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Understanding Iranian Descent

Iranian descent is often tied in with Persian descent because both are used to describe people from Iran, and while some think that it means the same thing, which terms is exactly correct? Iranian and Persian descent may not be the exact same thing depending on how history is looked at. In some cases, claiming Iranian descent means a claim to a type of nationality, and Persian is about a specific ethnicity. A citizen from Iran may claim one descent without being related to the other descent.

Iran verses 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. The name Iran and The Islamic Republic of Iran came into existence internationally in 1935, but was officially noticed in 1979 with its current boundaries today.

Persian descents are always linked to Iran because the Persian empire and the original citizens there had inhabited the land before Iran was formed. There are different tribal groups and ethnicities now in modern day Iran. While a majority of citizens in Iran can be considered of Persian descent, there are other various ethnic groups such as Kurdish and Gilaki that live there too. There are a few Iran citizens that can only truly associate their identity to Persia.

The 1979 Revolution of Iran

After an Islamic Republic was set in place and the country’s old system thrown out, residents were no longer called Persians in 1979. Once the new government had been set in place, the last known king of the Persian monarch escaped the country to live in exile. The term “Persian” still has much cultural value and relevance despite its history. 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:

A majority of Iran’s ethnic makeup is Persian descents at 51% while a few other ethnicities follow as 24% Azeri, 8% Gilaki and Mazandaran, 7% Kurd, and 3% Arab.

Language of Iran

The most common dialect in Iran is Persian, but local citizens call it 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

A common misunderstanding is that a descent from Iran is an 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. An easy fact to remember is that Iranian descents or Persians are in Iran, Turkey, 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. Arabs only speak Arabic since their history and culture is vastly different while Iranians speak their own language and dialects.

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