Famous Iranian Men

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Think of Iran and the first thing that runs your mind is social unrest, militancy, religious riots and unjust laws. Well, you are not to be blamed for the country has drawn much negative publicity from round the globe. But Iran is not all about insurrection and insurgency. The land, which is home to one of the world’s oldest civilization, has been a cultural and economic centre of the Middle East. It has been home to numerous ethnic groups and also to a large number of talented men who have greatly contributed in the country cultural and economic landscape.

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 1 
Cyrus the Great
(Founder of First Persian Empire)
Cyrus the Great
4
Birthdate: 0590 BC
Birthplace: Anshan, Iran
Died: 0530 BC

Cyrus II, or Cyrus the Great, founded the first Persian empire, the Achaemenid Empire. His kingdom extended from Western Asia to Central Asia. He advocated centralized administration, with the help of local governors. The biblical Edict of Cyrus, named after him, talks about the return of the Jews to Israel.

 2 
Avicenna
(Persian polymath the most significant physiciansand writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of early modern medicine.)
Avicenna
11
Birthdate: 0980 AD
Birthplace: Afshona, Uzbekistan
Died: May 31, 1037
Renowned as father of early modern medicine, Avicenna was an illustrious Persian polymath. He is specifically distingusihed for his contributions in the fields of medicine and Aristotelian philisophy. He is best-known for his works namely, The Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing. The corpus of his writings also include alchemy, geology, psychology, geography, physics, poetry and Islamic theology.
 3 
Omar Khayyam
(Mathematician)
Omar Khayyam
18
Birthdate: May 18, 1048
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nishapur, Khorasan, Iran
Died: December 4, 1131

Omar Khayyam was a Persian polymath, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and poet. In the field of mathematics, he is best known for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations. As an astronomer, he designed a solar calendar known as the Jalali calendar. His philosophical attitude towards life had elements of pessimism, nihilism, Epicureanism, and fatalism. 

 4 
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
(The Last Shah of Iran Who Ruled from 1941 to 1979)
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
47
Birthdate: October 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: July 27, 1980

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi served as the last king of Iran from 1941 to 1979. During his reign, Iran witnessed rapid military and industrial modernization and several social and economic reforms. During his rule, Iran also enjoyed a spike in economic growth, surpassing France, England, and the US. However, the Iranian Revolution, which was unusual in many ways, overthrew the king.

 5 
Xerxes I
(King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire from 486 BC to 465 BC)
Xerxes I
16
Birthdate: 0519 AD
Birthplace: Achaemenid Empire
Died: July 31, 0466

Xerxes I ruled the Achaemenid Empire from 486 to 465 BC as the fourth King of Kings. During his reign, Xerxes I supervised the completion of several construction projects at Persepolis and Susa. A popular ruler, his life has been adapted into several plays and films; in the 1960 movie Esther and the King, Xerxes is played by Richard Egan.

 6 
Darius the Great
(King of Persia)
Darius the Great
4
Birthdate: 0550 BC
Birthplace: Iran
Died: September 30, 0486

Darius the Great was a Persian ruler. He served as the third King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire from 522 BCE until he died in 486 BCE. The empire was at the peak of its glory under his reign and included much of Western Asia and parts of the Balkans. He invested a lot in construction projects.  

 7 
Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī
(Iranian Scholar, Scientist and Polymath)
Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī
12
Birthdate: 0973 AD
Birthplace: Beruni, Uzbekistan
Died: 1050 AD

Apart from being a pioneer of Indology and geodesy, Persian scholar Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī also worked on subjects such as anthropology, math, and ethnography. It is believed he didn’t know his father. He had penned many works, such as the encyclopaedic volume The Chronology of Ancient Nations.

 8 
Ali Daei
(Iranian Football Manager and Former Player Who Played as a Centre Forward)
Ali Daei
24
Birthdate: March 21, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ardabil, Iran

Iranian football legend Ali Daei has been one of the best strikers from his country. His international record of scoring 109 goals was broken by Cristiano Ronaldo later. Apart from serving the Iranian team for 13 years, he also represented teams such as Bayern Munich. Post-retirement, he coached several teams.

