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Islamic Republic of Iran Middle East Tehran 80,840,713 inhabitants 1,648,195 sq km 49.05 inhabitants/sq km Iranian rials (IRR) population evolution

Famous people from Iran

Here is a list of famous people from Iran. Curious if anybody from Iran made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an Iranian politician who was the sixth President of Iran from 2005 to 2013. He was also the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country. An engineer and teacher from a poor background, Ahmadinejad joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Iranian Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching. Tehran's council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes, and he became President on 3 August 2005. During his presidency, Ahmadinejad was viewed as a controversial figure within Iran, as well as internationally. He has been criticized domestically for his economic policies and alleged disregard for human rights. Internationally he is criticized for his hostility towards some countries, most notably Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2007, Ahmadinejad introduced a gas rationing plan to reduce the country's fuel consumption, and cut the interest rates that private and public banking facilities could charge. He supports Iran's nuclear program. His election to a second term in 2009 was widely disputed and caused widespread protests domestically and drew significant international criticism.

Hassan Rouhani


Hassan Rouhani is the 7th and current President of Iran and also a Muslim cleric, lawyer, academic and former diplomat. He has been a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Expediency Council since 1991, member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989, and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992. Rouhani was also deputy speaker of the 4th and 5th terms of the Islamic Consultative Assembly and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. In the latter capacity, he also headed Iran's former nuclear negotiating team and was the country's top negotiator with the EU three – UK, France, and Germany – on Iran's nuclear program. On 7 May 2013, Rouhani registered for the presidential election that was held on 14 June 2013. He said that, if elected, he would prepare a "civil rights charter", restore the economy and improve rocky relations with Western nations. Rouhani is viewed as politically moderate. As early vote counts began coming in, he took a large lead. He was elected as President of Iran on 15 June, defeating Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates. He took office on 3 August 2013.

Ruhollah Khomeini

Religious Leader

Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini, known in the West as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. Khomeini was a marja in Twelver Shi'a Islam, author of more than forty books, but is primarily known for his political activities. He spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the last Shah. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi'a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult" to include theocratic political rule by the Islamic jurists. This principle was installed in the new Iranian constitution after being put to a referendum. He was named man of the Year in 1979 by American newsmagazine TIME for his international influence, and has been described as the "virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture" where he remains a controversial figure. He was known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iran hostage crisis and his fatwa calling for the death of British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie.

Ali Khamenei

Religious Leader

Ali Hosseini Khamenei is the current Supreme Leader of Iran and a Shia Cleric. He had also served as the President of Iran from 1981 to 1989. In 2012, Forbes selected him 21st in the list of The World's Most Powerful People. As the head of state, Khamenei is considered the most powerful political authority in Iran. Khamenei was the victim of an attempted assassination in June 1981 that paralyzed his right arm. Khamenei has issued a fatwa saying the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons was forbidden under Islam.

Omar Khayyám


Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu'l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī was a Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology. Born in Nishapur in North Eastern Iran, at a young age he moved to Samarkand and obtained his education there. Afterwards he moved to Bukhara and became established as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period. He is the author of one of the most important treatises on algebra written before modern times, the Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which includes a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle. He contributed to a calendar reform. His significance as a philosopher and teacher, and his few remaining philosophical works, have not received the same attention as his scientific and poetic writings. Al-Zamakhshari referred to him as “the philosopher of the world”. Many sources have testified that he taught for decades the philosophy of Avicenna in Nishapur where Khayyám was born and buried and where his mausoleum today remains a masterpiece of Iranian architecture visited by many people every year.

Cyrus the Great


Cyrus II of Persia, commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen. His regal titles in full were The Great King, King of Persia, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, and King of the Four Corners of the World. He also proclaimed what has been identified by scholars and archaeologists to be the oldest known declaration of human rights, which was transcribed onto the Cyrus Cylinder sometime between 539 and 530 BC. This view has been criticized by some as a misunderstanding of what they claim to be the Cylinder's generic nature as a traditional statement of the sort that new monarchs may make at the beginning of their reign. The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted between 29 and 31 years. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Either before or after Babylon, he led an expedition into central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into subjection every nation without exception". Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC. He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to add to the empire by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.

Xerxes I


Xerxes I of Persia, also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of Persia. In Judeo-Christian tradition, Xerxes I is believed to be the Persian king identified as Ahasuerus in the biblical book of Esther.

Ali Daei


Ali Daei is an Iranian former football player and coach who currently manages Persepolis in the Iran Pro League. He is a former captain of the Iran national football team, and is the world's all-time leading goalscorer in international men's matches. Since June 2007 until 2013, Daei was a member of the FIFA Football Committee.

