Are there any Persians in Iran?
He is confused between Iranian and Persian. A confusion initiated by the "West" and then encouraged by the invading Arabs and their doctrine. Iranian includes Persians, Azeris, Baluchis Lurs Kords etc. However not all those residing in Iran are necessarily Iranians. For example most people from Qum are remnants of Arab Shia' who fled the Caliphs.
For his information Azeris, are one of the purest Iranians there is. What he calls Azeri Nationalism that President Truman and then Shah put an end to, was nothing but a Soviet (Communist) plot to absorb the Iranian Azeris into the part which the previous Russian dictators had truncated. Azeri Nationalism is Iranian Nationalism.
Our best and brightest have been Azeris. Has he heard of Sataar Khaan and Baagher Khaan? Did they fight so heroically for Azeri Nationalism or the Iranian one? Does this young student, Salman, know that the most nationalistic Iranian individuals and movements have been from Azerbaijan, not in the name of Azeri people, as he so ignorantly refers to them, but in the name of the entire Iranian people? He should research and do the rest of his graduate work, not from the suspect sources of the "West", but the more authentic Iranian sources. But I suspect that his Farsi is so bad that he can only read English.
The reason most Iranian insist on Persian is because that is the ancient language of the Iranian people. It was not from Fars that Farsi (Persian) was saved but the equally significant part of Iran, Greater Khorasan, that did it (heard of Ferdosi?) Most renowned Iranian (many of whom are Azeris) writers, philosophers, mathematicians, poets, astronomers and savants in general, not to forget medical scientists wrote their work in Farsi (Persian).
During the Arab dominance, in their efforts to annihilate Iranian and Iranian thoughts, Farsi and Iranians were ridiculed and scholars were forced to write in Arabic. Attempts, then as now, were made to separate what our young scholar mistakenly call "ethnic" groups to divide the ever present Iranian Unity.
Just because some speak in a different dialect, does not make them "ethnic". He is obviously under the influence of the concept of "ethnic" groups as exist and apply to many of us here in the United States (Even here we are all American with no ethnic inspirations - but proud of our ethnicity, as they are in all of Iran).
Our young friend is so much under the Euro-Centrism world that he forgets that all that he says about Persians apply equally to say the French, or Britons. Until quite recently (Blair time) "Devolution" was not encouraged even in the "modern" Britain. English was promoted in favor of Gaelic Welsh or Irish. In Iran until recently also, we discouraged other languages ignorantly fearing it may encourage separation. Now that the idea is discarded as nonsense, different languages are permitted to the benefit of the Greater Iran.