 9 
Rezā Shāh
(Shah of Iran from 1925 to 1941)
Rezā Shāh
16
Birthdate: March 15, 1878
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alasht, Iran
Died: July 26, 1944

Rezā Shāh was a military colonel who founded the Pahlavi dynasty and reigned as the Shah of Iran from December 1925 to September 1941. He was also the prime minister of Iran from October 1923 to November 1925. His tenure saw the introduction of many social, economic, and political reforms, and he is regarded as the founder of modern Iran. 

 10 
Muhammad of Ghor
12
Birthdate: 1149 AD
Birthplace: Ghor, Afghanistan
Died: March 15, 1206

Muhammad of Ghor of the Ghurid Empire went down in history as the man who established Muslim rule in the Indian subcontinent and set the tone for the upcoming Mughal dynasty. He ruled over a vast area, which included India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, among others, along with his brother, Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad.

 11 
Mohammad Mosaddegh
(Political Leader)
Mohammad Mosaddegh
14
Birthdate: June 16, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: March 5, 1967
Born to an Iranian public officer, Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh had an elite education in Switzerland. His oil-nationalization act brought about an economic crisis in the country. He was known to be an eccentric person who met visitors in pajamas, from his bed, and also cried in public.
 12 
Nader Shah
(Shah of Iran from 1736 to 1747)
Nader Shah
8
Birthdate: October 22, 1688
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dargaz, Iran
Died: June 19, 1747

Nader Shah reigned over Iran as the Shah of Iran from 1736 until his death in 1747. He is widely regarded as one of the most powerful rulers in the history of Iran. He has also been described as the Napoleon of Persia, thanks to his military genius, which was evident in his several campaigns.

 13 
Al-Ghazālī
(Persian Polymath Considered as One of the Most Prominent and Influential Philosophers, Theologians, Jurists, Logicians and Mystics)
Al-Ghazālī
11
Birthdate: 1058 AD
Birthplace: Ṭūs, Iran
Died: December 19, 1111

Al-Ghazālī was a Persian Muslim polymath best remembered for his work in the fields of philosophy, theology, logic, and Sufism. Such was his popularity that al-Ghazali was awarded the honorific title Hujjat al-Islām during his lifetime itself. Among his other works, the Incoherence of the Philosophers is considered a landmark in the history of philosophy.

 14 
Mansour Bahrami
(Former Professional Tennis Player)
Mansour Bahrami
10
Birthdate: April 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arak, Iran

Born to an Iranian hill tribesman, Mansour Bahrami grew up to be one of the greatest Iranian tennis players and a Wimbledon champion. The Islamic Revolution in his country later tagged tennis as capitalist, leading him to focus on gambling and backgammon, though he later returned to tennis.

 15 
Hafez
(14th Century Persian Lyric Poet)
Hafez
2
Birthdate: 1325 AD
Birthplace: Shiraz, Iran
Died: 1390 AD

Hafez was a Persian lyric poet whose works are considered by many as an apex of Persian literature. Even today, his works are found in the homes of the Persian-speaking world and people learn his poems by heart as they find them extremely useful. Not surprisingly, his poems are used commonly among speakers of Persian as everyday proverbs and sayings.

 16 
Mehran Karimi Nasseri
19
Birthdate: 1942 AD
Birthplace: Masjed Soleiman, Iran

Mehran Karimi Nasseri is an Iranian refugee who lived in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France from 1988 to 2006. He claimed that he was expelled from Iran and because his entry to the airport was legal, the French authorities could not drive him away as he had no country of origin. His story has inspired films and documentaries.

 17 
Hassan-i Sabbah
(Islamic religious leader)
Hassan-i Sabbah
4
Birthdate: 1050 AD
Birthplace: Qom, Iran
Died: June 12, 1124

Hassan-i Sabbah was an Islamic religious leader best remembered for founding the Nizari Isma'ili state and its infamous military group, the Order of Assassins. In the West, he came to be known as the Old Man of the Mountain and his life has inspired several works of art, including novels.

 18 
Abbas Kiarostami
(Film director, Screenwriter, Photographer, Film producer, Poet, Film editor)
Abbas Kiarostami
10
Birthdate: June 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tehran
Died: July 4, 2016

Abbas Kiarostami was an Iranian screenwriter, film director, film producer, photographer, and poet. Over the course of his illustrious career, Kiarostami was honored with numerous awards such as the Jury Special Award at the Tehran International Film Festival and Best Film Award at the Iranian Film Festival for Children and Young Adults. 