Rezā Shāh


Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, was the Shah of the Imperial State of Iran from 15 December 1925 until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941. In 1925, Reza Shah deposed Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar dynasty, and founded the Pahlavi dynasty. He established a constitutional monarchy that lasted until overthrown in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution. Reza Shah introduced many social, economic, and political reforms during his reign, ultimately laying the foundation of the modern Iranian state. His legacy remains controversial to this day: his defenders assert that he was an essential modernizing force for Iran (whose international prominence had sharply declined during Qajar rule), while his detractors assert that his reign was often despotic, with his failure to modernize Iran's large peasant population eventually sowing the seeds for the Iranian Revolution. Moreover, his insistence on ethnic nationalism and cultural unitarism along with forced detribalization and sedentarization resulted in suppression of several ethnic and social groups.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi


Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh is an Iranian reformist politician, artist and architect who served as the seventy-ninth and last Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989. He was a reformist candidate for the 2009 presidential election and eventually the leader of the opposition in the post-election unrest. Mousavi served as the president of the Iranian Academy of Arts until 2009, when Conservative authorities removed him. In the early years of the revolution, Mousavi was the editor-in-chief of Jomhouri-e Eslami, the official newspaper of the Islamic Republican Party, before being elevated to Minister of Foreign Affairs and eventually the post of Prime Minister. He was the last Prime Minister in Iran before the 1989 constitutional changes which removed the post of prime minister; he then went into semi-retirement for the next 20 years. He remains a member of the Expediency Discernment Council and the High Council of Cultural Revolution. However, he has not participated in their meetings for years, which is interpreted by political analysts and commentators as a sign of his disapproval.

Ali al-Sistani

Religious Leader

Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani is the highest-ranking Shia marja in Iraq and the leader of the Hawza of Najaf.


Art Subject

Esther, born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther. According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. Ahasuerus is traditionally identified with Xerxes I during the time of the Achaemenid empire. Her story is the basis for the celebration of Purim in Jewish tradition.

Iron Sheik


Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri is a semi-retired Iranian professional wrestler and actor better known by his ring name The Iron Sheik. He is known for ending the near six-year World Wrestling Federation Championship reign of Bob Backlund, and for being the man Hulk Hogan defeated for his first WWF Championship. A heel throughout the 1980s, he later gained popularity on Kidd Chris, The Howard Stern Show, and on the Internet due to his shoot interviews and outbursts on the wrestling industry and the hatred he expressed for various wrestlers.

Reza Aslan


Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer and scholar of religions. He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, a Research Associate at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, and a contributing editor for The Daily Beast. His books include the international bestseller No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into 13 languages, and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, which offers an interpretation of the life and mission of the historical Jesus.

Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf


Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf or Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf is an Iranian conservative politician, professor, a former Air Force and a Pilot of Iran Air and police commander. He is the 55th and current Mayor of Tehran, serving his third term since his first election in 2005. He was a candidate in the 2013 presidential election but lost to Hassan Rouhani, in second place with 6,077,292 of the votes. He was also a candidate in the 2005 presidential election. He holds a Ph.D. in political geography from Tarbiat Modares University. He is also a pilot, certified to fly certain Airbus aircraft. He began his military career during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980. He became chief commander of Imam Reza troops in 1982 and was chief commander of Nasr Troops from 1983 to 1984. After the end of the war, he became Managing-Director of Khatam al-Anbia, an engineering firm controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and was appointed as commander of the Iranian Air Force in 1996 by Ali Khamenei. Four years later, he became chief of the Iranian Police Forces after the previous commander was dismissed following the 1999 student protests. He was also appointed as Representative of President Mohammad Khatami during a campaign to combat smuggling in 2002. In September 2005, he was elected as Tehran's mayor by the City Council of Tehran. He is also a professor at the University of Tehran.

Golshifteh Farahani


Golshifteh Farahani is an Iranian actress who works internationally. She is currently living in Paris, France.

Ali Karimi

Soccer Midfielder

Mohammad-Ali Karimi Pashaki better known as Ali Karimi is an Iranian football player, who currently plays for Tractor Sazi in Iran's Premier Football League and also the Iran national football team. He was awarded the Asian Footballer of the Year in 2004. He is capable of playing on the wings, as an attacking midfielder or as a deep-lying forward. He is known for ball skill and dribbling runs. Karimi began his career with Fath Tehran youth club and joined Persepolis in 1998. Internationally, Karimi has been capped 127 times since making his debut in October 1998, and has scored 38 goals. He has participated in five major tournaments including 1998 Asian Games, 2000, 2004, and 2007 Asian Cups and 2006 FIFA World Cup. He is often referred to as the "Asian Maradona" and is believed to be one of Asia's greatest players.

Harun al-Rashid

Noble person

Harun al-Rashid was the fifth Arab Abbasid Caliph. His rule encompassed modern Iraq. His actual birth date is debatable, and various sources give dates from 763 to 766. Al-Rashid ruled from 786 to 809, and his time was marked by scientific, cultural, and religious prosperity. Islamic art and Islamic music also flourished significantly during his reign. He established the legendary library Bayt al-Hikma. Since Harun was intellectually, politically, and militarily resourceful, his life and his court have been the subject of many tales. Some are claimed to be factual, but most are believed to be fictitious. An example of what is claimed to be factual, but is not, is the story of the clock that was among various presents that Harun had sent to Charlemagne. The presents were carried by the returning Frankish mission that came to offer Harun friendship in 799. Charlemagne and his retinue deemed the clock to be a conjuration for the sounds it emanated and the tricks it displayed every time an hour ticked. Among what is known to be fictional is The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, which contains many stories that are fantasized by Harun's magnificent court and even Harun al-Rashid himself.

