A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes This a Useful Notes page. A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes
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Iran is the 18th largest country of the world, currently holding about 72,000,000 people inside its 7,000,000 km perimeter. Iran has a vast variety of flora and fauna, much like a more compact version of the United States. Although Iran has a small Arab minority, mainly in the south and near the Iraq border, Iranians are not Arab and they will be very insulted if you call them that.


  • Iran is an old country, dating back to 900 B.C. (or 3200 B.C. if you count Elam). Iran's history is divided into two parts by historians, Ancient Iran and post-Islamic Iran.
  • Iranians have called their country "Iran" since ancient times, the name being ultimately derived from Airyanem kshathra, or "land of the Aryans". The first Iranian empire had its origins in Fars province (Parsa in Old Persian), so the Greeks called the country "Persis," whence "Persia" is derived .That name was used in the West until 1935, when the Shah politely asked everyone to start using the name Iran.
  • At one point or another throughout its history, Iran has had Egypt, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Transoxiana, the Caucasus, Punjab, and northern Greece under its rule, all of which has been lost to various other empires, such as the Arabs, Mongols, Russia and Britain.
  • Iran uses a solar calendar, invented by the famous Omar Khayyam. Each year starts at the first day of spring, celebrated by a traditional holiday named Nowrouz (meaning The Renewed Day).
  • Iran's official language is Persian or Farsi, and the official script is the Arabic alphabet with the addition of four letters to make up for sounds which Arabic lacks.
    • Persian is not related to Arabic, despite the large number of loanwords. Persian is an Indo-European language, which makes it related to Hindi and most languages spoken in Europe, including English. Old Persian was rather similar to Sanskrit, though it evolved and picked up a fair amount of vocabulary from Arabic.
      • A good analogy for Farsi's linguistic situation is actually English: just as English is a Germanic language with substantial Romance (specifically French) vocabulary, Farsi is an Indo-European language (which Germanic and Romance languages are as well, by the way, albeit in separate sub-families both to Farsi and each other) with substantial Semitic (specifically Arabic) vocabulary. Just as French-derived words in English are more "high-class" or "technical" than the Germanic ones, the Arabic imports in Farsi generally deal with more sophisticated topics (for the reason why, see this). For instance, in the same way that English government comes from Old French and is clearly related to the Modern French gouvernement (same thing), the Farsi word for "government" is the Arabic-derived hokumet (the Arabic is hukumah, but can be pronounced as hukumat in certain situations which we won't go into here). On the other hand, day-to-day words (or at least words whose meanings are very ancient) are almost inevitably Indo-European, just as 88% of the day-to-day vocabulary of English is Germanic. Star in English is clearly more closely related to the Dutch ster and German Stern than the French étoile or Italian stella, and the Farsi setāre is very obviously Indo-European (the Arabic word is najm).
    • Some Persian words that are cognates of English words include
      • baradar - brother
      • dokhtar - daughter, girl
      • dar - door
      • khoda - god
      • carkh - circle (actually means wheel)
      • abad - abode
      • djavan - young
      • now - new
      • The two languages' common origin means that there are many other examples.
  • Iran is a very diverse country. In addition to ethnic Persians, there are Azeris, Kurds, Armenians, Arabs, Jews, and other groups living in the country.
    • Also, there is great diversity in how people look. Many Iranians have a tan or olive complexion, but there are also pale blondes and redheads, as well as people with a vaguely South Asian appearance. Some Iranians even have skin as dark as someone from Africa or southern India.
  • Iran's official religion is Shi'a Islam. 98% of all Iranians are Muslim. Before Islam, most Iranians were Zoroastrian. A tiny community of Zoroastrians still live in Iran, but most Zoroastrians live elsewhere in modern times (particularly in India).
  • Despite this, Iran is not controlled by Sharia Law. Iran's judicial law is made-up on the spot. Iran's political system is supposed to be a mixture of "what's good and evil according to the subtext."
    • This is mostly because Shari'a is chiefly a Sunni concept, and relies on an interpretation of the way the judiciary ought to work that fell out of fashion in Shi'a circles several centuries ago. Mainstream Shi'a jurisprudence is of the Usuli branch of the Ja'fari school, which grants (among other things) extensive power to judges to interpret and re-interpret Qur'anic law as they see fit in a process known as ijtihad; ijtihad is seen in most Sunni circles as more or less impossible in modern times, and its revival and application to modern times is a very controversial issue among Sunni legal scholars.
  • Currently, Iran's Arch Nemesis is the USA. The reason they have such a bitter feud is a long, complicated story, beginning with the United States and Britain overthrowing the elected government in 1953 and instating the authoritarian Shah. When the Islamic revolution came around, Iran took the American Embassy hostage for 444 days.
    • Also, it should be noted they both have tried to patch it up but, because of the inability to appease all factions within and outside them both, they have mainly fallen through. See: Grand bargain.
  • Currently Iran is under sanctions by the West, with at least a hundred people dying every year because of outdated airplanes, tears dropped because of low-speed Internet connections, and millions wasted from the lack the support of PayPal/Visa.
  • The current president is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and widespread protests broke out over the results of the last election, but were quickly put down. This was big news in the West, but then Michael Jackson died and they forgot about it. The President famously declared at Columbia University that Iran didn't have gay people like the United States did, and is an avowed Holocaust denier, as well as being anti-Israel in general.

