Monday, April 23, 2012

Blond and brunette Iranians

Search keywords that bring people to this blog include "blonde iranian" and "blonde persians". I'm sure I disappoint a lot of people looking for skin, but I like to think some are checking on the validity of the claim that Iranians are dark-skinned.

If you're wondering, the US government has always categorized Iranians as "white."

My original post:

Nick Mamatas was surprised that Prince of Persia had a character who looked like Aryan Jesus, so I gathered some Persian/Iranian references for him. In case anyone else thought all Iranians looked like stereotypical Arabs, here are some Iranians:

bloneIran.jpg image by Sunshineenfred


And here, Merlkir offers some art showing members of the Persian Empire:

And a Roman representation of the Three Wise Men, who were believed to be Persians because "magi" is the Persian word for a Zoroastrian priest. (History geek Will notes that we're actually talking about the Parthian Empire at this time, not the Persian, but ignore the nerd here.)


  1. When my ex-wife first came here from Iran, she went to get a driver's license. Under "race", she attempted to check "Asian" (which, after all, is the continent she was from), but the inspector changed it to "White" instead.

    However, until she came to the States, she didn't think that there were really in people in the world who were truly blonde. All the blonde Iranian's she knew used bleach.

    1. That made me grin. My guess is some regions of Iran have more blonds than others. And I haven't a clue how many Iranians are naturally blond.

  2. the Hindu people are dark as the Gypsys. No blondes in India are present. But as a whole in Northern India traditionally white-skinned it is much more than in the Central and southern India. The Blondes can be met easily in Afghanistan, first of all among Pashtoons and in Pakistan, also among Pashtoons and so called Dards (province of Nuristan)

  3. Several points.
    The Caucasus Mountains are not that far north of Iran. "Caucasian" is the adjective form of "Caucasus." So, apparently, based on some kind of convoluted reasoning, the Caucasus Mountains are where the Caucasian ("white") race originated. (!?)

    Some members of the Kalash tribe of Pakistan are born with blond or light browh hair and blue eyes, which they attribute to the army of Alexander the Great.

    "Non-soldier" populations (women and children) are typically enslaved as part of the process of conquest, with the aim being to sell them to generate revenue. There has been slave trading in one form or another throughout the world since prehistoric times. A good deal of gene mixing occurs as part of this process.

    Historically, populations were/are also raided for slaves not only in the middle east, the near east, and the Mediterranean area (Rome) but also by the Vikings, with Britain, Ireland and Western Europe being a major Viking source and Rome being a major market for same. A good deal of gene mixing occurs as a part of this process.

    The middle east is the crossroads between Asia, Europe and Africa. This area has been traveled across and fought over since the dawn of history and invaded by armies from every direction on the map at one time or another. A good deal of gene mixing occurs as a part of this process.

    The amount of UV radition decreases the further north/south from the equator you go. UV radiation damages folate in the blood, increasing the risk of "nonviable" fetal neural tube defects. The closer you are to the equator the greater the risk. If the geographic area is located north of the Tropic of Cancer (Iran is), an adequately nourished fair skinned, light haired woman would have good odds of being able to produce healthy offspring, particularly if that woman were protected from UVR by being sequestered indoors and/or under heavy, dark clothing, as many middle eastern women were until fairly recently.

    Since blond hair and blue eyes are recessive genes, they can be brought by outsiders into a dark-haired, dark-skinned population (or occur spontaneously through mutation for that matter) and be accumulating within that population without showing up until the luck of the draw selects recessive genes from both parents. (Stealth genes!) Who knows what amount of blond/blue genes are loose in the Iranian population? There's no way to tell.