Mohsen Rezaee


Mohsen Rezaee Mirgha'ed, also spelled Rezai, is an Iranian politician, economist, former military commander, and secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rezaee ran as a conservative presidential candidate in the 2009 elections, coming third with 1.7 percent of the vote, behind winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and reformist runner-up Mir-Hossein Mousavi. He was also a candidate in 2013 presidential election and received 3,884,412 votes. He ranked fourth behind winner Hassan Rouhani, runner-up Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Saeed Jalili.

Cassandra Clare


Judith Rumelt, better known by her pen name Cassandra Clare, is an American author of young adult fiction, most known for her bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

Sami Yusuf


Sami Yusuf is a British singer-songwriter, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist musician. In 2003 Yusuf released his first album "Al-Mu`allim" at the age of 23, selling over seven million copies. Following the release of his second album "My Ummah" in 2005, Yusuf was heralded as "Islam's Biggest Rock Star" by Time magazine for his success in attracting a relatively young fan base from diverse regions across the world, many of whom were of Muslim backgrounds. Yusuf has sold over 21.5 million albums. In October 2010, Yusuf’s third official album "Wherever You Are" was launched, manifesting his self-coined genre "Spiritique". Yusuf is involved in humanitarian initiatives, supporting, among others, Islamic Relief and Save the Children.

Nader Shah


Nāder Shāh Afshār or Nadir Shah ruled as Shah of Iran and was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty. Because of his military genius, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia or the Second Alexander. Nader Shah was a member of the Turkic Afshar tribe of northern Persia, which had supplied military power to the Safavid state since the time of Shah Ismail I. Nader rose to power during a period of anarchy in Iran after a rebellion by the Hotaki Afghans had overthrown the weak Persian Shah Sultan Husayn, and both the Ottomans and the Russians had seized Persian territory for themselves. Nader reunited the Persian realm and removed the invaders. He became so powerful that he decided to depose the last members of the Safavid dynasty, which had ruled Iran for over 200 years, and become shah himself in 1736. His numerous campaigns created a great empire that briefly encompassed what is now part of or including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, India, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Oman and the Persian Gulf but his military spending had a ruinous effect on the Persian economy.

Abbas Kiarostami

Film Director

Abbas Kiarostami is an internationally acclaimed Iranian film director, screenwriter, photographer and film producer. An active filmmaker since 1970, Kiarostami has been involved in over forty films, including shorts and documentaries. Kiarostami attained critical acclaim for directing the Koker Trilogy, Close-Up, Taste of Cherry, and The Wind Will Carry Us. In his recent films, Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love, he filmed for the first time outside Iran, in Italy and Japan, respectively. Kiarostami has worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, art director and producer and has designed credit titles and publicity material. He is also a poet, photographer, painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. He is part of a generation of filmmakers in the Iranian New Wave, a Persian cinema movement that started in the late 1960s and includes pioneering directors such as Forough Farrokhzad, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Bahram Beizai, and Parviz Kimiavi. These filmmakers share many common techniques including the use of poetic dialogue and allegorical storytelling dealing with political and philosophical issues.

Mohammad Mosaddegh


Mohammad Mosaddegh or Mosaddeq, was the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by the British MI6 and the American CIA. An author, administrator, lawyer, prominent parliamentarian, his administration introduced a range of progressive social and political reforms such as social security, rent control, and land reforms. His government's most notable policy, however, was the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organised and carried out by the CIA at the request of MI6, which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh. While the coup is commonly referred to as Operation Ajax after its CIA cryptonym, in Iran it is referred to as the 28 Mordad 1332 coup, after its date on the Iranian calendar. Mosaddegh was imprisoned for three years, then put under house arrest until his death and was buried in his own home so as to prevent a political furor.

Javad Nekounam

Soccer Midfielder

Javad Nekounam is an Iranian professional footballer who plays for Esteghlal F.C. in the Iran Pro League. Usually playing as a central midfielder, he is known for his passing ability, defensive acumen, ball distribution and powerful long-range shots. He spent most of his professional career in Spain with Osasuna, appearing in more than 200 official games. Nekounam represented the Iranian national team over 130 times, appearing in several major tournaments including the 2006 World Cup.

Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi


Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī, known as Rhazes or Rasis after medieval Latinists, was a Persian Muslim polymath, a prominent figure in Islamic Golden Age, physician, alchemist and chemist, philosopher, and scholar. Numerous "firsts" in medical research, clinical care, and chemistry are attributed to him, including being the first to differentiate smallpox from measles, and the discovery of numerous compounds and chemicals including alcohol, kerosene, among others. Edward Granville Browne considers him as "probably the greatest and most original of all the physicians, and one of the most prolific as an author". Razi made fundamental and enduring contributions to the fields of medicine, alchemy, music, and philosophy, recorded in over 200 books and articles in various fields of science. He was well-versed in Ancient Persian, Greek and Ancient Indian medical knowledge and made numerous advances in medicine through own observations and discoveries. Educated in music, mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics, he chose medicine as his professional field. As a physician, he was an early proponent of experimental medicine and has been described as the father of pediatrics. He was also a pioneer of ophthalmology. He was among the first to use Humoralism to distinguish one contagious disease from another. In particular, Razi was the first physician to distinguish smallpox and measles through his clinical characterization of the two diseases. He became chief physician of Rey and Baghdad hospitals.

