Introduction

Location of Iran
Islamic Republic of Iran
جمهوری اسلامی ایران (Persian)
Jomhuri-ye Eslâmi-ye Irân
ISO 3166 codeIR

Iran, (Persian: ايران, Īrān; pronunciation: [iːˈɾɒn]), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ايران, transliteration: Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Īrān), formerly known internationally as Persia, is a country in Western Asia. The 18th largest country in the world, Iran is approximately the size of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined and has a population of over 82 million people. Iran borders Armenia, Azerbaijan, to the north-west, Russia and Kazakhstan through the Caspian Sea to the north, Turkmenistan to the north-east, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. The greater part of Iran is situated on the Iranian plateau. In addition, it borders the Persian Gulf, an important oil-producing area, and the Caspian Sea. Shi'a Islam is the official state religion and Persian the official language. The political system of Iran comprises several intricately connected governing bodies and is based on the 1979 Constitution. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader, currently served by Ali Khamenei.

Iran has one of the oldest histories in the world, extending more than 5000 years, and throughout history, Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia. Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC, OPEC, and ECO. Iran as a major regional power occupies an important position in the world economy due to its substantial reserves of petroleum and natural gas, and has considerable regional influence in Western Asia. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and literally means "Land of the Aryans." (Full article...)

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  • Image 1Investiture scene of Berkyaruq, from the 14th-century book Jami' al-tawarikhRukn al-Din Abu'l-Muzaffar Berkyaruq ibn Malikshah (Persian: ابو المظفر رکن الدین برکیارق بن ملکشاه, romanized: Rukn al-Dīn Abuʿl-Moẓaffar Berkyāruq ibn Malik-Šāh; 1079/80 – 1105), better known as Berkyaruq (برکیارق), was the fifth sultan of the Seljuk Empire from 1094 to 1105.The son and successor of Malik-Shah I (r. 1072–1092), he reigned during the opening stages of the decline and fragmentation of the empire, which marked the rise of Turkoman atabegates and principalities, which would eventually stretch from Kirman to Anatolia and Syria. His reign was marked by internal strife, mainly against other Seljuk princes. By his death in 1105, his authority had largely vanished. His infant son Malik-Shah II briefly succeeded him, until he was killed by Berkyaruq's half-brother and rival Muhammad I Tapar (r. 1105–1118). (Full article...)
    BarkiyaruqPainting.jpg
    Investiture scene of Berkyaruq, from the 14th-century book Jami' al-tawarikh

    Rukn al-Din Abu'l-Muzaffar Berkyaruq ibn Malikshah (Persian: ابو المظفر رکن الدین برکیارق بن ملکشاه, romanizedRukn al-Dīn Abuʿl-Moẓaffar Berkyāruq ibn Malik-Šāh; 1079/80 – 1105), better known as Berkyaruq (برکیارق), was the fifth sultan of the Seljuk Empire from 1094 to 1105.

    The son and successor of Malik-Shah I (r. 1072–1092), he reigned during the opening stages of the decline and fragmentation of the empire, which marked the rise of Turkoman atabegates and principalities, which would eventually stretch from Kirman to Anatolia and Syria. His reign was marked by internal strife, mainly against other Seljuk princes. By his death in 1105, his authority had largely vanished. His infant son Malik-Shah II briefly succeeded him, until he was killed by Berkyaruq's half-brother and rival Muhammad I Tapar (r. 1105–1118). (Full article...)
  • Image 2 Azarmidokht (Middle Persian: Āzarmīgdukht; New Persian: آزرمی‌دخت, Āzarmīdokht) was Sasanian queen regnant (banbishn) of Iran from 630 to 631. She was the daughter of king (shah) Khosrow II (r. 590–628). She was the second Sasanian queen; her sister Boran ruled before and after her. Azarmidokht came to power in Iran after her cousin Shapur-i Shahrvaraz was deposed by the Parsig faction, led by Piruz Khosrow, who helped Azarmidokht ascend the throne. Her rule was marked by an attempt of a nobleman and commander Farrukh Hormizd to marry her and come to power. After the queen
  • Image 3Drachma of Hormizd IV, minted at Spahan.Hormizd IV (also spelled Hormozd IV or Ohrmazd IV; Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭬𐭦𐭣) was the Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 579 to 590. He was the son and successor of Khosrow I (r. 531–579) and his mother was a Khazar princess.During his reign, Hormizd IV had the high aristocracy and Zoroastrian priesthood slaughtered, whilst supporting the landed gentry (the dehqan). His reign was marked by constant warfare: to the west, he fought a long and indecisive war with the Byzantine Empire, which had been ongoing since the reign of his father; and to the east, the Iranian general Bahram Chobin successfully contained and defeated the Western Turkic Khaganate during the First Perso-Turkic War. It was also during Hormizd IV's reign that the Chosroid dynasty of Iberia was abolished. After negotiating with the Iberian aristocracy and winning their support, Iberia was successfully incorporated into the Sasanian Empire. (Full article...)
    Drachma of Hormidz IV - cropped.jpg
    Drachma of Hormizd IV, minted at Spahan.

