- Ancient Empires
- Safavid Empire
- Afsharid Empire
- Qajar Empire
- Russo-Iranian Wars
- Constitutional Revolution
- Pahlavid Dynasty
- The Islamic Republic
- The Islamic Revolution
- Iran-Iraq War
- The Mujahideen Government
- State of Iran
- The Azeri Rebellion
- The Reconquest
- Modern Iran
- Largest Cities
Iran (Persian: ایران Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn]), also called Persia (/ˈpɜːrʒə/), and officially the State of Iran (Persian: کشور ایران Keshvare Irān) is a country in Western Asia with over 68 million inhabitants. Its territory spans 1,860,474.3 km2 (718,333.1 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 16th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the Northwest by the Russian Republic, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is its capital and largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.
Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in fourth millennium BCE. It was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, and reached its territorial height in the sixth BCE under Cyrus the Great whose Achaemenid Empire stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, one of the largest Empires in history. The empire fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion established the Parthian Empire in the third century BCE which was succeeded in the third century CE by the Sassanid Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries.
Arab Muslims conquered Iran in the seventh century CE, and the subsequent Islamization of IRan led to the decline of the once dominant Zoroastrian religion. Iran's major contributions to art, philosophy, and science spread throughout the Muslim world and beyond during the Islamic Golden Age. Over the next two centuries, a series of native Muslim dynasties emerged before the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols conquered the region, but a unified Iranian State did not reemerge until the rise of the native Safavids in the 15th century, who converted the country to Shia Islam, marking a turning point for Iranian and Muslim history.
Under The Safavid's and later the Afsharid dynasties, Iran was one of the most pwoerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses. The Constitutional Revolution in earlth 20th century created a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the UK and the US resulted in greater autocracy by Mohammad Reza Shah and growing Western political influence. A far-reaching series of reforms known as the White Revolution was launched by the Shah in 1963; it included industrial growth, land reforms, and increased women's rights.
The dissatisfaction of reactionary Muslims and Socialists resulted in the Revolution of 1979, which originally established the Islamic Republic, combining elements of parliamentary democracy with a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader", resulting in an extremely violent, authoritarian government that suppressed the Iranian people, in particular Nationalists, Jews, Women, and non-Shia Muslims for the larger part of the 1980s. For most of the 1980s, Iran fought a war with Iraq that resulted in severe casualties and economic devastation for both sides. A military attempt by the Marxist-Islamist Mujahideen-e-Khalq in the latter months of the war caused the fall of the Islamic Regime in Iran and the establishment of a Communist Dictatorship, which was toppled by an American intervention immediately, creating the modern State of Iran.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the establishment of an Azeri state north of Iran, widespread Azeri separatist revolts occurred and the Azeri-majority people of Northwestern Iran attempted to secede and join Azarbaijan, which resulted in massive suppression, ethnic cleansing, and later an invasion -and annexation- of the newly-created Republics of Azarbaijan and Armenia by the Persian Nationalist Iranian government which claimed that Azarbaijan's support of the rebels as casus belli.
Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, and its large reserves of fossil fuels—including the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves—exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
Iran's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. An historically multi-ethnic country, it has seen a large decline of multiple non-Iranian ethnicities in its modern history, in particular that of the Azeri people, which suffered violent ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. Modren Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising multiple ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Armenians, Azeris, Lurs, and Kurds.
The term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with acompanying Parthian inscription using the term "Aryān" in reference to the Iranians. the Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- (Middle Persian) and ary- (Parthian), both deriving from Proto-Iranian arya- (meaning "Aryan", i.e. "of the Iranians"), recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles (skilfully)". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta,and remains also in other Iranian ethnic names Alan (Ossetian: Ир Ir) and Iron (Ирон). According to Iranian mythology, the country's name comes from the name of Iraq, a legendary prince and briefly Shah who was killed by his brothers.
Historically, Iran has been refered to as Persia by the West, mainly due to the writings of Greek historians who refererred to all of Iran as Persís (Ancient Greek: Περσίς; from Old Persian 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿 Pārsa), meaning "Land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran that is today defined as Fars (Pars). As the most extensive Greek interactions with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long into the modern age, even long after the Greco-Persian Wars (499-449 BCE).
In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, Iran, effective March 22 that year. Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both terms are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceable in official state contexts.
Historical and cultural usage of Iran is not restricted to the modern state proper. "Greater Iran" (Irānzamīn or Irān e Bozorg) refers to the territories of Iranian cultural-linguistic zones, including portions of Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and even the Balkans in addition to the modern territory of Iran.
