Iran

 

Iran Destinations Travel Guide

 

 

Flag of Iran

Language: Persian

Currency: Rial (IRR)

Calling Code: 98

 

 

Iran, whose official name is the Islamic Republic of Iran (in Persian, جمهوری اسلامی ایران), is a State of the Middle East and Western Asia. From the 1st millennium B.C. until 1935 was known in the West as Persia, although today this name is still valid and accepted along with that of Iran. It borders Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east; Turkmenistan by the northeast; the Caspian Sea to the north; Azerbaijan and Armenia by the northwest; Turkey and Iraq to the west and, finally, to the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south.

It is the eighteenth largest country in the world with 1 648 195 km², Iran has a population of almost 80 million people of various ethnicities. It is a country with significant importance in geopolitics to be between the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Tehran is the capital, as well as being the political, industrial, commercial and cultural center of the country. Iran is a regional power to which its large reserves of hydrocarbons (fourth oil reserves and first gas reserves worldwide) confer a situation of potential power superpower and have been reporting for decades a substantial oil income.

The ethnic diversity of the people of Iran, such as Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, lor, Arabic, Turkmen and Balochi, among others, are part of the Iranian culture and have provided a special attraction to this vast territory. Iran, next to Iraq, is the home of the oldest civilizations. The first known dynasties in western Iran are those of Elam, from 2800 BC. The Medes formed the first empire that encompassed the "Great Iran" in 625 BC. These were succeeded by the Achaemenid Empire, hellenized by the Seleucids after the conquest by Alexander the Great and then recentrated in autochthonous references by the successive empires of the Arsacid and Sassanid births. Muslims conquer it in 651 AD with the result of the diffusion of the Persian language throughout the Iranian Plateau and of different aspects of the Iranian culture throughout the Islamic world.

In 1501 the emergence of the Safavi dynasty produced the replacement of Sunni Islam, until then majority, by Twelver Shiism as the official religion of the kingdom, as well as intense persecution of most Sufi brotherhoods developed after the Mongol invasion of the twelfth century. Under the government of Nader Shah, begun in 1736, Iran reached its greatest territorial extension since the Sassanid era. During the nineteenth century, Iran lost large amounts of territory in the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) to the Russian Empire in the Caucasus.At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 established the first legislative assembly in the country (and of the Asian continent), submitting the monarchical power to a constitution. In 1953, Prime Minister Mosaddeq - who had nationalized oil two years earlier - was overthrown by a coup d'état, orchestrated by the United Kingdom and the United States, which allowed Sha Reza Pahlevi to have greater power over the national government. The monarchy came to an end in 1979, through a popular revolution that led to an Islamic revolution, ending up being led by Shiites, led by Khomeini, which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic on April 1, 1979. 2015 the Joint and Complete Action Plan was signed with the P5 + 1 on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran is a founding member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Organization for Islamic Cooperation and OPEC. The political system of Iran is based on the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of 1979, which regulates the relations between the different organs of government. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader of Iran, although the day-to-day management of the administration is the responsibility of the president. The official religion and language of the country are, respectively, the Twelver Islam and the Persian.

 

Travel Destination in Iran

 

Arg-é Bam

Arg- e Bam is a medieval adobe fortress in the Kerman province of Iran.

Chogha Zanbil

Chogha Zanbil is a site of a massive ancient Elamite religious buildings.

Persepolis

Persepolis is an Ancient capital of the Persian Empire destroyed by Alexander the Great as a revenge for burning Athens.

 

 

History of Iran
The history of statehood in Iran is one of the oldest in the world and only according to written sources covers almost 5 thousand years. The first state on its territory - Elam - emerged in Khuzestan in the III millennium BC. The Persian Empire under Darius I of Achaemenides already stretched from Greece and Cyrenaica to the Indus and Tarim rivers. Iran, known as Persia for its long history of writing, has been one of the most influential political, cultural and world centers for more than 2 thousand years. For many centuries, Zoroastrianism has been the dominant religion. By the 16th century, Islam became the state religion of Iran.

