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"Persia" redirects here. Iran_sentence_0

For other uses, see Iran (disambiguation) and Persia (disambiguation). Iran_sentence_1


Islamic Republic of Iran

جمهوری اسلامی ایران (Persian) Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye IrānIran_header_cell_0_0_0


and largest cityIran_header_cell_0_1_0

Official languagesIran_header_cell_0_2_0 PersianIran_cell_0_2_1
Recognised regional languagesIran_header_cell_0_3_0 List of languagesIran_cell_0_3_1
Ethnic groupsIran_header_cell_0_4_0 List of ethnicitiesIran_cell_0_4_1
ReligionIran_header_cell_0_5_0 Iran_cell_0_5_1
Demonym(s)Iran_header_cell_0_6_0 Iran_cell_0_6_1
GovernmentIran_header_cell_0_7_0 Unitary presidential Islamic republicIran_cell_0_7_1
Supreme LeaderIran_header_cell_0_8_0 Ali KhameneiIran_cell_0_8_1
PresidentIran_header_cell_0_9_0 Hassan RouhaniIran_cell_0_9_1
First Vice PresidentIran_header_cell_0_10_0 Eshaq JahangiriIran_cell_0_10_1
Parliament SpeakerIran_header_cell_0_11_0 Mohammad Bagher GhalibafIran_cell_0_11_1
Chief JusticeIran_header_cell_0_12_0 Ebrahim RaisiIran_cell_0_12_1
LegislatureIran_header_cell_0_13_0 Islamic Consultative AssemblyIran_cell_0_13_1
Establishment historyIran_header_cell_0_14_0
Median EmpireIran_header_cell_0_15_0 c. 678 BCIran_cell_0_15_1
Achaemenid EmpireIran_header_cell_0_16_0 550 BCIran_cell_0_16_1
Parthian EmpireIran_header_cell_0_17_0 247 BCIran_cell_0_17_1
Sasanian EmpireIran_header_cell_0_18_0 224 ADIran_cell_0_18_1
Buyid dynastyIran_header_cell_0_19_0 934Iran_cell_0_19_1
Safavid dynastyIran_header_cell_0_20_0 1501Iran_cell_0_20_1
Afsharid dynastyIran_header_cell_0_21_0 1736Iran_cell_0_21_1
Zand dynastyIran_header_cell_0_22_0 1751Iran_cell_0_22_1
Qajar dynastyIran_header_cell_0_23_0 1796Iran_cell_0_23_1
Pahlavi dynastyIran_header_cell_0_24_0 15 December 1925Iran_cell_0_24_1
Islamic RevolutionIran_header_cell_0_25_0 7 January 1978 – 11 February 1979Iran_cell_0_25_1
Current constitutionIran_header_cell_0_26_0 24 October 1979Iran_cell_0_26_1
Latest amendmentIran_header_cell_0_27_0 28 July 1989Iran_cell_0_27_1
Area Iran_header_cell_0_28_0
TotalIran_header_cell_0_29_0 1,648,195 km (636,372 sq mi) (17th)Iran_cell_0_29_1
Water (%)Iran_header_cell_0_30_0 7.07Iran_cell_0_30_1
2019 estimateIran_header_cell_0_32_0 83,183,741 (17th)Iran_cell_0_32_1
DensityIran_header_cell_0_33_0 48/km (124.3/sq mi) (162nd)Iran_cell_0_33_1
GDP (PPP)Iran_header_cell_0_34_0 2020 estimateIran_cell_0_34_1
TotalIran_header_cell_0_35_0 $1.007 trillion (18th)Iran_cell_0_35_1
Per capitaIran_header_cell_0_36_0 $11,963 (66th)Iran_cell_0_36_1
GDP (nominal)Iran_header_cell_0_37_0 2020 estimateIran_cell_0_37_1
TotalIran_header_cell_0_38_0 $611 billion (25th)Iran_cell_0_38_1
Per capitaIran_header_cell_0_39_0 $7,257 (95th)Iran_cell_0_39_1
Gini (2017)Iran_header_cell_0_40_0 40.8


HDI (2018)Iran_header_cell_0_41_0 0.797

high · 65thIran_cell_0_41_1

CurrencyIran_header_cell_0_42_0 Rial () (IRR)Iran_cell_0_42_1
Time zoneIran_header_cell_0_43_0 UTC+3:30 (IRST)Iran_cell_0_43_1
Summer (DST)Iran_header_cell_0_44_0 UTC+4:30 (IRDT)Iran_cell_0_44_1
Date formatIran_header_cell_0_45_0 yyyy/mm/dd (SH)Iran_cell_0_45_1
Driving sideIran_header_cell_0_46_0 rightIran_cell_0_46_1
Calling codeIran_header_cell_0_47_0 +98Iran_cell_0_47_1
ISO 3166 codeIran_header_cell_0_48_0 IRIran_cell_0_48_1
Internet TLDIran_header_cell_0_49_0 Iran_cell_0_49_1

Iran (Persian: ایران‎ Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn (listen)), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎ Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān (listen) [dʒomhuːˌɾije eslɒːˌmije ʔiːˈɾɒn), is a country in Western Asia; with 83 million inhabitants. Iran_sentence_2

It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan, to the southeast by Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Iran_sentence_3

Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Iran_sentence_4

Tehran is the capital and largest city, as well as the leading economic and cultural hub; it is also the most populous city in Western Asia, with more than 8.8 million residents, and up to 15 million including the metropolitan area. Iran_sentence_5

Iran is the world's 17th most populous country. Iran_sentence_6

Spanning 1,648,195 km (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran_sentence_7

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. Iran_sentence_8

It was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BC, and reached its territorial height in the sixth century BC, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus River, making it one of the largest empires in history. Iran_sentence_9

The empire fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC and was divided into several Hellenistic states. Iran_sentence_10

An Iranian rebellion established the Parthian Empire in the third century BC, which was succeeded in the third century AD by the Sasanian Empire, a major world power for the next four centuries. Iran_sentence_11

Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century AD, and the subsequent Islamization of Iran led to the decline of the once dominant Zoroastrian religion. Iran_sentence_12

Iran subsequently became a major center of Islamic culture and learning, with its art, literature, philosophy, and architecture spreading across the Muslim world and beyond during the Islamic Golden Age. Iran_sentence_13

Over the next two centuries, a series of native Muslim dynasties emerged before the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols conquered the region. Iran_sentence_14

In the 15th century, the native Safavids re-established a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Iran_sentence_15

Under the reign of Nader Shah in the 18th century, Iran once again became a major world power, though by the 19th century a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses. Iran_sentence_16

Iran is one of the few non-European states to have avoided colonization by Europe. Iran_sentence_17

The early 20th century saw the Persian Constitutional Revolution, which created the country's first constitutional monarchy and legislature, and a gradual move towards greater democracy. Iran_sentence_18

Efforts to nationalize its fossil fuel supply from Western companies led to an Anglo-American coup in 1953, which resulted in greater autocratic rule under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and growing Western political influence. Iran_sentence_19

He went on to launch a far-reaching series of reforms in 1963, which included industrial growth, infrastructure expansion, land reforms, and increased women's rights. Iran_sentence_20

However, widespread dissatisfaction with the monarchy culminated in the Iranian Revolution, which established the current Islamic Republic in 1979. Iran_sentence_21

Iran was invaded by Iraq in 1980, leading to a bloody and protracted war that lasted for almost eight years, and ended in a stalemate with devastating losses for both sides. Iran_sentence_22

Iran's political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy, with the ultimate authority vested in an autocratic "Supreme Leader", a position held by Ali Khamenei since 1989. Iran_sentence_23

The Iranian government is widely considered to be authoritarian, and has attracted widespread criticism for its significant constraints and abuses against human rights and civil liberties, including the violent suppression of mass protests, unfair elections, and unequal rights for women and children. Iran_sentence_24

Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. Iran_sentence_25

It is a major regional and middle power, and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world's largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves. Iran_sentence_26

The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third largest number in Asia and 10th largest in the world. Iran_sentence_27

Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs. Iran_sentence_28

Name Iran_section_0

Main article: Name of Iran Iran_sentence_29

The term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. Iran_sentence_30

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)". Iran_sentence_31

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). Iran_sentence_32

According to the Iranian mythology, the country's name comes from the name of Iraj, a legendary prince and shah who was killed by his brothers. Iran_sentence_33

Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due mainly to the writings of Greek historians who referred 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. Iran_sentence_34

As the most extensive interaction the ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted, even long after the Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC). Iran_sentence_35

In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, Iran, effective 22 March that year. Iran_sentence_36

Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision in 1959, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Iran_sentence_37

Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceable in official state contexts. Iran_sentence_38

Historical and cultural usage of the word Iran is not restricted to the modern state proper. Iran_sentence_39

"Greater Iran" (Irānzamīn or Irān e Bozorg) refers to territories of the Iranian cultural and linguistic zones. Iran_sentence_40

In addition to modern Iran, it includes portions of the Caucasus, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Iran_sentence_41

Pronunciation Iran_section_1

The Persian pronunciation of Iran is [ʔiːˈɾɒːn. Iran_sentence_42

Common Commonwealth English pronunciations of Iran are listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as /ɪˈrɑːn/ and /ɪˈræn/, while American English dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster's provide pronunciations which map to /ɪˈrɑːn, -ˈræn, aɪˈræn/, or likewise in Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary as /ɪˈræn, ɪˈrɑːn, aɪˈræn/. Iran_sentence_43

The Cambridge Dictionary lists /ɪˈrɑːn/ as the British pronunciation and /ɪˈræn/ as the American pronunciation. Iran_sentence_44

Similarly, Glasgow-based Collins English Dictionary provides both English English and American English pronunciations. Iran_sentence_45

The pronunciation guide from Voice of America also provides /ɪˈrɑːn/. Iran_sentence_46

The American English pronunciation /aɪˈræn/ eye-RAN may be heard in U.S. media. Iran_sentence_47

Max Fisher in The Washington Post prescribed /iːˈrɑːn/ for Iran, while proscribing /aɪˈræn/. Iran_sentence_48

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, in the dictionary's 2014 Usage Ballot, addressed the topic of the pronunciations of Iran and Iraq. Iran_sentence_49

According to this survey, the pronunciations /ɪˈrɑːn/ and /ɪˈræn/ were deemed almost equally acceptable, while /ɪˈrɑːn/ was preferred by most panelists participating in the ballot. Iran_sentence_50

With regard to the /aɪˈræn/ pronunciation, more than 70% of the panelists deemed it unacceptable. Iran_sentence_51

Among the reasons given by those panelists were that /aɪˈræn/ has "hawkish connotations" and sounds "angrier", "xenophobic", "ignorant", and "not ... cosmopolitan". Iran_sentence_52

The /aɪˈræn/ pronunciation remains standard and acceptable, reflected in the entry for Iran in the American Heritage Dictionary itself, as well as in each of the other major dictionaries of American English. Iran_sentence_53

History Iran_section_2

Main article: History of Iran Iran_sentence_54

Prehistory Iran_section_3

Further information: Prehistory of Iran and Archaeological sites in Iran Iran_sentence_55

The earliest attested archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated at Kashafrud and Ganj Par in northern Iran, confirm a human presence in Iran since the Lower Paleolithic. Iran_sentence_56

Iran's Neanderthal artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic have been found mainly in the Zagros region, at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh. Iran_sentence_57

From the 10th to the seventh millennium BC, early agricultural communities began to flourish in and around the Zagros region in western Iran, including Chogha Golan, Chogha Bonut, and Chogha Mish. Iran_sentence_58

The occupation of grouped hamlets in the area of Susa, as determined by radiocarbon dating, ranges from 4395–3955 to 3680-3490 BC. Iran_sentence_59

There are dozens of prehistoric sites across the Iranian Plateau, pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BC. Iran_sentence_60

During the Bronze Age, the territory of present-day Iran was home to several civilizations, including Elam, Jiroft, and Zayanderud. Iran_sentence_61

Elam, the most prominent of these civilizations, developed in the southwest alongside those in Mesopotamia, and continued its existence until the emergence of the Iranian empires. Iran_sentence_62

The advent of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BC. Iran_sentence_63

From the 34th to the 20th century BC, northwestern Iran was part of the Kura-Araxes culture, which stretched into the neighboring Caucasus and Anatolia. Iran_sentence_64

Since the earliest second millennium BC, Assyrians settled in swaths of western Iran and incorporated the region into their territories. Iran_sentence_65

Classical antiquity Iran_section_4

Main articles: Median Empire, Achaemenid Empire, Seleucid Empire, Parthian Empire, and Sasanian Empire Iran_sentence_66

See also: Indo-European migrations Iran_sentence_67

By the second millennium BC, the ancient Iranian peoples arrived in what is now Iran from the Eurasian Steppe, rivaling the native settlers of the region. Iran_sentence_68

As the Iranians dispersed into the wider area of Greater Iran and beyond, the boundaries of modern-day Iran were dominated by Median, Persian, and Parthian tribes. Iran_sentence_69

