Iranian

It is easy to stereotype Iran with religious revolutions, militancy, extreme laws, and censorship. But that is only one side of the coin. For all the bad press it generates year on year, blame it on the stringent, strange laws of the land and even stranger lawmakers, Iran is a fairly interesting country teeming with unusual culture, talent, and people. From renowned astrologer, mathematician, and poet Omar Khayyam to celebrated theologian Jalal ad-Din Muhammed Rumi and from award-winning movie director Majid Majidi to Persian composer Mohammed Reza Lotfi, Iran has produced a wad of really gifted men and women. That is right! These Iranians have contributed to make rest of the world pro-Iran with their gargantuan contribution in diverse fields of art, literature, cinema, music, religion, dance, poetry, theologian, sportsmen, and politics. Read the biographies of famous Iranians and trail their timeline, trivia, and facts to unearth everything about their lives.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Iranian

 1 Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great.
1
Famous As: Founder of First Persian Empire
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 Zoroaster

Zoroaster.
4
Famous As: Founder of Zoroastrianism
Birthdate: 0000 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.
Recommended Lists:

 3 Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour.
11
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 12, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
British-Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour is best known as the anchor of the CNN interview show Amanpour. She has also hosted PBS’s Amanpour & Company. She was criticized for her biased and pro-Muslim coverage of the Bosnian War. She has also been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression.

 4 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
9
Famous As: Last Shah of Iran
Birthdate: October 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran
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 Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam.
1
Famous As: Mathematician
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. 

 6 Xerxes I

Xerxes I.
2
Famous As: Persian King
Birthdate: 0519 BC
Birthplace: Iran
Died: 0466 AD

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.

 7 Golshifteh Farahani

Golshifteh Farahani.
1
Famous As: Actress, Musician
Birthdate: July 10, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tehran

Golshifteh Farahani is an Iranian actress renowned for her achievements on the international stage. She is one of the few Iranian actresses to have worked in Hollywood films and many of her films have received international recognition. Farahani has also been advocating for the eradication of tuberculosis in her home country and often gets involved in environmental causes as well.

You May Like

 8 Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī

Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī.
4
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: September 5, 0973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kath, Uzbekistan
Died: December 13, 1048

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.

 9 Nazanin Boniadi

Nazanin Boniadi
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

 10 Esther

Esther.
1
Famous As: Queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: Achaemenid Empire
Esther from the Book of Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. While the king’s advisor, Haman, angered by Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, planned to kill all Jews, Esther reversed the plan with the king’s permission. The Jewish festival Purim marks the day the Jews murdered their enemies.

 11 Farah Pahlavi

Farah Pahlavi.
1
Famous As: Shahbanu
Birthdate: October 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tehran, Imperial State of Iran

Farah Pahlavi was the Shahbanu of Iran from 1961 to 1979, as the wife of Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Though she was not allowed to hold a political role, she worked for many charities and helped found Iran's first American-style university. She has continued her involvement in charity work even after her husband’s death in 1980. 

 12 Darius the Great

Darius the Great
0
Famous As: King of Persia
Birthdate: 0550 AD
Birthplace: Iran
Died: September 30, 0487

 13 Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani
0
Listed In: Scientists
Famous As: mathematician, topologist, university teacher
Birthdate: May 3, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran

 14 Mandana Karimi

Mandana Karimi
1
Famous As: actor, model
Birthdate: March 29, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tehran

 15 Ali Daei

Ali Daei
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Association football player, Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Association football manager
Birthdate: March 21, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ardabil

 16 Rezā Shāh

Rezā Shāh.
0
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: March 15, 1878
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alasht
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. 

 17 Mehran Karimi Nasseri

Mehran Karimi Nasseri.
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Refugee
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.

 18 Mohammad Mosaddegh

Mohammad Mosaddegh.
2
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Political Leader
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.

 19 Nader Shah

Nader Shah.
0
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: October 22, 1688
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dargaz, Persi
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.

 20 Beneil Dariush

Beneil Dariush.
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: May 6, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gol Tappeh, Hamadan, Iran

Iranian lightweight fighter Beneil Dariush moved to the U.S. at age 9. A UFC champion, he boasts of a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He has bagged several gold medals at the World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu championship, too. In 2021, he criticized UFC for not setting his matches against top-ranking contenders.