 19 
Asghar Farhadi
(Iranian Film Director and Screenwriter)
Asghar Farhadi
12
Birthdate: May 7, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Khomeyni Shahr, Iran

Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian screenwriter and film director. In 2016, Farhadi became one of the few directors to receive two Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film. While his film The Salesman earned him an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2016, he had previously won an Oscar for his 2011 film A Separation.

 20 
Shams Tabrizi
7
Birthdate: 1185 AD
Birthplace: Tabriz, Iran
Died: 1248 AD

Shams Tabrizi was a Persian poet best remembered for playing an important role in the life of the popular poet and scholar, Rumi. Having served as a spiritual instructor of Rumi, Tabrizi is referenced with reverence in many of Rumi's poetic collection. An important historical figure in Iran, Tabrizi's tomb has been nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 21 
Alireza Jahanbakhsh
(Iranian footballer)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh
12
Birthdate: August 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jirandeh, Iran

Iranian footballer Alireza Jahanbakhsh is best known as an attacking midfielder/winger for the Dutch football club Feyenoord. Often compared to legendary Iranian player Mehdi Mahdavikia for his playing style, he gained praises from netizens in 2022, when a clip showing him helping a camerawoman get up after being knocked down went viral.

 22 
Abdul Qadir Gilani
4
Birthdate: March 23, 1078
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gilan Province, Iran
Died: February 14, 1166

Abdul Qadir Gilani was a Sunni Muslim ascetic, mystic, preacher, theologian, and jurist. He is best remembered for founding the Qadiriyya tariqa of Sufism, which is named after him. Abdul Qadir Gilani was famous for his preaching and is credited with converting numerous Christians and Jews.

 23 
Al-Razi
(Polymath)
Al-Razi
1
Birthdate: 0854 AD
Birthplace: Ray
Died: October 15, 0925
 24 
Jabir Ibn Hayyan
(Iran Philosopher and Author)
Jabir Ibn Hayyan
14
Birthdate: 0721 AD
Birthplace: Tous, Iran
Died: 0813 AD

Eighth-century alchemist and physician Jabir Ibn Hayyan has been credited with too many written works. Experts believe his vast works may not have been written by a single person. The Jabirian corpus, a collection of his works, is known for its "method of the balance" and its focus on chemistry.

 25 
Zoroaster
(Founder of Zoroastrianism)
Zoroaster
8
Birthdate: 0628 BC
Birthplace: Ray, Iran
Died: 0551 BC
Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was an Iranian spiritual leader who founded the religion Zoroastrianism, which challenged the traditional religious ideas of Ancient Persia. There is no record that states the exact period of his existence with certainty. He is said to have authored the Gathas and the Yasna Haptanghaiti.
 26 
Artaxerxes I of Persia
(King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire from 465 BC to 424 BC)
Artaxerxes I of Persia
0
Birthplace: Susa, Iran
Died: 0424 AD
Son of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I of Persia, ascended to the throne after commander Artabanus killed his father. When he came to know of the crime, Artaxerxes killed Artabanus in a fight. He was also known as Longimanus, or long-handed, due to right hand being longer than his left.
 27 
Ferdowsi
(Persian Poet and One of the Most Influential Figures of Persian Literature)
Ferdowsi
0
Birthdate: 0940 AD
Birthplace: Tous, Iran
Died: 1020 AD

Ferdowsi was a Persian writer and poet best remembered for authoring Shahnameh which is considered the greatest epic in Persian speaking countries. Shahnameh is also one of the longest epic poems ever composed by a single poet. One of the most celebrated figures of Persian literature, Ferdowsi is also counted among the greatest in the history of literature.         . 

 28 
Ismail I
(sovereign, poet, writer)
Ismail I
5
Birthdate: July 17, 1487
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ardabil
Died: May 23, 1524

Ismail I was the originator of the Safavid dynasty and ruled as the Shahanshah of Iran from 1501 to 1524. His reign is considered one of the most vital in Iranian history and his empire is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of Iran and one of the most powerful empires of the world during its peak. 

