Since I was a child I always noticed that those blond blue eyed kids at school or neighbourhood were somehow a rarity among us. They were referd to as ‘foreig looking’ or ‘khareji looking’ but they were Iranian. Even now, I’ve noticed other Iranians making comments such as: He/she doesn’t look Iranian at all….
To some or I should say many, these blond and fair skin Iranians are the ‘proof’ of our Aryan ancestors. Once outside Iran, I noticed that this is less of a rarity among other Middle Eastern nationalities such as the Turkish, or the Lebanese, and definitely present in Iraq, Syria. Egypt and most other countries in the region. However, none of the above seem to link this to their Aryan roots. Couple of years ago a friend of mine traveled to Afganistan as part of a team of European doctors and spent almost a year there, mainly in Kabul and northen provinces of that country. On his return he told me how he and his colleagues were all amazed by the very visible presence of very blond, tall and blue eyed afganis that didn’t resemble the Russian. He had taken many pictures and showed me many of them and I saw what he meant. These were 100% nordic looking afganis, some very good looking. He rated the percentage of this type of physical features up to 35 or 40%. Once I read that during in ancient times, the soldiers or guards standing by the main gates of Persepolis and other main palaces in Persia were mostly from the Eastern provinces of the empire, once called ‘Ariana’ located in today’s Afghanistan. The guards were selected because of their physical appearance, very tall and robust, blond and blue eyed. However, anyone familar with Iran and its different regions could realize that such physical attributes are present in many regions of Iran, in Azerbayian, Kurdistan, Fars, Khuzestan and obviously the Northern Caspian provinces with lesser degree in the central provinces. However; in Iran there’s a very visible trace of the Arab influence all over the country and more so among what has been refered to as the ‘Persian’ Historical records of Tarikhe Tabari and Zarrinkoob make clear reference to the heavy relocation of many Arab tribes from Arabia to Persia, in the centuries after the fall of the Sassanid empire. These tribes were literally installed in Iran in order to control the intensive Persian resistance against the invasion. In some instances, entire cities and villages were abondoned by Persians who fled to the mountaineous Eastern provinces (the city of Ghom, is an example of this) now part of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Some others howver; fled their homeland and after years of travelling got to India (the Parsis) and some others, mainly the upper-classes of politicians and royal families arrived in China, including Pirooz the son of Yazdgerd. For arabs that invaded Iran the fairer and blonder Persian women were the most valuable and the ones that were transported and sold in Arabia. These whole shiftings of population changed the ethnic structure of Iran and may as well explain the very visible presence of the fair and blond type in the Eastern provinces now, Afganistan as well as in the remote and mountaineous regions of Iran itself. The arabized physionomy in Iran far exceeds the blond and fair type while the vast majority of then population remains close to what the vast majority of the Iranians looked like during the Sassanid times, which is mainly a Mediterranean physionomy. Besides the visible mix with the Arab type there’s another breed of Monghol and or Far East looking type not present in other Middle Eastern countries. Ferdowsi makes clear reference to this in Shahnameh when he says: Ze Irano Torkano Tazian, nejadi padid ayad dar mian, na dehghano torko tazi bowad, sokhanan be kerdare bazi bowad.
Please note that by saying Torkan (Ferdowsi was refering to the Turkeman tribes, descendants of the Moghols in Iran) and by saying Dehghan, he was refering to the Persian and obviosuly the Tazian meant the Arabs.
It’s worth mentioning that the blond and fair type of physic is also present among the Zoroastrian community, also being a minority among themselves. Therefore; one could conclude that even in ancient Persia the fair type was not very common either. Now, why would Cyrus and other Persian kings refer to themselves as king of the Aryans, may remain a mystery…