Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, formerly known internationally as Persia, Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia, and occupies an important position in international energy security and world economy due to its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Iran ranks second in the world in natural gas and third in oil reserves, and known for its independent stances in the global arena.
The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan, and literally means, "Land of the Aryans”, Land of Kindness. Iran is a Southwest Asian country and situated in the Iranian plateau between 25 to 40 degrees northern latitude and 45 to 63 degrees eastern longitude, and the Shi’s is the state religion and Persian the official language. Iran is the 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km² (approximately 636,300 mi² ). Iran is about the size of United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany combined.
According to the 2007 census, Iran’s population is over seventy three million people.
Iran borders Armenia, Azerbaijan to the northwest; and Turkmenistan to the northeast ; Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east; and Turkey and Iraq to the west in addition, it borders the Persian Gulf an important oil-producing area, Gulf of Oman to the south and Caspian Sea to the north.
Geography and Climate
Most of Iran situated on the Iranian Plateau with the exception of the coast of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan. Iran is one of the world's most mountainous countries; its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaus from one another. The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros, and Alborz Mountains. Alborz Mountains contains Iran's highest point, Mount Damavand at 5,604 m (18,386 ft), which is not only the country's highest peak but also the highest mountain on the Eurasian landmass west of the Hindu Kush. The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins like the saline Dasht-e Kavir, Iran's largest desert, located in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt Lakes. The warmest areas of the country are the coastal regions of the Persian Gulf and the sea of Oman as well as pits in Lut, because the mountain ranges are too high for rain clouds to reach these regions. Except for some scattered Oases, such as Tabas, these deserts are uninhabited.
The only large plains are along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where Iran borders the mouth of the Arvand Rud (river ), and smaller plains along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.
Iran's climate is mostly arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast. On the northern edge of the country (the Caspian coastal plain) temperatures nearly fall below freezing and remain humid for the rest of the year. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 29 °C (84 °F). Annual precipitation is 680 mm (27 in) in the eastern part of the plain and more than 1,700 mm (67 in) in the western part. To the west, the Zagros Mountains basin experience lower temperatures, severe winters, sub-freezing average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. The eastern and central basins are arid, with less than 200 mm (eight in) of rain with exception of some Desert area and have Average summer temperatures exceed 38 °C (100 °F). The coastal plains of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, and very humid and hot summers. The annual precipitation ranges from 135 to 355 mm (five to fourteen inches).
Iran is a diverse country consisting of people of many religions and ethnic backgrounds with Persian culture. The majority (seventy percent) of the population is native speakers of Indo –European Languages who are descended from the Aryan (Indo- Iranians) tribes that began migrating from Central Asia into what is now Iran in the second millennium BCE. The official language of Iran is Farsi / Persian, in addition to the official language, Persian. The main ethnic groups are Persians (51%), Azeris (24%), Gilaki and Mazandarani (8%), Kurds (7%), Arabs, (3%), Baluchi (2%), Lurs (2%), Turkmens (2%),laks, Qashqai, Armenians, Persian Jews, Georgians, Assyrians, Circassians, Tats, Pashtuns, Mandaeans, Gypsies, Brahuis, Hazare and others (1%). Farsi / Persian is the official language of Iran.
Ferdowsi, Iran's greatest epic poet regarded today as the most important figure in maintaining the Persian language.
Population & Age Structure
v Population 73,000,000 million
v 0-14 years: 28% (male 10,496,736; female 9,943,264)
v 15-64 years: 67.2% (male 24,985,454; female 24,570,545)
v 65 years and over: 4.8% (male 1,736,950; female 1,767,049)
Population growth rate: 1.05%
0-14 15-64 65 and over
65 and over
Daily life in modern Iran closely interwoven with Shi’a Islam and the country's art, literature, and architecture is an ever-present reminder of its deep national tradition and of a broader literary culture. The Iranian New Year (Nowruz) is an ancient tradition celebrated on 21 March to mark the beginning of spring in Iran. It is also celebrated in, Republic of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Iraq. Nowruz was nominated as one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2004.
