Lopingian (Late Permian) conodonts and stratigraphy in northwest and central Iran have become hotly debated issues recently. We here use a sample-population approach, to develop a high-resolution conodont biostratigraphic framework for the Lopingian of Iran based on a re-examination of collections studied by Sweet from the Kuh-e-Ali Bashi area, northwest Iran; samples from the Abadeh C section and a nearby Permian-Triassic boundary section in the Abadeh area; and on published data. Six Wuchiapingian conodont zones, the Clarkina dukouensis, C. asymmetrica, C. leveni, C. guangyuanensis, C. transcaucasica and C. orientalis zones, and eight Changhsingian conodont zones, the Clarkina wangi, C. subcarinata, C. changxingensis, C. bachmanni, C. nodosa, C. yini, C. abadehensis and C. hauschkei zones, are described and figured. Diagnoses of ontogenetic characteristics to population variations of all the zone-naming species are re-described based on a sample-population taxonomic concept. The high-resolution Lopingian conodont zonation in Iran is closely correlative with its counterpart in South China. However, slightly different evolutionary trends in Clarkina populations existed at the very end of the Changhsingian in Iran and South China. This reflects a geographical cline and/or facies dependence and endemism in Clarkina populations rather than stratigraphic incompleteness of sections in either Iran or South China. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.