Welcome to Persians and Hollywood. My name is Oslonor and I live in California with my Persian wife. I am not Iranian myself but I am interested about Iran's history and culture. If you want to know how I look like, I found this picture on the internet which looks like me very much. So I am using this picutre.
This blog is about "How Persians are portrayed in Hollywood films". The number of visitors to this blog has been around 20.000 people from 103 countries. You can see different kind of statistics displayed on different related blogs.
Iran is a multi ethnic country and the nationals or citizens of Iran are called Iranians. Iranian does not have any ethnic or racial significance as anybody could be Iranian. It is not possible to generalize about the image of an Iranian. Generally in Western mass media an Iranian is associated with the image of Azeri Turks who are a major ethnic group in Iran. President Ahmadinejad of Iran is an Azeri Turk and has a typical Azeri Turk phenotype.
Before Proceeding further we suggest that you visit the sidebar on the right on this page and view the phenotype slideshow for major ethnic groups in Iran. Also see the trailer for Oliver Stone "Alexaner" and see a real Persian, Shermin Shahrivar, Miss Europe 2005. This way the rest of blog
Iran and Persia are two different names: Iran has two names. Iran and Persia. These two names do not mean the same thing. Iran is the name of a country. Persia is both a country and the name of an ethnicity in Iran. Not all Iranians are Persians. Iran has many ethnic groups as its citizens. Those are Arabs, Assyrians, Jews, Turcomens and Azeris, Kurds, Baluchs and Persians.
The Persians have subdivision as Lurs, Bakhtiaris, Gilaki, Mazandranis etc. Iran points to a country but not a race. There is no "Iranian race". Iran is a state. Iran is not a nation. Persian and Kurds and Azeris, Baluch, Turcomans etc are nations. The misunderstanding about the name of Iran comes from Europe where the states are nations too, example: Germany and Germans or British and Britain. But Iran and Iranians are not the same thing. Iranian is similar to an American from any ethnic background.
The Persian aryans who migrated to Iran around 2000 BC found the country populated by different local civilizations. The Persian language was accepted by these locals through elite substition of the Persian language. These natives are considered as Persians in Iran but they have different origins.
Some natives of Iran who are Persian speakers are related to the civilization of Mesopotemia. Other Persian speakers are related to other local civilizations in different parts of Iran such as Kashan, Kerman or Jiroft or Elam. These natives of Iran lived in Iran before the migrating Persian Aryans arrived in Iran.
So Persians are divided into two groups. Ethnic Persians and Persians speakers. Ethnic persians who were the leaders and founders of the Persian Empire are completely ignored by Hollywood. Instead Hollywood always employs actors with Azeri Turks looking features and presents them to the public as Persians. Azeri Turks are major ethnic group in Iran. This blog tries to clear that misconception promoted by Hollywood and specially in Oliver Stone "Alexander". There are no light skinned or dark skinned "Iranians". There is no such people called "Iranian" in Iran. Iran is a multi-ethnic country. Iranian simply means a citizen of Iran. Iran defines a geographic location and not a race.
There are no African looking Swedes. Neither there are any Afro-Arabian, big nose, curly hair, connected eyebrows Persians. Those people are Persian speakers and not ethnic Persians.
Also in common usage, Iranian refers to an Azeri Turk. Persians identify themselves as Persians and not Iranians. That is why Azeri Turks are trying to confuse people and always write Iranian/Persian to mean those are the same people. That is not correct and Persian is not the same thing as Iranian.
Main Ethnic Division in Iran: Population 70 Million
Core Persians or ethnic Persians %10 of Iran
(Original Migrating Aryan tribes such as Persians, Parthians,Sogdians, Bactrians, Scythians) (Nordic Types)
Persian Speakers %30-%35 of Iran
(Includes Natives of Iran with native origin and civilization such as Kashan, Jiroft, elam etc) (Mainly Cro-magnid Types)
Azeri Turks Iranians %40 of Iran - ca.30 million
(Originating from Oghuz Turks mainly from 15 century A.D. in Iran)(Mainly Armenoid Types)
According to CIA Factbook: Estimates other groups are:
Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%,
Hollywood uses Racism: The mixing up of these two names Iran/Persia and Iranian/Persian is the source of many misconceptions and Hollywood uses this confusion to downplay the heritage of Persians by focusing on the Azeri Turk Iranian part of the population of Iran and presenting it as the real Persians. It also tries to prove that "Iranian" is a mixture of Arabs and Africans and the Aryan race is a myth in Iran. None of the ethnic nationalities in Iran are mixed with Arabs or Africans according to genetic research. Persia had never had any slave trade as Arabs did and the Arab invasion of Persian in the 6 century A.D. is exaggerated to show that Iranians are actually Arabs. Arab invasion of 20.000 army had practically no genetic impact on Iran.
Azeri Turks a major ethnic group in Iran have lived in Iran mainly since 15 A.D. They were not in Persia at the time of Persian Empire around 500 BC which is 2000 years earlier, and they are ethnically related to Turks and not to Persians. Currently Azeri Turks control the government in Iran. Persians have no role or a very minor role in the Iranian government. Outside Iran many people mistake Azeri Turks for Persians as all citizens of Iran are called Iranians. But Azeri Turks are fundamentally a different ethnic group from Persians. On the other hand many Azeri Turks use even the label of Persian to associate themselves with the Persian historical heritage.
DNA Research: According to DNA research the gene marker for an Arab is Haplogroup Type EU10. None of Iranians that is Persians and Azeris do not have EU10. So Iranians are definitely not Arabs. But there some features related to Azeri appearance that looks semitic that is used by Hollywood to depict the Persians as Afro-Arabs. Azeris may have hooked noses or connecting eye brows or special hair texture.
The main difference between an Azeri and a Persians is that Azeris have oval face and Persians have long narrow faces. Also culturally Persians and Azeris are different. Persians and other natives of Persia were followers of Zoarastrians ancient religion. Azeris have never been Zoarastrian. And this is a very fundamental difference. Azeri Turks have a turkish culture from Caucasus. Persians and other natives of Iran have a central asian culture.
Persians and Azeris: Officially Persians ar %50 of the population and Azeris are %25 of the population of Iran with 70 million people. But the reality is Azeris are %35-%40 of Iran. Ethnic Persians are %10 of the population. Persian speakers are about %35 of the population. The Azeri Turk group actually controls the government in Iran and represent a majority of the population in Tehran. More than %60-%70 of Tehran are Azeri Turks and number is growing on a daily basis. Persians are a minority in Iran even Iran is identified with Persia and Iran is not a Persian country but a country run by Azeri Turks. This fact clearly deviates from the standard conceptions about Iran.
Hollywood and Racism: Hollywood always mixes up Persians with Iranians presenting these two are the same people. That is not correct. An Iranian can be a Persian but it is not necessarily a Persian. These techniques of Hollywood on how Persians are portrayed in films is a part of the bigger problem how some people with positions of power are trying to use racism to promote their own agenda in US. Persians have no problems with ordinary Azeris. And Persians are not responsible for how Azeris look like. But Persians have to explain why Hollywood is bypassing the Persians and present Azeris as the real Persians. Persians are Non-Racist people and are exactly the ideals that Hollywood claims to promote. But Hollywood by depicting Azeris as Persians in their films is promoting racism against all Iranians.