Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)

Iran (Persia)

Capital : Tehran

Azerbayjan-e Gharbi, Azerbayjan-e Sharqi, Bakhtaran, Bushehr, Gilan, Fars, Hamadan, Kordestan, Khorasan, Khuzestan, Khokiluyehva, Markazi, Semnan, Buyer Ahmadi, Sistan va Baluchestan, Zanjan, Mazandaran, Yazd


Iran, the name now used for Persia, comes from the Aryan tribes who settled between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea about 3000 years ago. Although there were objections to the use of 'Persia' as the country's name as it only included one particular tribe, the language spoken by about 68% of the population in 1977 was still called 'Farsi'. A dialect of it is spoken by the nomadic Lurs and Baluch. About a quarter of the population speaks Turkic, with the Quashquai near Shiraz and the Turkoman on the border near Russia being of true Turkish stock. There are mixed stock minority groups of Armenians, Jews, Arabs and Assyrians who retain their own language, religion and culture. There were still 40 000 Zoroastrians around Yazd at the time of the revolution. Since the time of the Achaemenid kings, Iranian culture has been a mixture of many different peoples, religions and languages.

After the death of Alexander the Great, Persia was ruled by Greece but the occupation soon began to adopt Persian customs and administrators and many mixed marriages took place. The invading Aryan tribes from the north east in the C3 BC brought in the Parthian dynasty but they too became Persianised. The Parthians managed to resist Rome for almost three centuries and were never subjected by the Empire. When Rome became Christianised in the C3 AD, Zoroastrianism was used to rally the Persians together and there was some persecution of Christians under the Sassanids. In the C7 AD, Persia occupied Damascus in 613, Jerusalem in 614, Egypt in 619 and besieged Constantinople. The Persian and Byzantine Empires were both weakened by these campaigns and the newly emerged religion of Islam was growing strength in Arabia.

The Shi'ite sect believed that the spiritual leadership of the Caliphate should remain in the family of the prophet Mohammed, the Sunni majority that succession should pass to any suitable member of his tribe and Kharejites that it should be determined on piety alone). The five years between the battles of Qadesiyeh in 637 and Nahavand in 641 reduced Persia from a proud empire to a dependency of Arabia. Islam was less easily assimilated than previous invasions but when Caliph Hosayn, a descendant of the Prophet, was assassinated by the Omayyad dynasty of Arabia (Sunni Muslims), his martyrdom rallied the non-Arab Islamic faithful.

Under the Omayyads, no non-Arab could hold a senior post or enter Arabia. Society was ruled by Arab-born Muslims followed by the Mavali or non-Arab Muslims (Persians or ajams were the largest group), the Zemmi (non-Muslims from tolerated religions like Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism) and the slave level. In 750, the Omayyad dynasty was overthrown with the help of the Persian army under Abu Moslem, establishing the Abbasids who put more emphasis on Islamic faith than Arab origins. There were many religious risings in Persia and dynasties included Saffarids, Samanids, Buyids, Ghaznavids and Saljugs. During this time, the Iranian Renaissance saw advances in art, culture and medicine.

From 1220 onwards, Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes swept across Asia. Most of the west Persian cities were sacked but Persian culture and Islam survived. The Ilkhans were converted to Islam and encouraged trade with Christian Europe (Marco Polo visited in 1271) but their central control was lost to provincial kingdoms within a century. These fell between 1380 and 1393 under the savage second Mongol invasion of Tamerlaine, but his son, Shahrukh, restored arts, medicine and learning.

A boy of thirteen, Esma'il, became leader of the Turkoman Safavi tribe in 1490. Within fifteen years of continuous war, he controlled the whole of Iran. He hated the Sunni's and gave the people a choice between conversion to Shi'i or death. Almost everybody converted, giving Iran a united front against the Ottoman empire which, despite Esma'il's defeat by Sultan Selim I at Chaldiran in 1514, never took over Iran.