Human Rights and Politics

  • Iran has the second-highest execution rate in the world, just behind China. Despite what this it sound like, capital punishment is only used on murderers, terrorists and drug dealers.
  • Iran is controlled by an interesting conglomeration of a government. There is a Supreme Leader, a President, and the Majles, the Iranian parliament.
    • Interestingly, the Jewish populace of Iran has a seat in parliament. (Iran hosts the second-largest population of Jews in the Middle East.)
    • The Armenian populace has one as well. Iran has had a friendship with Armenia going back to ancient times, despite religious differences, though this strains Iran's relations with Azerbaijan as a result...which is strange, since more Azeris live in Iran than in Azerbaijan, and Tabriz, the capital of Azeri culture, is in Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei himself is Azeri on his father's side.
      • Iran's neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh War with Armenia was what really irked Azerbaijan. And Azeri nationalism being what it is, some of the more extreme nationalists believe northern Iran rightfully belongs to Azerbaijan.
  • Iran's major export, and best known, is oil. It also exports goods to the landlocked countries of Central Asia, such as foodstuffs. Iran also has its hand in electronic consumerism, but just enough for the domestic use.
    • The Iranian economy is very interesting to economists, as it has robust GDP growth, but both inflation and unemployment are high--and having all three together is supposed to be impossible.[1]
  • Homosexuality was heavily persecuted during the beginning days of the Islamic Republic. Though still closeted due to social misrepresentations, homosexuals have a hang-out in Tehran, and aren't afraid of coming out to their families.
    • Oddly, transsexuals are more accepted in some circles in Iran (even some of the more conservative/religious areas) than in the West, though this is not universal.
  • The Cyrus Cylinder, issued by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century B.C., proclaims the benefits of Cyrus' rule, and has been called the first human rights charter in history. Despite being an ancient propaganda piece, Cyrus was indeed known for his enlightened rule. Iranian reformers count Cyrus and the Cylinder among their sources of inspiration.
  • Along with the Celts, ancient Iran was one of the most egalitarian societies with regards to gender. Women served as warriors, generals, and civil administrators. Today, women face numerous restrictions on dress and behavior, enforced with varying degrees of zeal. Despite this, there is a strong women's movement in Iran.


  • Though Iranians do not like to say they imitate Western culture per se, in reality the country is extremely multicultural and open to foreign influences.
  • Iranians have a rich background when it comes to science. You can check The Other Wiki for more information.
  • Iranian cuisine is full of delicious dishes:
    • Chelo-Kabab: Turkish kebab with rice cooked in the Iranian way. First rice is cooked with steam until it becomes soft and floppy like a marshmallow. Then it is dried and cooked again until it loses all the nutrients, but gains more flavour.
    • Khoresh-Ghorme-Sabzi: Biff, an special mix of vegetables and beans with spices. Eaten with rice.
    • Khoresh-Gheime: Biff, split pea with whatever you want, eaten with rice.
    • Koofte: Meatball. In Turkish parts of Iran, they're made with rice and vegetables. They're also called "Koofte-Tabrizi".

And many, many more.



  • Dash-Mashti: Favorite stereotype of older Iranian movies. See below.
  • Laat: Douchebags who waste their time, rarely doing anything.
  • Bache-mosbat: Young bookworms who have autistic-like behavior.
  • Jakesh: The world literally means pimp, but it's used to describe loud-mouthed assholes in general.
  • Tork: Meaning Turk, this word is used to describe dumb people.
  • Bache-Sosol: Hipsters, in general.

