Lofti was a son of an Iranian Azerbaijani father and a Russian Jewish mother.
Lotfi Asker Zadeh was born February 4, 1921, in Baku, a city on the Caspian Sea in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Originally named Lotfi Aliaskerzadeh, he simplified his name to Lotfi Asker Zadeh when he arrived in the United States. His father, Rahim Aliaskerzadeh (Asker), was a correspondent for Iranian newspapers and also an importer-exporter; his mother, Fannie (Fanya) Korenman Aliaskerzadeh (Asker), was a pediatrician. In 1931, when Zadeh was ten years old, his family moved to Tehran in Iran, his father's homeland, where he lived till 1943.