The Safavid, Shah Abbas, came to power in 1587 when the Ottoman decline had opened up trade routes. He established religious tolerance and had craftsmen from Italy and China to work on his new palace at Isfahan where many Christian Armenians settled. Pope Clement VIII was asked to send a Christian mission and the Augustinians came in 1603 and the Carmelites in 1607. There were embassies from east and west and diplomatic links were forged with Elizabeth I in England. Abbas maintained his strong position due to his readiness to execute opposition, including his three sons. His successors were far less strong, and the invading Afghans had a great victory near Isfahan in 1722. Russia, the Ottomans and Afghan were only prevented from taking over Iran by Nader Qoli of the Afshar tribe who became Shah in 1736, capturing Kabul, Peshawar and Lahore in 1738 and sacking Delhi in 1739. He also practised religious tolerance and planned to unite Shia and the Sunni but was strongly opposed and was murdered in 1747.

The Portuguese, Dutch and British all established trading rights in the C16th with the English gaining economic supremacy after sending the first warship, HMS Seahorse (with young midshipman, Horatio Nelson on board), to the gulf in 1775. The Persians lost control of Bahrein in 1783. In 1798 Napoleon, then in possession of Egypt and Syria, planned a campaign which was to conquer Persia and India. It never came to fruition but Britain, concerned for the Indian Empire, and Russia, wanting a southern port, began to take a greater interest in Persia. In 1813, Persia tried to regain Georgia but failed, leading to the humiliation of the Treaty of Gulistan, further territory loss, the Treaty of Turkomanci in 1828 and a war indemnity to the Russians of three million pounds. Russia encouraged Persia to try to regain the lost territories, Herat and Sistan on the borders of Britain's Indian Empire but they had to recognise the independent British puppet state of Afghanistan in 1857. Persia lost further territory in Turkestan and Russia took over Bokhara, Merv and the good farmland of the steppe-lands. There were some small gains from Turkey in 1821-3.

The Suez canal was opened in 1875 to give an alternative route to British India , the Indo-European Telegraph Company put lines across Persia in 1870, and Russia's attempt to gain a Gulf port led Britain to state her resistance to any country trying to establish itself on the Gulf. Britain and Russia combined to make Shah Nasr-ed-Din revoke a monopoly concession on rail, road, irrigation, mining , telegraph factories and custom duty to Baron Julien de Reuter in 1872. Russia established the Persian Cossack Brigade, a permanent military unit under Russian officers. De Reuter was granted a concession to establish the Imperial Bank of Persia, and in 1901 the English W.K. D'Arcy was granted a sixty-year concession to exploit oil resources. Nasr-ed-Din, who was fond of cats and practical jokes, was assassinated in 1896 but his successor Mozaffar al-Din was equally incompetent, with heavy taxation to meet royal debts. When demonstrations intensified in 1906, he agreed to a constitution and National Assembly (Majlis) but died within six months. His son and successor, Mohammed Ali, was known to be under Russian influence and he ordered the Cossack Brigade to bombard the Majlis after widespread confusion in political circles. Civil war intensified in 1909 and the Shah took sanctuary in the Russian Legation, abdicating in favour of his son, Sultan Ahmad. A new Majlis was convened and America asked for financial advice. Morgan Shuster of the US treasury soon reorganised the tax system, annoying Russia who wanted him dismissed. Britain supported her, and Shuster was removed, further undermining faith in Britain.

When WW1 broke out, Persia declared herself neutral but this was ignored. Tzarist armies were campaigning against the Turks on Persian territory, British troops occupied parts of Khuzistan to protect oil wells against German or Turkish instigated tribal attacks. When Russia withdrew after the October Revolution, Britain moved troops to north west Persia to stop it being used for a base to invade India. Most Persian moderates saw Communism as a threat but some nationalist extremists such as Kuchek Khan saw it as a chance to end Russian Imperialism and several revolutionary governments were set up. Britain tried to negotiate a treaty which would have put Persia under her control but was opposed by America. The Prime minister, Vosug, was replaced by Mushir al-Doleh who signed the Iran-Soviet in 1921.

