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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Born in Iran, chess Grandmaster Alireza Firouzja initially represented his country but later began representing France. In 2021, he became the only teenager ranked among the world’s top 15 chess players. A 2-time Iranian champion, he has been a chess prodigy and had started training in chess at age 8.
Iranian footballer Karim Ansarifard is best known for his association with the Greek club AEK Athens. Often compared to legendary footballer Ali Daei, he is known for his energy on the field. His achievements include a Super League Greece title win with Olympiacos and a Hazfi Cup win with Tractor.
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.
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.
Born in Iran, footballer Reza Ghoochannejhad moved to the Netherlands as a child. While he initially played for Dutch youth teams and became a well-known name in European club football, he later joined the Iranian national team. While he speaks 4 languages, he is also a music lover and a skilled violinist.
Hossein Rezazadeh is an Iranian politician. Also a former weightlifter, he is a two-time Olympic champion and four-time World Weightlifting champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest weightlifters of all time. The Rezazadeh Stadium was built in his honor. He entered politics in 2013 and was elected as a member of the City Council of Tehran.
Often called The Magician and The Asian Maradona, Iranian footballer Ali Karimi is best known for his stint with clubs such as Bayern Munich and Persepolis. Named the Asian Footballer of the Year in 2004, he was briefly banned from the Iranian team for criticizing the IRIFF.
Sevdaliza is an Iranian-Dutch singer whose debut album ISON earned her the 3voor12 Award under the Best Album of the Year category. Although she is not very popular in the Netherlands, Sevdaliza performs all over the world. A former professional basketball player, Sevdaliza played for the Dutch national team before embarking on a career as a singer.
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.
Known as the father of legendary American tennis player Andre Agassi, Emmanuel Agassi was a star sportsman in his own right and a 2-time Olympian boxer from Iran. He changed his name to Mike after moving to the US, where he invented a tennis-ball machine called The Dragon, with which he trained Andre.
Sarasadat Khademalsharieh is an Iranian chess player who achieved the honorific titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master in 2013 and 2015 respectively. She has represented her country in important competitions like the Women's Chess Olympiads and the Women's World Chess Championship.
Hassan Yazdani is an Iranian wrestler best known for winning gold medals at important competitions like Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Asian Championships, and Asian Games. In 2016, he became an Olympic champion for the first time when he defeated Aniuar Borisovich Geduev to win the gold medal in the 74kg category.
Iranian footballer Masoud Shojaei is best known as an attacking midfielder for Nassaji Mazandaran. He has also previously played for teams such as Osasuna and Tractor, and has also been part of the Iranian national squad in 3 World Cups. He has also won a Super League Greece title with AEK Athens.
Hadi Saei is an Iranian former taekwondo athlete best known as the most successful Olympic athlete from Iran. Over the course of his sporting career, Saei won two Olympic gold medals and one bronze medal. In addition to his Olympic medals, Saei has also won four world cup titles and two world championships titles.
Former Iranian footballer Javad Nekounam, who now manages the club Foolad, has previously been a dependable central midfielder for teams such as Osasuna and Saipa. Also known as Neku, he has been part of the Iranian squad in 2 World Cups. He has also won titles such as the AFC-OFC Challenge Cup.
A Woman Grandmaster and an International Grandmaster, Iranian chess player Dorsa Derakhshani initially represented Iran internationally. She now plays for the US and is a student of St. Louis University. Initially home-schooled, she had also excelled in music and dance, especially ballet, in her childhood, before moving on to chess.
Amir Aliakbari is an Iranian gold medallist in wrestling. He is also a world champion in Greco-Roman wrestling. A mixed martial artist as well, he is currently signed to ONE Championship. In the past, he competed at Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) and Rizin Fighting Federation. He was banned from competing in wrestling for life after a doping scandal.
Hossein Tayyebi is an Iranian professional futsal player. He currently plays for the Portuguese club Benfica. He is also part of the Iranian national futsal team. He made his international debut in 2009 at the age of 20. He was ranked Top Goalscorer at the 2014 (15) and 2018 AFC Futsal Championship (14).
Former Iranian super heavyweight weightlifter Behdad Salimi is not just an Olympic gold medalist but has also won gold medals at the Asian Games, the Asian Championships, and the World Championships. Known as the Iranian Hercules, he was once dismissed for criticizing coach Kourosh Bagheri for using abusive language.