The Persian Empire under Darius I stretched from Greece and Libya to the Indus River. Persia was the most populated state in history (50% of the world's population were subjects of the Achaemenids), was one of the strongest and most influential culturally and politically states up to the 17th and 18th centuries, but by the end of the 19th century Persia turned into a semi-colonial state. In 1935, Persia changed the name of the country (in Zoroastrianism, the north of Iran and the south of Afghanistan were called Ariana) to Iran.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, during which the monarchy was overthrown and an Islamic republic was proclaimed.

Ancient Iran
The settlement of the territory of Iran belongs to ancient times. Iranian peoples become predominant in its territory by the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. Some of the tribes (Persians, Medes, Bactrians, Parthians) settled in the western part of the plateau; Balochi settled in the east and along the coast of the Gulf of Oman.

The first significant Iranian state was the Medes kingdom, founded in the late VIII - early VII century BC, with the capital at Hamadan (Ecbatana). The Medes quickly established control over all of western Iran and partly over eastern. Together with the Babylonians, the Medes defeated the Assyrian Empire, captured northern Mesopotamia and Urartu.

Achaemenids
In 553 BC the young Persian king of Anshan and Parsa Cyrus from the Achaemenid clan opposed the Medes. Cyrus captured Ecbatana and declared himself king of Persia and Media. At the same time, the Median king Ishtuwegu was captured, but later released and appointed governor in one of the provinces. Until his death in 529 BC. Cyrus II the Great subjugated the Achaemenid empire all over Western Asia from the Mediterranean and Anatolia to the Syr Darya. Earlier, in 546 BC, Cyrus founded in Fars the capital of his kingdom - Pasargadae, where he was buried. Cyrus's son Cambyses II expanded his father's empire to Egypt and Ethiopia.

After the death of Cambyses and the ensuing internecine strife in his inner circle and rebellions throughout the country, Darius Hystaspes came to power. Darius quickly and harshly brought order to the empire and began new campaigns of conquest, as a result of which the Achaemenid empire expanded to the Balkan Peninsula in the west and to the Indus in the east, becoming the largest and most powerful state that ever existed at that time. Darius also undertook a series of internal reforms. He divided the country into several administrative units - satrapies, while for the first time in history the principle of separation of powers was implemented: the troops did not obey the satraps and at the same time, the military leaders did not have administrative power. In addition, Darius carried out a monetary reform and introduced the golden gift into circulation. This, combined with the construction of a network of paved roads, has contributed to an unprecedented leap in trade relations.

Darius patronized Zoroastrianism and considered the priests to be the core of the Persian statehood. Under him, this first monotheistic religion became a state religion in the empire. At the same time, the Persians were tolerant of the conquered peoples and their beliefs and culture.

The heirs of Darius I began to violate the principles of internal structure introduced by the king, as a result of which the satrapies became more independent. A mutiny broke out in Egypt, riots broke out in Greece and Macedonia. Under these conditions, the Macedonian commander Alexander began a military campaign against the Persians, and by 330 BC defeated the Achaemenid empire.

Parthia and the Sassanids
After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC his empire split into several separate states. Most of the territory of modern Iran went to Seleucia, but the Parthian king Mithridates I soon began campaigns of conquest against the Seleucids and included Persia, as well as Mesopotamia, in his state. In 92 BC between Parthia and Rome, a border was drawn along the Euphrates, but the Romans almost immediately invaded the western Parthian satrapies and were defeated. In a retaliatory campaign, the Parthians captured the entire Levant and Anatolia, but were driven back by the troops of Mark Antony to the Euphrates. Soon after, civil wars broke out in Parthia one after another, caused by the intervention of Rome in the struggle between the Parthian and Greek nobility.

 

In 224, Ardashir Papakan, the son of the ruler of the small town of Kheir in Pars, defeated the army of the Parthians of Artaban IV and founded the second Persian Empire - Iranshahr ("Kingdom of the Aryans") - with its capital in Firuzabad, becoming the founder of a new dynasty - the Sassanids. The influence of the aristocracy and the Zoroastrian clergy increased, and persecutions against the Gentiles began. An administrative reform has been carried out. The Sassanids continued to fight the Romans and the nomads of Central Asia.