From the late 10th to the late seventh century BC, the Iranian peoples, together with the "pre-Iranian" kingdoms, fell under the domination of the Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. Iran_sentence_70

Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, as well as the fellow Iranian Scythians and Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire. Iran_sentence_71

The civil war ravaged the Assyrian Empire between 616 and 605 BC, thus freeing their respective peoples from three centuries of Assyrian rule. Iran_sentence_72

The unification of the Median tribes under king Deioces in 728 BC led to the foundation of the Median Empire which, by 612 BC, controlled almost the entire territory of present-day Iran and eastern Anatolia. Iran_sentence_73

This marked the end of the Kingdom of Urartu as well, which was subsequently conquered and dissolved. Iran_sentence_74

In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great, the son of Mandane and Cambyses I, took over the Median Empire, and founded the Achaemenid Empire by unifying other city-states. Iran_sentence_75

The conquest of Media was a result of what is called the Persian Revolt. Iran_sentence_76

The brouhaha was initially triggered by the actions of the Median ruler Astyages, and was quickly spread to other provinces, as they allied with the Persians. Iran_sentence_77

Later conquests under Cyrus and his successors expanded the empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, as well as the lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers. Iran_sentence_78

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. Iran_sentence_79

Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch. Iran_sentence_80

Subsequent Achaemenid art and iconography reflect the influence of the new political reality in Mesopotamia. Iran_sentence_81

At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire included territories of modern-day Iran, Republic of Azerbaijan (Arran and Shirvan), Armenia, Georgia, Turkey (Anatolia), much of the Black Sea coastal regions, northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria (Thrace), northern Greece and North Macedonia (Paeonia and Macedon), Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, parts of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and much of Central Asia, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen. Iran_sentence_82

It is estimated that in 480 BC, 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire. Iran_sentence_83

The empire at its peak ruled over 44% of the world's population, the highest such figure for any empire in history. Iran_sentence_84

The Achaemenid Empire is noted for the release of the Jewish exiles in Babylon, building infrastructures such as the Royal Road and the Chapar (postal service), and the use of an official language, Imperial Aramaic, throughout its territories. Iran_sentence_85

The empire had a centralized, bureaucratic administration under the emperor, a large professional army, and civil services, inspiring similar developments in later empires. Iran_sentence_86

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. Iran_sentence_87

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire, defeating the last Achaemenid emperor, Darius III, at the Battle of Issus. Iran_sentence_88

Following the premature death of Alexander, Iran came under the control of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Iran_sentence_89

In the middle of the second century BC, the Parthian Empire rose to become the main power in Iran, and the century-long geopolitical arch-rivalry between the Romans and the Parthians began, culminating in the Roman–Parthian Wars. Iran_sentence_90

The Parthian Empire continued as a feudal monarchy for nearly five centuries, until 224 CE, when it was succeeded by the Sasanian Empire. Iran_sentence_91

Together with their neighboring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantines, they made up the world's two most dominant powers at the time, for over four centuries. Iran_sentence_92

The Sasanians established an empire within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, with their capital at Ctesiphon. Iran_sentence_93

Late antiquity is considered one of Iran's most influential periods, as under the Sasanians their influence reached the culture of ancient Rome (and through that as far as Western Europe), Africa, China, and India, and played a prominent role in the formation of the medieval art of both Europe and Asia. Iran_sentence_94

Most of the era of the Sasanian Empire was overshadowed by the Roman–Persian Wars, which raged on the western borders at Anatolia, the Western Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Levant, for over 700 years. Iran_sentence_95

These wars ultimately exhausted both the Romans and the Sasanians and led to the defeat of both by the Muslim invasion. Iran_sentence_96

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). Iran_sentence_97

Medieval period Iran_section_5

Main articles: Muslim conquest of Persia and Medieval Iran Iran_sentence_98

The prolonged Byzantine–Sasanian wars, most importantly the climactic war of 602–628, as well as the social conflict within the Sasanian Empire, opened the way for an Arab invasion of Iran in the seventh century. Iran_sentence_99

The empire was initially defeated by the Rashidun Caliphate, which was succeeded by the Umayyad Caliphate, followed by the Abbasid Caliphate. Iran_sentence_100

A prolonged and gradual process of state-imposed Islamization followed, which targeted Iran's then Zoroastrian majority and included religious persecution, demolition of libraries and fire temples, a special tax penalty ("jizya"), and language shift. Iran_sentence_101

In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads. Iran_sentence_102

Arabs muslims and Persians of all strata made up the rebel army, which was united by the converted Persian Muslim, Abu Muslim. Iran_sentence_103

In their struggle for power, the society in their times gradually became cosmopolitan and the old Arab simplicity and aristocratic dignity, bearing and prestige were lost. Iran_sentence_104

Persians and Turks began to replace the Arabs in most fields. Iran_sentence_105

The fusion of the Arab nobility with the subject races, the practice of polygamy and concubinage, made for a social amalgam wherein loyalties became uncertain and a hierarchy of officials emerged, a bureaucracy at first Persian and later Turkish which decreased Abbasid prestige and power for good. Iran_sentence_106

After two centuries of Arab rule, semi-independent and independent Iranian kingdoms—including the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, and Buyids—began to appear on the fringes of the declining Abbasid Caliphate. Iran_sentence_107

The blossoming literature, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and art of Iran became major elements in the formation of a new age for the Iranian civilization, during a period known as the Islamic Golden Age. Iran_sentence_108

The Islamic Golden Age reached its peak by the 10th and 11th centuries, during which Iran was the main theater of scientific activities. Iran_sentence_109

The cultural revival that began in the Abbasid period led to a resurfacing of the Iranian national identity; thus, the attempts of Arabization never succeeded in Iran. Iran_sentence_110

The Shu'ubiyya movement became a catalyst for Iranians to regain independence in their relations with the Arab invaders. Iran_sentence_111

The most notable effect of this movement was the continuation of the Persian language attested to the works of the epic poet Ferdowsi, now considered the most prominent figure in Iranian literature. Iran_sentence_112

The 10th century saw a mass migration of Turkic tribes from Central Asia into the Iranian Plateau. Iran_sentence_113

Turkic tribesmen were first used in the Abbasid army as mamluks (slave-warriors), replacing Iranian and Arab elements within the army. Iran_sentence_114

As a result, the Mamluks gained a significant political power. Iran_sentence_115

In 999, large portions of Iran came briefly under the rule of the Ghaznavids, whose rulers were of mamluk Turkic origin, and longer subsequently under the Seljuk and Khwarezmian empires. Iran_sentence_116

The Seljuks subsequently gave rise to the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia, while taking their thoroughly Persianized identity with them. Iran_sentence_117

The result of the adoption and patronage of Persian culture by Turkish rulers was the development of a distinct Turko-Persian tradition. Iran_sentence_118

From 1219 to 1221, under the Khwarazmian Empire, Iran suffered a devastating invasion by the Mongol army of Genghis Khan. Iran_sentence_119

According to Steven R. Ward, "Mongol violence and depredations killed up to three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Iran_sentence_120

Some historians have estimated that Iran's population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century." Iran_sentence_121

Following the fracture of the Mongol Empire in 1256, Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Ilkhanate in Iran. Iran_sentence_122

In 1370, yet another conqueror, Timur, followed the example of Hulagu, establishing the Timurid Empire which lasted for another 156 years. Iran_sentence_123

In 1387, Timur ordered the complete massacre of Isfahan, reportedly killing 70,000 citizens. Iran_sentence_124

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. Iran_sentence_125

Early modern period Iran_section_6

Safavids Iran_section_7

Main article: Safavid Iran Iran_sentence_126

By the 1500s, Ismail I of Ardabil established the Safavid Empire, with his capital at Tabriz. Iran_sentence_127

Beginning with Azerbaijan, he subsequently extended his authority over all of the Iranian territories, and established an intermittent Iranian hegemony over the vast relative regions, reasserting the Iranian identity within large parts of Greater Iran. Iran_sentence_128

Iran was predominantly Sunni, but Ismail instigated a forced conversion to the Shia branch of Islam, spreading throughout the Safavid territories in the Caucasus, Iran, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. Iran_sentence_129

As a result, modern-day Iran is the only official Shia nation of the world, with it holding an absolute majority in Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, having there the first and the second highest number of Shia inhabitants by population percentage in the world. Iran_sentence_130

Meanwhile, the centuries-long geopolitical and ideological rivalry between Safavid Iran and the neighboring Ottoman Empire led to numerous Ottoman–Iranian wars. Iran_sentence_131

The Safavid era peaked in the reign of Abbas I (1587–1629), surpassing their Turkish archrivals in strength, and making Iran a leading science and art hub in western Eurasia. Iran_sentence_132

The Safavid era saw the start of mass integration from Caucasian populations into new layers of the society of Iran, as well as mass resettlement of them within the heartlands of Iran, playing a pivotal role in the history of Iran for centuries onwards. Iran_sentence_133

Following a gradual decline in the late 1600s and the early 1700s, which was caused by internal conflicts, the continuous wars with the Ottomans, and the foreign interference (most notably the Russian interference), the Safavid rule was ended by the Pashtun rebels who besieged Isfahan and defeated Sultan Husayn in 1722. Iran_sentence_134

Afsharids Iran_section_8

Main article: Afsharid dynasty Iran_sentence_135

In 1729, Nader Shah, a chieftain and military genius from Khorasan, successfully drove out and conquered the Pashtun invaders. Iran_sentence_136

He subsequently took back the annexed Caucasian territories which were divided among the Ottoman and Russian authorities by the ongoing chaos in Iran. Iran_sentence_137

During the reign of Nader Shah, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sasanian Empire, reestablishing the Iranian hegemony all over the Caucasus, as well as other major parts of the west and central Asia, and briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time. Iran_sentence_138

Nader Shah invaded India and sacked far off Delhi by the late 1730s. Iran_sentence_139

His territorial expansion, as well as his military successes, went into a decline following the final campaigns in the Northern Caucasus against then revolting Lezgins. Iran_sentence_140

The assassination of Nader Shah sparked a brief period of civil war and turmoil, after which Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty came to power in 1750, bringing a period of relative peace and prosperity. Iran_sentence_141

Zands Iran_section_9

Main article: Zand dynasty Iran_sentence_142

Compared to its preceding dynasties, the geopolitical reach of the Zand dynasty was limited. Iran_sentence_143

Many of the Iranian territories in the Caucasus gained de facto autonomy, and were locally ruled through various Caucasian khanates. Iran_sentence_144

However, despite the self-ruling, they all remained subjects and vassals to the Zand king. Iran_sentence_145

Another civil war ensued after the death of Karim Khan in 1779, out of which Agha Mohammad Khan emerged, founding the Qajar dynasty in 1794. Iran_sentence_146

Qajars Iran_section_10

Main article: Qajar Iran Iran_sentence_147

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. Iran_sentence_148

The Russo-Iranian wars of 1804–1813 and 1826–1828 resulted in large irrevocable territorial losses for Iran in the Caucasus, comprising all of Transcaucasia and Dagestan, which made part of the very concept of Iran for centuries, and thus substantial gains for the neighboring Russian Empire. Iran_sentence_149

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. Iran_sentence_150

The area to the north of Aras River, among which the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia are located, were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century. Iran_sentence_151

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. Iran_sentence_152

Around 1.5 million people—20 to 25% of the population of Iran—died as a result of the Great Famine of 1870–1871. Iran_sentence_153

Between 1872 and 1905, a series of protests took place in response to the sale of concessions to foreigners by Qajar monarchs Naser-ed-Din and Mozaffar-ed-Din, and led to the Constitutional Revolution in 1905. Iran_sentence_154

The first Iranian constitution and the first national parliament of Iran were founded in 1906, through the ongoing revolution. Iran_sentence_155

The Constitution included the official recognition of Iran's three religious minorities, namely Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, which has remained a basis in the legislation of Iran since then. Iran_sentence_156

The struggle related to the constitutional movement was followed by the Triumph of Tehran in 1909, when Mohammad Ali Shah was defeated and forced to abdicate. Iran_sentence_157

On the pretext of restoring order, the Russians occupied northern Iran in 1911 and maintained a military presence in the region for years to come. Iran_sentence_158

But this did not put an end to the civil uprisings and was soon followed by Mirza Kuchik Khan's Jungle Movement against both the Qajar monarchy and foreign invaders. Iran_sentence_159

Despite Iran's neutrality during World War I, the Ottoman, Russian and British empires occupied the territory of western Iran and fought the Persian Campaign before fully withdrawing their forces in 1921. Iran_sentence_160

At least 2 million Persian civilians died either directly in the fighting, the Ottoman perpetrated anti-Christian genocides or the war induced famine of 1917-1919. Iran_sentence_161

A large number of Iranian Assyrian and Iranian Armenian Christians, as well as those Muslims who tried to protect them, were victims of mass murders committed by the invading Ottoman troops, notably in and around Khoy, Maku, Salmas, and Urmia. Iran_sentence_162

Apart from the rule of Agha Mohammad Khan, the Qajar rule is characterized as a century of misrule. Iran_sentence_163