Women today compose more than half of the incoming classes for universities around the country and increasingly continue to play pivotal roles in society.
Poetry is a very important part of Persian culture. Poetry used in many classical
works, whether from Persian literature, science, or metaphysics. Iran has produced
a number of famous poets, such as Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Hafez, Saddi and
Ferdowsi, has surfaced among western popular readership, and translated into western languages since 1634.
An example of Persian poetic influence is the poem below that is inscribed
on The entrance of United Nation’s Hall of Nation.
بنى آدم اعضاء یک پیکرند
که در آفرینش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوى بدرد آورد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
"Of one Essence is the human race
thus has Creation put the base,
One Limb impacted is sufficient
For all Others to feel the Mace."- Saadi
The cuisine of Iran is diverse, with each province featuring dishes, as well as culinary traditions and styles, distinct to their region. Persian food is not spicy. Most meals consist of a large serving of seasoned rice; an accompanying course typically consists of meat, poultry, or fish, and herbs used frequently.
Wildlife of Iran includes its flora and fauna and their natural habitats. One of the most famous members of wildlife in Iran are the world's last surviving, critically endangered Asiatic Cheetah also known as the Iranian Cheetah, which are today found nowhere else but in Iran. Iran had lost all its Asiatic Lion and the now extinct Caspian Tiger by the earlier part of the twentieth century.
Brown and Black Bears in the mountains, wild sheep and goats, gazelles, boar, deer (either maral red deer or roe deer), wild Asses, wild pigs, wild cats, wolves, Jackals, panthers, and foxes abound. The pheasant, partridge, stork, eagles and falcon are native to Iran.
The Persian Leopard said to be the largest of all the subspecies of leopards in the world and found throughout Alborz and Zagros Mountain ranges, as well as smaller ranges within the Iranian plateau. Leopard population is very sparse, due to loss of habitat, loss of natural prey, and population fragmentation and domestic animals constitute leopards' diet in Iran.
More than one-tenth of the country forested. The most extensive growths found on the mountain slopes rising from the Caspian Sea, with stands of oak, ash, elm, cypress, and other valuable trees. On the plateau proper, areas of scrub oak appear on the best-watered mountain slopes, and villagers cultivate orchards and grow the plane tree, poplar, willow, walnut, beech, maple, and mulberry.
Dasht-e Kavir also known as Kavir-e Namak:
Some of the ecological features of the deserts in Iran are strong sunshine, relatively little humidity, little rainfall and excessive vaporization and varied temperature depending upon how far a point is from higher altitudes.
Dasht-e Kavir is a large desert lying in the middle of the Iranian Plateau; it is about 675 kilometers long and 50 to 300 kilometers wide and is one of the driest regions in Iran and the world with maximum annual rainfall of 100 mm.
The major part of Dasht-e- Kavir covered by sand and pebbles and exposed to strong
winds and storms that set salt-combined sand in motion like sea waves. At time, this phenomenon forms long sand hills of 40 m high.
Temperatures can reach 50 °C in summer, and the average temperature in January is 22 °C. Day and night temperatures during a year can differ up to 70 °C.
The area of this desert stretches from the Alborz Mountain range in the north-west to Dasht-e Lut in the south-east and is partitioned between the Iranian provinces
of Khorasan, Semnan, Tehran, Isfahan, and Yazd. The desert is uninhabited with the exception of Tabas, Jandagh and Biabanak cities.
Vegetation in the Dasht-e Kavir is adapted to the hot and arid climate as well as to the saline soil in which it is rooted. Common plant species like shrubs and grasses can be found in some valleys and on mountaintops. The most widespread plant is madwort.
The extreme heat and many storms in Dasht-e Kavir causes extensive erosion, which makes it almost impossible to cultivate the lands. Camel and sheep breeding and agriculture are the sources of living to the few people living on its soil. Human settling is restricted to some oases, where wind-blocking housing constructions raised to deal with the harsh weather conditions. For their hard-needed water supply the desert people thousands of years ago created a complicated water well system known as "Qantas." are still in use.
