Most Eminent Iranians

Who are the greatest Iranians who ever lived?

Panelists: Ali Ansari, Dariush Ashoori, Touraj Atabaki, Masoud Behnoud, Touraj Daryaee, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis:


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by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

Dear Shemirani and VPK thanks for your appropriate selections. I could not remember many of those individuals, thanks for the reminder. I could have, and should have  mentioned and remembered every single one of them. We have an incredible history, and at some point it might not be a bad idea to to do a series on history, geography, anthropology,... of these eminent Iranian women. Not only our mothers deserve it, we all need a timely reminder of exactly who is who. It could start with an introduction to Tahereh and her times.

Thanks once again for your rich, thoughful selections. At the cost of sounding like a broken record, me really thinks we could to do a series on history of eminenet Iranian women on IC. Did I mention Tahereh? Cheers

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Aynak back to the original topic

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


We are way off topic. So how about this. One of us say you write a blog about this and we move the debate. Or stop now.

Back to topic: I would say as non-Iranians who contributed greatly to Iranian history and nation:

  • Professor Richard Frye - Expert in Iranian history and "Irandoost"
  • Mary Boyce - Researcher in Zoroastrian religion
  • Professor David Neil MacKenzie -Author of  "A  Concise Pahlavi Dictionary"

There are others but I just wanted to recognize a few important ones.


Re: Carter vs Regan

by aynak on


I think we are getting off topic VPK but I think the point I am not getting across about Carter can be summerized as follows:

Carter was a peanut farmer who had no agenda but his basic principle of human rights and pursuing that (which you may call naive).


This resulted in not just lip service to human rights but actually not standing on the way of dictators like Samosa of Nicragua or Shah of Iran fall.   So he will be credited in history as one of the U.S leaders who did not played hypocritial and stand for "our" dictator vs "their" dictator.

 He proposed a plan to rely on domestic energy sources and reduction of dependence on foreign oil.   He has a very famous speech where he explains how U.S must change its dependence on oil by improving cars fuel economy and developing alternative sources.   If that is not visionary I dont know what is.  The car I bought in 1979 was more fuel efficient than most cars even today.

 He hammered out a very fair Israeli-Palestinian deal as well as Israel Egypt deal.  (Although Israel turned back on most of its obligation) that was the only true unbaiased fair settlment and no U.S president since has anything to show for in that regard.

 These are the type of stuff that separates a real leader or visionary from a politician.   As I said, as time goes by, the relevance of Carter and what he stood for becomes more apparent.

Lastly, what you portray as incompetence, is reall a bunch of special interest in U.S going hand in hand to undermine Carter:

 Weapon makers + Auto industry + Banking system + Oil  So it is easy for you not ever having to deal with all this array of huge interest to say he was incompetent but add that Khomanee's direct help to Reagn with hostage crisis, and  you have what we saw.







Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I think you missed my point again. I am not approving of Reagan quite the opposite. I disapprove of Carter not confronting and stopping Reagan. Please read my posts carefully. Yes Reagan should have been prosecuted for his actions.

What I consider incompetence is Carter letting him get away with it. Do you understand what I am saying? Being "good" does not mean sitting back and allowing evil to have its way. It means being prepared to deal with it when it hits you.

When Reagan and Bush started going behind Carters back he should have exposed them. Then had them prosecuted for running an illegal foreign policy. Quite possibly for commiting treason against the United States.



VPK: Carter vs Reagn

by aynak on


VPK Jan, you seem to misunderstand incompetency vs someone actually undermining your government (which Reagan did, with private trips of Bush senior) visiting Islamic Regime officials in Europe.  In my view that is treason, that is breaking the law.

This is why you have in my view a notion of good management, which involves doing anything and everything, regardless of how unethical  to keep power or come to power.

 Reagan should ve been prosecuted for that as well as later Iran-Contra.   That's why I said, in long term and as more of this surfaces it becomes more clear who the good/principled politicians were and otherwise.







