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An article praising Armenians in Iran written by an Iranian reporter.
Iranian Armenians, the Weight of a Minority Among a Nation by Sirus Ali Nejad, BBC Persian
Living four hundred years in Iran, that gave the Armenians their Iranian identity, and since accepting all that is good is in their nature, they took in as much as they could from Iranian culture and they influenced the Iranian culture many times more than they had taken from it. The Iranian influence on Armenians is something the Armenians themselves can talk about, the purpose of this report is to show the influence of the Armenians on Iranian culture.

In “Symphony of the Dead”, a novel by Abbas Maaroufi, set in the twenties (solar Hijri calendar H.), that deals with a feud, everybody has a role in ruining the life of the main character Aidin, except an Armenian family the Mirzaians, who own a timber cutting factory, who don’t spare an effort in saving the Muslim protagonist of the novel.

This is not a random or artificial image of the Armenians of Iran, it’s an image that the majority of Iranians have from their compatriots for four hundred years. Anyone among us who has known Armenians in their city or town, has an image of camaraderie and agreement of thoughts in their mind. “Symphony of the Dead” doesn’t just point to the virtuous nature of this minority but to their industriousness as well.

The image of Armenians in the minds of Iranians is one of skillful craftsmen who free from any deceit and full of trustworthiness engage in various technical professions. Until the Islamic Revolution, that is, in the period they were present much more extensively in Iran, usually the best carpenters, the furniture makers with the greatest taste, the cleanest producers of foodstuff, the most trustworthy mechanics, tailors, shoe makers, confectioners would be found among them, of course, the sales of drinks was also their domain.

Reviewing the names of pioneers in various branches of art, industry and commerce of our time will reveal how much this minority has influenced the Iranian culture. In the advancement of contemporary Iran there isn’t a single field where one doesn’t come across their names, everywhere they are either the most prominent or the founders.

After the tragic forced migration by Shah Abbas and after their settlement in Julfa, Isfahan and the healing process with the contribution of the Shah, they became Iranians and they worked passionately for the improvement of Iran, and since they were a cultured people they became the pioneers in progress and novelties in all fields: in politics, in arts, in science and technology, in music, in cinema, in painting, in theater, in photography, in turning to civilization, in printing and publishing, in industry and architecture and in any field imaginable the names of the Armenians are to be found in the ranks of the leaders. Possibly no other minority anywhere in the world can be found who has served so much a country that logically should have been considered their second home but became their first.

Because of their engagement in trade, even from the time of Shah Abbas, they have been responsible for establishing relations between Iran and the West. On one hand, the fact that the Armenians were dispersed all over the world, facilitated their movement to different corners of the globe, on the other hand, the relations between them and the Christians of Europe, resulted in their acquaintance with Western new ideas and civilization earlier than other Iranians.

Because of this, they became the forerunners in the learning of sciences and technical skills, and this in turn resulted that in later periods, especially in the last hundred and fifty years, when Iran had become aware of the importance of the progress in the West, they functioned as an open window towards the European civilization.

We Iranians owe the presence of the Armenians to Shah Abbas. Our debt to Armenians themselves is incalculable. A people that lived for four hundred years among Iranians, learned to speak Persian and created works in Persian (Mirza Melkom Khan being the most prominent), but preserved their language. I cannot think of another ethnicity or nation that has the same weight as this people… having lived for several centuries among strangers, having become locals, having created this amount of wonders, having become landlords of their houses, at the same time not having lost their independence, is an art that not many nations master.


Il sito è curato dall'Arch. Vahé Vartanian e dal Dott. Enzo Mainardi;
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