In Tooran region on the edge of the great Dasht-e Kavir desert where you can watch the speedy Persian Wild Ass, fabulous Pleske's Ground Jay, Houbara, larks and sand grouses.
Dasht-e Lut is a large desert in southeastern Iran and NASA satellite recorded surface temperatures in the Lut desert of Iran as high as 71 °C (159 °F), the hottest temperature ever recorded on the surface of the earth, about 700 kilometers long and 50 to 150 Kilometers wide. During the spring wet season, water briefly flows down from the Kerman Mountains, but it soon dries up, leaving behind only rocks, sand, and salt.
Other deserts are Abar Kouh, Saghaneh, Marvas in city of Yazd. See-yah Kouh is in Isfahan and Yazd Provinces. Salt desert of Sirjan is in Kerman Province are the most famous and attractive places in Iran for tourists to visit. Water, fuel, tour guide plus some other services is available.
Nightlife brings on wild cats, wolves, foxes, and other carnivores and in some parts of the desert, the Persian wild ass and even the famous Persian cheetah, gazelles wild sheep, and goats live in parts of steppe and desert areas of the central plateau. Leopards are common in mountainous areas also lizard and snakes live in different places in the central plateau.
History of Iran:
Iran is one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations; Archeological findings in the Hamchon Hill, Silk hills of Kashan, Ali Spring of Tehran, and Zaghah hill in Boin Zahra reveals the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 9,000 BCE. Iran has over 90 centuries engendered the development of culture and civilization. Iran has generously contributed in the history and treasures of man –kind consequently.
Iran is land of love, friendship, hospitality and kindness, when you are in Iran you will be traveling through history, from one period to another and will never feel a lonely traveler.
Persia's first vigorous growth began in the Neolithic era, and by the third millennium B.C., it had developed into a civilization of great sophistication. Elamite is the oldest Persian dynasty established in Iran. Temple of Cheghaz is an import historical and architectural design remains from that period.
Assyrians(BC 636), defeated the Elamite dynasty before the arrival of Aryans people into Iran during the second millennium B.C. after the arrival of Medians, Persians, and Parthian they settled in west, south and east of Iran, Medians in (BC708 ) defeated Assyrian and set the Ecbatana as capital. Aryans paved the way for the Achaemenian dynasty, whose achievements gloriously represented in the great palaces of Persepolis. Cyrus was the first Achaemenian Emperor of Persia issued a decree on his aims and policies, later hailed as his charter of the rights of nations. Inscribed on a clay cylinder, this known to be the first declaration of Human Rights, and is now kept at the British Museum. A replica of this is also at the United Nations in New York.
Alexander of Macedon invaded Achaemenid territory in 334 BCE, defeating the last Achaemenid Emperor Darius lll at the Battle of Issus.
During the invasion Alexander allowed his troops to loot Persepolis and held games in honor of his victories, he lighted the torches and started the fire as the others all did the same, immediately the entire palace area consumed and burned down the Persepolis.
First Charter of the rights of nations
I am Kourosh (Cyrus), King of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters, son of Camboujiyah (Cambyases), great king, king of Anshân, grandson of Kourosh (Cyrus), descendant of Chaish-Pesh (Teispes), great king, king of Anshân, progeny of an unending royal line, whose rule Bel and Nabu cherish, whose kingship they desire for their hearts, pleasure.
Now that I put the crown of kingdom of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions on the head with the help of (Ahura) Mazda, I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them until I am alive. From now on, until (Ahura) Mazda grants me the kingdom favor, I will impose my monarchy on no nation. Each is free to accept it, and if any one of them rejects it, I never resolve on war to reign. Until I am the king of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions, I never let anyone oppress any others, and if it occurs, I will take his or her right back and penalize the oppressor and until I am the monarch, I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of the others by force or without compensation. Until I am alive, I prevent unpaid, forced labor. Today, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job if they never violate other's rights.