Parham Maghsoodloo is an Iranian chess player who was awarded the title of Grandmaster by FIDE in 2016. A three-time Iranian national champion, he became the World Junior Chess Champion in 2018 with a performance rating of 2823. He was suspected of cheating on Lichess and his account was closed. He has also been banned.
Iranian futsal star Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh is best known as a left winger for Giti Pasand. The 4-time AFC Futsal Player of the Year title winner started his senior career with the club Eram Kish. His 33-goal record for the AFC Futsal Club Championship is an all-time high in its history.
Taekwondo player Kimia Alizadeh, the daughter of a table-cloth maker, became a star in her country, Iran, when she won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, she fled Iran due to oppression in 2020 and settled in Germany. She has since been competing for Germany internationally.
Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami has 2 Olympic medals in his kitty, one of them being a gold medal. He is also an Asian Champion and a 2-time World Champion. In 2017, he auctioned his Olympic gold medal to raise money for the victims of a devastating earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border.
Iranian footballer Ehsan Hajsafi is best known as a left-back for AEK Athens. He has also been part of the Iranian squad in 2 World Cups and now leads the Iranian national team as its captain. He was once briefly banned from the Iranian team for playing for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Iranian footballer Kaveh Rezaei is now associated with the Belgian club OH Leuven as a forward. Known for his striking ability, he has also represented clubs such as Saipa and Charleroi, and has been a 2-time Hazfi Cup winner with Zob Ahan. He is married to Iranian volleyball player Farnoosh Sheikhi.
Former Iranian footballer Andranik Teymourian mostly played as a defensive midfielder. He began his senior career with the team Oghab and then went on to represent teams such as Tractor and Fulham. He later became the first Christian player to lead the Iranian national team as its captain.
Ramin Rezaeian is an Iranian footballer. He plays as a right-back for the Iranian club Persepolis. He also plays as a winger. He spent several years with the team Saba Qom before signing for Rah Ahan in 2013. Since then, he has played with many teams, including Persepolis, K.V. Oostende, and Al Shahania.
Iranian Paralympic powerlifter Siamand Rahman was not just a 2-time Paralympic champion but had also won the Asian Para Games and the IPC Powerlifting World Championships thrice each. He scripted history by breaking the 300kg barrier but stunned the world with his death due to cardiac arrest at 31.
One of the most popular Iranian footballers, goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi is associated with the club Nassaji Mazandaran. He has been a star on social media, with his fans praising his good looks. He has previously won several titles with Persepolis and Rubin Kazan and has won a U-23 Asian Games bronze medal, too.
Fereshteh Karimi is an Iranian professional futsal player who has represented the Iran women's national futsal team. In 2015, Fereshteh Karimi won her first AFC Women's Futsal Championship title and was also selected as the MVP of the tournament.
Former Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei had won a World Championship, among other titles, representing Iran but later defected to Mongolia, after being asked by Iran to lose in the 2019 World Championships to avoid a match against Israel. A black belt in judo, he later won an Olympic silver medal, representing Mongolia.
Gholamreza Takhti was an Iranian wrestler best remembered for winning the gold medal in the 87 kg category at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. A two-time world champion, Takhti had also won a gold medal at the 1958 Asian Games. Thanks to his sportsmanship and chivalrous behavior, Gholamreza Takhti was the most famous Iranian athlete of the 20th century.
Iranian footballer Jalal Hosseini is best known as a center-back/defender for Persepolis. He has previously also played for teams such as Al Ahli and Saipa. Among his achievements are multiple Persian Gulf Pro League wins, with multiple clubs, and an Asian Games bronze medal with the U-23 Iranian squad.
Apart from being an Olympic gold medalist, Iranian weightlifter Sohrab Moradi has also been an Asian Games Champion, a 2-time World Champion, and a 2-time Asian Champion. However, he was dragged into a doping scandal in 2013 and was banned from the sport for 2 years.
Ali Karimi is an Iranian former football player who scored 38 goals in 127 appearances for Iran during the course of his career. Karimi became only the fourth player from Iran to receive the Asian Footballer of the Year award in 2004. Best known for his dribbling skills, Karimi is often counted among the greatest players of Iran and Asia.