VPK jaan

by anglophile on

Initially I posted that comment as a little "teaser" but then I rememberd that even Milani in his book considered Khomeini as one of the eminent Iranians (of the Pahlavi era). You are right in questioning Khoemini's Iranian roots but again there were (and are) many of his protege's and cronies who (sadly) had Iranian roots but acted against the interests of Iran and Iranians. Personally I think as you suggested we msut classify them as the most patriotic vs the most treacherous Iranians. I guess the latter's list will be much longer than the former's.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Dear Anglo

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


You got a good point and I did think of saying the same. But Khomeini will be more of the most "eminent" fake Iranians since he is really Hindi. I am sure you know his background. But even with that definition Ferdowsi wins.

How about we make a list of most infamous "Iranians" or rather people who impacted Iran. That would definitely include Khomeini; Genghis Khan and Omar. Do you want to start a blog or should I? It will be very interesting to see who gets the list.

This list has become defacto "most admired" people. May I suggest we do a poll and figure out who gets the most votes. I would say Ferdowsi is definitely number one. Who knows about the rest of the people on.


You have got it all WRONG partners!

by anglophile on

"Most eminent" does not mean the most admired or the most positive or the best .... "Eminent" means conspicious // So I ask you who has been the most conspicuous Iranian whose impact has revolutionised millions of lives both within and beyond the borders of Iran. You guessed it: Ruhollah Al-Musavi Al-Khomini.  


Why does idealism and incompetence go hand in hand?

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

That was your opinion, how come?  It seems that idealism can lead to an agonizingly painful series of hits, I don't know why this is the case, wouldn't it make sense to have more idealism not less, there's something wrong with the world when idealism leads to tragedy.

The evil of reagan was that he spoke idealistically and acted totally ruthlessly.  He sold people well and delivered something very different.   

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Let us not turn this into a debate of Mossadegh. Plenty of other places to do that. What do you think about my statements on Carter and Reagan? 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


There should be no question the Greatest Iranian is Ferdowsi. So I am not going to bother stating the obvious. It is like saying "what is the brightest object in the sky above us?". Is there a question for anyone? There is No question for VPK.

With that goes that the greatest book of Iran is Shahnameh. I got to say it would be great if we had the predecessor "Khodaynamak". But to my knowledge it is gone and lost. Unless it turns  up in some  archeological dig.

By the way: the panel sucks!! Anyone with the ego to speak for others is automatically disqualified. VPK motto "speak for yourself; your whole self and no one but yourself or help you God". 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: Most eminent women

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


You forgot some of the biggest names from pre-disaster I mean pre-Islam.:

  • Gordafarid - Read Shahnameh and find ou! 
  • Artemis - Grand Admiral and leader of the Persian Navy under Khashayar. Not Iranian by birth but Iranian by allegiance.
  • Azarmidokht - last Sassanid Queen
  • Tahmineh -  She was not Iranian but very important in Iranian history
  • Manijeh - Read your Shahnameh!
  • Shirin - Read your Shahnameh again.

The list is very long and you might as well find out the rest on you own. The Achaemenids had lots of women in high positions. I don't have a list here so apologies.



Most eminent women

by Shemirani on



Tahereh (Thanks to Houshang-TarrehGol for the reminder)

Fooroogh Farokhzad,

Farakhroo Parsa,




Dear Disenchanted :)

by R2-D2 on

Both Reza Shah And Dr. Mossadeq Were Great Men - Like I Said, Admiring Both Is Not A Mutually Exclusive Thing :)

P.S. Unfortunately, I Can't Say The Same For Reza Shah's Son, The Late Shah (Mohammad Reza) - I Know That Our Monarchist Friends Wouldn't Agree With This Statement - However, That's A Whole Different Story :)


Please Take Care,


 R D





by Azadeh on

Ferdowsi = Iran & Iranihaa = the greatest Iranian ever!!