Under Tsar Khosrov I (531-579), active expansion began: in 540 Antioch was captured, in 562 - Egypt. The Byzantine Empire fell into tax dependence on the Persians. The coastal areas of the Arabian Peninsula, including Yemen, were occupied. At the same time, Khosrov defeated the Hephthalite state on the territory of modern Tajikistan. Khosrov's military successes led to a flourishing of trade and culture in Iran.

The grandson of Khosrov I, Khosrov II (590-628) renewed the war with Byzantium, but suffered defeat after defeat. War expenses were covered by exorbitant taxes from merchants and extortions from the poor. As a result, uprisings broke out throughout the country, Khosrov was captured and executed. His grandson, Yazdigird III (632-651), became the last Sassanian king. Despite the end of the war with Byzantium, the collapse of the empire continued. In the south, the Persians faced a new enemy - the Arabs.

Arab conquest
Arab raids on Sassanian Iran began in 632. The Persian army suffered its most crushing defeat at the Battle of Qadisiyah in 637. The Arab conquest of Persia lasted until 652, and it was incorporated into the Umayyad Caliphate. The Arabs spread Islam in Iran, which greatly changed the Persian culture. After the Islamization of Iran, literature, philosophy, art, and medicine developed rapidly in the Caliphate. Persian culture became the basis for the beginning of the golden age of Islam.

In 750, the Persian general Abu Muslim led the Abbasid campaign against the Umayyads to Damascus, and then to the capital of the Caliphate - Baghdad. In gratitude, the new caliph granted the Persian governors a certain autonomy, and also took several Persians as viziers. Nevertheless, in 822, Tahir bin Hussein bin Musab, the governor of Khorasan, proclaimed the independence of the province and declared himself the founder of a new Persian dynasty - the Takhirids. By the beginning of the Samanid rule, Iran had practically restored its independence from the Arabs.

Turkic and Mongol conquests
Despite the adoption of Islam by Persian society, Arabization in Iran was not successful. The planting of Arab culture met with resistance from the Persians and became the impetus for the struggle for independence from the Arabs. The revival of the Persian language and literature, which peaked in the 9th-10th centuries, played an important role in restoring the national identity of the Persians. In this regard, Ferdowsi's epic “Shahnameh”, written entirely in Farsi, gained fame.

In 962, the Turkic commander Alp-Tegin opposed the Samanids and founded the Turkic state of the Gaznevids with the capital in Ghazni (Afghanistan). Under the Ghaznavids, the cultural flourishing of Persia continued. Their followers, the Seljuks, moved the capital to Isfahan.

In 1220, the north-east of Iran, which was part of the Turkic Khorezm kingdom, was attacked by the troops of Genghis Khan. The entire Khorasan, as well as the territories of the eastern provinces of modern Iran, were subjected to devastation. About half of the population was killed by the Mongols. The conquest of Iran was completed by the grandson of Genghis Khan Hulagu. In the state he founded, his descendants, the Ilkhans, ruled until the middle of the XIV century.

The great Turkic ruler and commander Emir Timur is more popular in the west as Tamerlane established his control over Iran. Tamerlane brought thousands of skilled craftsmen from Iran to his capital Samarkand, who built masterpieces of world architecture in Samarkand. For example, Tabriz craftsmen built the Gur Emir mausoleum in Samarkand. During the reign of the youngest son of Timur Shahrukh, science and culture flourished in Iran. It continued during the reign of Timurid Sultan Hussein Baykara.

The centralization of the Iranian state resumed with the coming to power of the Qizilbash dynasty of the Safavids, who put an end to the rule of the descendants of the Mongol conquerors.