 21 Navid Negahban

Navid Negahban
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Iran

 22 Hafez

Hafez
0
Listed In: Writers
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1315 AD
Birthplace: Shiraz, Iran
Died: 1390 AD

 23 Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami
0
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Photographer, Film producer, Poet, Film editor
Birthdate: June 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tehran
Died: July 4, 2016

 24 Abdul Qadir Gilani

Abdul Qadir Gilani
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: March 17, 1078
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Amol, Iran
Died: February 21, 1166

 25 Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi.
1
Famous As: Graphic Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rasht

Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novelist, illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author, and film director. Satrapi achieved international recognition in the early-2000s after releasing her critically acclaimed graphic novels. She is best known for writing and directing an animated biographical drama film titled Persepolis, which received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes.

 26 Mansour Bahrami

Mansour Bahrami
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: April 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arak, Iran

 27 Sardar Azmoun

Sardar Azmoun
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: January 1, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gonbad-e Qabus

 28 Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi.
1
Famous As: Film Director
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.

 29 Shams Tabrizi

Shams Tabrizi.
1
Listed In: Writers
Famous As: Poet
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.

 30 Al-Razi

Al-Razi
0
Listed In: Physicians
Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: 0854 AD
Birthplace: Ray
Died: October 15, 0925

 31 Hassan-i Sabbah

Hassan-i Sabbah
0
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Islamic religious leader
Birthdate: 1050 AD
Birthplace: Qom, Iran
Died: June 12, 1124

 32 Shohreh Aghdashloo

Shohreh Aghdashloo
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 11, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran

 33 Jabir Ibn Hayyan

Jabir Ibn Hayyan.
7
Famous As: Alchemist
Birthdate: 0721 AD
Birthplace: Tous, Iran
Died: 0815 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.

 34 Maz Jobrani

Maz Jobrani
0
Famous As: Comedians
Birthdate: February 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

 35 Arash

Arash
0
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

 36 Sevdaliza

Sevdaliza
0
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

 37 Negar Khan

Negar Khan
0
Famous As: actor, model
Birthdate: 1984 AD
Birthplace: Iran

 38 Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
2
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Former President of Iran
Birthdate: August 25, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bahreman, Iran
Died: January 8, 2017
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had also been the speaker of the Majles, or the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and the commander-in-chief during the Iran-Iraq War. Though generally dictatorial, his governance was known for its tolerance of criticism and cultural openness, and earned him the nickname Akbar Shah.

 39 Nasir al-Din al-Tusi

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi.
1
Listed In: Architects
Famous As: Writer
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.

 40 Al-Ghazālī

Al-Ghazālī
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1058 AD
Birthplace: Ṭūs, Iran
Died: December 19, 1111

 41 Cambyses II

Cambyses II
0
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0559 BC
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: June 30, 0522

 42 Ferdowsi

Ferdowsi
0
Listed In: Writers
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 0940 AD
Birthplace: Tous, Iran
Died: 1020 AD

 43 Googoosh

Googoosh
0
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehrān, Iran

 44 Tomyris

Tomyris
0
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Iran

 45 Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

 46 Ismail I

Ismail I
1
Famous As: sovereign, poet, writer
Birthdate: July 17, 1487
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ardabil
Died: May 23, 1524

 47 Harun al-Rashid

Harun al-Rashid.
3
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Caliph
Birthdate: March 17, 0763
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jibal
Died: March 24, 0809
Son of Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi and former Yemeni slave girl al-Khayzuran, Harun al-Rashid reigned as the fifth Abbasid caliph. Many of the Middle-Eastern folk tales, known as the Arabian Nights, have him as the main character. He ruled over a prosperous Baghdad, spelling the beginning of the Islamic Golden Age.

 48 Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi
1
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: June 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Multi-dimensional Persian-Canadian musical artist and broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi is best known for his CBC show Q. Part of the folk-rock group Moxy Früvous, he has also launched a few podcasts. He was dragged into a sexual assault controversy, involving multiple charges, but was later acquitted of all charges.

 49 Mani

Mani
1
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Prophet
Birthdate: April 14, 0216
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ctesiphon, Iraq
Died: March 2, 0274

 50 Patrik Baboumian

Patrik Baboumian
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Strongman
Birthdate: July 1, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Abadan, Iran