It is possible that there was some British involvement in the lead-up to the almost bloodless 1921 coup which deposed Ahmad Shah, the last of the Qajar dynasty. One of the leaders, Seyyed Ziya had close connections with staff at the British Legation. He became Prime minister but fled the country after only three months. The man who took over, Reza Khan, born in Mazanderan province in 1878, was from a poor family with military connections. He joined the Cossack Brigade and fought some of the Bolshevik units but he disliked the influence of foreign powers, the corruption of the Qajars and the self-interest of the tribes. In 1925, he became Reza Shah Pahlavi and managed to consolidate his position by improving the bandit-riddled road system and building the Tehran-Abadan railway. Many civil service ministers were sacked and reforms and Westernisation were widespread.

German influence on Iran grew during the 1930s although the Shah frequently declared his neutrality. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941, the Allies needed a supply route to the Russian front. To prevent a German coup, Britain and Russia invaded Iran simultaneously from the south and north. Reza Shah died in Johannesburg three years after abdicating in favour of 21-year old Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. He was not crowned until 1967 as he said he could not take pride in being crowned king of a nation in the poor state Iran was then He promised to improve the situation. In 1943, the Tripartite agreement between Iran, Russia and Britain promised that all foreign troops would leave six months after hostilities ceased. War on Germany was officially declared in September 1943 with the Allied supply operation being augmented by American troops.

Although the USA, USSR and UK had all agreed to remove their troops, Russia had supported the formation of the 'Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan' to the north in 1945 and a it took a great deal of diplomatic activity before they actually went. After some years of financial problems, aid was granted to Iran by America in 1950 but it was so little that it caused bad feeling. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company stopped operating. It was then that Dr Mossadegh came to power. In 1952, the Shah gave him permission to govern without consulting Parliament for six months but his extreme xenophobia led to threats to limit American aid, turning opinion against him and leading to his dismissal. Zahedi became Prime Minister, ousting the pro-Communist Tudeh party, and aid increased. The formation of an 'International Oil Consortium' was negotiated by 1954.

The monarchy celebrated its 2500th anniversary in 1971. Just seven years later the revolution that was to end it and put the fundamentalist leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, in power, had begun. Persecution of any religious sects, such as the Bahais, who did not share their opinions, was soon common. (Although the Bahai religion is Islamic, their beliefs that all previous religions teach essential truths and that their founder, Bahaullah, was the new prophet foretold by Mohammed, are considered 'Un-Islamic' by the fundamentalist Muslims.)

Iranian/Persian Names

As the country is strongly Islamic, many Arabic Muslim names are commonly used.