Dynasties (1501-1979)

Shiite Islam was adopted in Iran as the state religion under Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty. After the victory over Alvand Khan, the ruler of the Turkic state of Ak-Koyunlu, near Sharur (in Nakhichevan), Ismail victoriously entered Tabriz, where in July 1501 he proclaimed himself the shah of Azerbaijan. Ismail soon subjugated the whole of Iran - and in May 1502 he crowned himself Shahinshah of Iran. The city of Tabriz became the capital of the Safavid state; later the capital was moved to Qazvin, and from there to Isfahan. The Safavid empire reached its highest peak under Abbas I, defeating the Ottoman Empire and annexing the territories of modern Iraq, Afghanistan, part of Pakistan, the territory of Azerbaijan, parts of Armenia and Georgia, as well as the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Thus, the possessions of Iran stretched from the Tigris to the Indus.

The conquered territories brought wealth and prosperity to Iran. The flourishing of culture began. Iran became a centralized state, the modernization of the armed forces was carried out. However, after the death of Abbas the Great, the empire fell into decay. Mismanagement led to the loss of Kandahar and Baghdad. In 1722, the Ghilzai Afghans raided Iran, taking Isfahan on the move, and elevated Mahmud Khan to the throne. Then Nadir Shah, the commander of the last ruler of the Safavids, Takhmasp II, killed him along with his son and established the rule of the Afsharids in Iran.

First of all, Nadir Shah changed the state religion to Sunni, and then defeated Afghanistan and returned Kandahar to Persia. Retreating Afghan troops fled to India. Nadir Shah called on the Indian Mogul, Mohammed Shah, not to accept them, but he did not agree, then the Shah invaded India. In 1739, the troops of Nadir Shah entered Delhi, but soon an uprising broke out there. The Persians staged a real massacre in the city, and then returned to Iran, completely plundering the country. In 1740, Nadir Shah made a campaign to Turkestan, as a result of which the borders of Iran advanced to the Amu Darya. In the Caucasus, the Persians reached Dagestan. In 1747, Nadir Shah was killed.

In 1750, power passed to the Zend dynasty, headed by Karim Khan. Karim Khan became the first Persian in 700 years to become the head of state. He moved the capital to Shiraz. The period of his reign is characterized by almost no wars and cultural flourishing. Zend's rule lasted only three generations, and in 1781 passed to the Qajar dynasty. The founder of the dynasty, eunuch Aga-Mohammed Khan, perpetrated reprisals against the Zend and the descendants of the Afsharid. Having strengthened the power of the Qajars in Iran, Mohammed Khan made a campaign against Georgia, defeating Tbilisi and destroying more than 20 thousand residents of the city. The second campaign against Georgia in 1797 did not take place, since the shah was killed by his own servants (a Georgian and a Kurd) in Karabakh. Shortly before his death, Mohammed Khan moved the capital of Iran to Tehran.

As a result of a series of unsuccessful wars with the Russian Empire, Persia under the Qajars lost the territory now occupied by Azerbaijan and Armenia. Corruption flourished, control over the outskirts of the country was lost. After lengthy protests in 1906, a Constitutional Revolution took place in the country, as a result of which Iran became a constitutional monarchy. In the summer of 1918, British troops occupy all of Iran. On August 9, 1919, the Anglo-Iranian agreement was signed, establishing full British control over the country's economy and army. In 1920, the Gilan Soviet Republic was proclaimed in the Ostan of Gilan, which will exist until September 1921. On February 21, 1921, Reza Khan Pahlavi overthrew Ahmed Shah and in 1925 was declared the new Shah. On February 26, 1921, the RSFSR signed a new treaty with Iran, recognizing the full independence of Iran.

Pahlavi introduced the term "shahinshah" ("king of kings") into circulation. Starting from the Persian New Year, that is, from March 22, 1935, the name of the state was officially changed from Persia to Iran. Large-scale industrialization of Iran began, the infrastructure was completely modernized. During the Second World War, the shahinshah refused Britain and the Soviet Union their request to deploy their troops in Iran. Then the allies invaded Iran, overthrew the Shah and took control of the railways and oil fields. In 1942, Iran's sovereignty was restored, power passed to the Shah's son, Mohammed. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union, fearing possible aggression from Turkey, kept its troops in northern Iran until May 1946.

