Credit for the Persian breed is generally given to Turkey, Iran (formerly Persia), and the neighboring countries. Longhaired cats were associated with these countries from about the 16th century, and possibly earlier. During that period the first cats of this kind began to arrive in Europe. It is assumed that the long coat arose from a mutation in shorthaired cats that maybe were of Egyptian origin. The colder climates of Turkey and Iran certainly favored such a mutation. The long coat aroused great interest among cat owners and made the cats more valuable.
Seymour, Juliet. "Breed History." Guide to Owning a Persian Cat.
United States: T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1997. 1-10.