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Understanding Iranian Descent

There is a belief that Iranian descent is the same as Persian descent because both are used to describe anyone from Iran, but which is right? Iranian and Persian descent may not be the exact same thing depending on how history is looked at. There is sometimes a specific distinction when it comes to the two terms because Persian descent can be about a narrowed ethnicity while an Iranian descent is about claiming a particular nationality. Someone from Iran could be one thing, but not the other.

Iran verses Persia

Before 1935, the name of Iran at the time and the surrounding lands had been named “Persia” because of the ancient Persian empire. People with Persian descent do call their country Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran came into creation in 1935, but the name Iran followed in existence internationally and was founded with its current boundaries in 1979 after its revolution.

Whenever someone mentions “Persia,” it’s important to note that Persia refers to the land Iran currently inhabits because the Persian empire and its citizens had lived in the heart of Iran well before it was founded. Modern day Iran now has a variety of ethnic and tribal groups. Other citizens who currently live in Iran can relate to Gilaki, Kurdish, and Azeri, but most citizens in Iran are Persian descent. There are a few Iran citizens that can only truly associate their identity to Persia.

Iran Revolution in 1979

After an Islamic Republic was set in place and the country’s old system thrown out, residents were no longer called Persians in 1979. After the revolution, the last known king of the Persian monarch left the country to live in exile. When people think of “Persian,” many think of the historical empire and monarchy, but the term is still considered important for its cultural value and relevance. So, Persia and Iran are often used together when historical and cultural context is brought up, but Iran is used solely in the context of modern day politics.

Composition Of Iran

The CIA World Factbook for 2011 pins the ethnicity breakdown for Iran as follows:

The ethnicity composition of Iran is unique and expansive with Persians at 51% while other languages following behind it.

The Dialect Of Iran

Persian is the official language of Iran, but it’s also referred locally as Farsi.

A majority of Iranian descents speak Persian, or a Persian dialect while others may speak Turkic and Kurdish depending on their lineage.

Misunderstandings About Iranian Descents

Common misperception about Iranian descents– they are not Arab.

The Arab world consists of 22 countries in the Middle East such as Egypt and Iraq, but also in North Africa, not excluding the places of Algeria and Bahrain. Persian or Iranian descents can be found in Turkey, but they mainly live in Iran and up to the Indus River of Pakistan. Persians or Iranian descents are mainly found in Iran where the Persian empire originated while Arabs are connected to the tribes in Arabia, the Syrian Desert, and the Arabian Peninsula. Iranian descents only speak only Iranian and Persian languages while Arabs strictly speak Arabic.

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