...and ofcourse his Shahnameh is the greatest Iranian masterpiece ever!!!

Long live the words of Ferdowsi to teach Iranians about Iran.


Dear R2-D2, you are welcome!

by Disenchanted on


         I have to admit this is the first time I am chatting with a robot! :-) (Judging form the name and image that is!)

        The fact that you have included both Reza Shah and Mosaddegh is a novelty. I think I liked that if nothing but for its novelty. I guess that's where robots beat the humans! No emotions involved:-)

      I dunno much about history, but the fact that Mosaddegh didn't get along with the son does not necessarily means he couldn't get along with the father either!

      One more thing about this selection. Among the Iranian great, some are great within the scope of Iran and Iranian interests. The prime example of which is Ferdosi. However some are great even within the scope of the whole human history. Ibn Sina would likely be among the top 50 greatest human beings ever. Hafez & Molana are up there as well.

     I find it interesting that Saadi didn't get many votes either in BBC sponsored selection or in here!

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

این اینترنت شده بلایِ جانِ افرادِ بی‌ اطلاع از زمانه،بگذریم که همچنان دانشِ تاریخیِ دوستان خلاصه شده در چند لینک و در اندی تصاویرِ ویدئویی است اما دیدنِ نامِ میرزا تقی‌ خان فراهانی اندکی‌ ما را متعجب کرد،چطور میشود از فردی که بهائیان و یهودیان را به موردِ آزار و خواری رسانید،به عنوانِ بهترین ایرانی نام برد !؟ یا آن یکی‌ عضوِ محترم (یا محترمه) که ادب را به زیر پای گذاشته و بی‌ ربط و بیخود از احمد شاه قاجار نام میبرد و نقلِ قولی از شخصی‌ می‌کند که هم از توبره خورد و هم از آخور !؟ ...

بعضی‌ از حضرات اینجا را با میدانِ سبزی و تره بار بهجت آباد،اشتباه گرفته و به خطا مطالبی‌ را بیان میکنند که سخت می‌‌شود باور کرد که در این روزگارِ شعور و دانش و در این قرنِ شکوفاییِ ارتباطات،افرادی باشند بدین حد بی‌ اطلاع از اوضاعِ زمانه،چه داخله و چه خارجه ! انگاری تاریخِ زخمه خورده میهنِ ما سبزی و میوه است که درهم نخری و سوا کنی‌ ،وای عجبا !

از جنابِ کاظم زاده که فردِ مطلعی است،انتظارِ بیشتری می‌‌رفت.

کاش عالیجنابان با این بحث جوری رفتار می‌‌کردند که آدمی‌ ۲ کلمه بیش از روزِ قبل فرا می‌‌گرفت،اما این حرفِ ما چه حاصل که همچنان در سالِ سیاه بختِ ۵۷ دست و پا می‌زنیم و مد العمومِ گذشتگانیم .

باز جایِ شکرش باقی‌ که چندی از دوستان یادی از شعرا و ادبا که به حق از بزرگانِ واقعی‌ِ ایران زمین هستند،یاد کردند، دستتان درد نکند.

با سپاس از نیکو اندیشانِ آینده نگر .



Dear Disenchanted :)

by R2-D2 on

I Do Stand Corrected - I Should Have Included The Great Abu Ali Sina (Ibn Sina - Avicenna) -

Thanks For Pointing That Out :)




Ferdosi, Hafez and Molana for sure....

by Disenchanted on


       But that would be too many poets! I am not so sure about kings or religious figures. I am shocked however that Behnood suggested Khatami, first and foremost! I thought he knows something about history! Khatami?! You got to be kidding. He won't be even remembered 10 years from now. At best he can be in charge of society against domestic violence or something like that! He is synonymous with, Neutral, neuter & "nimband"!

      Ibn Sina (Avecina) also deserves to be on that list. There may be great folks who were not necessaily famous. They are hard to recognize and remember. The unsung heros. I'd like to know about them.


