Microstructural, finite strain and vorticity analyses of quartz-rich mylonites were used in order to investigate kinematics of rock flow and deformation temperature in the Sirjan thrust sheet exposed in a structural window within the Sanandaj–Sirjan High Pressure – Low Temperature (HP–LT) metamorphic belt that forms part of the hinterland of the Zagros orogenic belt of Iran. A dominant top-to-the-SW sense of shear in the study area is indicated by several shear sense indicators such as asymmetric boudins, rotated porphyroclasts, mica fish and S/C fabrics. Quantitative analyses reveal approximately plane strain deformation conditions with Rxz values ranging from 2.5 to 4.3 and increasing towards the Sirjan thrust. Opening angles of quartz c-axis fabrics and recrystallization regimes suggest deformation temperatures vary from 430 to 625 ± 50°C in the hanging wall rocks. Oblique grain shape and quartz c-axis fabrics were used to estimate the degree of non-coaxiality during deformation. The obtained vorticity profile indicates a down-section increase in kinematic vorticity number (Wm) from 0.6 to 0.89. This range of vorticity numbers confirms contributions of both simple (41–68 %) and pure shear (32–59 %) deformation components. The structural characteristics of the study area ultimately were controlled by oblique motion of the Afro-Arabian plate relative to the Iranian plate.