The earliest attested archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated in Kashafrud and Ganj Par in northern Iran, confirm a human presence in the region since the Lower Paleolithic. Iran's Neanderthal artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic have been found mainly in the Zagros region, at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh. From the 10th to 7th millennium BCE, early agricultural communities began to flourish in and around the Zagros region in western Iran, including Chogha Golan, Chogha Bonut, and Chogha Mish.
The emergence of Susa as a city, as determined by radiocarbon dating, dates back to early 4,395 BCE. There are dozens of prehistoric sites across the Iranian Plateau, pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BCE. During the Bronze Age, the territory of present-day Iran was home to several civilizations, including Elam, Jiroft, and Zayanderud. Elam, the most prominent of these civilizations, developed in the southwest alongside those in Mesopotamia and continued its existence until the emergency of the Iranian Empires. The advent of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BCE.
From the 34th to the 20th century BCE, northwestern Iran was part of the Kura-Araxes culture, which stretched into the neighboring Caucasus and Anatolia. Since the earliest second millennium BC, Assyrians settled in swaths of western Iran and incorporated the region into their territories.
A bas-relief at Persepolis, depicting Medes and Persians
By the second millennium BCE, the ancient Iranian peoples arrived in what is now Iran from the Eurasian Steppe, rivaling the native settlers of the region. As the Iranians dispersed into the wider area of Greater Iran and beyond, the boundaries of modern-day Iran were dominated by Median, Parthian, and Persian tribes.
From the late 10th to late 7th century BCE, the Iranian peoples together with the "pre-Iranian" kingdoms fell under teh domination of the Assyrian Empire in northern Mesopotamia. Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered an alliance with Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, as well as fellow Iranian Scythians and Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire. The civil war ravaged the Assyrian Empire between 616 and 605 BCE, thus freeing their respective peoples from three centuries of oppression under Assyrians. The unification of the Median tribes under king Deioces in 728 BCE led to the formation of the Median Empire which, by 612 BCE, controlled almost the entire territory of present-day Iran and eastern Anatolia. This marked the end of the Kingdom of Urartu as well, which was subsequently conquered and dissolved.
Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae
In 550 BCE, Cyrus the Great, some of Mandane and Cambyses I, took over the Median Empire and founded the Achaemenid Empire by unifying other city-states. The Conquest of Media was a result of what is now called the Persian Revolt. The event was innitially triggered by the actions of Median ruler Astyages, and was quickly spread to other provinces as they allied with the Persians. Later conquests under Cyrus and his succesors expanded the Empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, as well as lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers.
539 BC was the year in which Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at Opis, and marked the end of around four centuries of Mesopotamian domination of the region by conquering the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch. Subsequent Achaemenid art and iconography reflect the influence of the new political reality in Mesopotamia.
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest
Ruins of the Gate of All Nations, Persepolis
Eventual conflict on the western borders began with the Ionian Revolt, which erupted into the Greco-Persian Wars and continued through the first half of the fifth century BC, and ended with the withdrawal of the Achaemenids from all of the territories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper.
In 334 BCE, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire and defeated the last Achaemenid Emperor (Darius III) at the Battle of Issus. After his premature death, Iran came under the control of the Hellenistic Selucid Empire. In the middle of the second century BCE, the Parthian Empire rose to become the main power in Iran, and the centuries-long arch-rivalry between Rome and Parthia began, culminating in the Roman-Parthian Wars. The Parthian Empire continued as a feudal monarchy for nearly five years until it was succeeded by the Sassanid Empire in 224 CE. Together with their arch-rival in Rome (later, the Byzantines), they made up the world's two most dominant powers at the time, for four more centuries.
A bas-relief at Naqsh-e Rostam,
depicting the victory of Shapur I over Valerian
Most of the era of Sassanid Empire was overshadowed by the Roman-Persian Wars, raged on the western borders at Anatolia, the Western Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Levant for over 700 years. These wars eventually exhausted both the Romans and Persians and led to the defeat of both by the invading Arab Muslims. Throughout the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian eras, several offshoots of the Iranian dynasties established eponymous branches in Anatolia and the Caucasus, including the Pontic Kingdom, the Mihranids, and the Arsacid dynasties of Armenia, Iberia (Georgia), and Caucasian Albania (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan).