Abbas Abdi Abdol Abdul Abol Abolhassan
Abou-ali Abtin Adel Afsharafshin Aghajun Ahmad
Ahour Akbar Alah-Verdi Ali Ali-Dad Ali-dad
Ali-Naghi Allahyar Amin Amir Amjad Anoush
Anoushiravan Arad Aram Arash Ardalan Ardavan
Ardeshir Aref Armaan Arman Armeen Arsalan
Arshia Arya Arzhang Asad Asadollah Asghar
Ashari Ashkan Assadollah Atash Aurang Ayasha
Ayeshah Azad Azimat Aziz Babak Bahman
Bahram Bamdad Bameen Bamshad Bardia Behnam
Behrad Behrang Behrouz Behzad Bijan Bizhan
Borna Borzoo Bozorgmehr Changeez Cirrus Cyrus
Dadash Dadbeh Danush Dara Darab Darek
Dariousz Dariush Daryush Davood Delrobah Dhabihullah
Ebi Ebrahim Ehsan Emad Esfandiar Esfandyar
Eshqi Eskander Esmaeel Esma'il Ezatollah Faramarz
Faraz Farbod Fardad Fardin Farhad Farhang
Fariborz Farid Farjad Farough Farrokh Farrokhzad
Farshad Farsheed Farshid Farzad Farzam Farzan
Farzeen Farzin Fath Fazlollah Fazlullah Fehrang
Ferdows Fereydoon Fereydoun Firouz Firuz Forood
Foroohar Foroud Forouq Ghaffar Ghobad Gholam
Gholamhossein Giv Goshtasb Goudarz Habib Hadi
Hafez Hamed Hami Hamid Hasan Hassan
Hedayat Heerad Hesam Heydar Hidayat Hirad
Homayoon Hooman Hooshang Hooshmand Hooshyar Hootan
Hormazed Hormoz Hossein Human Husayn Hushang
Ihsan Iman Inayat Iraj Isadi Jafar
Ja'far Jahandar Jahangir Jahanshah Jalal Jalel
Jalil Jamsheed Jamshid Javad Javeed Kamal
Kambiz Kamran Kamshad Kamyar Karim Kasra
Kaveh Kavoos Kayvan Kayvon Key-ghobad Key-khosrow
Keyumars Keyvan Kharmandar Khashayar Khodadad Khoda-dad
Khody Khosrow Khudayar Khusru Kia Kian
Kianoosh Kiarash Kiumars Kiyan Koohyar Koosha
Kouros Kourosh Kuchek Kurush Mahbod Mahdi
Mahmad Mahmood Mahmoud Mahyar Majid Makan
Manee Mani Manouchehr Mansoor Manucher Mashad
Mashreza Mashti Massoud Maziar Mehdi Mehrab
Mehrak Mehran Mehrang Mehrdad Mehrzad Mihdi
Milad Mohammad Mohammed Mohsen Mojtaba Morad
Morteza Mozaffar Mujtaba Musa Mushir Mustafa
Nader Namdar Namvar Nard Nariman Naseem
Naser Nasr-ed-Din Nasser Navid Neggar-Saltaneh Nematollah
Nezam Nima Niyoosha Nosratdoleh Nouri Noushzad
Omeed Omid Orang Ouais Parham Parsa
Parviz Pasha Payam Pedram Pejman Peyman
Pezhman Pirooz Piruz Pouriya Pouya Pujman
Puzhman Rahim Rahmat Rakhshan Rambod Ramin
Rasheed Rashid Reza Roozbeh Rostam Ruhollah
Sa'adi Sabbar Sadegh Sadra Sadri Saeed
Safa Sa'id Salar Salman Sam Saman
Sami Sanjar Sasan Sattar Sepehr Seyyed
Shahab Shahan Shahbaz Shaheen Shahkam Shahram
Shahrdad Shahriar Shahrokh Shahrooz Shahruz Shahryar
Shahyar Shapour Shaya Shayan Sherveen Shervin
Siamak Siavash Siavosh Sina Soheil Sohrab
Soroush Sorush Suhayl Suhrab Taher Tahmaseb
Tahmouress Tarazullah Teymour Tirdad Tooraj Touraj
Vafa Vahhab Vahid Vali Varshasb Vishtasb
Yadullah Yaghoub Yahya Yahyah Yashar Youness
Yousef Zabi Zahak Zakaria Zal Zamani
Zamyad Zand Zarabadi Zartosht Zia Ziya