Not a Hallal panel

by maghshoosh on

Some of the comments below show the herd effect typical in these sort of exchanges.  One person started by suggesting that Behnoud & Jahanbegloo nominated Khatami, and a few others jumped on the bandwagon of insulting Jahanbegloo for this.  But the video clearly shows that it was only Behnoud that nominated Khatami.  Jahanbegloo is the first one objecting to it, by suggesting that both Khatami & Reza Shah should be eliminated, and then others chime in to mock Behnoud's choice.

As for the choice of candidates, it reflects the background of the judges, who are all from the humanities/social sciences.  For example, in discussing Khayyam they only mention (at least in the video) his poetry, but not his work in mathematics & astronomy:


I'm not suggesting that he should have necessarily been on the top-6 list, but of those who made contributions to science & medicine only Ibn Sina, no doubt a towering figure, is included.

For sure, many were heart broken by the seditionist decision of the panel to dump Ahmadinejad & Khamenei from the list towards the beginning of the video.  (How did they get on the list in the first place?!)  In a jaw-smashing response, someone should start a thread where an alternate panel consisting of Jannati, Messbah Yazdi and Ahmad Khatami picks the greatest Iranian Idols ever.


Masoud Jaan

by R2-D2 on

I'm Of The Belief That There Is No Such A Thing As A "Perfect" Great Leader :)

Towards The End Of Qajars, As I'm Sure You Know, Iran (Persia) Was Moving Steadily Towards A System That Was Very Much Analogous To What Exists In Afghanistan Today: Molook-Ol-Tavayefi :)

It Was The Personality And Leadership Of Someone Like Reza Shah That Consolidated Iran Into A State That We See Today - Plus All The Great Advancements That Came About During His Reign -

There Is No Question In My Mind That There Was Much Abuse By His Leadership Also - As We Know, Dr. Mossadeq Went To A Self-Imposed Exile For Many Years While Reza Shah Was In Power - However, On Balance, In My Humble Opinion, The Net Positives Of Reza Shah's Reign, Far Outweighed His Negatives -

As You Know, I Greatly Admire Dr. Mossadeq Also - Again, In My Humble Opinion, There Are Absolutely No Contradictions Whatsoever In Admiring Both Reza Shah And Dr. Mossadeq As Great Iranian Patriots - Even Though They Had Significantly Different Approaches In Doing Things -

Admiration For Both Is Not (Repeat, "Is Not") A Mutually Exclusive Thing - Their Contributions To Our Beloved Iran, In Their Own Ways, Should Indeed Be The Final Test -


Please Take Care,





Masoud Kazemzadeh

on Khatami and Reza Shah

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Although I have strong reservations about some of the panel members, it is no brainer that Reza Shah or Khatami were not selected. It would have shown their utter ignorance of history if they had chosen these two persons.

Khatami is strongly in support of the reactionary and dictatorial vf constitution as well as an amazingly weak person. Repeatedly in his political life, he harmed the struggle of the people against the terrorist regime. Khatami is part of the ruling tyranny and a faithful servant of it. Khatami goal was, and is, to make reforms in order to preserve and prolong the vf regime.

The following is my analysis of Reza Shah:



my 2 cents,




by aynak on

 "He was in fact quite dictatorial"

Common now, did you just register for Mirfetroos School of Academically challenged? 

We are all entitled to what we believe in, it would be good if that were based on facts though.  Cheers.





Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I view it a bit different than you do. Jimmy Carter was or rather is both an idealist and incompetent. Reagan was evil and stupid. These are not choices I would like. I prefer a "good" person who is also a realist.

The incompetence of Carter ushered in the evil of Reagan. As President  Carter was not even able to prevent Reagan from dealing with Ayatollah behind his back. We all know Reagan got IRI to keep the hostages to guarantee  his presidential victory. A competent president would have not allowed that to happen. Problem is idealism and incompetence go hand in hand. That was the same for Bazargan who was totally incapable of leadership.