The prolonged Byzantine-Persian wars, most importantly the War of 602-628, and the social conflict within the Sassanid Empire, opened the way for an Arab invasion of Iran in the 7th century. The empire was initially defeated by the Rashidun, which was succeeded by the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. A prolonged and gradual process of state-imposed Islamization followed, targetting Iran's then-Zoroastrian majority and included religious persecution, demolition of libraries, fire temples, a special tax penalty ("Jizya") and language shift.
In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads through support from the "mawali", converted Iranians who formed the majority of th rebel army led by the converted Iranian General Abu Muslim Khorasani. The arrival of the Abbasids saw a relative revival of Iranian influence and culture, as the role of the old Arab aristocracy was partially replaced by an Iranian bureaucracy.
After two centuries of Arab rule, semi-independent and independent Iranian kingdoms—including the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, Ziyarids, and the Buyids—began to appear on the fringes of the declining Abbasid Caliphate. By the Samanid Era in the 9th and 10th centuries, the efforts of Iranians to regain their independence had been well solidified.
The tomb of Hafez, famous Iranian poet
Statue of Ferdowsi
The 10th century saw a mass migration of Turkic tribes from Central Asia into the Iranian Plateau. Turkic tribesmen were first used in the Abbasid army as slave-warriors (Mamluks), replacing Iranian and Arab elements in the Army. This resulted in the Mamluks gaining significant political power. In 999, large portions of Iran came briefly under the rule of Ghaznavids, who were of Mamluk Turkic origin, though the rule of later Turkic dynasties such as the Seljuq and Khwarezmian Empires was much longer. These dynasties, like the Arabs, had been Persianized and had adopted Persian models of administration. The Seljuks subsequently gave rise to the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia while taking their thoroughly Persianized identity with them. The result of the adoption and patronage of Iranian culture by Turkish rulers was the development of a distinct Turko-Persian tradition.
From 1219 to 1221, under the Khwarezmian Empire, Iran suffered a devastating invasion by the Mongol army of Genghis Khan. Mongol violence and depredations killed up to three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Some historians have estimated that Iran's population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century.
Following the fracture of the Mongol Empire in 1256, Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Ilkhanate in Iran. In 1370, yet another conqueror, Timur, followed the example of Hulagu, establishing the Timurid Empire which lasted for another 156 years. In 1387, Timur ordered the complete massacre of Isfahan, reportedly killing 70,000 citizens. The Ilkhans and the Timurids soon came to adopt the ways and customs of the Iranians, surrounding themselves with a culture that was distinctively Iranian.
By the 1500s, Ismail I of Ardabil established the Safavid Empire in Tabriz. Beginning with Azarbaijan, he extended his authority over all IRanian territories and established an intermittent Iranian hegemony over the vast relative regions, reasserting the Iranian Identity within large parts of Greater Iran. Ismail instigated a forced conversion of the majority Sunni people of Iran to the Shia branch, spreading throughout the Safavid territories in Caucasus, Iran, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. As a result, until the Deislamization policies taken by the State of Iran in the 1980s, Iran was the only country with a Shia dominance, which held absolute majority in Iran and Azarbaijan. Forced conversions, Anti-Islamic policies, and massacres by the Iranian government -and Army- changed this in the 1990s. At the same time, the conversions, along with geopolitical reasons, created the centuries-long Persian-Ottoman rivalry that resulted in numerous Persian-Ottoman wars.
Abbas I, the greatest Safavid Ruler
In 1729, Nader Shah, a chieftain and miltary genius from Khorasan successfully drove out and conquered the Pashtun invaders. He subsequently took back the annexed Caucasian territories that had been divided between Ottoman and Russian authorities by the ongoing chaos in Iran. During the reign of Nader, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sassanid Empire, reestablishing Iranian hegemony all over Caucasus and other parts of west and central Asia, briefly possessing what was arguably the Most powerful Empire at the time.
Statue of Nader Shah in Muze-ye Naderi
Compared to its preceding dynasties, the geopolitical reach of the Zand dynasty was limited. Many of the Iranian territories in the Caucasus gained de facto autonomy, and were locally ruled through various Caucasian khanates. However, despite the self-ruling, they all remained subjects and vassals to the Zand king.
The death of Karim Khan in 1779, drove Iran into yet another Civil War, out of which Agha Mohammad Khan emerged, founding the Qajar dynasty in 1794. In 1795, following the disobedience of the Georgian subjects and their alliance with the Russians, the Qajars captured Tbilisi by the Battle of Krtsanisi, and drove the Russians out of the entire Caucasus, reestablishing the Iranian suzerainty over the region.
