Something that most Iranians who live abroad have realised is that a lot of people from Western countries tend to be more accepting of us when we say that we are Persian, rather than Iranian, associating it to Persian carpets, Persian cats and Persian food (bah bah) rather than, well, other things. Maybe it doesn’t really matter to us since we ourselves can use them interchangeably, but by avoiding to call ourselves Iranian, we help them maintain whatever prejudice they may have of us.
I hope I’m not alone in thinking that all Iranians who live abroad and who choose to hide behind a Persian veil to conceal their Iranian selves instead ought to put a more positive spin on the words ‘Iran’ and ‘Iranian’ by attributing it to themselves. Because if we feel that we are good people but at the same time suspect, feel or fear that the person we’re talking to has a distorted or bad view of Iran or Iranians, we should help them sort that image out by allowing them to associate something that is good (i.e. us) to the words that otherwise would evoke negative reactions within them. And besides, it might even make us feel better about who we are and where we come from.