Mansour Bahrami

Tennis Player

Mansour Bahrami is a professional tennis player. He has held dual French and Iranian nationality since 1989.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei


Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is an Iranian politician. As a senior Cabinet member in the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he served as Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2013, and as the First Vice President of Iran for one week in 2009 until his resignation was ordered by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A close ally of President Ahmadinejad, Mashaei was viewed by many Iranian clerics as an anti-establishment activist and secular-oriented nationalist. He has been criticized by religious conservatives for alleged "deviant tendencies," such as elevating Iranian heritage and nationalism above Islam as well as for statements he has made criticizing the Assembly of Experts and the theocratic doctrine of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists, and advocating for the clergy to remove themselves from the political establishment. He has also been called a pragmatic, moderate conservative with "liberal views on cultural and social issues." On 11 May 2013, with the public support and endorsement of outgoing President Ahmadinejad, Mashaei announced that he would run for the presidency in the upcoming election. However, his application to run was disqualified by the Guardian Council, which must approve all potential candidates, as well as the final election results. Ahmadinejad protested the disqualification and referred to the Guardian Council's decision as an act of "oppression."

Mohammad-Reza Aref


Mohammad Reza Aref is an Iranian politician and academic. He was First Vice President from 2001 to 2005 under Mohammad Khatami. He previously served as Minister of Technology in Khatami's first cabinet. He is currently a member of Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution and Expediency Discernment Council. He is also an electrical engineer and a professor at University of Tehran and Sharif University of Technology. He was a candidate in the 2013 presidential election but withdraw his candidacy in order to give the reformist camp a better chance to win.

Saeed Jalili


Saeed Jalili is an Iranian politician and diplomat who was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 2007 to 2013. He was also Iran's nuclear negotiator. He was previously deputy foreign minister for European and American Affairs. Jalili was a candidate in Iran's presidential election, which took place on 14 June 2013 but lost the election and ranked in third.

Asghar Farhadi

Film Director

Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian film director and screenwriter. For his work as a director, he has received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, among many other awards. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by Time magazine in 2012.



Hakīm Abul-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī, was a highly revered Persian poet. He is the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and the Persian-speaking world. The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the Arab invasion of Persia in the seventh century. After the fall of the Samanids, he dedicated his work to the new ruler, Mahmud of Ghazni, who was also a great patron of Persian arts and literature. The Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III. Ferdowsi spent over three decades working on the Shahnameh, which became one of the most influential works of Persian literature.

Farhad Majidi


Farhad Majidi is a retired Iranian professional footballer who mostly played as an attacking midfielder. He was also a member of Iran national football team. In 2010, he was nominated for the Asian Footballer of the Year award which become second in the voting.



Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, Saadi Shirazi better known by his pen-name as Saʿdī or simply Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but has also been quoted in western sources. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Saadi is widely recognized as one of the greatest masters of the classical literary tradition.

Jābir ibn Hayyān


Abu Mūsā Jābir ibn Hayyān was a prominent Persian or Arab polymath: a chemist and alchemist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer, geographer, philosopher, physicist, and pharmacist and physician. Born and educated in Tus, he later traveled to Kufa. Jābir is held to have been the first practical alchemist. As early as the 10th century, the identity and exact corpus of works of Jābir was in dispute in Islamic circles. His name was Latinized as "Geber" in the Christian West and in 13th-century Europe an anonymous writer, usually referred to as Pseudo-Geber, produced alchemical and metallurgical writings under the pen-name Geber.

Abu Nuwas


Abū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī, known as Abū Nuwās, was one of the greatest classical Arabic poets, who also composed in Persian on occasion. Born in the city of Ahvaz in modern-day Iran, to an Arab father and a Persian mother, he became a master of all the contemporary genres of Arabic poetry. Abu Nuwas has also entered the folkloric tradition, and he appears several times in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights.

Shohreh Aghdashloo


Shohreh Aghdashloo is an Iranian American actress. After establishing a theatre and film career in Iran, Aghdashloo moved to England during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and subsequently became a citizen of the United States. After several years playing supporting roles in television and film, her performance in House of Sand and Fog brought her several film critics' awards and a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has continued to play supporting and character roles in film and television and won an Emmy Award for her work in the television drama House of Saddam.

Ali Akbar Velayati


Ali Akbar Velayati is an Iranian politician, academic and diplomat. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for more than sixteen years from 1981 to 1997 under Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Presidents Ali Khamenei and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He is the first and only person that have held this position for more than ten years. He is currently head of Center for Strategic Research. He was a candidate in 2013 presidential election and lost, coming fifth out of the six candidates garnering 2,268,753 votes, which was 6.18% of the vote.