 29 
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
4
Birthdate: February 18, 1201
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tous, Iran
Died: June 26, 1274

Persian polymath Nasir al-Din al-Tusi lost his jurist father in childhood and then went around as a scholar, learning subjects such as math and philosophy. He made invaluable contribution to astronomy and later served as a scientific advisor of the Mongols. One of his notable written works was Akhlaq-i Nasiri.

 30 
Saadi Shirazi
0
Birthdate: 1210 AD
Birthplace: Shīrāz, Iran
Died: 1291 AD

Saadi Shirazi was a Persian prose writer and poet of the medieval period. He is often counted among the greatest poets who explored the classical literary tradition. Nicknamed the Master, Shirazi has also been quoted in the Western traditions. One of his best known works Bustan has been named by The Guardian in its 100 greatest books of all-time list. 

 31 
Navid Negahban
10
Birthdate: June 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Iran
 32 
Mani
(Prophet)
Mani
3
Birthdate: April 14, 0216
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ctesiphon, Iraq
Died: March 2, 0274

Mani was a Parthian prophet best remembered for founding a major religion called Manichaeism which was once widespread. Mani is believed to have performed several miracles including teleporting, levitation, and healing, which gained him many followers. He was martyred in 274 and his death drew comparisons to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

 33 
The Iron Sheik
(Professional Wrestler Best Known for His Crippling Camel Clutch Maneuver)
The Iron Sheik
17
Birthdate: March 15, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Damghan, Iran

Legendary Iranian wrestler Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, better known as The Iron Sheik, scripted history by becoming the only Iranian with a WWE championship win. Known for his signature suplex and Camel Clutch tactics, he later also forayed into showbiz, acting in movies such as Operation Belvis Bash.

 34 
Maz Jobrani
(Comedians)
Maz Jobrani
17
Birthdate: February 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
 35 
Sardar Azmoun
(Association football player)
Sardar Azmoun
17
Birthdate: January 1, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gonbad-e Qabus

Known as the Iranian Messi, Sardar Azmoun is one of the most popular Iranian footballers. While he spent his youth career playing for influential Iranian clubs such as Sepahan, he began his senior career with Russian clubs such as Rubin Kazan and later also represented the German club Bayer Leverkusen.

Execution of Navid Afkari
15
Birthdate: July 22, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shiraz, Iran
Died: September 12, 2020

Navid Afkari Sangari was an Iranian professional wrestler who was executed in Shiraz for killing a security guard as part of the 2018 Iranian protests. The execution took place despite opposition from the USA and IOC President Thomas Bach. Interestingly, an audiotape recording later indicated that Navid Afkari had no connection with the murder. 

 37 
Mehdi Taremi
(Iranian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Striker)
Mehdi Taremi
17
Birthdate: July 18, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bushehr, Iran

Iranian footballer Mehdi Taremi is best known as a striker for Porto. While he began his senior career with the Iranian club Shahin Bushehr, he has also played for the Qatari club Al-Gharafa and the Portuguese club Rio Ave, winning the Qatari Stars Cup with the former.  

 38 
Arash
(Singer)
Arash
22
Birthdate: April 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
 39 
Zerubbabel
(Governor)
Zerubbabel
3
Birthplace: Not known

Zerubbabel was a governor of Yehud Medinata, a province in the Achaemenid Empire. The grandson of Jeconiah, Zerubbabel is credited with leading the first group of Jews, who returned from the Babylonian exile, in the first year of Cyrus the Great. Zerubbabel is also credited with laying the foundation of the famous Second Temple in Jerusalem.

 40 
Malik-Shah I
(Sultan)
Malik-Shah I
4
Birthdate: August 8, 1055
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Isfahan, Iran
Died: November 19, 1092

Malik-Shah I was sultan of the Seljuk Empire from 1072 to 1092. He was the son of Alp Arslan and spent much of his youth in campaigns under his father. He was crowned after the death of his father but had to fight off other contenders before he could claim the throne. He waged a major war against the Karakhanids.    

