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In contemporary Iran, what are the effect of pre-Islamic Persian cultural heritage that are not linked to islamic culture, religion and literature?

In a previous question, I asked about Zoroastrianism. This question is more general.

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arab culture and Islamic culture are different. Iranians have Islamic culture and not arab culture. – Battle of Karbala Aug 18 '12 at 16:24
@Ahmadi Thank you! I corrected that. – Vitalij Zadneprovskij Aug 18 '12 at 16:32
By "inheritance" I think you mean "heritage". – SevenSidedDie Aug 18 '12 at 17:49
@SevenSidedDie right! Thanks! – Vitalij Zadneprovskij Aug 18 '12 at 17:51
As Ahmadi said, ethnically Iranians are majority ethnically Persian (with strong Kurd and turcic ethnic minorites, ~20% each IIRC). Arabs constitude a very minor minority, along with Armenians. – DVK Sep 2 '12 at 17:18
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Like virtually every other country, Iran values having a culture that is not simply defined by its predominant religion. Iran, therefore, has a close attachment to its pre-Islamic (or better, non-Islamic) civilisation. Besides being a source of pride in its own right, this heritage also serves to differentiate the country and people from its surrounding Turkic and, especially, Arab peoples.

This pride in Persian heritage encompasses several different spheres:

  • pre-Islamic art is treasured and one can find museums which specialise in ancient Persian artifacts as well as pre-Islamic archaeological sites, such as Persepolis, and even Zoroastrian ones
  • Persian architecture (Si-o-se, mosques, etc)
  • Persian as a historical language of poetry and statecraft, stretching from Turkey to India, is a source of pride (note the continued popularity of traditional Persian poetry even today)
  • the name "Iran" was chosen to emphasise the pre-Islamic civilisation
  • Iranians are very passionate about their being attached to geographies which are traditionally within the Persianate world (notably the Persian Gulf naming controversy)

Of course, the Iranian brand of Shi'ism also is something that is something that many Iranians are attached to as something culturally significant and differentiating from most of their neighbours, but it is by no means the only one.

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