The inability of Qajar Iran's government to maintain the country's sovereignty during and immediately after World War I led to the British directed 1921 Persian coup d'état and Reza Shah's establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty. Iran_sentence_164

Reza Shah, became the new Prime Minister of Iran and was declared the new monarch in 1925. Iran_sentence_165

Pahlavi dynasty Iran_section_11

Main article: Pahlavi dynasty Iran_sentence_166

See also: Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran Iran_sentence_167

In the midst of World War II, in June 1941, Nazi Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and invaded the Soviet Union, Iran's northern neighbor. Iran_sentence_168

The Soviets quickly allied themselves with the Allied countries and in July and August, 1941 the British demanded that the Iranian government expel all Germans from Iran. Iran_sentence_169

Reza Shah refused to expel the Germans and on 25 August 1941, the British and Soviets launched a surprise invasion and Reza Shah's government quickly surrendered. Iran_sentence_170

The invasion's strategic purpose was to secure a supply line to the USSR (later named the Persian Corridor), secure the oil fields and Abadan Refinery (of the UK-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company), prevent a German advance via Turkey or the USSR on Baku's oil fields, and limit German influence in Iran. Iran_sentence_171

Following the invasion, on 16 September 1941 Reza Shah abdicated and was replaced by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, his 21-year-old son. Iran_sentence_172

During the rest of World War II, Iran became a major conduit for British and American aid to the Soviet Union and an avenue through which over 120,000 Polish refugees and Polish Armed Forces fled the Axis advance. Iran_sentence_173

At the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied "Big Three"—Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill—issued the Tehran Declaration to guarantee the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran. Iran_sentence_174

However, at the end of the war, Soviet troops remained in Iran and established two puppet states in north-western Iran, namely the People's Government of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Mahabad. Iran_sentence_175

This led to the Iran crisis of 1946, one of the first confrontations of the Cold War, which ended after oil concessions were promised to the USSR and Soviet forces withdrew from Iran proper in May 1946. Iran_sentence_176

The two puppet states were soon overthrown and the oil concessions were later revoked. Iran_sentence_177

1951–1978: Mosaddegh, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Iran_section_12

Main article: 1953 Iranian coup d'état Iran_sentence_178

In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh was appointed as the Prime Minister. Iran_sentence_179

He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. Iran_sentence_180

He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the United States had participated in the overthrow of a foreign government during the Cold War. Iran_sentence_181

After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and sultanistic, and Iran entered a phase of decades-long controversial close relations with the United States and some other foreign governments. Iran_sentence_182

While the Shah increasingly modernized Iran and claimed to retain it as a fully secular state, arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, the SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition. Iran_sentence_183

Ruhollah Khomeini, a radical Muslim cleric, became an active critic of the Shah's far-reaching series of reforms known as the White Revolution. Iran_sentence_184

Khomeini publicly denounced the government, and was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. Iran_sentence_185

After his release in 1964, he refused to apologize, and was eventually sent into exile. Iran_sentence_186

Due to the 1973 spike in oil prices, the economy of Iran was flooded with foreign currency, which caused inflation. Iran_sentence_187

By 1974, the economy of Iran was experiencing double digit inflation, and despite the many large projects to modernize the country, corruption was rampant and caused large amounts of waste. Iran_sentence_188

By 1975 and 1976, an economic recession led to increased unemployment, especially among millions of youths who had migrated to the cities of Iran looking for construction jobs during the boom years of the early 1970s. Iran_sentence_189

By the late 1970s, many of these people opposed the Shah's regime and began to organize and join the protests against it. Iran_sentence_190

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution Iran_section_13

Main articles: Iranian Revolution and Iran–Iraq War Iran_sentence_191

The 1979 Revolution, later known as the Islamic Revolution, began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah. Iran_sentence_192

After a year of strikes and demonstrations paralyzing the country and its economy, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled to the United States, and Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran in February 1979, forming a new government. Iran_sentence_193

After holding a referendum, Iran officially became an Islamic republic in April 1979. Iran_sentence_194

A second referendum in December 1979 approved a theocratic constitution. Iran_sentence_195

The immediate nationwide uprisings against the new government began with the 1979 Kurdish rebellion and the Khuzestan uprisings, along with the uprisings in Sistan and Baluchestan and other areas. Iran_sentence_196

Over the next several years, these uprisings were subdued in a violent manner by the new Islamic government. Iran_sentence_197

The new government began purging itself of the non-Islamist political opposition, as well as of those Islamists who were not considered radical enough. Iran_sentence_198

Although both nationalists and Marxists had initially joined with Islamists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were executed by the new regime afterwards. Iran_sentence_199

Many former ministers and officials in the Shah's government, including former prime minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, were executed following Khomeini's order to purge the new government of any remaining officials still loyal to the exiled Shah. Iran_sentence_200

On 4 November 1979, a group of Muslim students seized the United States Embassy and took the embassy with 52 personnel and citizens hostage, after the United States refused to extradite Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Iran, where his execution was all but assured. Iran_sentence_201

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. Iran_sentence_202

On Jimmy Carter's final day in office, the last hostages were finally set free as a result of the Algiers Accords. Iran_sentence_203

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left the United States for Egypt, where he died of complications from cancer only months later, on 27 July 1980. Iran_sentence_204

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. Iran_sentence_205

On 22 September 1980, the Iraqi army invaded the western Iranian province of Khuzestan, launching the Iran–Iraq War. Iran_sentence_206

Although the forces of Saddam Hussein made several early advances, by mid 1982, the Iranian forces successfully managed to drive the Iraqi army back into Iraq. Iran_sentence_207

In July 1982, with Iraq thrown on the defensive, the regime of Iran took the decision to invade Iraq and conducted countless offensives in a bid to conquer Iraqi territory and capture cities, such as Basra. Iran_sentence_208

The war continued until 1988 when the Iraqi army defeated the Iranian forces inside Iraq and pushed the remaining Iranian troops back across the border. Iran_sentence_209

Subsequently, Khomeini accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. Iran_sentence_210

The total Iranian casualties in the war were estimated to be 123,220–160,000 KIA, 60,711 MIA, and 11,000–16,000 civilians killed. Iran_sentence_211

Following the Iran–Iraq War, in 1989, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his administration concentrated on a pragmatic pro-business policy of rebuilding and strengthening the economy without making any dramatic break with the ideology of the revolution. Iran_sentence_212

In 1997, Rafsanjani was succeeded by moderate reformist Mohammad Khatami, whose government attempted, unsuccessfully, to make the country more free and democratic. Iran_sentence_213

The 2005 presidential election brought conservative populist candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to power. Iran_sentence_214

By the time of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, the Interior Ministry announced incumbent President Ahmadinejad had won 62.63% of the vote, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi had come in second place with 33.75%. Iran_sentence_215

The election results were widely disputed, and resulted in widespread protests, both within Iran and in major cities outside the country, and the creation of the Iranian Green Movement. Iran_sentence_216

Hassan Rouhani was elected as the president on 15 June 2013, defeating Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates. Iran_sentence_217

The electoral victory of Rouhani relatively improved the relations of Iran with other countries. Iran_sentence_218

The 2017–18 Iranian protests swept across the country against the government and its longtime Supreme Leader in response to the economic and political situation. Iran_sentence_219

The scale of protests throughout the country and the number of people participating were significant, and it was formally confirmed that thousands of protesters were arrested. Iran_sentence_220

The 2019–20 Iranian protests started on 15 November in Ahvaz, spreading across the country within hours, after the government announced increases in the fuel price of up to 300%. Iran_sentence_221

A week-long total Internet shutdown throughout the country marked one of the most severe Internet blackouts in any country, and according to international observers, tens of thousands were arrested and hundreds were killed within a few days. Iran_sentence_222

On 3 January 2020, the revolutionary guard's general, Qasem Soleimani, was assassinated by the United States in Iraq, which considerably heightened the existing tensions between the two countries. Iran_sentence_223

Three days after, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched a retaliatory attack on US forces in Iraq and shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing 176 civilians and leading to nation-wide protests. Iran_sentence_224

An international investigation led to the government admitting to the shootdown of the plane by a surface-to-air missile after three days of denial, calling it a "human error". Iran_sentence_225

Geography Iran_section_14

Main article: Geography of Iran Iran_sentence_226

See also: Borders of Iran, Agriculture in Iran, and Environmental issues in Iran Iran_sentence_227

Iran has an area of 1,648,195 km (636,372 sq mi). Iran_sentence_228

It lies between latitudes 24° and 40° N, and longitudes 44° and 64° E. Iran_sentence_229

It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia (35 km or 22 mi), the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan (179 km or 111 mi), and the Republic of Azerbaijan (611 km or 380 mi); to the north by the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan (992 km or 616 mi); to the east by Afghanistan (936 km or 582 mi) and Pakistan (909 km or 565 mi); to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Iraq (1,458 km or 906 mi) and Turkey (499 km or 310 mi). Iran_sentence_230

Iran consists of the Iranian Plateau, with the exception of the coasts of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan. Iran_sentence_231

It is one of the world's most mountainous countries, its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaux from one another. Iran_sentence_232

The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros, and Alborz, the last containing Mount Damavand, Iran's highest point at 5,610 m (18,406 ft), which is also the highest mountain in Asia west of the Hindu Kush. Iran_sentence_233

The northern part of Iran is covered by the lush lowland Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests, located near the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Iran_sentence_234

The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins, such as the Kavir Desert, which is the country's largest desert, and the Lut Desert, as well as some salt lakes. Iran_sentence_235

The only large plains are found along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where the country borders the mouth of the Arvand river. Iran_sentence_236

Smaller, discontinuous plains are found along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman. Iran_sentence_237

Climate Iran_section_15

Having 11 climates out of the world's 13, Iran's climate is diverse, ranging from arid and semi-arid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast and the northern forests. Iran_sentence_238

On the northern edge of the country (the Caspian coastal plain), temperatures rarely fall below freezing and the area remains humid for the rest of the year. Iran_sentence_239

Summer temperatures rarely exceed 29 °C (84.2 °F). Iran_sentence_240

Annual precipitation is 680 mm (26.8 in) in the eastern part of the plain and more than 1,700 mm (66.9 in) in the western part. Iran_sentence_241

Gary Lewis, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Iran, has said that "Water scarcity poses the most severe human security challenge in Iran today". Iran_sentence_242

To the west, settlements in the Zagros basin experience lower temperatures, severe winters with below zero average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. Iran_sentence_243

The eastern and central basins are arid, with less than 200 mm (7.9 in) of rain, and have occasional deserts. Iran_sentence_244

Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 38 °C (100.4 °F). Iran_sentence_245

The coastal plains of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, and very humid and hot summers. Iran_sentence_246

The annual precipitation ranges from 135 to 355 mm (5.3 to 14.0 in). Iran_sentence_247

Despite climate change in the region Iran is one of the few countries in the world which has not ratified the Paris Agreement. Iran_sentence_248

Fauna Iran_section_16

See also: Wildlife of Iran Iran_sentence_249

The wildlife of Iran is composed of several animal species, including bears, the Eurasian lynx, foxes, gazelles, gray wolves, jackals, panthers, and wild pigs. Iran_sentence_250

Other domestic animals of Iran include Asian water buffaloes, camels, cattle, donkeys, goats, horses, and the sheep. Iran_sentence_251

Eagles, falcons, partridges, pheasants, and storks are also native to the wildlife of Iran. Iran_sentence_252

One of the most famous members of the Iranian wildlife is the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah, also known as the Iranian cheetah, whose numbers were greatly reduced after the 1979 Revolution. Iran_sentence_253

The Persian leopard, which is the world's largest leopard subspecies living primarily in northern Iran, is also listed as an endangered species. Iran_sentence_254

Iran lost all its Asiatic lions and the now extinct Caspian tigers by the earlier part of the 20th century. Iran_sentence_255

At least 74 species of the Iranian wildlife are on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a sign of serious threats against the country's biodiversity. Iran_sentence_256

The Iranian Parliament has been showing disregard for wildlife by passing laws and regulations such as the act that lets the Ministry of Industries and Mines exploit mines without the involvement of the Department of Environment, and by approving large national development projects without demanding comprehensive study of their impact on wildlife habitats. Iran_sentence_257

Administrative divisions Iran_section_17

Main articles: Regions of Iran, Provinces of Iran, and Counties of Iran Iran_sentence_258

See also: List of Iranian cities by population Iran_sentence_259



Ardabil Bushehr Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Isfahan Fars Gilan Golestan Hamadan Hormozgan Ilam Kerman Kermanshah Khuzestan Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Kurdistan Luristan Markazi Mazandaran Qazvin Qom Razavi Khorasan Semnan Sistan and Baluchestan Tehran Yazd Zanjan North Khorasan South Khorasan West Azerbaijan East Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Persian Gulf Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan Azerbaijan Armenia T u r k e y Iraq Kuwait Saudi ArabiaIran_cell_1_0_0

Iran is divided into five regions with thirty-one provinces (ostān), each governed by an appointed governor (ostāndār). Iran_sentence_260