 41 
Shapur I
(Military commander)
Shapur I
0
Birthdate: 0215 AD
Birthplace: Firouzabad
Died: April 30, 0272

Shapur I ruled as the Shahanshah of the Sasanian Empire from 240 to 270. A fierce conqueror, Shapur destroyed the Arab city of Hatra in the early 240s before waging wars against Roman emperors like Philip the Arab and Valerian and capturing cities of Nisibis, Carrhae, Dura-Europos, and Antioch. Shapur remained active in his later years before dying of illness.

 42 
Reza Aslan
(Scholar, Author Famous for His Translated Works ‘No God but God: The Origins’, ‘Evolution’, and ‘Future of Islam')
Reza Aslan
9
Birthdate: May 3, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer, TV host, and scholar of sociology of religion. A multi-talented personality, Aslan also serves as a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Over the course of his career, Reza Aslan has been honored with several prestigious awards including the East-West Media Award in 2012 and the Media Bridge-Builder Award in 2013.

 43 
Saeed Hanaei
(Serial killer)
Saeed Hanaei
45
Birthdate: April 5, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mashhad, Iran
Died: April 8, 2002
 44 
Nizami Ganjavi
3
Birthdate: 1141 AD
Birthplace: Ganja, Azerbaijan
Died: 1209 AD

Nizami Ganjavi was a Persian Sunni Muslim poet. Widely regarded as the greatest romantic epic poet of all time in Persian literature, Ganjavi is credited with bringing a realistic and colloquial style to the Persian epic. Ganjavi's works has had huge impact in many places around the world including India where his style was imitated by many poets like Hatefi.

 45 
Ali Khamenei
(Supreme Leader of Iran)
Ali Khamenei
80
Birthdate: July 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mashhad
Ali Khamenei has been serving as the supreme leader of Iran since 1989 and has previously been its president. He is one of the co-founders of the Islamic Republic Party and led his country during the Iran–Iraq War. His reign has also seen extreme treatment of journalists and protestors.
 46 
Ramin Karimloo
12
Birthdate: September 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
 47 
Ashkan Dejagah
(Iranian Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Midfielder)
Ashkan Dejagah
8
Birthdate: July 5, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

Born in Iran, footballer Ashkan Dejagah moved to Germany as a toddler and grew up to play for German youth teams. However, he later represented the Iranian national team. His achievements include a Bundesliga win with Wolfsburg and a UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship win with the German Under-21 team.

 48 
Qasem Soleimani
(Iranian Military Officer Who was the Commander of the 'Quds' Force)
Qasem Soleimani
69
Birthdate: March 11, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ghanat Malek, Iran
Died: January 3, 2020

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian major general who served as the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force from 1998 to 2020. Soleimani was regarded as the second most powerful Iranian. Although he is considered a national hero in Iran, Soleimani was termed a terrorist by the US and was killed in a targeted drone strike in 2020.

 49 
Nabonidus
(king)
Nabonidus
1
Birthplace: Harran
Died: 0539 BC

Nabonidus was the last ruler of Neo-Babylonian Empire. A strong believer of the moon god Sin, Nabonidus was faced with a revolt by the worshippers of Babylon’s national god, Marduk, and thus left his kingdom in the hands of his son, co-regent Belshazzar. He was later exiled.

 50 
Al-Tabari
(Iranian Historian and Educator)
Al-Tabari
3
Birthdate: 0839 AD
Birthplace: Āmol, Iran
Died: February 17, 0923

Al-Tabari was a historian, scholar, and commentator on the Quran. He is best remembered for his expertise in historiography and Qur'anic exegesis. A polymath, Al-Tabari wrote on a variety of topics like world history, poetry, mathematics, grammar, ethics, lexicography, and medicine. He is credited with founding a school of thought called madhhab which flourished among Sunni Muslims for two centuries.

If you don’t believe us, then this would help clear your doubt. World leaders like Ayatollah Khomeini, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ali Khamenei, Olympic Gold medallist Hadi Sedi, Abdollah Movahed, Emamali Habibi Goudarzi, Mohammad Nassiri, religious figures like The Bab, Bahau’llah, Mani, literary figures like Karim Emami, Majid M Naini, Ali Akbar Abdolrashidi, all of them belong to the Iranian soil. Check this section and update yourself with the life and deeds of famous Iranian men who did their country proud with their significant works. Their inspiring life story would definitely help you think high of Iran!