Movies and TV Industry

Before the revolution, Iran's movie industry was a Bollywood-esque thing with Pretty Cool Guys jumping on motorcycles, flirting with girls, being rejected by their father after asking for marriage, taking them to a warehouse at night, being too decent of gentlemen to commit premarital sex, being diagnosed with terminal cancer after that father accepts the marriage when the girl lies to his father about what took place in that warehouse, and then dying in peace. Movies about Dash-mashtis (see above) were also popular at that time. These people had a promiscuous love interest, and even wives, but they preferred having sex with their favorite prostitute. They had master degrees in knife fighting, and they were all raised in poor neighborhoods by housemaid mothers. Although most of the above movies were extremely cheesy, there's one masterpiece, which is considered the best movie of early Iranian cinema, called "Gheisar". In this movie, Gheisar, our dash-mashti seeks revenge after death of his brother and sister. His sister committed suicide after being raped by her friends brother, and his brother was murdered for going after that dude. Long story short, he spends most of the movie running from cops. Another good movie from this era is an adaption from a short story called "Gav" (cow). This story is about a simple, rural man who after his cow dies, goes crazy and thinks he's a cow.

After the revolution, films changed to fit the law. Also many children's movies with cute puppets were made during the 80s and 90s, because producing animation was too expensive and time-consuming. Iranian cinema has become popular in Europe. Some notable post-revolution Iranian movies are:

  • Mother: A mother who has 5 children is dying, so she invites them to her house. The children have been apart for many years, and when they find each other living under the same roof again, instead of attending their soon-to-be dead mother, they spend their time conflicting with each other.
  • Kamal-ol-molk: Biography of the famous titular painter, Mohammad Ghaffari.
  • Storks Dream Without D: A surreal work from Hussein Yari.
  • Puppet Thief: Sci-fi children's work, Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • School of Mice: Puppet movie mouses who are escaping from a cat.
  • Kolah-Ghermezi and Pesar-Khale: Possibly the most famous children's movie, about some boy who wants to be on TV (with more laughs). Two main characters (Ghermezi and his cousin) are played by puppets.
  • Pari: A Mind Screw movie, but a well-done one.
  • Dorna: A live-action children's movie.
  • Dog Massacre: In early days of Shah's fall, a man has sent his wife to clean up his fraudulent history so he can start a new life in the new government.
  • The Red: About a very, very dysfunctional couple.
  • Mom's Guests
  • "Taste of Cherry", probably the most famous movie of Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami, about a man seeking help with his suicide. Suprisingly un-depressing for some reason.

As for TV, Iran produced good shows with original plots before they became soap opera-esque drama. Foreign shows have little to do with time slots; reruns are rarely found in Iranian TV. Some notable Iranian TV series are:

  • Hezar Dastan: From the director of Mother and Kamal-ol-molk, this show had such a great property that it's still being used by other historical shows.
  • Amir Kabir
  • After the Rain: A TV Series setting in olden days, centering around a Jerkass land owner who has a dickhead brother in law. There's some Guy-love between the two, enough that after the feudal "Arbab" remarries another women, the in-law kills him and burns his house.
  • The Nights of Barrareh: A journalist is deported to a village called Barrareh, resident of some completely dimwitted people who believe that Alexander the Great once set foot there and tripped, Victor Hugo was theirs and peas are the only food on the planet.
  • The Magic Lamp: Probably the only Iranian show that's comparable to American shows.


Hafiz, Sa'adi, Ferdowsi, Khayyam and Molavi Rumi are known world-wide for their poetry. Some other classic Persian poets are:

  • Nezami Ganjavi: Wrote romantic poems. Most famous in the West for writing Layla and Majnun, the classic love story of Persian literature.
  • Obeid Zakani: His famous poem, Cat and Mice is probably the predecessor of Tom and Jerry, with a cat who drinks and kills mice, then repents, but then he gets so mad about a mouse that he gathers an army to fight with them (and the mouse gathers an army, too). He has a Jook too, which mostly consists of homophobic and racist jokes.

Some modern Persian Poets are:

  • Nima Yushij

And some notable Iranian writers are:

  • Sadegh Hedayat: Angst Fuel writer. Known for his Mind Screw book, The Blind Owl.
  • Mohammad Jamalzade: Although he left Iran when he was 9, he has many Persian books. He also lived for 101 years.
  • Hoshand Moradi Kermani

The Ghazal, a form of poem consisting of 12-14 couplets all ending with the same word, originated in Iran sometime in the 1200's.

The Iranian flag

Flag of Iran


  1. As it turns out, when you factor out oil, Iran's economic growth rate is rather small--in other words, Iran is facing stagflation.
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