Marjane Satrapi


Marjane Satrapi is an Iranian-born French cartoonist, illustrator, film director, and children's book author.

Hamed Haddadi

Basketball Center

Hamed Haddadi is an Iranian professional basketball player. He plays at the center position and is 2.18 m tall and weighs 265 lbs. Haddadi is the first Iranian to play in the NBA.

Shirin Ebadi

Organization founder

Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's, children's, and refugee rights. She was the first ever Iranian to receive the prize. In 2009, Ebadi's award was allegedly confiscated by Iranian authorities, though this was later denied by the Iranian government. If true, she would be the first person in the history of the Nobel Prize whose award has been forcibly seized by state authorities. Ebadi lived in Tehran, but she has been in exile in the UK since June 2009 due to the increase in persecution of Iranian citizens who are critical of the current regime. In 2004, she was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the "100 most powerful women in the world". She is also included in a published list of the "100 most influential women of all time."

Ismail I


Ismail I, known in Persian as Shāh Ismāʿil, was Shah of Iran and the founder of the Safavid dynasty which survived until 1736. Isma'il started his campaign in Iranian Azerbaijan in 1500 as the leader of the Safaviyya, a Twelver Shia militant religious order, and unified all of Iran by 1509. Born in Ardabil in Northwestern Iran, he reigned as Shah Ismail I of Iran from 1501 to 1524. The dynasty founded by Ismail I would rule for two centuries, it was one of the greatest Persian empires after the Muslim conquest of Persia it also reasserted the Iranian identity in Greater Iran, the legacy of the Safavid Empire was also the revival of Persia as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy, their architectural innovations and their patronage for fine arts. Ismail played a key role in the rise of Twelver Islam; he converted Iran from Sunni to Shi'a Islam, importing religious authorities from the Levant. In Alevism, Shah Ismail remains revered as a spiritual guide.

Hossein Panahi


Hossein Panahi Dezhkooh was an Iranian actor and poet. After graduating from high school, due to his father's recommendation, he found his way to "Ayatollah Golpaygaani"'s religious class. He then returned to his hometown as a religious figure, but this lasted only for a few months. He then moved to Tehran and started studying in Anahita art school for four years and graduated as an actor and a screen writer. He started his acting career in a TV show named: Mahalleh Behdaasht. He then performed in some TV shows written by himself which were not much successful. He later received recognition from a show named "Two ducks in fog". He was the writer and director of the show as well as performing in it. This was his breakthrough and people requested his shows to be broadcast again.

Bijan Namdar Zangeneh


Bijan Namdar Zangeneh is an Iranian politician, who served at different cabinets of Iran. He has been serving as oil minister since 15 August 2013 in the cabinet led by Hassan Rouhani.

Zahra Bahrami


Zahra Bahrami, also spelled Sahra Baahrami, was a dual Dutch and Iranian citizen who was executed in Iran, after being convicted by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of drug trafficking. She was initially arrested in December 2009 for participating in the Ashura protests and charged with national security offenses and being a member of Kingdom Assembly of Iran. But according to the Iranian Judicatory, a subsequent search of her house uncovered 450 grams of cocaine, 420 grams of opium, and several forged passports. Subsequently, the Tehran prosecutors charged her with drug trafficking and being a member of an international drug-trafficking network, for which she was convicted. Bahrami also had a prior criminal record in the Netherlands. She had spent three years in jail in the Netherlands after trafficking 16 kilograms of cocaine after a flight from the Caribbean in 2003, and for forging passports in 2007. In protest of her execution, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs temporarily froze diplomatic contacts with Iran and resumed on February 18, 2011.

Ghaem Magham Farahani


Mirza Abolghasem Ghaem Magham Farahani or Mirza Abu'l-Qasim Farahani Qá'im Maqam was an Iranian Prime Minister in the early 19th century. He was born in the city of Arak, Iran. His father, Mirza Isa Ghaem Magham Farahani, had served the Qajar family for more than 20 years. Before being prime minister, he was chancellor of Mohammad Mirza's court. He was later betrayed and murdered on the orders of Mohammad Shah Qajar in 1835, at the instigation of Haji Mirza Aghasi, who would become Ghaem Magham's successor. His books include Monsha'at.

Imad al-Dawla

Deceased Person

'Ali ibn Buya, known by his laqab ‘Imad al-Dawla, was the founder of the Buyid dynasty in Iran.

Shoja Azari


Shoja Azari is a film director, film producer, actor and screenwriter.

Sasan Sadeghpour

Film Director

Sasan Sadeghpour is a graffiti artist and a film director.