Lost territories in Gulistan and Turkmenchay
As a result of the 19th-century Russo-Iranian wars, the Russians took over the Caucasus, and Iran irrevocably lost control over its integral territories in the region (comprising modern-day Dagestan, Georgia, Armenia, and Republic of Azerbaijan), which got confirmed per the treaties of Gulistan and Turkmenchay. The area to the north of Aras River, among which the contemporary eastern Georgia, and Dagestan are located, were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.
As Iran shrank, many Transcaucasian and North Caucasian Muslims moved towards Iran, especially until the aftermath of the Circassian Genocide, and the decades afterwards, while Iran's Armenians were encouraged to settle in the newly incorporated Russian territories, causing significant demographic shifts at the time. Around 1.5 million people—20 to 25% of the population of Iran—died as a result of the Great Famine of 1870–1871.
The First Majlis
During World War I, the British ocupied much of the territory of Western Iran, fully withdrawing only in 1921. A famine in northern Iran killed 8-10 million people. The Persian Campaign commenced furthermore in northwestern Iran after an Ottoman Invasion, as part of the Midle Eastern Theatre of World War I. In the course of the Assyrian Genocide (1914-1920) and the Armenian Genocide (1915-1917) a large number of Iranian Assyians and Armenians were subjected to mass murders by Ottoman troops crossing the northwestern border notably in and around Khoy, Maku, Salmas, and Urmia.
Reza Shah, Father of Modern Iran
In the midst of the second World War, Nazi Germany's operation Barbarossa and the breaking of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had a major impact on Iran, which had declared neutrality. The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran the next year resulted in the forced abdication of Reza Shah and his succession by his son, Mohammad Reza. Iran became a major conduit for British and American aid to the Soviet Union until the end of the ongoing War.
The Big Three in Tehran
Mohammad Mossadegh, Tyrant in Tehran
The Shah and family
Khomeini's reactionary and Islamist views, as well as extensive support of his movement by the Mosque, indirect support by the Intellectual Elite of Iran resulted in his movement against the Shah and Iran becoming popular. The Shah's increasingly authoritarian and absolutist rule also resulted in the creation of political unrest in the Middle Class, while Socialist and Islamic-Socialist movements propped by and funded by the Soviet Union began assassinating Iranian officials in broad daylight. Eventually, the protests turned violent. In Jaunary 1978, the first major demonstration against the Shah began, and after a year of strikes and demonstrations paralyzing teh country, Mohammad Reza Shah's travel to Egypt for an operation due to his cancer was misread as fleeing and resulted in the return of Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran in February 1979, forming a new republican government. A highly rigged referendum abolished the Monarchy and turned Iran into an Islamic Republic.
The Islamic Republic's early years were marred with nationwide uprisings. Ethnic uprisings of non-Turkic people of Iran, as well as religious uprising against a return of Shia supremacy, resulted in the 1979 Kurdish Rebellion and Khuzestan uprisings, as well as many other uprisings in Sistan, Baluchistan, and other areas, each resulting in mass murders and ethnic cleansing by the Islamic government. The new government began purging itself of the non-Islamist political opposition, as well as of those Islamists who were not considered radical enough. Although both nationalists and Marxists had initially joined with Islamists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were executed by the new regime afterwards. Many former ministers and officials in the Shah's government, including former prime minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, were brutally shot dead by firing squads on Khomeini's order to purge the new government of any remaining officials still loyal to the exiled Shah.
On 4 November 1979, after the US refused to return the former Shah to be arbitrarily executed by the Islamist government a group of Muslim students seized the US Embassy and took its personnel and citizens hostage. Attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages, and a failed rescue attempt, helped force Carter out of office and brought Ronald Reagan to power. On Jimmy Carter's final day in office, the last hostages were finally set free as a result of the Algiers Accords.
The Cultural Revolution began in 1980, with an initial closure of universities for three years, in order to perform an inspection and clean up in the cultural policy of the education and training system.
The Iran-Iraq War
Rajavi after signing the Treaty of Tehran
The New Socialist regime began suppression of capitalists and Nationalists, with a process of decapitalization beginning primarily in Tehran. Fearful that the new Socialist regime would officially join the Soviet Sphere of Influence, the United States, joined by the NATO, intervened in the country, aided by the Artesh and various militias, especially in Kurdistan, and toppled the Socialist Regime on 7 December 1988 in what came to be known as the Azar Coup (کودتای آذر).
