Naming the Most Influential Iranians
Mossadegh Ranked Among Top Six Persian Historical Figures

Ebrahim Norouzi & Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| December 2, 2011         


Most Important Iranians

LONDON- Who are the most influential figures in the history of Persian civilization?

To pursue this question, BBC Persian solicited suggestions from historians, professors, and their television viewers, arriving at a list of fifty names. Then, a specially selected group of academics and historians were tasked with distilling the list down to six.

Convening in London to film the program, this seven member jury committee consisted of: Massoud Behnoud (journalist), Touraj Daryaee (History professor at University of California), Dariush Ashouri (writer and translator), Touraj Atabaki (history professor, University of Amsterdam), Ali Ansari (School of History, University of St Andrews in Scotland), Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis (curator, British Museum) and Ramin Jahanbegloo (political science professor, Toronto University).

panel of Iranian experts

After deliberation and by process of elimination, excluding the names of those still living, group consensus reduced the list to twelve. Finally, each member was asked to cast a vote in secret for their choice of the single most significant individual. According to the findings of this process, the following six names, in no particular order, comprise the most influential people in Iranian history:

Avicenna   پورسينا
renaissance man, most famous as a physician and a philosopher

Mossadegh   محمد مصدق
statesman, championed democracy and independence for Iran

Ferdowsi   ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی
epic poet, most responsible for revival of Persian language

Zoroaster   زرتشت
founder of Zoroastrianism, the first monotheistic religion

Cyrus   کوروش بزرگ
Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire

Hafez   حافظ شیرازی
cherished lyrical and mystical poet


The only contemporary figure in the group, former Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, was deemed significant for inspiring his countrymen to pursue a path of independence and self government.


The Most Influential Iranians


BBC Persian program, 38 minutes
1388 Norouz (March 21, 2009)
Password: bbc




Related links:

BBC Persian Documentary on Dr. Mossadegh (2012) — watch it online

"A great Persian hero... " Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas on Mossadegh

MOSSADEGH IN EGYPT: A Hero's Welcome



MOSSADEGH t-shirts - "If I sit silently, I have sinned"

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