    Hormizd IV (also spelled Hormozd IV or Ohrmazd IV; Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭬𐭦𐭣) was the Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 579 to 590. He was the son and successor of Khosrow I (r. 531–579) and his mother was a Khazar princess.

    During his reign, Hormizd IV had the high aristocracy and Zoroastrian priesthood slaughtered, whilst supporting the landed gentry (the dehqan). His reign was marked by constant warfare: to the west, he fought a long and indecisive war with the Byzantine Empire, which had been ongoing since the reign of his father; and to the east, the Iranian general Bahram Chobin successfully contained and defeated the Western Turkic Khaganate during the First Perso-Turkic War. It was also during Hormizd IV's reign that the Chosroid dynasty of Iberia was abolished. After negotiating with the Iberian aristocracy and winning their support, Iberia was successfully incorporated into the Sasanian Empire. (Full article...)
  • Image 4The portrait of Musa on the reverse of a Parthian drachm, Ecbatana mintMusa (also spelled Mousa), also known as Thea Musa, was a ruling queen of the Parthian Empire from 2 BC to 4 AD. Originally an Italian slave-girl, she was given as a gift to the Parthian monarch Phraates IV (r. 37 BC – 2 BC) by the Roman Emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC – 14 AD). She quickly became queen and a favourite of Phraates IV, giving birth to Phraataces (Phraates V). In 2 BC, she had Phraates IV poisoned and made herself, along with Phraates V, the co-rulers of the empire. Their reign was short-lived; they were forced to flee to Rome after being deposed by the Parthian nobility, who crowned Orodes III as king.Musa is the first of only three women to rule as monarchs in Iranian history, the others being the two 7th-century Sasanian sisters Boran (r. 630–630, 631–632) and Azarmidokht (r. 630–631). Additional women, Rinnu, Ifra Hormizd and Denag, ruled only as regents of their sons and not as full monarchs in their own name. (Full article...)
    The portrait of Musa of Parthia on the reverse of a drachm, Ecbatana mint.jpg
    The portrait of Musa on the reverse of a Parthian drachm, Ecbatana mint

    Musa (also spelled Mousa), also known as Thea Musa, was a ruling queen of the Parthian Empire from 2 BC to 4 AD. Originally an Italian slave-girl, she was given as a gift to the Parthian monarch Phraates IV (r. 37 BC – 2 BC) by the Roman Emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC – 14 AD). She quickly became queen and a favourite of Phraates IV, giving birth to Phraataces (Phraates V). In 2 BC, she had Phraates IV poisoned and made herself, along with Phraates V, the co-rulers of the empire. Their reign was short-lived; they were forced to flee to Rome after being deposed by the Parthian nobility, who crowned Orodes III as king.