No one will be penalizing for his or her relatives' faults. I prevent slavery and my governors and subordinates are obligated to prohibit exchanging men and women as slaves within their own ruling domains. Such a traditions should be exterminated the world over.
I implore to Ahura Mazda to make me succeed in fulfilling my obligations to the nations of Iran (Persia), Babylon, and the ones of the four directions.
Cyrus freed the exiled Jewish people after the conquest of Babylon.
The Achaemenid Empire defeated by Alexander in (BC 323). The Seleucid Empire replaced Alexander dynasty and established its dynasty which last 80 years and Seleucid dynasty defeated by the Parthian in 238BC.
After the conquests of Media, Elam, Assyria Babylonia, Parthian had to organize their empire, and the new rulers had to adapt to their customs if they wanted their rule to last. As a result, the cities retained their ancient rights and civil administrations remained more or less undisturbed.
Limiting Rome's expansion beyond Cappadocia (central Anatolia), Parthian by using a heavily armed and armored cataphract cavalry, and lightly armed but highly mobile mounted archers defeated Rome’s general Mark Antony who led a disastrous campaign against the Parthian in 36 BCE in which he lost 32,000 men. By the time of Roman emperor Augustus, Rome and Parthia were settling some of their differences through diplomacy, Parthia had acquired an assortment of golden eagles, the cherished standards of Rome’s Legions captured from Mark Antony, and Cassus, who suffered "a disastrous defeat" at Carrhae in 53 BCE.
During Parthian, and later Sassanid era, trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Indian subcontinent, and Rome, and helped to lay the foundations for the modern world.
The Sassanid Empire is the third Iranian dynasty and the second Persian Empire (226–651). The Sassanid dynasty founded by Ardashir l after defeating the last Parthian (Arsacid ) king, Artabanus lV (Persian: Ardavan). The empire's traditional territory encompassed all of today’s Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, eastern parts of Turkic, and parts of Syria, Pakistan, Caucasia, Central Asia and Arabia. The Sassanid era, is one of the most important and influential historical periods in Iran. In many ways, the Sassanid period witnessed the highest achievement of Persian civilization, and constituted the last great Iranian Empire before the Muslim conquest and adoption of Islam. Persia influenced Roman civilization considerably during the Sassanid’s' times, and the Romans reserved for the Sassanid Persians alone the status of equals, exemplified in the letters written by the Roman Emperor to the Persian Shahanshah, he addressed to "my brother." Their cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China also India and play a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asiatic medieval art.
This influence carried forward to the early Islamic world. The dynasty's unique, aristocratic culture transformed the Islamic conquest of Iran into a Persian renaissance. Much of what later known as Islamic culture, architecture, writing and other skills borrowed mainly from the Sassanid Persians and propagated throughout the broader Muslim world.
From the perspective of Jewish history, the Sassanid Empire was highly significant when it became the center of the Jewish world after the destruction of the Second Commonwealth in 70 AD. The period saw major developments in Judaism, including the making of the Babylonian Talmud, when the great Talmudic Academies in Babylonia flourished during the rabbinic era of the Amoraim.
Over the next few years, Ardashir I further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Khorasan, Margiana (Turkmenistan), Balkh, and Chorasmia. He also added Bahrain and Mosul to Sassanid possessions. Later Sassanid inscriptions also claim the submission of the Kings of Kushan, Turan and Mekran to Ardashir, although based on numismatic evidence, it is more likely that these actually submitted to Ardashir's son. In 230 AD, he raided deep into Roman territory, and a Roman counter-offensive two years later ended inconclusively.
