Although the country was renamed, Persian history and culture were not erased. Persians have passed down their traditions and pride from generation to generation, and even Americanized Iranians — like Mercedes Javid and Golnesa Gharachedaghi — will refer to themselves as Persian.
No. While Islam is the official religion of Iran, there is still a small percentage of Persians — like Mike Shouhed and his family — who are Jewish. Reza is both; his father is Jewish and his mother is Muslim. Today, most Persian Jews live in Israel.
While the French speak French and the Spanish speak Spanish, Persians speak Farsi. Farsi is the modern derivative of Old Persian. Farsi is also primarily spoken in Afghanistan, though it is called Dari for political reasons. At one point in time, Farsi was spoken in most Persian Gulf countries, including Bahrain, Iraq and the Republic of Yemen.
Take Mike’s mom, for example, who encouraged him to marry a “nice Persian Jewish girl” his whole life. Mike did finally settle down with a nice Italian girl who converted to Judaism. Sadly, that marriage didn’t last.
Is there really a tight-knit Persian community in LA?
Yes. In fact, the Shahs were all friends well before the show and all attended Beverly Hills High School. Mike and Asa both went on to attend UCLA, and MJ and Reza have worked together in real estate for years. Mike even dated GG’s older sister as teenagers, and Reza and MJ have admittedly had drunken sex.