Haji Agha, Actor-e Sinama (Haji Agha, the Cinema Actor) was the first Iranian silent film, produced by Ovanes Orhanian in 1933.
Apparently the first few forays into Iranian cinema were heavily influenced by the Russians. Even Orhanian, an Armenian-Iranian, studied film in Moscow before returning to Iran.
Why the Russian influence? My friend explained it like this: the Shah introduced a bunch of cameras to Iranian society, and Iranians didn’t know what to do with them. Meanwhile, the communist revolution in Russia sent a mass exodus of refugees into Iran, many of whom had been exposed to cinema and film. So they picked up the cameras and helped shoot films.