Mehdi Mahdavikia

Soccer Midfielder

Mehdi Mahdavikia is a retired Iranian football player who played for Persepolis, Hamburg SV, Eintracht Frankfurt, Steel Azin, Damash Gilan and also Iran national football team. He has won Asian Young Footballer of the Year award in 1997, as well as Asian Footballer of the Year in 2003. He was the captain of the Iran national football team from 2006 to 2009, and currently is the fourth most capped Iranian International after Ali Daei, Javad Nekounam and Ali Karimi. As a product of Bank Melli, he joined Persepolis and after his performance in FIFA World Cup 1998, he was transferred to Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga, where he played for eight seasons. He usually plays as a right winger or full-back. He is known for his crossing, speed and dribbling. He announced his retirement on 14 March 2013 from football world. His last match as a football player was against Sepahan in Hazfi Cup final on 5 May 2013. On 15 May 2013, Mahdavikia was appointed as AFC Grassroots Ambassador. He is also technical manager of Iran national under-17 football team.

Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari

Noble person

Princess Soraya of Iran was Queen of Iran as the second wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari


Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was a prominent and influential Persian scholar, historian and exegete of the Qur'an from Tabaristan, modern Mazandaran in Iran. His most influential and best known works are his Qur'anic commentary known as Tafsir al-Tabari and his historical chronicle Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk, often referred to Tarikh al-Tabari. Al-Tabari founded his own madhhab which is usually designated by the name Jariri.

Jafar Panahi

Film Director

Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved international recognition with his feature film debut, The White Balloon. The film won the Caméra d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes. Panahi was quickly recognized as one of the most influential film-makers in Iran. Although his films were often banned in his own country, he continued to receive international acclaim from film theorists and critics and has won numerous awards, including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for The Mirror, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle, and the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival for Offside. His films are known for their humanistic perspective on life in Iran, often focusing on the hardships of children, the impoverished, and women. Hamid Dabashi has written, "Panahi does not do as he is told — in fact he has made a successful career in not doing as he is told."


Hip hop Artist

Azad Azadpour is a German rapper of Kurdish descent based in Frankfurt am Main.

Valerie Jarrett


Valerie Bowman Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration. She is a Chicago lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader. Prior to that she served as a co-chairperson of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

Abulhassan Banisadr


Abolhassan Banisadr is an Iranian politician, economist and human rights activist who served as the first President of Iran from 4 February 1980 after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the abolition of the monarchy until his impeachment on 21 June 1981 by the Parliament of Iran. Prior to his presidency, he was the minister of foreign affairs in the interim government.

Aylar Lie

Pornographic actor

Aylar Dianati Lie is a Norwegian actress and former pornographic actress of Iranian descent. She is currently working in the music industry as a music video actress and singer, having featured in several of Swedish DJ Basshunter's music videos. She became famous after participating in the Norwegian "Big Brother". Due to a turbulent domestic situation she was taken away from her parents and grew up in foster care. She speaks Norwegian, Persian and English fluently.

Massoud Barzani


Masoud Barzani is the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Barzani was born in Mahabad, Iran, during the rule of the Republic of Mahabad. He has five sons and three daughters. Masoud Barzani succeeded his father, the former Kurdish nationalist leader Mustafa Barzani, as the leader of the KDP in 1979. Working closely with his brother Idriss Barzani until Idriss' death, Barzani and various other Kurdish groups fought Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War. For much of this time, the Kurdish leadership was exiled to Iran.

Mansur Al-Hallaj


Mansur al-Hallaj was a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer and teacher of Sufism, most famous for his poetry, accusation of heresy and for his execution at the orders of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir after a long, drawn-out investigation.

Darius III


Darius III, originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name. After Artaxerxes III of Persia and all of his sons were killed by the vizier Bagoas, the vizier installed a cousin of Artaxerxes III, Artashata, on the Persian throne as Darius III. When Darius tried to act independently of the vizier, Bagoas tried to poison him, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself. The new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects. However, he lacked the skills and experience to deal with these problems. In 334 BC, Alexander the Great began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in a number of battles before looting and destroying the capital Persepolis, by fire, in 331 BC. With the Persian Empire now effectively under Alexander's control, Alexander then decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, however, Darius was killed by the satrap Bessus, who was also his cousin.

Ramin Karimloo


Ramin Karimloo is an Iranian-born Canadian actor and singer recognised chiefly for his work in London's West End. He has played leading male roles in both of the West End's longest running musicals; the Phantom and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera; and Jean Valjean, Enjolras and Marius in Les Misérables. He also originated the role of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, which continues the story of The Phantom of the Opera.

Dariush Eghbali

Persian pop Artist

Dariush Eghbali better known by his stage name Dariush is considered as one of, if not the greatest Iranian artist in the history of the genre, best known for his warm and poignant bass voice heard in both ballads and socio- political songs. He is also a social activist who has been promoting education, awareness and prevention with regards to social maladies such as human rights violations, substance abuse, AIDS, street children and the plight of refugees among others.

Nasir al-Din Tusi


Khawaja Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Hasan Tūsī, better known as Nasīr al-Dīn Tūsī, was a Persian polymath and prolific writer: an architect, astronomer, biologist, chemist, mathematician, philosopher, physician, physicist, scientist, theologian and Marja Taqleed. He was of the Ismaili-, and subsequently Twelver Shī‘ah Islamic belief. The Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun considered Tusi to be the greatest of the later Persian scholars.