The provinces are divided into counties (šahrestān), and subdivided into districts (baxš) and sub-districts (dehestān). Iran_sentence_261

The country has one of the highest urban growth rates in the world. Iran_sentence_262

From 1950 to 2002, the urban proportion of the population increased from 27% to 60%. Iran_sentence_263

The United Nations predicts that by 2030, 80% of the population will be urban. Iran_sentence_264

Most internal migrants have settled around the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Ahvaz, and Qom. Iran_sentence_265

The listed populations are from the 2006/07 (1385 AP) census. Iran_sentence_266

Tehran, with a population of around 8.8 million (2016 census), is the capital and largest city of Iran. Iran_sentence_267

It is an economical and cultural center, and is the hub of the country's communication and transport network. Iran_sentence_268

The country's second most populous city, Mashhad, has a population of around 3.3 million (2016 census), and is capital of the province of Razavi Khorasan. Iran_sentence_269

Being the site of the Imam Reza Shrine, it is a holy city in Shia Islam. Iran_sentence_270

About 15 to 20 million pilgrims visit the shrine every year. Iran_sentence_271

Isfahan has a population of around 2.2 million (2016 census), and is Iran's third most populous city. Iran_sentence_272

It is the capital of the province of Isfahan, and was also the third capital of the Safavid Empire. Iran_sentence_273

It is home to a wide variety of historical sites, including the famous Shah Square, Siosepol, and the churches at the Armenian district of New Julfa. Iran_sentence_274

It is also home to the world's seventh largest shopping mall, Isfahan City Center. Iran_sentence_275

The fourth most populous city of Iran, Karaj, has a population of around 1.9 million (2016 census). Iran_sentence_276

It is the capital of the province of Alborz, and is situated 20 km west of Tehran, at the foot of the Alborz mountain range. Iran_sentence_277

It is a major industrial city in Iran, with large factories producing sugar, textiles, wire, and alcohol. Iran_sentence_278

With a population of around 1.7 million (2016 census), Tabriz is the fifth most populous city of Iran, and had been the second most populous until the late 1960s. Iran_sentence_279

It was the first capital of the Safavid Empire, and is now the capital of the province of East Azerbaijan. Iran_sentence_280

It is also considered the country's second major industrial city (after Tehran). Iran_sentence_281

Shiraz, with a population of around 1.8 million (2016 census), is Iran's sixth most populous city. Iran_sentence_282

It is the capital of the province of Fars, and was also the capital of Iran under the reign of the Zand dynasty. Iran_sentence_283

It is located near the ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire. Iran_sentence_284

Government and politics Iran_section_18

Main article: Politics of Iran Iran_sentence_285

The political system of the Islamic Republic is based on the 1979 Constitution. Iran_sentence_286

According to international reports, Iran's human rights record is exceptionally poor. Iran_sentence_287

The regime in Iran is undemocratic, has frequently persecuted and arrested critics of the government and its Supreme Leader, and severely restricts the participation of candidates in popular elections as well as other forms of political activity. Iran_sentence_288

Women's rights in Iran are described as seriously inadequate, and children's rights have been severely violated, with more child offenders being executed in Iran than in any other country in the world. Iran_sentence_289

Sexual activity between members of the same sex is illegal and is punishable by up to death. Iran_sentence_290

Since the 2000s, Iran's controversial nuclear program has raised concerns, which is part of the basis of the international sanctions against the country. Iran_sentence_291

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1, was created on 14 July 2015, aimed to loosen the nuclear sanctions in exchange for Iran's restriction in producing enriched uranium. Iran_sentence_292

Over the past decade, numbers of anti-government protests have broken out throughout Iran (such as the 2019–20 Iranian protests), demanding reforms or the end to the Islamic Republic. Iran_sentence_293

However, the IRGC and police often suppressed mass protests by violent means, which resulted in thousands of protesters killed. Iran_sentence_294

Supreme Leader Iran_section_19

The Leader of the Revolution ("Supreme Leader") is responsible for delineation and supervision of the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran_sentence_295

The Iranian president has limited power compared to the Supreme Leader Khamenei. Iran_sentence_296

The current longtime Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has been issuing decrees and making the final decisions on the economy, environment, foreign policy, education, national planning, and everything else in the country. Iran_sentence_297

Khamenei also outlines elections guidelines and urges for the transparency, and has fired and reinstated presidential cabinet appointments. Iran_sentence_298

Key ministers are selected with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's agreement and he has the ultimate say on Iran's foreign policy. Iran_sentence_299

The president-elect is required to gain the Leader Khamenei's official approval before being sworn in before the Parliament (Majlis). Iran_sentence_300

Through this process, known as Tanfiz (validation), the Leader agrees to the outcome of the presidential election. Iran_sentence_301

The Supreme Leader is directly involved in ministerial appointments for Defense, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs, as well as other top ministries after submission of candidates from the president. Iran_sentence_302

Iran's regional policy is directly controlled by the office of the Supreme Leader with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' task limited to protocol and ceremonial occasions. Iran_sentence_303

All of Iran's ambassadors to Arab countries, for example, are chosen by the Quds Corps, which directly reports to the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_304

The budget bill for every year, as well as withdrawing money from the National Development Fund of Iran, require Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's approval and permission. Iran_sentence_305

The Supreme Leader Khamenei can and did order laws to be amended. Iran_sentence_306

Setad, estimated at $95 billion in 2013 by the Reuters, accounts of which are secret even to the Iranian parliament, is controlled only by the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_307

The Supreme Leader is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations, and has sole power to declare war or peace. Iran_sentence_308

The heads of the judiciary, the state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces, and six of the twelve members of the Guardian Council are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_309

The Assembly of Experts is responsible for electing the Supreme Leader, and has the power to dismiss him on the basis of qualifications and popular esteem. Iran_sentence_310

To date, the Assembly of Experts has not challenged any of the Supreme Leader's decisions, nor has it attempted to dismiss him. Iran_sentence_311

The previous head of the judicial system, Sadeq Larijani, appointed by the Supreme Leader, said that it is illegal for the Assembly of Experts to supervise the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_312

Due to Khamenei's very longtime unchallenged rule, many believe the Assembly of Experts has become a ceremonial body without any real power. Iran_sentence_313

There have been instances when the current Supreme Leader publicly criticized members of the Assembly of Experts, resulting in their arrest and dismissal. Iran_sentence_314

For example, Khamenei publicly called then-member of the Assembly of Experts Ahmad Azari Qomi a traitor, resulting in Qomi's arrest and eventual dismissal from the Assembly of Experts. Iran_sentence_315

Another instance is when Khamenei indirectly called Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani a traitor for a statement he made, causing Rafsanjani to retract it. Iran_sentence_316

Guardian Council Iran_section_20

Presidential candidates and parliamentary candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council (all members of which are directly or indirectly appointed by the Leader) or the Leader before running, in order to ensure their allegiance to the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_317

The Leader very rarely does the vetting himself directly, but has the power to do so, in which case additional approval of the Guardian Council would not be needed. Iran_sentence_318

The Leader can also revert the decisions of the Guardian Council. Iran_sentence_319

The Guardian Council can, and has dismissed some elected members of the Iranian parliament in the past. Iran_sentence_320

For example, Minoo Khaleghi was disqualified by Guardian Council even after winning election, as she had been photographed in a meeting without wearing headscarf. Iran_sentence_321

President Iran_section_21

After the Supreme Leader, the Constitution defines the President of Iran as the highest state authority. Iran_sentence_322

The President is elected by universal suffrage for a term of four years, however, the president is still required to gain the Leader's official approval before being sworn in before the Parliament (Majlis). Iran_sentence_323

The Leader also has the power to dismiss the elected president anytime. Iran_sentence_324

The President can only be re-elected for one term. Iran_sentence_325

The President is responsible for the implementation of the constitution, and for the exercise of executive powers in implementing the decrees and general policies as outlined by the Supreme Leader, except for matters directly related to the Supreme Leader, who has the final say in all matters. Iran_sentence_326

Unlike the executive in other countries, the President of Iran does not have full control over anything, as these are ultimately under the control of the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_327

Chapter IX of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran sets forth the qualifications for presidential candidates. Iran_sentence_328

The procedures for presidential election and all other elections in Iran are outlined by the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_329

The President functions as the executive of affairs such as signing treaties and other international agreements, and administering national planning, budget, and state employment affairs, all as approved by the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_330

The President appoints the ministers, subject to the approval of the Parliament, as well as the approval of the Supreme Leader, who can dismiss or reinstate any of the ministers at any time, regardless of the decisions made by the President or the Parliament. Iran_sentence_331

The President supervises the Council of Ministers, coordinates government decisions, and selects government policies to be placed before the legislature. Iran_sentence_332

The current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has fired as well as reinstated Council of Ministers members. Iran_sentence_333

Eight Vice Presidents serve under the President, as well as a cabinet of twenty-two ministers, who must all be approved by the legislature. Iran_sentence_334

Legislature Iran_section_22

The legislature of Iran, known as the Islamic Consultative Assembly, is a unicameral body comprising 290 members elected for four-year terms. Iran_sentence_335

It drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget. Iran_sentence_336

All parliamentary candidates and all legislation from the assembly must be approved by the Guardian Council. Iran_sentence_337

The Guardian Council comprises twelve jurists, including six appointed by the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_338

Others are elected by the Parliament, from among the jurists nominated by the Head of the Judiciary. Iran_sentence_339

The Council interprets the constitution and may veto the Parliament. Iran_sentence_340

If a law is deemed incompatible with the constitution or Sharia (Islamic law), it is referred back to the Parliament for revision. Iran_sentence_341

The Expediency Council has the authority to mediate disputes between the Parliament and the Guardian Council, and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country. Iran_sentence_342

Local city councils are elected by public vote to four-year terms in all cities and villages of Iran. Iran_sentence_343

Law Iran_section_23

Main article: Judicial system of Iran Iran_sentence_344

The Supreme Leader appoints the head of the country's judiciary, who in turn appoints the head of the Supreme Court and the chief public prosecutor. Iran_sentence_345

There are several types of courts, including public courts that deal with civil and criminal cases, and revolutionary courts which deal with certain categories of offenses, such as crimes against national security. Iran_sentence_346

The decisions of the revolutionary courts are final and cannot be appealed. Iran_sentence_347

The Special Clerical Court handles crimes allegedly committed by clerics, although it has also taken on cases involving laypeople. Iran_sentence_348

The Special Clerical Court functions independently of the regular judicial framework, and is accountable only to the Supreme Leader. Iran_sentence_349

The Court's rulings are final and cannot be appealed. Iran_sentence_350

The Assembly of Experts, which meets for one week annually, comprises 86 "virtuous and learned" clerics elected by adult suffrage for eight-year terms. Iran_sentence_351

Foreign relations Iran_section_24

Main article: Foreign relations of Iran Iran_sentence_352

The officially stated goal of the government of Iran is to establish a new world order based on world peace, global collective security, and justice. Iran_sentence_353

Since the time of the 1979 Revolution, Iran's foreign relations have often been portrayed as being based on two strategic principles; eliminating outside influences in the region, and pursuing extensive diplomatic contacts with developing and non-aligned countries. Iran_sentence_354

Since 2005, Iran's nuclear program has become the subject of contention with the international community, mainly the United States. Iran_sentence_355

Many countries have expressed concern that Iran's nuclear program could divert civilian nuclear technology into a weapons program. Iran_sentence_356

This has led the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran which had further isolated Iran politically and economically from the rest of the global community. Iran_sentence_357

In 2009, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence said that Iran, if choosing to, would not be able to develop a nuclear weapon until 2013. Iran_sentence_358

As of 2009, the government of Iran maintains diplomatic relations with 99 members of the United Nations, but not with the United States, and not with Israel—a state which Iran's government has derecognized since the 1979 Revolution. Iran_sentence_359

Among Muslim nations, Iran has an adversarial relationship with Saudi Arabia due to different political and Islamic ideologies. Iran_sentence_360

While Iran is a Shia Islamic Republic, Saudi Arabia is a conservative Sunni monarchy. Iran_sentence_361

Regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the government of Iran has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Iran_sentence_362

On 14 July 2015, Tehran and the P5+1 came to a historic agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) to end economic sanctions after demonstrating a peaceful nuclear research project that would meet the International Atomic Energy Agency standards. Iran_sentence_363

Iran is a member of dozens of international organizations, including the G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, IDA, IDB, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, OIC, OPEC, WHO, and the United Nations, and currently has observer status at the World Trade Organization. Iran_sentence_364

In September 2018, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations asked the UN to condemn Israeli threats against Tehran and also bring Israel's nuclear program under the International Atomic Energy Agency's supervision. Iran_sentence_365

In April 2019 the U.S. threatened to sanction countries continuing to buy oil from Iran after an initial six-month waiver announced in November expired. Iran_sentence_366

According to the BBC, U.S. Iran_sentence_367

sanctions against Iran "have led to a sharp downturn in Iran's economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, driving away foreign investors, and triggering protests." Iran_sentence_368