    Musa is the first of only three women to rule as monarchs in Iranian history, the others being the two 7th-century Sasanian sisters Boran (r. 630–630, 631–632) and Azarmidokht (r. 630–631). Additional women, Rinnu, Ifra Hormizd and Denag, ruled only as regents of their sons and not as full monarchs in their own name. (Full article...)
  • Image 5Zeynab Begum (Persian: زینب بیگم; died 31 May 1640) was the fourth daughter of Safavid king (shah) Tahmasp I (r. 1524–1576), is considered to be one of the most influential and powerful princesses of the Safavid era. She lived during the reigns of five successive Safavid monarchs, and apart from holding diverse functions, including at the top of the empire's bureaucratic system, she was also the leading matriarch in the royal harem for many years, and acted on occasion as kingmaker. She reached the apex of her influence during the reign of King Safi (r. 1629–1642). In numerous contemporaneous sources, she was praised as a "mainstay of political moderation and wisdom in Safavid court politics". She was eventually removed from power by Safi in 1632. (Full article...)
    Zeynab Begum (Persian: زینب بیگم; died 31 May 1640) was the fourth daughter of Safavid king (shah) Tahmasp I (r. 1524–1576), is considered to be one of the most influential and powerful princesses of the Safavid era. She lived during the reigns of five successive Safavid monarchs, and apart from holding diverse functions, including at the top of the empire's bureaucratic system, she was also the leading matriarch in the royal harem for many years, and acted on occasion as kingmaker. She reached the apex of her influence during the reign of King Safi (r. 1629–1642). In numerous contemporaneous sources, she was praised as a "mainstay of political moderation and wisdom in Safavid court politics". She was eventually removed from power by Safi in 1632. (Full article...)
  • Image 6Shrine of Abū Luʾluʾa in Kashan, IranAbū Luʾluʾa Fīrūz (Arabic: أبو لؤلؤة فيروز; from Middle Persian: Pērōz), also known as Bābā Shujāʿ al-Dīn (بابا شجاع الدين), was a Sassanid Persian slave known for having assassinated Umar ibn al-Khattab (r. 634–644), the second Islamic caliph, in November 644.After having been captured in battle during the Arab-Muslim conquest of Persia, Abu Lu'lu'a was brought to Medina, the then-capital of the Rashidun Caliphate, which was normally off-limits to non-Arab captives. However, as a highly skilled craftsman, Abu Lu'lu'a was exceptionally allowed entrance into the city in order to work for the caliph. His motive for killing the caliph is not entirely clear, but medieval sources generally attribute it to a tax dispute. At one point, Abu Lu'lu'a is said to have asked the caliph to lift a tax imposed upon him by his Arab master, al-Mughira ibn Shu'ba. When Umar refused to lift the tax, Abu Lu'lu'a attacked him while he was leading the congregational prayer in the mosque, stabbing him with a double-bladed dagger and leaving him mortally wounded. (Full article...)
    ابولولو.jpg
    Shrine of Abū Luʾluʾa in Kashan, Iran

    Abū Luʾluʾa Fīrūz (Arabic: أبو لؤلؤة فيروز; from Middle Persian: Pērōz), also known as Bābā Shujāʿ al-Dīn (بابا شجاع الدين), was a Sassanid Persian slave known for having assassinated Umar ibn al-Khattab (r. 634–644), the second Islamic caliph, in November 644.

    After having been captured in battle during the Arab-Muslim conquest of Persia, Abu Lu'lu'a was brought to Medina, the then-capital of the Rashidun Caliphate, which was normally off-limits to non-Arab captives. However, as a highly skilled craftsman, Abu Lu'lu'a was exceptionally allowed entrance into the city in order to work for the caliph. His motive for killing the caliph is not entirely clear, but medieval sources generally attribute it to a tax dispute. At one point, Abu Lu'lu'a is said to have asked the caliph to lift a tax imposed upon him by his Arab master, al-Mughira ibn Shu'ba. When Umar refused to lift the tax, Abu Lu'lu'a attacked him while he was leading the congregational prayer in the mosque, stabbing him with a double-bladed dagger and leaving him mortally wounded. (Full article...)
  • Image 7Between 2010 and 2012, four Iranian nuclear scientists (Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan) were assassinated, while another (Fereydoon Abbasi) was wounded in an attempted murder. In November 2020, another scientist (Mohsen Fakhrizadeh) was assassinated.Two of the killings were carried out with magnetic bombs attached to the targets' cars; Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot dead, and Masoud Alimohammadi was killed in a motorcycle-bomb explosion. The Iranian government accused Israel of complicity in the killings. In 2011 and 2012, Iranian authorities arrested a number of Iranians alleged to have carried out the assassination campaign on behalf of Mossad (the Israeli intelligence service). Western intelligence services and U.S. officials reportedly confirmed the Israeli connection. (Full article...)
    Between 2010 and 2012, four Iranian nuclear scientists (Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan) were assassinated, while another (Fereydoon Abbasi) was wounded in an attempted murder. In November 2020, another scientist (Mohsen Fakhrizadeh) was assassinated.