Ardashir I's son Shapour l (241–272) continued the expansion of the empire, conquering Bactria and the western portion of the Kushan Empire, while leading several campaigns against Rome. Invading Roman Mesopotamia, Shapour I captured Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman general Timesitheus defeated the Persians at Rhesaina and regained the lost territories. The emperor Gordian lll ‘s (238–244) subsequent advance down and the Euphrates was defeated at Meshike (244), leading to Gordian's murder by his own troops and enabling Shapour to conclude a highly advantageous peace treaty with the new emperor Philip the Arab (244–249), by which he secured the immediate payment of 500,000 denari and further annual payments. Shapour soon resumed the war, defeating the Romans at Barbalissos (252), overrunning Syria and sacking Antioch (253 or 256). Roman counter-attacks under the emperor Valerian (253–260) ended in disaster when the Roman army was defeated and besieged at Edessa and Valerian captured by Shapur at a peace conference and remaining Shapour's prisoner for the rest of his life. Shapour I celebrated his victory and the unprecedented achievement of capturing a Roman emperor by carving the impressive rock reliefs in Naqsh – e Rostam and Bishapur, as well as a monumental inscription in Persian and Greek near Persepolis. He exploited his success by advancing into Anatolia (260), but withdrew after defeats and lost all the territories he had occupied.
After Shapur II died in 379, he left a powerful empire to his half-brother Ardashir ll (379–383); and his son Shapor lll (383–388), neither of whom demonstrated their predecessor's talent and failed to fill his brother's shoes.
In 632AD raiders from the Arab peninsula began, attacking the Sassanid Empire Persia was defeated in the Battle of al- Qadisiyeh, paving way for the Islamic conquest of Persia.
Sassanid Empire ended when the last Sassanid Shahanshah (King of Kings), Yazdegerd lll (632–651), lost a 14-year struggle to drive out the early Islamic Caliphate, the first of the Islamic Empire.
After the Islamic conquest of Persia, Persia annexed into the Arab Umayyad Khaliphate. The Islamization of Iran was to yield deep transformations within the cultural, scientific, and political structure of Iran's society.
Taherian(826-881), Safarian(866-903), Al-e Boyeh(945-1055).ruled Persia.
The movement continued well into the eleventh century, when Mahmud-a Ghaznavi established a vast empire, with its capital at Isfahan and Ghazna. Their successors, the Seljuk, asserted their domination from the Mediterranean Sea to Central Asia and the divan of the empire was in the hands of Persian vaziers, who founded the Nizamiyya. During this period, Hundreds of scholars and scientists vastly contributed to technology, science and medicine, later influencing the rise of European science during the renaissance.
The Seljuk Empire (1038-1194), Kharazm Shahian (AD 1077-1231), Mongols and Taymorian(1370-1506 ).
Seljuks advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland Persia before conquering eastern Anatolia. Their advance marked the beginning of Turkic power in the Middle East. After arriving in Persia, the Seljuk adopted the Persian culture and language. The Seljuk Empire founded by Tugrul Beg in 1037. Seljuk Beg's father was in a higher position in the Oghuz Yabgu State, and gave his name to both the state and the dynasty. The Seljuk united the fractured political scene of the Eastern Islamic world and played a key role in the first and second crusades. Highly Personalized in culture and language, the Seljuk also played an important role in the development of the Turku- Persian traditions that "features Persian culture patronized by Turkic rulers". Seljuk dynasty ended by Kharazm Shahian (AD 1077-1231) and Kharazmshahian Dynasty end by a devastating Invasion of Genghis Khan.
During this period more than half of Persia's population were killed, turning the streets of Persian cities like Neishabur into "rivers of blood", as the severed heads of men, women, and children were "neatly stacked into carefully constructed pyramids around which the carcasses of the city's dogs and cats were placed". Between 1220 and 1260, the total population of Persia had dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 because of mass extermination and famine. In a letter to King Louis l X of France, Holaku Khan, one of the Genghis Khan’s grandsons, alone took responsibility for 200,000 deaths in his raids of Persia and the Caliphate dynasty in Baghdad. Invasion of Mongolians followed by another conqueror, Taymour- Lang, who established his capital in Samargand. The waves of devastation prevented many cities such as Neishabor from reaching their pre-invasion population levels until Twentieth century.
Safavids, Afshars, Zands and Qajars (1501–1920)
The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the “Safaviyeh” which established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over all of Persia and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, and becoming the first native dynasty since the Sassanid to establish a unified Iranian state.
