Iranian is a nationality that only bears meaning as a diverse tapestry, not merely of ethnicity, but of creed, colour and even history. It is impossible to contemplate the Iranian identity by omitting any of the multitude of elements that are essential to being Iranian. Therefore as an historic entity Iran is synonymous with diversity, in every aspect of its being. The fact that diversity is as ancient as its inception, makes what many refer to as Persian, ahead of its time. The Iranian identity grew not from a homogenous tribal core, but from the convergence of incongruent peoples who resonated in a common appreciation for diversity and grew outward seeking to thrive on diversity. Where singularity became the unifying flag for conquest for some, Persia formed as a model of mosaic identity if not by design, by sheer necessity of time and place.
The Iranian nation as a geographic entity is another component of the diverse identity that adds complexity to the definition of Iranian as a nationality. Instead of gravitating towards singularity, the Iranian identity continues to this day and despite many an effort to the contrary, gravitates towards ethnic multitudinousness. This complexity in identity and geography has born enormous challenges for Iranians.
The survival of Iran as a nation and nationality, despite its tumultuous history of grandeur, conquest, defeat and despair, is very much indebted to its multifaceted diversity. Instead of defeat and dissolution, every conquest or invasion of Iran only added to the national quilt that made Iran less destructible. In fact if one can coin the Persian Experiment, it is more one of perseverance in resilience than resistance to the point of collapse.
This year marks the beginning of a new century in the Iranian calendar. For Iranians, this thirteenth century began with a constitutional revolution that consolidated nearly four centuries of conflict between tradition and modernity. An internal conflict that was interrupted by world wars and yet another revolution of another kind in the first half of the thirteenth century. The second half was even more tumultuous, seemingly moving Iran in a trajectory opposite to what kicked off the century.
Now, as the Iranian calendar heralds a new century of 1400 and we face the challenges of a global pandemic, Iranians demonstrate yet again that perseverance has been and continues to be the most important key to our survival. Perseverance in the face of adversity, perseverance in maintaining, upholding and celebrating our diversity. Perseverance in appreciating the depth of this diversity to the core of our existence as a people and as a nation. Perseverance in our steadfast resilience, even when we do not resist, for every epoch in our history no matter how dire, destructive and invasive, has only added to richness of a national tapestry the world knows as Iranian. A national tapestry that began several thousand years ago as a concept or experiment that may
have been ahead of its time, but we as Iranians persevere in remaining a model if for no other reason than our diversity. We as a people may have a claim to progress in human history; one that can only be maintained by our perseverance in diversity.