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A simple question
What are the criteria for being an Iranian?

November 27, 2004

Before the reader jumps to any conclusions and decides to group me as being a supporter of a certain sociopolitical view or of a certain philosophical background, let me assure you that this is a simple innocent and yet very personal question.

As an individual born in Iran, and now residing in the West, at one time or other I have struggled with defining who I was, and at times such definitions seemed irrelevant and at other times would occupy my mind to the extent that I could not concentrate on anything else.

Having met many "Iranians" here and recalling many "Iranians" from Iran, I finally decided to pose this question, hoping that someone would answer this question to my satisfaction.

Though initially reluctant to pose such an open question, after browsing through a few rather pointless articles on the site in regards to the use of word "Persian" versus "Iranian", I felt that my question would be at least more meritable than a question of mere rhetorics.

The reader is welcome to address this question from any perspective/background. Just to facilitate some discussion, here are some questions I can think of off the top of my head:

- Is it simply enough to be born in Iran to be called an Iranian? In other words, if I were born in Iran, and just hours later I was flying to England or France, would you consider me an Iranian? This is not a legal question. It is a question about your definition and your view of being an Iranian.

- Do you feel ashamed when someone thinks you are from the Middle East/Iran (is there a difference?) Do you pretend to be from Spain, Italy, or Greece?

- If you know someone who was born in Iran, but resides here and neither speaks nor writes or reads in Persian, is that person an Iranian? What if the person is familiar and acts (or doesn‚t) according to our cultural traditions?

- If you know someone who is full of Persian proverbs, very cultural, and spent most of his life in Iran, and yet has been involved in activities that have directly or indirectly hurt our national pride, is that person an Iranian?

- If you know someone who was born in US, but married to an Iranian individual, moved to Iran, learned the culture, and has been trying hard to correct misconceptions of his/her friends and colleagues from US about Iran, can you call that person an Iranian?

- If you know someone who never lived in Iran, knows nothing about Iran, does not care what goes on in Iran or where Iran is headed, but his grand grandfather was an Iranian who married his mother who was, say, German, is that person an Iranian?

There are many similar questions that you can pose as well, and I would appreciate your views on the topic.

.................... Bye Bye Spam!

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