Amir Ghalenoei


Ardeshir "Amir " Ghalenoei is an Iranian football coach and former player. He is currently the head coach of Esteghlal Tehran. He has been the most successful coach in the Iran Pro League and managed several clubs, including Esteghlal, Mes Kerman, Sepahan and Tractor Sazi, with two of which he won a total of five championships and two Hazfi Cup titles. He was also the head coach of Iran national football team from August 2006 to July 2007 where he managed the team for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup where Iran was eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Naser al-Din Shah Qajar


Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was the King of Iran from 17 September 1848 to 1 May 1896 when he was assassinated. He was the son of Mohammad Shah Qajar and Malek Jahān Khānom and the third longest reigning monarch king in Iranian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid dynasty and Tahmasp I of the Safavid Dynasty. He had sovereign power for close to 50 years and was also the first Persian monarch to ever write and publish his diaries.

Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel


Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel is an Iranian philosopher, politician and former chairman of the Parliament. He is the first non-cleric in the post since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He was one of the candidates in the 2013 presidential election but withdrew on 10 June, four days before the election. He is part of "neo-principalist" group in the Iranian political scene.

Sadegh Hedayat


Sadegh Hedayat was Iran's foremost modern writer of prose fiction and short stories.


Persian traditional Artist

Hayedeh born Ma'soumeh Dadehbala was a Persian classical and Pop singer with a contralto vocal range. Hayedeh is considered one of the most influential and iconic 20th century Persian vocalists.

Nazanin Boniadi


Nazanin Boniadi is an Iranian-British actress currently living and working in the United States.

Alireza Vahedi Nikbakht

Soccer Midfielder

Alireza Vahedi Nikbakht is an Iranian professional football player who currently plays for Esteghlal in Iran Pro League.


Traditional Artist

Mahasti, born Eftekhar Dadehbala, was a legendary Persian Pop and classical singer and diva and the younger sister of singer Hayedeh.

Mehdi Karroubi


Mehdi Karroubi is an influential Iranian reformist politician, democracy activist, mojtahed, and chairman of the National Trust Party. He was the chairman of the parliament from 1989 to 1992 and 2000 to 2004, and a presidential candidate in the 2005 and 2009 presidential elections. He is a founding member and former chairman of the Association of Combatant Clerics party. Karroubi is a critic of the Guardian Council and Iran's Judicial System. By appointment of the Supreme Leader, he was a member of the Expediency Discernment Council and an adviser, posts he held until resigning from all his posts on 15 June 2005 after the first round of the 2005 presidential election. He has been described as a "moderate" with a "mostly rural" base of support. Karroubi considers himself a pragmatic reformist and now is one of the leaders of the opposition movement in Iran.

Ahmad Shamlou


Ahmad Shamloo was a Persian poet, writer, and journalist. Shamlou is arguably the most influential poet of modern Iran. His initial poetry was influenced by and in the tradition of Nima Youshij. Shamlou's poetry is complex, yet his imagery, which contributes significantly to the intensity of his poems, is simple. As the base, he uses the traditional imagery familiar to his Iranian audience through the works of Persian masters like Hafiz and Omar Khayyám. For infrastructure and impact, he uses a kind of everyday imagery in which personified oxymoronic elements are spiked with an unreal combination of the abstract and the concrete thus far unprecedented in Persian poetry, which distressed some of the admirers of more traditional poetry. Shamlou has translated extensively from French to Persian and his own works are also translated into a number of languages. He has also written a number of plays, edited the works of major classical Persian poets, especially Hafiz. His thirteen-volume Ketab-e Koucheh is a major contribution in understanding the Iranian folklore beliefs and language. He also writes fiction and Screenplays, contributing to children’s literature, and journalism.

Tahmasp I


Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty. He was the son of Ismail I and Shah-Begi Khanum of the Turcoman Mawsillu tribe. He came to the throne aged ten in 1524 and during his minority was weak and came under the control of the Qizilbash, Turkic tribesmen who formed the backbone of Safavid power. The Qizilbash leaders fought among themselves for the right to be regents over Tahmasp. Upon adulthood, however, Tahmasp was able to reassert the power of the Shah and control the tribesmen. His reign was marked by foreign threats, primarily from the Ottomans and the Uzbeks. In 1555, however, he regularized relations with the Empire through the Peace of Amasya. This peace lasted for 30 years, until it was broken in the time of Shah Mohammed Khodabanda. He is also known for the reception he gave to the fugitive Mughal Emperor Humayun which is depicted in a painting on the walls of the Safavid palace of Chehel Sotoon. Humayun's return from Persia, accompanied by a large retinue of Persian noblemen and soldiers, signaled an important change in Mughal court culture, as the Central Asian origins of the dynasty were largely overshadowed by the influences of Persian art, architecture, language and literature.

Forough Farrokhzad


Forugh Farrokhzad was an Iranian poet and film director. Forugh Farrokhzad is arguably one of Iran's most influential female poets of the twentieth century. She was a controversial modernist poet and an iconoclast.