On 1 September 2019, the Iranian authorities took a step to enhance its relations with Qatar, and decided to grant Qatari passport holders tourist visas upon arrival at Iranian airports. Iran_sentence_369

Besides, Qatari nationals were also permitted to obtain a single or multiple-entry visa from Iran's embassy in Doha. Iran_sentence_370

Military Iran_section_25

Main article: Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran Iran_sentence_371

See also: Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War Iran_sentence_372

The Islamic Republic of Iran has two types of armed forces: the regular forces of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy, and the Revolutionary Guards, totaling about 545,000 active troops. Iran_sentence_373

Iran also has around 350,000 Reserve Force, totaling around 900,000 trained troops. Iran_sentence_374

The government of Iran has a paramilitary, volunteer militia force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, called the Basij, which includes about 90,000 full-time, active-duty uniformed members. Iran_sentence_375

Up to 11 million men and women are members of the Basij who could potentially be called up for service. Iran_sentence_376 estimates Iran could mobilize "up to one million men", which would be among the largest troop mobilizations in the world. Iran_sentence_377

In 2007, Iran's military spending represented 2.6% of the GDP or $102 per capita, the lowest figure of the Persian Gulf nations. Iran_sentence_378

Iran's military doctrine is based on deterrence. Iran_sentence_379

In 2014, the country spent $15 billion on arms, while the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council spent eight times more. Iran_sentence_380

The United States under President Donald Trump officially labeled the Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization. Iran_sentence_381

It is the first time that an element of a foreign state was designated as a terrorist organization. Iran_sentence_382

The government of Iran supports the military activities of its allies in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon (Hezbollah) with military and financial aid. Iran_sentence_383

Iran and Syria are close strategic allies, and Iran has provided significant support for the Syrian Government in the Syrian Civil War. Iran_sentence_384

According to some estimates, Iran controlled over 80,000 pro-Assad Shi'ite fighters in Syria. Iran_sentence_385

Since the 1979 Revolution, to overcome foreign embargoes, the government of Iran has developed its own military industry, produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, submarines, military vessels, missile destroyer, radar systems, helicopters, and fighter planes. Iran_sentence_386

In recent years, official announcements have highlighted the development of weapons such as the Hoot, Kowsar, Zelzal, Fateh-110, Shahab-3, Sejjil, and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Iran_sentence_387

Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. Iran_sentence_388

The Fajr-3, a liquid fuel missile with an undisclosed range which was developed and produced domestically, is currently the most advanced ballistic missile of the country. Iran_sentence_389

Mandatory military service Iran_section_26

In June 1925, Reza Shah introduced conscription law at National Consultative Majlis. Iran_sentence_390

At that time every male person who had reached 21 years old must serve for military for two years. Iran_sentence_391

The conscription exempted women from military service after 1979 revolution. Iran_sentence_392

Iranian constitution obliges all men of 18 years old and higher to serve in military or police bases. Iran_sentence_393

They cannot leave the country or be employed without completion of the service period. Iran_sentence_394

The period varies from 18 to 24 months. Iran_sentence_395

Inappropriate situation of Iranian soldiers has caused violent incidents in recent years. Iran_sentence_396

Most of Iranian soldiers suffer from depression. Iran_sentence_397

In addition, some researches have reported high rate of suicide among Iranian conscripts. Iran_sentence_398

Economy Iran_section_27

Main article: Economy of Iran Iran_sentence_399

See also: Iranian subsidy reform plan, Banking and insurance in Iran, Transport in Iran, and Communications in Iran Iran_sentence_400

Iran's economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures. Iran_sentence_401

In 2017, GDP was $427.7 billion ($1.631 trillion at PPP), or $20,000 at PPP per capita. Iran_sentence_402

Iran is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. Iran_sentence_403

In the early 21st century, the service sector contributed the largest percentage of the GDP, followed by industry (mining and manufacturing) and agriculture. Iran_sentence_404

The Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for developing and maintaining the Iranian rial, which serves as the country's currency. Iran_sentence_405

The government does not recognize trade unions other than the Islamic labour councils, which are subject to the approval of employers and the security services. Iran_sentence_406

The minimum wage in June 2013 was 487 million rials a month ($134). Iran_sentence_407

Unemployment has remained above 10% since 1997, and the unemployment rate for women is almost double that of the men. Iran_sentence_408

In 2006, about 45% of the government's budget came from oil and natural gas revenues, and 31% came from taxes and fees. Iran_sentence_409

As of 2007, Iran had earned $70 billion in foreign-exchange reserves, mostly (80%) from crude oil exports. Iran_sentence_410

Iranian budget deficits have been a chronic problem, mostly due to large-scale state subsidies, that include foodstuffs and especially gasoline, totaling more than $84 billion in 2008 for the energy sector alone. Iran_sentence_411

In 2010, the economic reform plan was approved by parliament to cut subsidies gradually and replace them with targeted social assistance. Iran_sentence_412

The objective is to move towards free market prices in a five-year period and increase productivity and social justice. Iran_sentence_413

The administration continues to follow the market reform plans of the previous one, and indicates that it will diversify Iran's oil-reliant economy. Iran_sentence_414

Iran has also developed a biotechnology, nanotechnology, and pharmaceutical industry. Iran_sentence_415

However, nationalized industries such as the bonyads have often been managed badly, making them ineffective and uncompetitive with years. Iran_sentence_416

Currently, the government is trying to privatize these industries, and, despite successes, there are still several problems to be overcome, such as the lagging corruption in the public sector and lack of competitiveness. Iran_sentence_417

Iran has leading manufacturing industries in the fields of automobile manufacture, transportation, construction materials, home appliances, food and agricultural goods, armaments, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and petrochemicals in the Middle East. Iran_sentence_418

According to the 2012 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization, Iran has been among the world's top five producers of apricots, cherries, sour cherries, cucumbers and gherkins, dates, eggplants, figs, pistachios, quinces, walnuts, and watermelons. Iran_sentence_419

Economic sanctions against Iran, such as the embargo against Iranian crude oil, have affected the economy. Iran_sentence_420

Sanctions have led to a steep fall in the value of the rial, and as of April 2013, one US dollar is worth 36,000 rial, compared with 16,000 in early 2012. Iran_sentence_421

In 2018, after the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, the price of dollar hit an all-time high at just over 190,000 rials, which halted the market from trades and stores from selling goods, particularly in the consumer electronics sector until the prices were stable. Iran_sentence_422

In 2015, Iran and the P5+1 reached a deal on the nuclear program that removed the main sanctions pertaining to Iran's nuclear program by 2016. Iran_sentence_423

Tourism Iran_section_28

Main article: Tourism in Iran Iran_sentence_424

Although tourism declined significantly during the war with Iraq, it has been subsequently recovered. Iran_sentence_425

About 1,659,000 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2004, and 2.3 million in 2009, mostly from Asian countries, including the republics of Central Asia, while about 10% came from the European Union and North America. Iran_sentence_426

Since the removal of some sanctions against Iran in 2015, tourism has re-surged in the country. Iran_sentence_427

Over five million tourists visited Iran in the fiscal year of 2014–2015, four percent more than the previous year. Iran_sentence_428

Alongside the capital, the most popular tourist destinations are Isfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz. Iran_sentence_429

In the early 2000s, the industry faced serious limitations in infrastructure, communications, industry standards, and personnel training. Iran_sentence_430

The majority of the 300,000 travel visas granted in 2003 were obtained by Asian Muslims, who presumably intended to visit pilgrimage sites in Mashhad and Qom. Iran_sentence_431

Several organized tours from Germany, France, and other European countries come to Iran annually to visit archaeological sites and monuments. Iran_sentence_432

In 2003, Iran ranked 68th in tourism revenues worldwide. Iran_sentence_433

According to the UNESCO and the deputy head of research for Iran's Tourism Organization, Iran is rated fourth among the top 10 destinations in the Middle East. Iran_sentence_434

Domestic tourism in Iran is one of the largest in the world. Iran_sentence_435

Weak advertising, unstable regional conditions, a poor public image in some parts of the world, and absence of efficient planning schemes in the tourism sector have all hindered the growth of tourism. Iran_sentence_436

Energy Iran_section_29

Main articles: Energy in Iran, Petroleum industry in Iran, Nuclear program of Iran, and Foreign direct investment in Iran Iran_sentence_437

Iran has the world's second largest proved gas reserves after Russia, with 33.6 trillion cubic metres, and the third largest natural gas production after Indonesia and Russia. Iran_sentence_438

It also ranks fourth in oil reserves with an estimated 153,600,000,000 barrels. Iran_sentence_439

It is OPEC's second largest oil exporter, and is an energy superpower. Iran_sentence_440

In 2005, Iran spent US$4 billion on fuel imports, because of contraband and inefficient domestic use. Iran_sentence_441

Oil industry output averaged 4 million barrels per day (640,000 m/d) in 2005, compared with the peak of six million barrels per day reached in 1974. Iran_sentence_442

In the early 2000s, industry infrastructure was increasingly inefficient because of technological lags. Iran_sentence_443

Few exploratory wells were drilled in 2005. Iran_sentence_444

In 2004, a large share of Iran's natural gas reserves were untapped. Iran_sentence_445

The addition of new hydroelectric stations and the streamlining of conventional coal and oil-fired stations increased installed capacity to 33,000 megawatts. Iran_sentence_446

Of that amount, about 75% was based on natural gas, 18% on oil, and 7% on hydroelectric power. Iran_sentence_447

In 2004, Iran opened its first wind-powered and geothermal plants, and the first solar thermal plant was to come online in 2009. Iran_sentence_448

Iran is the world's third country to have developed GTL technology. Iran_sentence_449

Demographic trends and intensified industrialization have caused electric power demand to grow by 8% per year. Iran_sentence_450

The government's goal of 53,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2010 is to be reached by bringing on line new gas-fired plants, and adding hydropower and nuclear power generation capacity. Iran_sentence_451

Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushire went online in 2011. Iran_sentence_452

It is the second nuclear power plant ever built in the Middle East after the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia. Iran_sentence_453

In 2020 Fatih Birol the head of the International Energy Agency said that fossil fuel subsidies should be redirected, for example to the health system. Iran_sentence_454

Education, science and technology Iran_section_30

Main articles: Education in Iran and Science and technology in Iran Iran_sentence_455

Education in Iran is highly centralized. Iran_sentence_456

K–12 is supervised by the Ministry of Education, and higher education is under the supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Iran_sentence_457

The adult literacy rated 93.0% in September 2015, while it had rated 85.0% in 2008, up from 36.5% in 1976. Iran_sentence_458

According to the data provided by UNESCO, Iran's literacy rate among people aged 15 years and older was 85.54% as of 2016, with men (90.35%) being significantly more educated than women (80.79%), with the number of illiterate people of the same age amounting to around 8,700,000 of the country's 85 million population. Iran_sentence_459

According to this report, Iranian government's expenditure on education amounts to around 4% of the GDP. Iran_sentence_460

The requirement to enter into higher education is to have a high school diploma and pass the Iranian University Entrance Exam (officially known as konkur (کنکور)), which is the equivalent of the SAT and ACT exams of the United States. Iran_sentence_461

Many students do a 1–2-year course of pre-university (piš-dānešgāh), which is the equivalent of the GCE A-levels and the International Baccalaureate. Iran_sentence_462

The completion of the pre-university course earns students the Pre-University Certificate. Iran_sentence_463

Iran's higher education is sanctioned by different levels of diplomas, including an associate degree (kārdāni; also known as fowq e diplom) delivered in two years, a bachelor's degree (kāršenāsi; also known as lisāns) delivered in four years, and a master's degree (kāršenāsi e aršad) delivered in two years, after which another exam allows the candidate to pursue a doctoral program (PhD; known as doktorā). Iran_sentence_464

According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (as of January 2017), Iran's top five universities include Tehran University of Medical Sciences (478th worldwide), the University of Tehran (514th worldwide), Sharif University of Technology (605th worldwide), Amirkabir University of Technology (726th worldwide), and the Tarbiat Modares University (789th worldwide). Iran_sentence_465

Iran has increased its publication output nearly tenfold from 1996 through 2004, and has been ranked first in terms of output growth rate, followed by China. Iran_sentence_466

According to a study by SCImago in 2012, Iran would rank fourth in the world in terms of research output by 2018, if the current trend persists. Iran_sentence_467

In 2009, a SUSE Linux-based HPC system made by the Aerospace Research Institute of Iran (ARI) was launched with 32 cores, and now runs 96 cores. Iran_sentence_468

Its performance was pegged at 192 GFLOPS. Iran_sentence_469

The Iranian humanoid robot Sorena 2, which was designed by engineers at the University of Tehran, was unveiled in 2010. Iran_sentence_470

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has placed the name of Surena among the five prominent robots of the world after analyzing its performance. Iran_sentence_471

In the biomedical sciences, Iran's Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics has a UNESCO chair in biology. Iran_sentence_472

In late 2006, Iranian scientists successfully cloned a sheep by somatic cell nuclear transfer, at the Royan Research Center in Tehran. Iran_sentence_473

