Compiled by the UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems
Version 2.2, January 2003


The United Nations recommended system was approved in 1967 (I/13), based on the official system adopted by Iran and published in its English version as Transliteration of Farsi Geographic Names to Latin Alphabet (September 1966). The romanization table was also published as an annex to the Toponymic Guidelines for the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2000 (Toponymic Guidelines for map and other editors – Revised edition 1998. Submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. UNGEGN, 20th session. New York, 17-28 January 2000, Working Paper No. 41.).

The system is used in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in international cartographic products.

Persian (Farsi) uses the Perso-Arabic script that is written from right to left. The Persian script usually omits vowel points and diacritical marks from writing which makes it difficult to obtain uniform results in the romanization of Persian. The romanization is generally reversible though there are some ambiguous letter sequences (kh, sh, th, zh) which also may represent the romanized values of two Persian characters in addition to the respective single ones.


For the initial, medial and final forms of the principal characters in the romanization table below see the Arabic section of the report.

1 ا -A
2 ب b
3 پ p
4 ت t
5 ث
6 ج j
7 چ ch
8 ح
9 خ kh
10 د d
11 ذ
12 ر r
13 ز z
14 ژ zh
15 س s
16 ش sh
17 ص ş
18 ض
19 ط ţ
20 ظ
21 ع
22 غ gh
23 ف f
24 ق q
25 ک k
26 گ g
27 ل l
28 م m
29 ن n
30 و v
31 ه h
32 ی y

Vowel characters and diacritical marks (ب stands for any consonant)

1 بَ a
2 بِ e
3 بُ o
4 بٰا بَا ā
5 بٰى بَى á
6 آ ’ā, āA
7 بى بِى ī
8 بو بُو ū
9 بِى بَى ey
10 بُو بَو ow
11 بْ (B)
12 ء
13 بّ (C)
14 -،بى -eD, -yeE


  1. The adjectival ending of Arabic origin -يه in Persian is romanized -īyeh. In romanizing the definite article the same rules of assimilation of consonants are applied as in Arabic, e.g. زين الدين Zeyn od Dīn.
  2. The relational suffix (eẕāfeh) -e is usually not expressed in Persian writing after a consonant. After final ا or و it is written with ى, e.g. پاى آب Pā-ye Āb. After final ى and ه it is expressed by writing hamzeh over the character: دهانۀ ممبر Dahāneh-ye Mambar.
  3. To point Persian vowels two systems are in use that are separated by a column in the table. The first system is a Persian one while the other adheres to the Arabic tradition. In normal spelling vowel points are not used.

Other systems of romanization

The simplified transliteration of Persian in the standard ISO 233-3:1999 has the following equivalents to the UN system:

ā = â
ch = č*
gh = ġ
= ḥ
ī = y?
kh = ḵ
= s̱
ş = ṣ
sh = š
ţ = ṭ
ū = v?
= ẕ
= ż
= ẓ*
zh = ž*

*Note. The ISO standard obviously contains some typographic errors which are corrected and indicated by an asterisk in the table above. Consequently, not all the correspondences here can be considered as verified.