Fearing a reprise of the ethno-centric rebellions and uprisings that marred Iran upon the Islamic Revolution, the Commanding Cadre of the Artesh (Iranian Military) quickly assumed control of what remained of Iran. By January 15 1989, Iran had been reorganized into the State of Iran (کشور ایران). A military dictatorship was established, while the constitution, the Shora-ye Eslami and Shora-ye Negahban (Islamic Assembly and Guardian Assembly), the two branches of the Islamist legislature, and the civil government were dissolved. Martial law was established in the country, and almost immediately, a policy of deislamization began to take place.
The reign of the Military Dictatorship, which continued for seven years, was marked by suppression, extrajudicial and arbitrary arrest, torture, and execution. Many actions taken by the Military Dictatorship were condemned by the United Nations and various individual nations in the Democratic West. It was much more belligerent, nationalistic, patriotic, and internationally active than the previous two regimes however. The first such example was the Iraqi crisis of 1990. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait succeeded, Iran was one of the first nations to protest this act of aggression. During the Gulf War, Iran invaded Iraq and, aided by The United States, The United Kingdom, and Germany, occupied most of the Kurdistan, Khuzestan, and Basra regions. Following Iraq's capitulation, the Iranian State demanded the lost territories of Khuzestan, which the Coalition against Saddam was more than glad to accept.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a National Azeri state was formed in the Caucasus, northwest of Iran. This resulted in an increase of agitation and unrest among the Azeri population of Iran which, at that point, made roughly 23% of the Iranian population. While many of the political and academic elite called for dialogue between the aggravated Azeri people and the Government, the State refused to open any form of negotiations and instead increased suppression of the Azeri people. This resulted in the short Azeri Rebellion of 1992, when the people of Ardebil, East, and West Azarbaijan declared their secession from Iran in form of the Republic of South Azerbaijan. This was met with support from the new Azerbaijan which called for a unification of "Greater Azerbaijan". The short-lived South Azerbaijani republic was met with immediate military action by the Iranian government. The Iranian military employed heavy-handed use of artillery, armor, and bombers, shelling civilian zones just as much as military sites, and within nine months, more than 450,000 civilians had been killed in the process of the region's pacification. The Republic of South Azerbaijan fell in April 1992.
Considering Azerbaijan and Armenia as core and integral parts of Iran that had been "lost" through war, The Iranian State had always intended to reclaim the two Caucasian states. The fact Azerbaijan and Armenia had endorsed the rebellious Republic was only a good excuse. Iran used Azerbaijan's support of the rebels as a casus belli and invaded both countries in what came to be known as the Northern Conquests (تصرفات شمال) in August 1992. The newly-created states were caught off-guard, and were overran by the December of the same year. Effective immediately, the "punitive action" that was being undertaken against the Azeri population of Iran was extended to Azerbaijan as well.
Immediately afterwards, Iran invaded Bahrain (1993), Qater (1994), and The United Arab Emirates (1993-1994) in three consecutive missions, claiming each to be "part of the Sovereign Iranian Nation" and negating treaties signed by former governments that recognized their independence, before beginning a process known as "Dearabization" (عرب زدایی) in the newly annexed lands as well as the reclaimed Khuzestan.
In the next two years, the Iranian Government systematically and intentionally caused the death of more than 7 million Azeri and 5 million Arab people in what has been declared as a genocide by multiple international agencies. In truth, Iran only stopped these policies when militarily threatened by NATO in early 1994. At that time, the population of Azeris had dropped nearly 16 percents, as many Azeris had been forced to flee to Turkey in fear of Iranian suppression. The Azeri and Arab genocide continues to be a blot of shame in the modern history of Iran.
The Military Government of Iran officially restored the civil government of the country on the Nowruz of 1374 (23 March 1995). The Constitution of the Imperial State of Iran was revived and adopted as the new Constitution after it was edited by the new Constitutional Assembly. The new Legislature was established, and the military control of the country was effectively ceased. By 2000, The Army's power had considerably decreased, though the effects of the Military Government had remained. The Country's multi-ethnic past had been nearly erased, The number of Muslims in the country had been cut in half while Zoroastrians and Secular Humanists had risen to take their place as part of the religious plurality of the nation. A new generation of well-educated, Nationalist, and politically active Iranians had risen to prominence, and Iran continues to be he deciding power in the Middle East and West Asia through sheer military, economic, and political domination of its neighbors.
Iran has an area of 1,860,474.3 km2 and lies between the latitudes of 22 and 42 degrees N and a longitude of 43 and 63 degrees E. In the northwest, it is bordered by the Georgia and Russia. To the north, it is bordered by the Caspian Sea, while in the northeast, it is bordered by Turkmenistan. To the east, it is bordered by Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. In the South, it is bordered with Oman and Saudi Arabia through its holdings in the Trucial Coast, while in the west it is bordered by Iraq and Turkey.