Regarding Mossadegh. I am not talking about him letting in clerics in government. I am talking about his dealings with other nations. In particular Britain and America. His intransigence and inability to make deals. He was in fact quite dictatorial so he had that base covered. What he was missing was the realism that you need to give and take. You don't give the finger to Britain and just sit not being ready for a backlash. At the minimum  get America on your side. But his supporters will never admit his faults.


VPK: idealist

by aynak on

Let's take the example of 2 presidents of U.S:  Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

The former is often viewed as an idealist and the latter a pragmat.  Carter was almost kicked out of office where as Reagan was revered up until recently.

But the sign of greatness, is only understood as the time goes on, and historians have time to look at the full impact and legacy.

From that perspective, Carters push for energy independence, sincere support and non-hypocritical fight for human rights, his humanatarian causes .... have already earned him the position of fair-unbaised and trusted mediator world wide.  On the other hand, as the depth of bankrupcy of Soviet system became apparent, (i.e fall of Soviet Union, had nothing to do with Reagan but their own collapse), and as his trickle down economy (Reagonomics) has completely unraveld, I am not sure going forward he would be viewed as a great leader.

In case of Mossadegh, you are correct that in short term we did not fair well, but only hypocirtes who shoot from both side of their mouth can blame Mossadegh for what happened, and can ignore these anomolies:

--Mossadegh was not willing to let Kasahni/Relious figures to get into government.  (Number one reason that causes his ultimate demise).

--Mossadegh had only 3 years in power, and in those 3 years his accomplishment are undeniable, by historian, and not a bunch of ignorant idiots who believe in Mirfetrooses view of Ghyam Melli instead of coup.   This becomes particularly annoying and dumb, when the coup makers themselves are sorry for what they did.

Here's the catch-22:  Had Mossadegh let clerics in the government, he could have stayed in power,  if he wanted to become another iron fist leader like Reza Shah or Saddam he could have, but it is still amazing to me in 2011 that people see what happened to Reza Shah, Ghazafi Saddam and Mohmad Reza Shah and still think they were good leaders :) and still fault Mossadegh for being true to Iranian interest.







Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Dear MK

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


First of all I hope we have got over the old fights. Now regarding Bahrain.

A politician needs to be cunning and work against odds. The trick is to get your opponents to agree to your terms. Dr Mossadegh was not a cunning politician. You do not win by sending an "objection". You have several choices in that situation:

  • If you are strong you kick *** and take what you want by force. That was not an option then. In my opinion Iran should take Bahrain in the future when its military force allows it. Just like China will with Taiwan when the time is right.
  • If you are not able to get it by force you win by getting the bigger guy i.e. America to side with you.
  • The other option is  you bribe the smaller guy with concessions or whatever for a limited time. Like China and Hong Kong. Give it to Britain NOT Arabs like Hong Kong on a 50 year lease. Then by now we would have it back.

The tragedy of Dr. Mossadegh is that he was an idealist. Thinking he wins by "international law" and so on. Nobody wins like that; you need realism. Without it you are at the mercy of those who are bigger and stronger.


My List

by jmyt17 on

The greatest Iranian are who has respect for Iran and Iranian.


Such helpless male chauvinist culture

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

1- Forough Farokhzad

2- Tahereh (Ghoratolein)

3- Sadegh Hedayat

4- Hoshang Golshiri 

5- Ahmad Shamlo

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Dr. Mossadegh and Bahrain

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on


At The Very Top .....

by R2-D2 on

I Would Put Cyrus The Great (Kourosh-e Kabir) -

Below Him, I Would Put Our Great Poets:

- Omar Khayyam

- Ferdowsi

- Rumi (Mowlavi),  and

- Hafez

For Modern Times, I Put Both Reza Shah and Dr. Mossadeq, As Our Greatest Patriots, As They Both Were - Even Though, They Couldn't Stand One Another :)