    Two of the killings were carried out with magnetic bombs attached to the targets' cars; Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot dead, and Masoud Alimohammadi was killed in a motorcycle-bomb explosion. The Iranian government accused Israel of complicity in the killings. In 2011 and 2012, Iranian authorities arrested a number of Iranians alleged to have carried out the assassination campaign on behalf of Mossad (the Israeli intelligence service). Western intelligence services and U.S. officials reportedly confirmed the Israeli connection. (Full article...)
  • Image 81900 depiction of the Battle of MarathonThe Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army inflicted a crushing defeat on the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.The first Persian invasion was a response to Athenian involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius had his bow brought to him and then shot an arrow "upwards towards heaven", saying as he did so: "Zeus, that it may be granted me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!" Herodotus further writes that Darius charged one of his servants to say "Master, remember the Athenians" three times before dinner each day. (Full article...)
    Scene of the Battle of Marathon.jpg
    1900 depiction of the Battle of Marathon

    The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army inflicted a crushing defeat on the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.

    The first Persian invasion was a response to Athenian involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius had his bow brought to him and then shot an arrow "upwards towards heaven", saying as he did so: "Zeus, that it may be granted me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!" Herodotus further writes that Darius charged one of his servants to say "Master, remember the Athenians" three times before dinner each day. (Full article...)
  • Iran manufactures 60–70% of its industrial equipment domestically, including various turbines, pumps, catalysts, refineries, oil tankers, drilling rigs, offshore platforms, towers, pipes, and exploration instruments.
    Iran manufactures 60–70% of its industrial equipment domestically, including various turbines, pumps, catalysts, refineries, oil tankers, drilling rigs, offshore platforms, towers, pipes, and exploration instruments.
  • Image 10António de Jesus (died c. 1722) was a Portuguese figure who flourished in late 17th and early 18th century Safavid Iran. Originally an Augustinian friar and missionary, he converted to Shia Islam during the early reign of Shah (King) Sultan Husayn (r. 1694–1722) and took the name Aliqoli Jadid-ol-Eslam. He subsequently became an apologist of Shi'ism as well as a major polemicist against Christianity, Sufism, Judaism, Sunnism, philosophers and antinomians. In addition, after conversion, he served as an official interpreter (also known as a dragoman) at the royal court in Isfahan. Aliqoli Jadid-ol-Eslam was one of the late 17th century converts in Iran who "helped reaffirm the Majlesi brand of conservatism". (Full article...)
    António de Jesus (died c. 1722) was a Portuguese figure who flourished in late 17th and early 18th century Safavid Iran. Originally an Augustinian friar and missionary, he converted to Shia Islam during the early reign of Shah (King) Sultan Husayn (r. 1694–1722) and took the name Aliqoli Jadid-ol-Eslam. He subsequently became an apologist of Shi'ism as well as a major polemicist against Christianity, Sufism, Judaism, Sunnism, philosophers and antinomians. In addition, after conversion, he served as an official interpreter (also known as a dragoman) at the royal court in Isfahan. Aliqoli Jadid-ol-Eslam was one of the late 17th century converts in Iran who "helped reaffirm the Majlesi brand of conservatism". (Full article...)

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Ancient bracelet, Achaemenid period
Credit: Shauni

Ancient bracelet, Achaemenid period, part of Oxus Treasure, 500 BCE, Iran

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The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs even for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and cannot do without them for an hour. — Abbasid Caliphate, in Bertold Spuler

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