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Why Persia, Why Iran?

One of the most frequently asked question that I am received from foreigner tourists is: Are you Persian or Iranian?

Apparently, it became controversial topic among Iranian as well. So, I decided to allocate one post to this important topic.

Let’s look to this issue from different aspects from linguistic and historical facts to political events, which have influenced on the life situation of people living outside of geographical boarder of Iran, since Persian have been heard more frequently in abroad.

I do not want to write a long article about historical facts, I just want to highlight that whom, where, when and why these terms were used.

Let’s Start:

Let’s skip 2400 years and look to the New York Times newspaper writing ”At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, Tehran government, on Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country”. 

Yes, until this time, Persia was the official name of the country on all foreign maps and Reza Shah asked foreign delegates to use the term of Iran in formal correspondence. One of the biggest proof of such a big Change is the stamps of Persia surcharged (overprinted) by Iran’s name, found in Malek museum in Tehran.

So far, I wrote about the history and dynasties. Now, I want to talk about the largest community of Iranian living abroad (California). Most of them started to immigrate to US in 70s, before Islamic revolution. Reading the biography of Iranian people living in US during those time (such as Funny in Farsi, laughing without accent written by Firoozeh Dumas and other authors) revealed that the life of Iranian living in US was under the shadow of fear of the social aggressiveness of American people, watching news in TV during Hostage Crisis of US embassy in Tehran (The museum is highly recommended to visit of your stay in Tehran).

Iranian People wanted to live their life as normal people in US. They started to use Persian instead of Iranian to protect themselves from diplomatic relation between Iran and US. They wanted just normal life in other country. It was hard to live in the shadow of media and the anger of other nations, when you are immigrants.

As Iranian person and the co-founder of PERSIAN WALK, I always encounter of this fact that Persian is one part of ethnics of people living in Iran and you just neglect other ethnics of Iran. We, the co-founders of PERSIANWALK, believe that Iran, Eran, or Iran-Shahr or even Persia in the Greek literature composed of different populations (Persian, Azeri, Gilaki and Mazandaran, Kurd, Arab, Lur, Baloch, Turkmen and others) having different colorful cuisine and cultures live under one flag and respect to our long and rich history despite of our land is called Persia or Iran.

Welcome to Iran, Welcome to Persia.


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