guide – Iranian Culture. https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/iranian-culture <viewed 20 October 2022>

Mostofi, K. (2022) Britannica, Countries of the World – Iran. https://www.britannica.com/place/Iran <viewed 20 October 2022>


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Disclaimer: This profile contains general information only and cannot be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The Transcultural Mental Health is not responsible for the information provided by external websites and documents listed in this resource.

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