/* Fakhredin Blog: Persian: Nationality or Ethnicity? */
Fakhredin Blog
The posts in this weblog are mainly about history, heritage, language, art, and culture of Persia (that is named Iran since 1934). Persia is, therefore, equal to Iran, and Persian is equal to Iranian. Note that Persian is a nationality not an ethnicity. Pars (or Fars) is the major ethnicity in Persia but there are also Persian Kurds or Arabs. Similarly, the official language in Persia is Persian (Farsi is the local name and may not be used internationally). For more details please read my posts.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
  Persian: Nationality or Ethnicity?
You know that an Irish or a Welsh does not like to be called English. The same situation exists in Persia. Let me explain:

Persia is a large country. Even now that it is in its smallest size in the whole history, it is bigger than Spain, France, and Germany altogether. Due to its large area, many different ethnic groups live there, and they talk also in many different languages.

In the west side of Persia, from north to south, live Azeris (Turks), Kurds, Lurs, and Arabs. In center there are mainly Pars (or Fars that is the Arabized version, since Arabs do not have the sound "p" in their alphabet). In the east live Baloch and Torkmens(1). Every ethnic group has its own language. Persian, which is the language of Pars, is the official language of Persia. The country is called Persia since the royal family of the first Persian Empire was from Pars ethnicity.

Going back to the story of Irish and English people, in Persia also an Arab or a Kurd does not like to be called Pars. Some of those people consider "Persian" to be the English translation of Pars (Fars) ethnicity, and, therefore, insist to keep the name of the country as Iran in order to clarify that not all the people in that land are Pars.

As I explained in the previous post, using the name Iran for the country is not justified. The following proposal may resolve the confusion of the ethnicity:

In conclusion, "Persian" is not the translation of "Pars ethnicity". People with Pars (Fars) ethnicity are simply called "Pars." On the other hand, all the people from Persia, no mater what ethnicity they have, are called "Persian."

Persian is a nationality not an ethnicity.

(1) This list of Persian ethnic groups is not complete.

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If you look at other European languages, the distinction between ethnicity and nationality is also very clear.

For example is Dutch language, "Pers" is the ethnicity, "Perzisch" is the nationality, and "Perzië" is the name of the country.
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