The Safavids made Iran the spiritual bastion of Shi’ism acting as a bridge to modern Iran. Shah Ismail adopted the title of "Persian Emperor with its implicit notion of an Iranian state, stretching from Khorasan as far as Euphrates, and from the Oxus to the southern Territories of the Persian Gulf.
Safavid established the Shi’a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam.
The greatest of the Safavid monarchs, Shah Abbas l (1587-1629) came to power in 1587 aged 16 following the forced abdication of his father, Shah Muhammad Khudabanda.
Shah Abbas I first fought the Uzbeks, recapturing Herat and Mashhad in 1598. Then he turned against the Ottomans recapturing Baghdad, eastern Iraq and the Caucasian provinces by 1622. He also used his new force to dislodge the Portuguese from Bahrain (1602) and the English navy from I of Hormuz (1622), in Persian Gulf (a vital link in Portuguese trade with India). He expanded commercial links with the English East India Company and the Dutch East India Company.
The Ottoman Turks and Safavids fought over the fertile plains of Iraq for more than 150 years. The capture of Baghdad by Ismail I in 1509 followed by its loss to the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman in 1534. After subsequent campaigns, the Safavids recaptured Baghdad in 1623 yet lost it again to Murad lV in 1638. Henceforth a treaty, signed in Qasr-e Shirin, established delineating a border between Iran and Turkey in 1639, a border that still stands in northwest Iran/southeast Turkey.
Afghan army led by Mir Wais' son Sultan Mahmud marched across eastern Iran, besieged, and sacked Isfahan. Mahmud proclaimed himself 'Shah' of Persia. The Afghans rode roughshod over their conquered territory for a dozen years but prevented from making further gains by Nadir Afshar, a former slave who had risen to military leadership within the Afshar tribe in Khorasan. The defeat of Shah Sultan Hossein by Afghan rebels marked the start of the downfall of the Safavid era in 1722. One year later the last Safavid monarch lost his throne in 1734; Nader Shah successfully drove out the Afghan rebels from Isfahan in the Battle of Damghan in 1729, and established the Afsharid dynasty.
The blossoming of Persian literature, Philosophy, medicine and art became major elements of the newly forming Muslim civilization, culturally, politically, and religiously, the Iranian contribution to this new Islamic civilization contributed to Persia emerging as what culminated into the “Islamic Golden Age”.
The Safavids moved their capital from Tabriz to Qazvin and then to Isfahan where their patronage for the arts propelled Persia into one of its most aesthetically
Zand dynasty founded by Karim Khan, in 1750, succeeded Afshar dynasty and established his capital in Shiraz. His rule brought a period of relative peace and renewed prosperity. His rule did not last long however, and he was assassinated in 1747. The Zand dynasty lasted three generations.
Qajars successors however gradually transformed Iran into an arena for the rising colonial powers of Imperial Russia and the British Empire.
The end of the Qajar period resulted in Persia’s constitutional revolution establishing the nation’s first parliament in 1906, within a constitutional monarchy.
Persia suffered several wars with Imperial Russia during the Qajar era, resulting in Persia losing almost half of its territories to Imperial Russia the treaties of Golestan, Turkmenchay, and Akhal, the territories included vast portion of Azerbaijan, Gorjestan, Armanestan, and vast portion of Khorasan.
Repeated foreign intervention and a corrupt and weakened Qajar rule led to various protests that ended Qajar dynasty.
Pahlavi era to the Iranian Revolution (1921–1979)
In 1921an autocrat army officer, Reza Khan (known as Reza Shah after assuming the throne) staged a coup overthrew the weakening Qajar dynasty and became Shah. In 1941, Britain and USSR invaded Iran in order to utilize Iranian railroad capacity during World War ll and forced the Shah to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
In 1951, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, a nationalist politician, elected prime minister. As prime minister, Mossadegh became enormously popular in Iran after he controlled the country's oil and nationalizing the Anglo –Iranian Oil Company later
(British Petroleum, BP), in response, Britain embargoed Iranian oil and
Members of the British Intelligence Service invited the United States to join in a plot to depose Mossadegh, and in 1953, President Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax. The operation was successful, and Mossadegh surrendered, on 19 August 1953. He tried for treason, and sentenced to three years in prison.
