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Iranian are not Persian and Iran is not Persia

Reader comment on item: [Hamid Dabashi:] Columbia University's Hysterical Professor

Submitted by Hayden Ataune (United States), Dec 2, 2004 at 13:42

Iran is a multi-ethnic-linguistic-religious nation state.

Persian is one of the languages (The official one though) spoken among a plurality of the population. Lori, Guilaki, Baloutchi etc.. are dialects of Persian and Kurdish is a close cousin of the Persian language, all of them being the native thongue of a large minority of the population. Azeri is another largely spoken language in Iran with its own dialects (Qashqai, northern Khorassani, Turkmen, etc..). Other languages like Arabic and Tati are also spoken in Iran.

Ethnically, the people living in todays Iran are a "melting pot". Somehow similar in diversity to the French population at the end of the 17th century, just after the French Revolution but before the big national integration.

Religiously, the overwhelming majority is muslim from the Shia branch of Islam. Interestingly enough, it was an ethnically Turcik dynasty, in the begining of the 17th century that forced Shiism as the official religion of the State to ideologically counter the Sunny Ottoman Califat in the West, and by doing this planted the seed of the future Iranian Nation State. Religious minority (Armenian, Assyrian/Caldonian, Jewish, Zoroastrian) were and still are considered "People of the Book" and represented in the parliment (interestingly enough in a same way and number than before the Revolution).
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