Moshe Katsav


Moshe Katsav is an Israeli politician who was the eighth President of Israel from 2000 to 2007. He was also a leading Likud member of the Israeli Knesset and a minister in its cabinet. The end of his presidency was marked by controversy, stemming from allegations of rape of one female subordinate and sexual harassment of others. Katsav resigned the presidency in 2007 as part of a plea bargain. Katsav later rejected the deal with prosecutors and vowed he would prove his innocence in court. In an unprecedented case, on 30 December 2010, Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape, obstruction of justice and other charges. On 22 March 2011, in a landmark ruling, Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison. Katsav appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of Israel. On 10 November 2011, the Supreme Court affirmed Katsav's conviction and punishment. On 7 December 2011, Katsav arrived at Maasiyahu Prison in Ramla to begin serving his seven-year sentence.

Mohammad Reza Khalatbari

Soccer Midfielder

Mohammad Reza Khalatbari is an Iranian international football player who currently plays for Persepolis. He is both a winger and a play-maker.

Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani


Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn al-Afghānī, also known as Seyyed Jamāl ad-Dīn Afghani, Seyyed Jamāl ad-Dīn Asadābādī, and commonly known as Al-Afghani, was a political activist and Islamic ideologist in the Muslim world during the late 19th century, particularly in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. One of the founders of Islamic Modernism and an advocate of Pan-Islamic unity, he has been described as "less interested in theology than he was in organizing a Muslim response to Western pressure."

Mehran Modiri


Mehran Modiri is a prolific Iranian actor, television director, comedian and musician. His artistic career began in his teenage years as he was acting in local plays. He then entered the world of radio and television in the early 1990s, actively writing scripts for and participating in various comedy skits during the annual Norooz comedy television shows broadcast by the IRIB. He continued appearing in television comedies, however, he achieved real stardom with his creation of Pavarchin, in which he won numerous awards for directing and starring in the picture. He tasted success again when he directed and starred in Noghtechin, and Jayezeye Bozorg, which became major hits on television in Iran. Afterwards, he followed Pavarchin's storyline with the making of Shabhaye Barareh which became his most popular television program yet; the show remained incomplete after it was criticized for offending rural people, which resulted in an abrupt end to the show after 92 episodes, without completely explaining the Barareh history. He has starred in two full length films, and had planned on entering the film industry once again after Shabhaye Barareh was completed. However, he instead started working on his next project, television series Baghe Mozaffar.

Andy Madadian

Pop Artist

Andranik Madadian (Persian: آندرانیک مددیان, Armenian: Անդրանիկ Մադադյան, born April 21, 1959), better known by his stage name, Andy (Persian: اندی, Armenian: Էնդի), is a famous Iranian-Armenian singer-songwriter. He is a naturalized American and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Madadian was born on April 21, 1959 in Iran to ethnic Iranian Armenian parents. When the 1979 Iranian Revolution came, he left Iran for the United States. Andy made it big when he joined Kouros and together formed a successful duo Andy & Kouros. Andy & Kouros released 4 albums together: Khastegary (1985), Parvaz (1988), the hugely successful album Balla!, and finally Goodbye (1991). The two split in 1992, with both Andy and Kouros going on to have successful individual solo careers. The two reunited several times after that point. In 2002 and 2004 they performed together for a sold-out audience in San Jose, California. In 2009, Andy & Kouros they went on an international tour together in the Iranian diaspora, and performed together again in May, 2010. They also appeared together on a music video by Farez remaking their hit "Niloufar". Andy, known as one of the "Kings of Pop" in Iran, has released 15 albums since the start of his solo career including the multicultural album "And My Heart..." in 2000 where he sings in Persian, English, Spanish, Armenian, Arabic, and Hindi. Later that year, an American edition of the album was released by Mondo Melodia Records. On July 21, 2009, Madadian performed at halftime during the Chelsea FC vs. Inter Milan game at the Rose Bowl. On June 24, 2009, Andy, Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi recorded a version of the Lieber and Stoller standard Stand by Me, described by producer Don Was as a "worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran". The Persian introduction is done by both Andy and Jon Bon Jovi, as well as the rest of the song which continues in English. The record was produced by Don Was and John Shanks and was registered at Henson Studio C, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Karim Bagheri

Soccer Midfielder

Karim Bagheri is a retired Iranian professional football player and coach. He played over half of his professional career for Persepolis in the Iran Pro League. He was known as a two-footed midfielder and was famous for his powerful and thundering long range shots and free kicks.

Arash Borhani


Arash Borhani is an Iranian football player who currently plays for Esteghlal in Iran's Premier Football League and is a member of Iran national football team. He is the all-time top goal scorers of Esteghlal and also the second all-time top goal scorers in Iran's Premier Football League. He is top goal scorer of 2008–09 Iran's Premier Football League Borhani is a Bronze Medalist of 2006 Asian Games with Iran national under-23 football team.

Parisa Yousef Doust

Film Director

Parisa Yousef Doust is a film director, screenwriter and film score composer.

Saman Sadeghpour

Film Producer

Saman Sadeghpour is a graffiti artist and a film producer.

Mahsa Shoja Araghi

Film Director

Mahsa Shoja Araghi is a film director.