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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 8, 2001

Ferdosi was not a Nazi

With reference to Mr. Motamedi's article regarding Iran and Persia ["Bring back Persia"], tt seems that there is a general misunderstanding regarding the name of our country. The name of our country has alway been Iran. Persia is the name used by the British and other Europeans before Reza Shah came to power.

If you refer to ancient writings in Persepolis and other places, you will see that the name of the country was Iran, even at the time of Kourosh and Dariush. Iran means "land of Aryans" and has existed ever sice the Arian tribes arrived there from central Asia.

As the dominant tribe became the Persians (Paars-haa), Iran was known as the Persian (Persis) Empire by the Greeks and later the Romans, and this is how this "Persia" came about.

I doubt it if this word "Persia" can be found in any Iranian book (old or new), the best example is Ferdosi's Shahnameh . And I think most have heard these two verses;

cho "Iran" mabaashad tan e man mabaad
bedin boom o bar zendeh yek tan mabaad
Dareegh ast "Iran" ke viraan shavad
Konaam e palengaan o shiraan shavad.

In the Shahnameh there are hundreds of other reference to "Iran" and none to "Persia" or even "Paars". And we all know that Ferdosi lived about 1000 years before Reza Shah so he could not have been a Nazi.

Finally you can refer to books and literature during Qajar dynasty and the Constitutional Revolution or even Qajari stamps. And in case Mr. Motamedi doesn't know, these were all before Reza Shah.

What the Iranian government did in 1931 was to ask the United Nation to use the correct name for our country. Reza Shah did not change the name of our country from "Persia" to "Iran". If some people are ashamed to use "Iran" or "Iranian" it is really their problem. But it is better not to write about subjects that they don't know anything about.

Babak Babakan


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