The 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? Neither “Iranian” and “Persian” can mean the same thing. The two terms can be distinctly different because Persian is about ethnicity while Iranian is about nationality. A citizen from Iran may claim one descent without being related to the other descent.

History of Iran and Persia

The country and neighboring lands before 1935 in the Western world were named Persia because of the Persian empire. The Persian empire has long since been called Iran though. Iran and The Islamic Republic of Iran was birthed into existence internationally in 1935, but the country and its current boundaries wasn’t officially founded until 1979 following the revolution.

Persian and Iranian descent are linked forever because Iran had been formed in and over the heart of the Persian Empire along with the residents that lived on that land. Many different tribal groups and ethnicities currently live in Modern day Iran. There are a majority of citizens who still identify as Persian, but there are groups who identify with Kurdish, Azeri, and Gilaki. There are a few Iran citizens that can only truly associate their identity to Persia.

Iran Revolution in 1979

The revolution started in 1979 after the Islamic Republic government replaced the former monarchy of the Persian Empire, and the citizens of Persia were no longer called Persians. Once the new government had been set in place, the last known king of the Persian monarch escaped 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.

The 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.

Iran’s Official Language

Iran’s official langue is locally known as Farsi, but it is otherwise known as Persian.

It should also be noted that 58% of Iranian descent speak Persian or a dialect of it while others may speak Turkic, Kurdish, and Arabic.

Misunderstandings About Iranian Descents

Iranian descents are no way shape or form an Arab

With over 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa that consists of Arabic culture, it’s easy to understand why people associate Iranian descents with Arabic descents. Only Iranian descents can be found in Iran and up the Indus River of Pakistan, but also in Turkey. 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 stick to their own language and dialects while Arabs stick to their Arabic dialect.

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