The Persian people are an Iranian people who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. Their origins are traced to the ancient Iranian peoples, themselves part of the Indo-Iranian branch of the greater Indo-European peoples.
The term Persian translates to "from Persis" which is a region north of the Persian Gulf located in Pars, Iran. It was from this region that Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid empire, united all other Iranian empires (such as the Medes), and expanded the Persian cultural and social influences by incorporating the Babylonian empire, and the Lydian empire. Although not the first Iranian empire, the Achaemenid empire is the first Persian empire well recognized by Greek and Persian historians for its massive cultural, military and social influences going as far as Athens, Egypt, and Libya.
Besides modern Iran (Persia), ethnic Persians are also found in Central Asia (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) where they are usually called "Tajiks" and "Farsiwans", as well as in Southern Iraq (Babylonia), a region which has been historically an integral part of Persia. Some names such as "Tat", "Tajik", "Sart" and "'Ajam" have also been used, especially by Arabs and Turks, in reference to Persians. The terms Parsi, Tajik, Irani, and Tat have been used interchangeably for Persian and Persian-speakers during the Middle Ages, forexample in the Mughal, Safavid and Qajar era. The Persians of Central Asia who inhabit Tajikistan and parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are also called Tajiks, while the term Tajik is contemporaneously also used for Iranian people who speak Pamiri languages.
Iran (i// or //; Persian: ایران [ʔiˈɾɒn] ( listen)) or Persia (// or //), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. The country is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north. Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey.