March 8, 2001
Iran >>> Persia >>> Iran
I just want to make one thing clear. From what I have read or heard,
since I was a kid, I do not think that in the Persian/Parsi or Farsi language
there has ever been a dichotomy between Persia and Iran, for Iranians at
Even during the previous dynasties in Iran, the country was known as
Iran to its inhabitants. However, it is true that the country was known
as Persia among foreigners until Reza Shah decreed that foreign embasies
in should start referring to it as Iran.
An interesting anecdote is that 15 to 20 years ago, when I would visit
the Louvre Museum and ask to see the section on Iran, they would tell me
there is no section on Iran, but there is a section on Persia. Recenetly
I visited the Louvre and asked to see the section on Persia, and they told
me, "You mean Iran."
Whenever I encounter French or Europeans and I give them my name, Darius
or Dariush (given my state of mind of the moment), they say, "Oh you
are Persian, I mean Iranian ..."
I truly believe World Cup soccer, as well as Persian cinema have strongly
contributed in making people aware that Iran and Persia are the same country.
For me Persia and Iran are synonymous.