The country also known as Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia.
It covers a total area of 1,648,195 square km. With a population of approximately 83 million people Tehran is its capital and largest city. Persian is its official language. Rial (IRR) is its official currency. Its five land bordering countries are Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Iraq. With a cultural history and ancient sites that date back to as early as 4,000 BC.
10 Facts about Iran
1. Iran’s history is that of being one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations. Central Asians migrated to this land then from 530-330 BC Cyrus the Great founded the first Persian Empire. In its heyday it reached from Eastern Europe in the west to India in the east and was the largest empire in the world up until that time in history. It ended when conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was built during this period. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
2. From 323 BC, Iran was ruled by the Seleucid Dynasty and then the Parthian Empire. Then, under the Sassanid Dynasty, it became the Second Persian Empire for the next four centuries.
3. When the Rashidan Arabs conquered the Empire in 637 AD, Islam became the state religion and the country and its people became major contributors to Islam’s Golden Age through their many scholars, artists, scientists and thinkers.
4. In 1501 the rise of the Safavid Dynasty established the Third Persian Empire. Twelver Shia Islam was established as the official religion, forever changing Iranian and Muslim history. Modern day Iran is, as a result, the only official Shia nation in the world.
5. The Qajars reigned for the next century and a quarter (1796-1925). Conflicts with Russia and territory occupation during World War I during those years led to significant losses of territory, tremendous demographic shifts, and erosion of national sovereignty. All the unrest lead to the establishment in 1906 of a constitutional monarchy, a legislative body and a Constitution that officially recognized all three major minority religions.
6. By 1921, Reza Khan of the Pahlavi Dynasty ruled after the overthrow of the Qajar Dynasty. He had been Prime Minister and became the new Shah of Iran. In 1941 he was forced to abdicate to his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who established a massive supply route known as the Persian Corridor that would serve until the end of World War II. The Iran Crisis of 1946 dissolved two puppet states that Russia tried to establish in Iran and forced their withdrawal. Persia and Iran were used interchangeably as the name of the country, but in 1935 Iran chose to officially use only Iran.
7. Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected Prime Minister and was enormously popular for nationalizing the country’s petroleum industry plus their oil reserves. Unfortunately, the United States and Great Britain enacted Operation Ajax to overthrow him and his government. They were rewarded by the Shah with 40 percent of the oil industry. The Shah and the U.S. entered a decades-long relationship while the Iranian people developed a distrust for the U.S.
8. The names Iran and Persia are still interchanged in cultural contexts but Iran is always used in political contexts. Persian, or Farsi, is the official language, though there are numerous other dialects spoken in different regions. Azerbaijani Turkish is the second most widely spoken language in Iran.
9.The rich cultural legacy of Iran is indicated partly by its 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is the third largest number in any one country in Asia.
10. The Persian culture is famous for beautiful gardens. The word “paradise” comes from a Persian word that means “enclosed garden”.