According to a study by David Morrison and Ali Khadem Hosseini (Harvard-MIT and Cambridge), stem cell research in Iran is amongst the top 10 in the world. Iran_sentence_474

Iran ranks 15th in the world in nanotechnologies. Iran_sentence_475

Iran placed its domestically built satellite Omid into orbit on the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, on 2 February 2009, through its first expendable launch vehicle Safir, becoming the ninth country in the world capable of both producing a satellite and sending it into space from a domestically made launcher. Iran_sentence_476

The Iranian nuclear program was launched in the 1950s. Iran_sentence_477

Iran is the seventh country to produce uranium hexafluoride, and controls the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Iran_sentence_478

Iranian scientists outside Iran have also made some major contributions to science. Iran_sentence_479

In 1960, Ali Javan co-invented the first gas laser, and fuzzy set theory was introduced by Lotfi A. Zadeh. Iran_sentence_480

Iranian cardiologist Tofigh Mussivand invented and developed the first artificial cardiac pump, the precursor of the artificial heart Furthering research and treatment of diabetes, the HbA1c was discovered by Samuel Rahbar. Iran_sentence_481

Iranian physics is especially strong in string theory, with many papers being published in Iran. Iran_sentence_482

Iranian American string theorist Kamran Vafa proposed the Vafa–Witten theorem together with Edward Witten. Iran_sentence_483

In August 2014, Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman, as well as the first Iranian, to receive the Fields Medal, the highest prize in mathematics. Iran_sentence_484

Demographics Iran_section_31

Main article: Demographics of Iran Iran_sentence_485

See also: Healthcare in Iran Iran_sentence_486

Iran is a diverse country, consisting of numerous ethnic and linguistic groups that are unified through a shared Iranian nationality. Iran_sentence_487

Iran's population grew rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century, increasing from about 19 million in 1956 to more than 84 million by July 2020. Iran_sentence_488

However, Iran's fertility rate has dropped significantly in recent years, coming down from a fertility rate of 6.5 per woman to less than 2 just two decades later, leading to a population growth rate of about 1.39% as of 2018. Iran_sentence_489

Due to its young population, studies project that the growth will continue to slow until it stabilizes around 105 million by 2050. Iran_sentence_490

Iran hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with almost one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran_sentence_491

Since 2006, Iranian officials have been working with the UNHCR and Afghan officials for their repatriation. Iran_sentence_492

According to estimates, about five million Iranian citizens have emigrated to other countries, mostly since the 1979 Revolution. Iran_sentence_493

According to the Iranian Constitution, the government is required to provide every citizen of the country with access to social security, covering retirement, unemployment, old age, disability, accidents, calamities, health and medical treatment and care services. Iran_sentence_494

This is covered by tax revenues and income derived from public contributions. Iran_sentence_495

Languages Iran_section_32

Main article: Languages of Iran Iran_sentence_496

The majority of the population speak Persian, which is also the official language of the country. Iran_sentence_497

Others include speakers of a number of other Iranian languages within the greater Indo-European family, and languages belonging to some other ethnicities living in Iran. Iran_sentence_498

In northern Iran, mostly confined to Gilan and Mazenderan, the Gilaki and Mazenderani languages are widely spoken, both having affinities to the neighboring Caucasian languages. Iran_sentence_499

In parts of Gilan, the Talysh language is also widely spoken, which stretches up to the neighboring Republic of Azerbaijan. Iran_sentence_500

Varieties of Kurdish are widely spoken in the province of Kurdistan and nearby areas. Iran_sentence_501

In Khuzestan, several distinct varieties of Persian are spoken. Iran_sentence_502

Luri and Lari are also spoken in southern Iran. Iran_sentence_503

Azerbaijani, which is by far the most spoken language in the country after Persian, as well as a number of other Turkic languages and dialects, is spoken in various regions of Iran, especially in the region of Azerbaijan. Iran_sentence_504

Notable minority languages in Iran include Armenian, Georgian, Neo-Aramaic, and Arabic. Iran_sentence_505

Khuzi Arabic is spoken by the Arabs in Khuzestan, as well as the wider group of Iranian Arabs. Iran_sentence_506

Circassian was also once widely spoken by the large Circassian minority, but, due to assimilation over the many years, no sizable number of Circassians speak the language anymore. Iran_sentence_507

Percentages of spoken language continue to be a point of debate, as many opt that they are politically motivated; most notably regarding the largest and second largest ethnicities in Iran, the Persians and Azerbaijanis. Iran_sentence_508

Percentages given by the CIA's World Factbook include 53% Persian, 16% Azerbaijani, 10% Kurdish, 7% Mazenderani and Gilaki, 7% Luri, 2% Turkmen, 2% Balochi, 2% Arabic, and 2% the remainder Armenian, Georgian, Neo-Aramaic, and Circassian. Iran_sentence_509

Ethnic groups Iran_section_33

Main article: Ethnicities in Iran Iran_sentence_510

As with the spoken languages, the ethnic group composition also remains a point of debate, mainly regarding the largest and second largest ethnic groups, the Persians and Azerbaijanis, due to the lack of Iranian state censuses based on ethnicity. Iran_sentence_511

The CIA's World Factbook has estimated that around 79% of the population of Iran are a diverse Indo-European ethno-linguistic group that comprise speakers of various Iranian languages, with Persians (including Mazenderanis and Gilaks) constituting 61% of the population, Kurds 10%, Lurs 6%, and Balochs 2%. Iran_sentence_512

Peoples of other ethno-linguistic groups make up the remaining 21%, with Azerbaijanis constituting 16%, Arabs 2%, Turkmens and other Turkic tribes 2%, and others (such as Armenians, Talysh, Georgians, Circassians, Assyrians) 1%. Iran_sentence_513

The Library of Congress issued slightly different estimates: 65% Persians (including Mazenderanis, Gilaks, and the Talysh), 16% Azerbaijanis, 7% Kurds, 6% Lurs, 2% Baloch, 1% Turkic tribal groups (incl. Iran_sentence_514

Qashqai and Turkmens), and non-Iranian, non-Turkic groups (incl. Iran_sentence_515

Armenians, Georgians, Assyrians, Circassians, and Arabs) less than 3%. Iran_sentence_516

It determined that Persian is the first language of at least 65% of the country's population, and is the second language for most of the remaining 35%. Iran_sentence_517

Other nongovernmental estimates regarding the groups other than Persians and Azerbaijanis are roughly congruent with the World Factbook and the Library of Congress. Iran_sentence_518

However, many estimates regarding the number of these two groups differ significantly from the mentioned census; some place the number of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran between 21.6 and 30% of the total population, with the majority holding it on 25%. Iran_sentence_519

In any case, the largest population of Azerbaijanis in the world live in Iran. Iran_sentence_520

Religion Iran_section_34

Main articles: Religion in Iran and Irreligion in Iran Iran_sentence_521

See also: Islamization of Iran Iran_sentence_522


Iranian people by religion, 2011 General Census ResultsIran_table_caption_2
ReligionIran_cell_2_0_0 PercentIran_cell_2_0_1 NumberIran_cell_2_0_2
MuslimIran_cell_2_1_0 99.3989%

(90–95% Shia)Iran_cell_2_1_1

ChristianIran_cell_2_2_0 0.1566%Iran_cell_2_2_1 117,704Iran_cell_2_2_2
ZoroastrianIran_cell_2_3_0 0.0336%Iran_cell_2_3_1 25,271Iran_cell_2_3_2
JewishIran_cell_2_4_0 0.0117%Iran_cell_2_4_1 8,756Iran_cell_2_4_2
OtherIran_cell_2_5_0 0.0653%Iran_cell_2_5_1 49,101Iran_cell_2_5_2
UndeclaredIran_cell_2_6_0 0.3538%Iran_cell_2_6_1 205,317Iran_cell_2_6_2

Twelver Shia Islam is the official state religion, to which about 90% to 95% of the population adhere. Iran_sentence_523

About 4% to 8% of the population are Sunni Muslims, mainly Kurds and Baloches. Iran_sentence_524

The remaining 2% are non-Muslim religious minorities, including Christians, Jews, Bahais, Mandeans, Yezidis, Yarsanis, and Zoroastrians. Iran_sentence_525

There are about 3,000,000 adherents of Yarsanism, a Kurdish indigenous religion related to Zoroastrianism: making it the largest (unrecognized) minority religion in Iran. Iran_sentence_526

Its followers are mainly Gorani Kurds and certain groups of Lurs. Iran_sentence_527

They are based in Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province and Lorestan mainly. Iran_sentence_528

Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and the Sunni branch of Islam are officially recognized by the government, and have reserved seats in the Iranian Parliament. Iran_sentence_529

Historically, early Iranian religions such as the Proto-Iranic religion and the subsequent Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism were the dominant religions in Iran, particularly during the Median, Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian eras. Iran_sentence_530

This changed after the fall of the Sasanian Empire by the centuries-long Islamization that followed the Muslim Conquest of Iran. Iran_sentence_531

Iran was predominantly Sunni until the conversion of the country (as well as the people of what is today the neighboring Republic of Azerbaijan) to Shia Islam by the order of the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century. Iran_sentence_532

Judaism has a long history in Iran, dating back to the Achaemenid conquest of Babylonia. Iran_sentence_533

Although many left in the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel and the 1979 Revolution, about 8,756 to 25,000 Jewish people live in Iran. Iran_sentence_534

Iran has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Iran_sentence_535

Around 250,000 to 370,000 Christians reside in Iran, and Christianity is the country's largest recognized minority religion. Iran_sentence_536

Most are of Armenian background, as well as a sizable minority of Assyrians. Iran_sentence_537

A large number of Iranians have converted to Christianity from the predominant Shia Islam. Iran_sentence_538

The Bahá'í Faith is not officially recognized and has been subject to official persecution. Iran_sentence_539

According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Bahá'ís are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran, with an estimated 350,000 adherents. Iran_sentence_540

Since the 1979 Revolution, the persecution of Bahais has increased with executions and denial of civil rights, especially the denial of access to higher education and employment. Iran_sentence_541

Culture Iran_section_35

Main article: Culture of Iran Iran_sentence_542

The earliest attested cultures in Iran date back to the Lower Paleolithic. Iran_sentence_543

Owing to its geopolitical position, Iran has influenced cultures as far as Greece and Italy to the west, Russia to the north, the Arabian Peninsula to the south, and south and east Asia to the east. Iran_sentence_544

Art Iran_section_36

Main articles: Iranian art and Arts of Iran Iran_sentence_545

See also: Achaemenid architecture, Parthian art, Sasanian art, Safavid art, Qajar art, and Iranian modern and contemporary art Iran_sentence_546

The art of Iran encompasses many disciplines, including architecture, stonemasonry, metalworking, weaving, pottery, painting, and calligraphy. Iran_sentence_547

Iranian works of art show a great variety in style, in different regions and periods. Iran_sentence_548

The art of the Medes remains obscure, but has been theoretically attributed to the Scythian style. Iran_sentence_549

The Achaemenids borrowed heavily from the art of their neighboring civilizations, but produced a synthesis of a unique style, with an eclectic architecture remaining at sites such as Persepolis and Pasargadae. Iran_sentence_550

Greek iconography was imported by the Seleucids, followed by the recombination of Hellenistic and earlier Near Eastern elements in the art of the Parthians, with remains such as the Temple of Anahita and the Statue of the Parthian Nobleman. Iran_sentence_551

By the time of the Sasanians, Iranian art came across a general renaissance. Iran_sentence_552

Although of unclear development, Sasanian art was highly influential, and spread into far regions. Iran_sentence_553

Taq-e-Bostan, Taq-e-Kasra, Naqsh-e-Rostam, and the Shapur-Khwast Castle are among the surviving monuments from the Sasanian period. Iran_sentence_554

During the Middle Ages, Sasanian art played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art, which carried forward to the Islamic world, and much of what later became known as Islamic learning—including medicine, architecture, philosophy, philology, and literature—were of Sasanian basis. Iran_sentence_555

The Safavid era is known as the Golden Age of Iranian art, and Safavid works of art show a far more unitary development than in any other period, as part of a political evolution that reunified Iran as a cultural entity. Iran_sentence_556

Safavid art exerted noticeable influences upon the neighboring Ottomans, the Mughals, and the Deccans, and was also influential through its fashion and garden architecture on 11th–17th-century Europe. Iran_sentence_557

Iran's contemporary art traces its origins back to the time of Kamal-ol-Molk, a prominent realist painter at the court of the Qajar dynasty who affected the norms of painting and adopted a naturalistic style that would compete with photographic works. Iran_sentence_558

A new Iranian school of fine art was established by Kamal-ol-Molk in 1928, and was followed by the so-called "coffeehouse" style of painting. Iran_sentence_559

Iran's avant-garde modernists emerged by the arrival of new western influences during World War II. Iran_sentence_560

The vibrant contemporary art scene originates in the late 1940s, and Tehran's first modern art gallery, Apadana, was opened in September 1949 by painters Mahmud Javadipur, Hosein Kazemi, and Hushang Ajudani. Iran_sentence_561

