How to Pronounce Iraq and Iran

Is I-R-A-Q pronounced “Ear-raq” or “Eye-raq”? Confused TV anchors across the nation want to know.

Is I-R-A-N pronounced “Ear-ran” or “Eye-ran”? Some of us want to know before radioactive fallout begins to fall like snow.

From the giant news networks to local yokel podcasters, no one can agree on the pronunciation of these two daily newsmaking countries’ names.

Surely there is a dictionary of Middle Eastern dialects and languages, including Arabic dialects and Farsi, that contains the answer.

From Jim Lehrer to Bob Schieffer to Brian Williams to Bob Woodruff, none of the nation’s news anchors can agree on how to pronounce I-R-A-N or I-R-A-Q. Usually the Associated Press rules with an iron fist on such matters, but they have been conspicuously absent from this debate or else ignored.

“I Ran” was a much-derided 1980s hit by New Wave band A Flock of Seagulls, and it seems to me the ayatollahs wouldn’t want to associate themselves with such a decadent Western rock ‘n’ roll song.

I may never be able to get married again. Any vows I take will start with the phrase “I, Ron,” drawing me immediately to the attention of Homeland Security’s crack anti-terrorist team. I’d probably be shot dead as a suspected terrorist before I uttered two more words.

This could get even worse. Is I-R-A-Q pronounced “Eye-rack,” “Eye-rock,” “Ear-rack” or “Ear-rock”? In theory, I-R-A-N could be pronounced “Eye-ran,” “Eye-ron,” “Ear-ran” or “Ear-ron.”

This is so troubling to me that I can hardly pay attention to the actual news that’s being reported on a daily basis. As soon as I hear one news anchor pronounce one of the two countries’ names, I start surfing channels to see how the other news anchors are pronouncing the names.

I can’t learn anything about current events because I’m too busy trying to figure out the correct enunciation of I-R-A-Q and I-R-A-N.

Enough is enough. I’m making a final ruling and I expect the nation’s news anchors, commentators and podcasters to follow my lead. Somebody has to assert some leadership in this situation.

Based on my knowledge of linguistics and etymology, here is my final ruling:

I-R-A-Q is pronounced as “Ear-rock” and I-R-A-N is enunciated “Ear-ron.”

You want to argue with me about it? Stick it in your “Ear-rock.”

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