Afareen Afsaneh Afsar Afshan Afsoon Aghigh
Ahoo Ahou Akhtar Akram Alaleh Anahita
Anoosheh Anusheh Ara Arezoo Arghavan Ariana
Armaghan Asa Asal Ashraf Assieh Atefeh
Atifeh Atoosa Ava Avizeh Azadeh Azar
Azin Azita Bahameen Bahamin Bahar Baharak
Bahareh Banafsheh Banou Batul Beeta Behbaha
Behnaz Behrokh Bihmardi Bita Bodagh Bolour
Bousseh Chalipa Darya Deena Delaram Delbar
Deli Delkash Dina Donya Dorri Ehteram
Elaheh Elham Elnaz Ezzatdoleh Ezzati Fakhri
Farah Farahnaz Faranak Farangis Fariba Farideh
Farkhondeh Farkhundih Farnaz Farrin Farzaneh Fatemeh
Fatimah Fatimih Feerouzeh Fereshteh Fila Firdaws
Firishtih Firouzeh Fojan Forough Forouzan Forouzandeh
Fozhan Geesou Gelareh Ghamzeh Ghassedak Ghazal
Ghazaleh Ghodsi Ghoncheh Gisou Gita Giti
Golbahar Goli Golnar Golnaz Golnessa Golpari
Golshan Gordia Guita Guiti Habibeh Haideh
Haleh Hamdam Hamideh Hastee Hasti Hediyeh
Hengameh Hoda Homa Homeira Homy Hormat
Houri Ilham Iman Iran Iran-dokht Ishraqi
Itrat Izzat Jabbareh Jaby Jaleh Jamileh
Jannat Javaneh Jilla Katayoun Khadijeh Khandan
Khatereh Khojassteh Khorsheed Khorshid Kimiya Kobra
Kokab Korsum Kowkab Ladan Laila Laily
Laleh Laqa Layly Ldooz Leila Leily
Leyla Lidalila Lili Lily Mahasti Mahbubih
Mahdokht Maheen Mahin Mahkameh Mahlagha Mahlegha
Mahnaz Mahnoosh Mahrokh Mahsa Mahsheed Mahshid
Mahssy Mahta Mahtab Mahvash Malakeh Maliheh
Maloud Mana Mandana Manee Mani Manizheh
Mariam Marjan Marjaneh Marmar Maryam Marzieh
Mashid Masoumeh Massumah Mastaneh Mastoureh Mehrangiz
Mehri Mehrnaz Mehrnoosh Mehry Meshia Mina
Minoo Minou Minu Mitra Moloud Mona
Moneer Moneereh Monir Monireh Morvareed Motaram
Mozhdeh Mozhgan Nadereh Naghmeh Nahal Naheed
Nahid Najmeh Naniyyih Nargess Naseem Nasim
Nasreen Nasrin Nastaran Nava Nayyer Nazafarin
Nazanin Nazgol Nazhin Nazilla Nazy Neda
Negah Negar Negeen Negin Niki Nikoo
Nikou Niloufar Niyoosha Noor Nora Nour
Noushafarin Noushin Nusrat Olya Omeed Omid
Oranous Orkideh Padideh Parand Parastoo Paree
Pareechehr Pareerou Pareesa Pareevash Pareeya Pari
Parisa Parto Parvaneh Parvin Pegah Peymaneh
Peyvand Pooneh Pouneh Poupak Pouran Pouran-dokht
Pouri Qudsiyyih Raha Ramesh Rana Rasa
Ravan Rayhaneh Reema Reyhaneh Rima Riri
Robab Robabeh Roksana Roshanak Rosita Roudabeh
Roxana Roya Ruhiyyih Saba Sadaf Saeedeh
Saghar Saghi Sahar Sahba Sakineh Salma
Salomeh Saltanah Saman Sameen Samila Samin
Samira Samireh Sanam Sanaz Sara Sarvenaz
Sattar Sattareh Satti Sayeh Seema Seeta
Sepeedeh Sepideh Setareh Shabnam Shadan Shadee
Shadi Shaghayegh Shaheen Shahin Shahla Shahnaz
Shahrbanou Shahrnaz Shahrzad Shahzadeh Shala Shalizeh
Shams Sharareh Shari Sheedeh Sheefteh Sheeva
Shervin Sheyda Shideh Shima Shireen Shirin
Shirin-banoo Shiva Shohreh Shokoufeh Shokouh Sholeh
Shouka Sima Simin Sita Sogand Soheila
Soraya Soroor Sory Soudabeh Soulmaz Souri
Soussan Souzan Suraya Suri Sussan Tahereh
Tahirih Tahmineh Tala Talayeh Tannaz Tara
Taraneh Taranih Tarsa Tayyebeh Teena Tesha
Tina Tooba Touba Touca Touran Tuba
Vanda Veeda Vida Yalda Yasaman Yass
Yeganeh Yekta Zahr Zara Zari Zarrin
Zarrin-dokht Zeeba Zeynab Zhaleh Zhila Zhinus
Zia-Ashraf Ziba Zohreh      


Abedzadeh Abelzada Afnan Ahrari Akhlaqi Ala
Alam Al-Doleh Ameri Amini Amir Amirsadeghi
Ammini Amouzegar Amuzgar Ansari Ansary Anvari
Ardabili Arfa Armanjani Asgapur Ashrafy Avarigan
Awji Azizi Bagheri Bahonar Bakhtavar Bakhtiar
Bani-Sadr Baraheri Bazargan Bihmardi Burujirdi Bushiri
Daei Dalvand Dastghayb Davisadr Dhabihiyan Diba
Dihmubidi Dihqani Dulabi Ebtehaj Eftekhari Estili
Estilidaei Ettehadieh Fahandizh Fatemi Forrughi Gaffari
Garoussi Ghatary Ghiassy Ghurani Habibi Hami
Haqiqat Haqiqatju Hejazi Hisami Homayoun Hoveyda
Hushmand Imami Iravan Ishraqi Izadi Jafari
Jahanpur Jalili Javadi Jayhoon Karbaschi Kazemi
Kazimi Keshuapad Khadim Khakpoor Khakpour Khamenei
Khandil Khani Khanlary Khatami Khomeini Khushkhu
Khuzayn Kordiyeh Lavassaney Limbuwala Madari Mahallati
Mahdavi-Kia Mahmudi Mahmudnizhad Majidi Mansur Maradi
Mazlum Mehani Mehr Meshkat Mihdizadih Minavand
Misbahi Moham Mossadegh Moullai Mualimi Muhammadi
Mu'ini Mumtaz Mumtazi Muqimi Musavi Mutlaq
Na'imi Najafi Nakisa Nasiri Nassiri Nazari
Nemazi Nezam Nirumand Norouzi Nouri Pahlavi
Pakravan Pashazadeh Qashqai Qazai Qoli Rabani
Radji Rafigdoost Rahimi Rawhani Razmara Reyahni
Roohizadegan Sabbah Sabet Sabiri Sadiqi Salimpour
Sanjabi Shafaq Shahriar Shahy Shariat Shariati
Sharudi Shirazi Siyavushi Sotoudeh Sumech Tabatabai
Talaqani Talavi Talebi Taleqani Teymourtash Vafa'i
Vahdat Yaldai Yaqtin Yazdi Zahed Zahedi
Za'irpur Zanjani Zarincheh Ziya    


Shahanshah king of kings
Shazdeh Prince/King's son
Salar-Lashgar Commander of the army
Farman-Farma Greatest of all Commanders
Farman-Farmaian belonging to above
Khanom Lady/Ma'am
Ayatollah religious leader



Hormizd Kavad Khusro Mazdak Nerseh Peroz
Shapur Vahram Valkas Yazdgard    



Shah Tahmasp II -1732    
Abbas III 1732-6 infant son of Tahmasp II  
Nadir Shah Quli 1736-67 brother of Tahmasp II  

Qajar Dynasty

Aga Mohammad 1794-    
Nasir-ud-Din 1896-1909 dep    
Sultan Ahmed Shah 1909-24 dep son  

Reza Khan 1925-    
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 1945-    

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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