The new movements received official encouragement by mid-1950s, which led to the emergence of artists such as Marcos Grigorian, signaling a commitment to the creation of a form of modern art grounded in Iran. Iran_sentence_562

Architecture Iran_section_37

Main articles: Iranian architecture and Persian gardens Iran_sentence_563

The history of architecture in Iran goes back to the seventh millennium BC. Iran_sentence_564

Iranians were among the first to use mathematics, geometry and astronomy in architecture. Iran_sentence_565

Iranian architecture displays great variety, both structural and aesthetic, developing gradually and coherently out of earlier traditions and experience. Iran_sentence_566

The guiding motif of Iranian architecture is its cosmic symbolism, "by which man is brought into communication and participation with the powers of heaven". Iran_sentence_567

Iran ranks seventh among UNESCO's list of countries with the most archaeological ruins and attractions from antiquity. Iran_sentence_568

Traditionally, the guiding formative motif of Iranian architecture has been its cosmic symbolism "by which man is brought into communication and participation with the powers of heaven". Iran_sentence_569

This theme has not only given unity and continuity to the architecture of Persia, but has been a primary source of its emotional character as well. Iran_sentence_570

According to Persian historian and archaeologist Arthur Pope, the supreme Iranian art, in the proper meaning of the word, has always been its architecture. Iran_sentence_571

The supremacy of architecture applies to both pre- and post-Islamic periods. Iran_sentence_572

Weaving Iran_section_38

Main article: Persian carpet Iran_sentence_573

Iran's carpet-weaving has its origins in the Bronze Age, and is one of the most distinguished manifestations of Iranian art. Iran_sentence_574

Iran is the world's largest producer and exporter of handmade carpets, producing three-quarters of the world's total output and having a share of 30% of world's export markets. Iran_sentence_575

Literature Iran_section_39

Main articles: Literature in Iran, Iranian literature, and Persian literature Iran_sentence_576

Iran's oldest literary tradition is that of Avestan, the Old Iranian sacred language of the Avesta, which consists of the legendary and religious texts of Zoroastrianism and the ancient Iranian religion, with its earliest records dating back to the pre-Achaemenid times. Iran_sentence_577

Of the various modern languages used in Iran, Persian, various dialects of which are spoken throughout the Iranian Plateau, has the most influential literature. Iran_sentence_578

Persian has been dubbed as a worthy language to serve as a conduit for poetry, and is considered one of the four main bodies of world literature. Iran_sentence_579

In spite of originating from the region of Persis (better known as Persia) in southwestern Iran, the Persian language was used and developed further through Persianate societies in Asia Minor, Central Asia, and South Asia, leaving massive influences on Ottoman and Mughal literatures, among others. Iran_sentence_580

Iran has a number of famous medieval poets, most notably Rumi, Ferdowsi, Hafez, Saadi Shirazi, Omar Khayyam, and Nezami Ganjavi. Iran_sentence_581

Iranian literature also inspired writers such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Iran_sentence_582

Philosophy Iran_section_40

Main articles: Ancient philosophy § Ancient Iranian philosophy, and Iranian philosophy Iran_sentence_583

Iranian philosophy originates from Indo-European roots, with Zoroaster's reforms having major influences. Iran_sentence_584

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, the chronology of the subject and science of philosophy starts with the Indo-Iranians, dating this event to 1500 BC. Iran_sentence_585

The Oxford dictionary also states, "Zarathushtra's philosophy entered to influence Western tradition through Judaism, and therefore on Middle Platonism." Iran_sentence_586

While there are ancient relations between the Indian Vedas and the Iranian Avesta, the two main families of the Indo-Iranian philosophical traditions were characterized by fundamental differences, especially in their implications for the human being's position in society and their view of man's role in the universe. Iran_sentence_587

The Cyrus Cylinder, which is known as "the first charter of human rights", is often seen as a reflection of the questions and thoughts expressed by Zoroaster, and developed in Zoroastrian schools of the Achaemenid era. Iran_sentence_588

The earliest tenets of Zoroastrian schools are part of the extant scriptures of the Zoroastrian religion in Avestan. Iran_sentence_589

Among them are treatises such as the Zatspram, Shkand-gumanik Vizar, and Denkard, as well as older passages of the Avesta and the Gathas. Iran_sentence_590

Mythology Iran_section_41

Main articles: Persian mythology and Iranian folklore Iran_sentence_591

Iranian mythology consists of ancient Iranian folklore and stories, all involving extraordinary beings, reflecting attitudes towards the confrontation of good and evil, actions of the gods, and the exploits of heroes and fabulous creatures. Iran_sentence_592

Myths play a crucial part in Iranian culture, and understanding of them is increased when they are considered within the context of actual events in Iranian history. Iran_sentence_593

The geography of Greater Iran, a vast area covering present-day Iran, the Caucasus, Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Central Asia, with its high mountain ranges, plays the main role in much of Iranian mythology. Iran_sentence_594

Tenth-century Persian poet Ferdowsi's long epic poem Šāhnāme ("Book of Kings"), which is for the most part based on Xwadāynāmag, a Middle Persian compilation of the history of Iranian kings and heroes from mythical times down to the reign of Chosroes II, is considered the national epic of Iran. Iran_sentence_595

It draws heavily on the stories and characters of the Zoroastrian tradition, from the texts of the Avesta, the Denkard, and the Bundahishn. Iran_sentence_596

Music Iran_section_42

Main article: Music of Iran Iran_sentence_597

Iran is the apparent birthplace of the earliest complex instruments, dating back to the third millennium BC. Iran_sentence_598

The use of both vertical and horizontal angular harps have been documented at the sites Madaktu and Kul-e Farah, with the largest collection of Elamite instruments documented at Kul-e Farah. Iran_sentence_599

Multiple depictions of horizontal harps were also sculpted in Assyrian palaces, dating back between 865 and 650 BC. Iran_sentence_600

Xenophon's Cyropaedia mentions a great number of singing women at the court of the Achaemenid Empire. Iran_sentence_601

Athenaeus of Naucratis, in his Deipnosophistae, points out to the capture of Achaemenid singing girls at the court of the last Achaemenid king Darius III (336–330 BC) by Macedonian general Parmenion. Iran_sentence_602

Under the Parthian Empire, the gōsān (Parthian for "minstrel") had a prominent role in the society. Iran_sentence_603

According to Plutarch's Life of Crassus (32.3), they praised their national heroes and ridiculed their Roman rivals. Iran_sentence_604

Likewise, Strabo's Geographica reports that the Parthian youth were taught songs about "the deeds both of the gods and of the noblest men". Iran_sentence_605

The history of Sasanian music is better documented than the earlier periods, and is especially more evident in Avestan texts. Iran_sentence_606

By the time of Chosroes II, the Sasanian royal court hosted a number of prominent musicians, namely Azad, Bamshad, Barbad, Nagisa, Ramtin, and Sarkash. Iran_sentence_607

Iranian traditional musical instruments include string instruments such as chang (harp), qanun, santur, rud (oud, barbat), tar, dotar, setar, tanbur, and kamanche, wind instruments such as sorna (zurna, karna) and ney, and percussion instruments such as tompak, kus, daf (dayere), and naqare. Iran_sentence_608

Iran's first symphony orchestra, the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, was founded by Qolam-Hoseyn Minbashian in 1933. Iran_sentence_609

It was reformed by Parviz Mahmoud in 1946, and is currently Iran's oldest and largest symphony orchestra. Iran_sentence_610

Later, by the late 1940s, Ruhollah Khaleqi founded the country's first national music society, and established the School of National Music in 1949. Iran_sentence_611

Iranian pop music has its origins in the Qajar era. Iran_sentence_612

It was significantly developed since the 1950s, using indigenous instruments and forms accompanied by electric guitar and other imported characteristics. Iran_sentence_613

The emergence of genres such as rock in the 1960s and hip hop in the 2000s also resulted in major movements and influences in Iranian music. Iran_sentence_614

Theater Iran_section_43

Main articles: Persian theater and Persian dance Iran_sentence_615

The earliest recorded representations of dancing figures within Iran were found in prehistoric sites such as Tepe Sialk and Tepe Mūsīān. Iran_sentence_616

The oldest Iranian initiation of theater and the phenomena of acting can be traced in the ancient epic ceremonial theaters such as Sug-e Siāvuš ("mourning of Siāvaš"), as well as dances and theater narrations of Iranian mythological tales reported by Herodotus and Xenophon. Iran_sentence_617

Iran's traditional theatrical genres include Baqqāl-bāzi ("grocer play", a form of slapstick comedy), Ruhowzi (or Taxt-howzi, comedy performed over a courtyard pool covered with boards), Siāh-bāzi (in which the central comedian appears in blackface), Sāye-bāzi (shadow play), Xeyme-šab-bāzi (marionette), and Arusak-bāzi (puppetry), and Ta'zie (religious tragedy plays). Iran_sentence_618

Before the 1979 Revolution, the Iranian national stage had become a famous performing scene for known international artists and troupes, with the Roudaki Hall of Tehran constructed to function as the national stage for opera and ballet. Iran_sentence_619

Opened on 26 October 1967, the hall is home to the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, the Tehran Opera Orchestra, and the Iranian National Ballet Company, and was officially renamed Vahdat Hall after the 1979 Revolution. Iran_sentence_620

Loris Tjeknavorian's Rostam and Sohrab, based on the tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab from Ferdowsi's epic poem Šāhnāme, is an example of opera with Persian libretto. Iran_sentence_621

Tjeknavorian, a celebrated Iranian Armenian composer and conductor, composed it in 25 years, and it was finally performed for the first time at Tehran's Roudaki Hall, with Darya Dadvar in the role of Tahmina. Iran_sentence_622

Cinema and animation Iran_section_44

Main articles: Cinema of Iran and History of Iranian animation Iran_sentence_623

A third-millennium BC earthen goblet discovered at the Burnt City, a Bronze Age urban settlement in southeastern Iran, depicts what could possibly be the world's oldest example of animation. Iran_sentence_624

The artifact, associated with Jiroft, bears five sequential images depicting a wild goat jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree. Iran_sentence_625

The earliest attested Iranian examples of visual representations, however, are traced back to the bas-reliefs of Persepolis, the ritual center of the Achaemenid Empire. Iran_sentence_626

The figures at Persepolis remain bound by the rules of grammar and syntax of visual language. Iran_sentence_627

The Iranian visual arts reached a pinnacle by the Sasanian era, and several works from this period have been found to articulate movements and actions in a highly sophisticated manner. Iran_sentence_628

It is even possible to see a progenitor of the cinematic close-up shot in one of these works of art, which shows a wounded wild pig escaping from the hunting ground. Iran_sentence_629

By the early 20th century, the five-year-old industry of cinema came to Iran. Iran_sentence_630

The first Iranian filmmaker was probably Mirza Ebrahim (Akkas Bashi), the court photographer of Mozaffar-ed-Din Shah of the Qajar dynasty. Iran_sentence_631

Mirza Ebrahim obtained a camera and filmed the Qajar ruler's visit to Europe. Iran_sentence_632

Later in 1904, Mirza Ebrahim (Sahhaf Bashi), a businessman, opened the first public movie theater in Tehran. Iran_sentence_633

After him, several others like Russi Khan, Ardeshir Khan, and Ali Vakili tried to establish new movie theaters in Tehran. Iran_sentence_634

Until the early 1930s, there were around 15 cinema theaters in Tehran and 11 in other provinces. Iran_sentence_635

The first Iranian feature film, Abi and Rabi, was a silent comedy directed by Ovanes Ohanian in 1930. Iran_sentence_636

The first sounded one, Lor Girl, was produced by Ardeshir Irani and Abd-ol-Hosein Sepanta in 1932. Iran_sentence_637

Iran's animation industry began by the 1950s, and was followed by the establishment of the influential Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in January 1965. Iran_sentence_638

The 1960s was a significant decade for Iranian cinema, with 25 commercial films produced annually on average throughout the early 60s, increasing to 65 by the end of the decade. Iran_sentence_639

The majority of the production focused on melodrama and thrillers. Iran_sentence_640

With the screening of the films Qeysar and The Cow, directed by Masoud Kimiai and Dariush Mehrjui respectively in 1969, alternative films set out to establish their status in the film industry and Bahram Beyzai's Downpour and Nasser Taghvai's Tranquility in the Presence of Others followed soon. Iran_sentence_641

Attempts to organize a film festival, which had begun in 1954 within the framework of the Golrizan Festival, resulted in the festival of Sepas in 1969. Iran_sentence_642

The endeavors also resulted in the formation of the Tehran's World Film Festival in 1973. Iran_sentence_643

After the Revolution of 1979, and following the Cultural Revolution, a new age emerged in Iranian cinema, starting with Long Live! Iran_sentence_644

by Khosrow Sinai and followed by many other directors, such as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi. Iran_sentence_645

Kiarostami, an acclaimed Iranian director, planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme d'Or for Taste of Cherry in 1997. Iran_sentence_646