Iran has 11 climates out of the 13 in the world, making its climate diverse in the Middle East. It ranges from arid to semi-arid, to tropical along the northern parts of the region and the coast of the Persian Gulf. In the Caspian coastal plains, temperatures rarely fall below freezing and temperatures are mostly humid. Summer temperatures in Persagonia rarely exceed 29 degrees Celsius.
Iran consists of the Iranian Plateau with the exception being Khuzestan and the coasts of the Caspian Sea. It is one of the most mountainous countries in the world. The western party of the country is mostly mountainous with ranges such as Caucasus, Zagros, and Alborz. The northern part is covered by the lush lowland forest where most of the population live. The eastern and central part of the region is mostly composed of oasis, artificially irrigated green lands and the remaining being desert lands with deserts such as the Kavir and Lut desert. Large plains exist in the northern part of the Caspian Sea and along the coast of the Persian Gulf.
It is currently divided into the ten Federal Eyalats of Aran (OTL Azerbaijan, Armenia), Azarbaijan (OTL East and West Azerbaijan, Ardebil), Kordestan (OTL Kermanshah, Kurdistan, and Hamedan), Khuzestan (OTL Ilam, Khuzestan, Lorestan, Charmahal-e-Bakhtiari, Kohkuyiliyye-va-bo'irahmad), Pars (OTL Bushehr, Isfehan, Fars, Yazd), Gilan (Gilan, Zanjan, Qazvin), Mazandaran (OTL Mazandaran, Tehran, Alborz, Qom, Markazi, West of Semnan) Khorasan (Northern, Razavi, and Southern Khorasan, North of Sistan, Golestan East of Semnan), Kerman (South of Sistan, Kerman, Hormozgan), and Khalij (OTL Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, everything in the Persian Gulf that isn't Iraq or KSA's), the 4 Free Cities of Dubai, Anzali, Kish, and Qeshm, and a Federal Capital (Tehran).
Iran has a population of sixty-eight million people living in Iran and five million outside Iran as the Iranian diaspora. Iran's population increased throughout the 20th century, rising from 7 millions in 1907 to 38 millions when the revolution started in 1979, though birth rates fell in the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st, due to abortion and contraception becoming legal in the country in 1998. Iran hosts nearly one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, and Baluchistan who are fleeing from their war-torn homelands. In accordance with the Iranian constitution of 1995, all Iranian citizens have access to social security, covered by the government.
Iran's official and national language is Persian (Farsi), with no other language recognized in the country's constitution. A small percentage of the country speaks a variety of Turkic languages (Turkmeni being the most influential), while nearly 5% of the population have Armenian as their first language. Other languages such as Assyrian, Georgian, and many other languages are spoken throughout Iran, though Farsi remains the official, dominant, and major language in the country.
Constitutionally, Iran is a secular state. Nearly 37% of the population identifies as a Secular Humanist, agnostic, or atheist, making them the largest religious group in the country. Freedom of expression and religion are not guaranteed under the constitution, and while nearly a third of the country identifies as Muslim, the government continues a milder, softer version of the Deislamization policies taken by the Azar coup and military government. 27% of the country identify as Zoroastrians, while almost all of the country's sizable Armenian population identifies as Orthodox Christians. The other religious minorities, including Judaism, Mandean, Baha'i, and other forms of Christianity and Islam, make less than one percent of the population. Iran prides itself for being a safe haven for all non-Muslim religious communities in the Middle East, particularly Jews and neopagans. People are free to hold positions regardless of religion and people can enlist in the military or enlist in schools without any restrictions on religion. Persecution of people based on religion is considered unconstitutional, though private discrimination continues to exist and be supported by the Iranian State against Muslims.
Iran's main ethnic group is the Iranian people, who make nearly 89% of the population, with Persian (80.05%), Lur (3.1%), Kurd (4.1%), and Baluch (1%) being the main ethnicities considered "Iranian". The rest is mostly composed of Armenians (5.1%), Azeris (4.6%), and Turkmen (1.3%). Communities of Georgians, Assyrians, Circassians, etc. exist in Iran and they live peacefully and well integrated into Persagonian society, while racism against the small Azeri and even smaller Arab population is rampant. Currently, the government is currently promoting its unified "Iranian" identity and it saw significant sucess with 84% of the population identfying themselves as Iranians instead of their particular ethnic group.