The CIA faced many setbacks, but the covert operation soon went into full swing, conducted from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran under the leadership of Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. Iranians hired to protest Mossadegh and fight pro-Mossadegh demonstrators. Anti- and pro-monarchy protestors violently clashed in the streets, leaving almost three hundred dead. The operation was successful in triggering a coup, and within days, pro-Shah tanks stormed the capital and bombarded the Prime Minister's residence and the CIA took the lead in overthrowing Mossadegh and supporting a U.S. - friendly monarch. After Operation Ajax Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's ruler became increasingly autocratic in the following years.
With strong support from U.S and UK, the Shah was able to crush all forms of political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK.
Hazrat-e Imam Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's White Revolution, publicly denounced the government, and publicly criticized the United States government. Hazrat-e Imam Khomeini imprisoned for 18 months and after his release, The Shah persuaded General Hassan Pakravan to send him into exile first to Turkey, then to Iraq and finally to France.
The revolution began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah. After strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country, the Shah fled the country with his wife in January 1979. On February 1, 1979, Hazrat-e Imam Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran, enthusiastically greeted by millions of Iranians. The Pahlavi collapsed ten days later on February 11 after People overwhelmed troops loyal to the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in armed street fighting. Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979 when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum (98%).
In December 1979, the country approved the constitution, whereby Hazrat-e Imam Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country and replaced a monarchy with a theocracy based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists.
The speed and success of the revolution surprised many throughout the world, as it had not been precipitated by a military defeat, a financial crisis, or a peasant rebellion. It produced profound change at great speed it overthrew a regime heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security services.
Iran's relations with the United States became deeply antagonistic during the revolution. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students seized US Embassy "den of spies” and its personnel as CIA agents plotting to overthrow the revolutionary government, as the CIA had done to Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. Females and African American released within the first months, the remaining fifty-two Spies held for 444 days students demanded the handover of the Deposed Shah in exchange for the Spies and following the Shah's death in the summer of 1980, students decided to put the spies on trial for espionage. Subsequently attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate or Rescue were unsuccessful until January 1981 when the Algiers declaration agreed on. The U.S. promised (among other things) in the accord to release Iranian assets that had been frozen, but as of 2008 those assets remain frozen.
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to take advantage of what he perceived to be the Iranian Revolution unpopularity with western governments and with the Shah ousted, Hussein had ambitions to position himself as the new strong man of the Middle East. He also sought to expand Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf by acquiring
territories that Iraq had claimed earlier from Iran during the Shah's rule. Of chief importance to Iraq was Khuzestan for its rich oil fields, with these ambitions in mind, Hussein planned a full-scale assault on Iran, boasting that his forces could reach the capital within three days. On September 22, 1980, the Iraqi army invaded Iran at Khuzestan, precipitating the Iran- Iraq War. The attack took revolutionary Iran completely by surprise.
Although Saddam Hussein's forces made several early advances, by 1982, Iranian forces managed to push the Iraqi army back into Iraq. The war then continued for six more years until 1988, when Hazrat-e Imam Khomeini accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations for the best interest of the Iranian people, region and the world.
20 December 1983. Rumsfeld visited again on 24 March 1984, the day the UN reported that Iraq had used mustard gas and nerve agent against Iranian troops.
Tens of thousands of Iranian civilians and military personnel killed when Iraq used chemical weapons in its warfare. Iraq financially backed by Egypt, the Arab
Countries of the Persian Gulf, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact States, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil.
Islamic Revolution transformed Iran from a monarchy under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to an Islamic republic under Hazrat-e Imam Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic.
In America, the crisis thought by some political analysts to be the primary reason for U.S President Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the November 1980 presidential election.
According to the constitution, the government is required to provide every citizen of the country with access to social security that covers retirement, old age, disability, accidents, calamities, health and medical treatment and care services.