The continuous presence of Iranian films in prestigious international festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival, attracted world attention to Iranian masterpieces. Iran_sentence_647

In 2006, six Iranian films, of six different styles, represented Iranian cinema at the Berlin International Film Festival. Iran_sentence_648

Critics considered this a remarkable event in the history of Iranian cinema. Iran_sentence_649

Asghar Farhadi, a well-known Iranian director, has received a Golden Globe Award and two Academy Awards, representing Iran for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012 and 2017. Iran_sentence_650

In 2012, he was named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by the American news magazine Time. Iran_sentence_651

Observances Iran_section_45

See also: List of festivals in Iran Iran_sentence_652

Iran's official New Year begins with Nowruz, an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated annually on the vernal equinox. Iran_sentence_653

It is enjoyed by people adhering to different religions, but is considered a holiday for the Zoroastrians. Iran_sentence_654

It was registered on the UNESCO's list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2009, described as the Persian New Year, shared with a number of other countries in which it has historically been celebrated. Iran_sentence_655

On the eve of the last Wednesday of the preceding year, as a prelude to Nowruz, the ancient festival of Čāršanbe Suri celebrates Ātar ("fire") by performing rituals such as jumping over bonfires and lighting off firecrackers and fireworks. Iran_sentence_656

The Nowruz celebrations last by the end of the 13th day of the Iranian year (Farvardin 13, usually coincided with 1 or 2 April), celebrating the festival of Sizdebedar, during which the people traditionally go outdoors to picnic. Iran_sentence_657

Yaldā, another nationally celebrated ancient tradition, commemorates the ancient goddess Mithra and marks the longest night of the year on the eve of the winter solstice (čelle ye zemestān; usually falling on 20 or 21 December), during which families gather together to recite poetry and eat fruits—particularly the red fruits watermelon and pomegranate, as well as mixed nuts. Iran_sentence_658

In some regions of the provinces of Mazanderan and Markazi, there is also the midsummer festival of Tirgān, which is observed on Tir 13 (2 or 3 July) as a celebration of water. Iran_sentence_659

Alongside the ancient Iranian celebrations, Islamic annual events such as Ramezān, Eid e Fetr, and Ruz e Āšurā are marked by the country's large Muslim population, Christian traditions such as Noel, Čelle ye Ruze, and Eid e Pāk are observed by the Christian communities, Jewish traditions such as Purim, Hanukā, and Eid e Fatir (Pesah) are observed by the Jewish communities, and Zoroastrian traditions such as Sade and Mehrgān are observed by the Zoroastrians. Iran_sentence_660

Public holidays Iran_section_46

Main article: Public holidays in Iran Iran_sentence_661

See also: Iranian calendars Iran_sentence_662

Iran's official calendar is the Solar Hejri calendar, beginning at the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, which was first enacted by the Iranian Parliament on 31 March 1925. Iran_sentence_663

Each of the 12 months of the Solar Hejri calendar correspond with a zodiac sign, and the length of each year is absolutely solar. Iran_sentence_664

The months are named after the ancient Iranian months, namely Farvardin (Fravaši), Ordibehešt (Aša Vahišta), Xordād (Haurvatāt), Tir (Tištrya), Amordād (Amərətāt), Šahrivar (Xšaθra Vairya), Mehr (Miθra), Ābān (Āpō), Āzar (Ātar), Dey (Daθuš), Bahman (Vohu Manah), and Esfand (Spəntā Ārmaiti). Iran_sentence_665

Alternatively, the Lunar Hejri calendar is used to indicate Islamic events, and the Gregorian calendar remarks the international events. Iran_sentence_666

Legal public holidays based on the Iranian solar calendar include the cultural celebrations of Nowruz (Farvardin 1–4; 21–24 March) and Sizdebedar (Farvardin 13; 2 April), and the political events of Islamic Republic Day (Farvardin 12; 1 April), the death of Ruhollah Khomeini (Khordad 14; 4 June), the Khordad 15 event (Khordad 15; 5 June), the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution (Bahman 22; 10 February), and Oil Nationalization Day (Esfand 29; 19 March). Iran_sentence_667

Lunar Islamic public holidays include Tasua (Muharram 9; 30 September), Ashura (Muharram 10; 1 October), Arba'een (Safar 20; 10 November), the death of Muhammad (Safar 28; 17 November), the death of Ali al-Ridha (Safar 29 or 30; 18 November), the birthday of Muhammad (Rabi-al-Awwal 17; 6 December), the death of Fatimah (Jumada-al-Thani 3; 2 March), the birthday of Ali (Rajab 13; 10 April), Muhammad's first revelation (Rajab 27; 24 April), the birthday of Muhammad al-Mahdi (Sha'ban 15; 12 May), the death of Ali (Ramadan 21; 16 June), Eid al-Fitr (Shawwal 1–2; 26–27 June), the death of Ja'far al-Sadiq (Shawwal 25; 20 July), Eid al-Qurban (Zulhijja 10; 1 September), and Eid al-Qadir (Zulhijja 18; 9 September). Iran_sentence_668

Cuisine Iran_section_47

Main article: Iranian cuisine Iran_sentence_669

Due to its variety of ethnic groups and the influences from the neighboring cultures, the cuisine of Iran is diverse. Iran_sentence_670

Herbs are frequently used, along with fruits such as plums, pomegranate, quince, prunes, apricots, and raisins. Iran_sentence_671

To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic flavorings such as saffron, dried lime, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes. Iran_sentence_672

Onion and garlic are commonly used in the preparation of the accompanying course, but are also served separately during meals, either in raw or pickled form. Iran_sentence_673

Iranian cuisine includes a wide range of main dishes, including various types of kebab, pilaf, stew (khoresh), soup and āsh, and omelette. Iran_sentence_674

Lunch and dinner meals are commonly accompanied by side dishes such as plain yogurt or mast-o-khiar, sabzi, salad Shirazi, and torshi, and might follow dishes such as borani, Mirza Qasemi, or kashk e bademjan as the appetizer. Iran_sentence_675

In Iranian culture, tea (čāy) is widely consumed. Iran_sentence_676

Iran is the world's seventh major tea producer, and a cup of tea is typically the first thing offered to a guest. Iran_sentence_677

One of Iran's most popular desserts is the falude, consisting of vermicelli in a rose water syrup, which has its roots in the fourth century BC. Iran_sentence_678

There is also the popular saffron ice cream, known as bastani sonnati ("traditional ice cream"), which is sometimes accompanied with carrot juice. Iran_sentence_679

Iran is also famous for its caviar. Iran_sentence_680

Sports Iran_section_48

Main article: Sport in Iran Iran_sentence_681

With two-thirds of the population under the age of 25, many sports are played in Iran. Iran_sentence_682

Iran is most likely the birthplace of polo, locally known as čowgān, with its earliest records attributed to the ancient Medes. Iran_sentence_683

Freestyle wrestling is traditionally considered the national sport of Iran, and the national wrestlers have been world champions on many occasions. Iran_sentence_684

Iran's traditional wrestling, called košti e pahlevāni ("heroic wrestling"), is registered on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Iran_sentence_685

Being a mountainous country, Iran is a venue for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, and mountain climbing. Iran_sentence_686

It is home to several ski resorts, the most famous being Tochal, Dizin, and Shemshak, all within one to three hours traveling from the capital city Tehran. Iran_sentence_687

The resort of Tochal, located in the Alborz mountain rage, is the world's fifth-highest ski resort (3,730 m or 12,238 ft at its highest station). Iran_sentence_688

Iran's National Olympic Committee was founded in 1947. Iran_sentence_689

Wrestlers and weightlifters have achieved the country's highest records at the Olympics. Iran_sentence_690

In September 1974, Iran became the first country in West Asia to host the Asian Games. Iran_sentence_691

The Azadi Sport Complex, which is the largest sport complex in Iran, was originally built for this occasion. Iran_sentence_692

Football has been regarded as the most popular sport in Iran, with the men's national team having won the Asian Cup on three occasions. Iran_sentence_693

The men's national team has maintained its position as Asia's best team, ranking 1st in Asia and 33rd in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings (as of May 2020). Iran_sentence_694

Volleyball is the second most popular sport in Iran. Iran_sentence_695

Having won the 2011 and 2013 Asian Men's Volleyball Championships, the men's national team is currently the strongest team in Asia, and ranks eighth in the FIVB World Rankings (as of July 2017). Iran_sentence_696

Basketball is also popular, with the men's national team having won three Asian Championships since 2007. Iran_sentence_697

In 2016, Iran made global headlines for international female champions boycotting tournaments in Iran in chess (U.S. Woman Grandmaster Nazí Paikidze) and in shooting (Indian world champion Heena Sidhu), as they refused to enter a country where they would be forced to wear a hijab. Iran_sentence_698

Media Iran_section_49

Main article: Media of Iran Iran_sentence_699

Iran is one of the countries with the worst freedom of the press situation, ranking 164th out of 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index (as of 2018). Iran_sentence_700

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is Iran's main government department responsible for the cultural policy, including activities regarding communications and information. Iran_sentence_701

Iran's first newspapers were published during the reign of Naser al-Din Shah of the Qajar dynasty in the mid-19th century. Iran_sentence_702

Most of the newspapers published in Iran are in Persian, the country's official language. Iran_sentence_703

The country's most widely circulated periodicals are based in Tehran, among which are Etemad, Ettela'at, Kayhan, Hamshahri, Resalat, and Shargh. Iran_sentence_704

Tehran Times, Iran Daily, and Financial Tribune are among English-language newspapers based in Iran. Iran_sentence_705

Television was introduced in Iran in 1958. Iran_sentence_706

Although the 1974 Asian Games were broadcast in color, full color programming began in 1978. Iran_sentence_707

Since the 1979 Revolution, Iran's largest media corporation is the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Iran_sentence_708

Despite the restrictions on non-domestic television, about 65% of the residents of the capital city and about 30 to 40% of the residents outside the capital city access worldwide television channels through satellite dishes, although observers state that the figures are likely to be higher. Iran_sentence_709

Iran received access to the Internet in 1993. Iran_sentence_710

According to Internet World Stats, as of 2017, around 69.1% of the population of Iran are Internet users. Iran_sentence_711

Iran ranks 17th among countries by number of Internet users. Iran_sentence_712

According to the statistics provided by the web information company of Alexa, Google Search is Iran's most widely used search engine and Instagram is the most popular online social networking service. Iran_sentence_713

Direct access to many worldwide mainstream websites has been blocked in Iran, including Facebook, which has been blocked since 2009 due to the organization of anti-governmental protests on the website. Iran_sentence_714

However, as of 2017, Facebook has around 40 million subscribers based in Iran (48.8% of the population) who use virtual private networks and proxy servers to access the website. Iran_sentence_715

Some of the officials themselves have verified accounts on the social networking websites that are blocked by the authorities, including Facebook and Twitter. Iran_sentence_716

About 90% of Iran's e-commerce takes place on the Iranian online store of Digikala, which has around 750,000 visitors per day and more than 2.3 million subscribers and is the most visited online store in the Middle East. Iran_sentence_717

Fashion and clothing Iran_section_50

Main article: Fashion in Iran Iran_sentence_718

Fashion in Iran is divided into several historical periods. Iran_sentence_719

The exact date of the emergence of weaving in Iran is not yet known, but it is likely to coincide with the emergence of civilization. Iran_sentence_720

Clothing in Iran is mentioned in Persian mythology. Iran_sentence_721

Ferdowsi and many historians have considered Keyumars to be the inventor of the use of animals' skin and hair as clothing. Iran_sentence_722

Some historians have also mentioned Hushang as the first inventor of the use of living skins as clothing. Iran_sentence_723

Ferdowsi considers Tahmuras to be a kind of textile initiator in Iran. Iran_sentence_724

There are historical discoveries in northern Iran from about 6,000 BC that refer to wool weaving at the time. Iran_sentence_725

Other discoveries in central Iran dating back to 4200 BC have shown that the animals' skin has not been the only clothing worn on the Iranian Plateau since those years. Iran_sentence_726

The clothing of ancient Iran took an advanced form, and the fabric and color of clothing became very important at that time. Iran_sentence_727

Depending on the social status, eminence, climate of the region and the season, Persian clothing during the Achaemenian period took various forms. Iran_sentence_728

The philosophy used in this clothing, in addition to being functional, also had an aesthetic role. Iran_sentence_729

Beauty pageant festivals inside Iran were not held after the 1979 revolution, and the last selection ceremony of the "beauty queen of Iran" was held in 1978 in this country. Iran_sentence_730

Since then, a high number of Iranian girls participated in the Beauty pageant and Miss Universe outside of Iran. Iran_sentence_731

Sahar Biniaz (Miss Universe Canada 2012) and Shermineh Shahrivar (Miss Germany and Miss Europe) are examples of Iranian models outside Iran. Iran_sentence_732

Girls of Enghelab Street was a series of protests in 2017–2019 against a compulsory hijab in Iran. Iran_sentence_733

See also Iran_section_51


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