 

 

After the war, Mohammed Reza pursued a policy of active Westernization and de-Islamization, which did not always find understanding among the people. In 1951, Mohammed Mossadegh became the Chairman of the Iranian Government, who was actively involved in reforming, seeking to revise the agreements on the distribution of profits of British Petroleum. The nationalization of the Iranian oil industry took place. However, in the United States, immediately and with the active participation of the British special services, a coup plan was developed, carried out in August 1953 by the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, Carmit Roosevelt. Mossadegh was removed from his post and imprisoned. Three years later, he was released and placed under house arrest, where he remained until his death in 1967.

In 1957, the SAVAK secret police was founded.

In 1963, Ayatollah Khomeini was expelled from the country as a result of a series of radical reforms ("White Revolution"). The transformations and de-Islamization led to active anti-government propaganda. In 1965, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Mansour was fatally wounded by members of the Fedayane Islam group. In 1973, in the course of the policy of strengthening the power of the Shah, all political parties and associations were banned, in 1975 the Rastakhiz party was established within the framework of the one-party system. By the end of the 1970s, Iran was engulfed in massive protests that resulted in the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime and the final abolition of the monarchy. In 1979, an Islamic revolution took place in the country and an Islamic republic was founded.

Islamic republic
The Islamic revolution in Iran was the transition from the Shah's monarchical Pahlavi regime to an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and the founder of the new order. The beginning of the revolution is considered to be the massive anti-Shah protests in January 1978, suppressed by government forces. In January 1979, after the country was paralyzed by constant strikes and rallies, Pahlavi and his family left Iran, and on February 1, Khomeini, who was in exile in France, arrived in Tehran. The Ayatollah was greeted by millions of jubilant Iranians. On April 1, 1979, after a popular referendum, Iran was officially proclaimed an Islamic republic. On December 3 of the same year, a new constitution was adopted.

The internal political consequences of the revolution were manifested in the establishment of a theocratic regime of the Muslim clergy in the country, an increase in the role of Islam in absolutely all spheres of life. There have been dramatic changes in foreign policy. Iran's relations with the United States have become extremely strained. Diplomatic relations were severed on November 4, 1979, when the US embassy was seized in Tehran and the diplomats were held hostage for 444 days. The invaders (students, among whom, according to some sources, may have been the later president of Iran, then an officer of the IRGC special forces and an activist of the youth organization "Rallying Unity" - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) claimed that they were pursuing CIA agents who were planning to overthrow the revolutionary government. They also demanded the extradition of the fleeing shah. Only in 1981, with the mediation of Algeria, the crisis was resolved and the hostages were released to their homeland.

Iran-Iraq War
Meanwhile, the President of neighboring Iraq, Saddam Hussein, has decided to take advantage of the internal instability in Iran and its strained relations with Western countries. Iran has been (not for the first time) territorial claims for areas along the Persian Gulf to the east of the Shatt al-Arab. In particular, Hussein demanded the transfer to Iraq of western Khuzestan, where the majority of the population were Arabs and there were huge oil reserves. These demands were ignored by Iran, and Hussein began preparations for a large-scale war. On September 22, 1980, the Iraqi army crossed the Shatt al-Arab and invaded Khuzestan, which came as a complete surprise to the Iranian leadership.

Although Saddam Hussein achieved considerable success in the first months of the war, the Iraqi army's offensive was soon halted, Iranian troops launched a counteroffensive and by mid-1982 drove the Iraqis out of the country. Khomeini decided not to stop the war, planning to "export" the revolution to Iraq. This plan relied primarily on the Shiite majority of eastern Iraq. Now the Iranian army has invaded Iraq with the intention of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. However, in subsequent years, Iran's military successes were insignificant, and in 1988 the Iraqi army launched a counteroffensive and liberated all the territories occupied by Iran. After that, a peace agreement was signed. The Iranian-Iraqi border has remained unchanged.

 

During the war, Iraq enjoyed the political, financial and military support of most Arab countries, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States and its allies. Iran was supported in one way or another by China, the USA, Israel and some other countries. During the hostilities, the Iraqi army has repeatedly used chemical weapons, including against peaceful Iranians. More than 100,000 people in Iran may have died from toxic chemicals. Iran's total losses in the eight-year war exceed 500,000.

In 1997, Mohammed Khatami was elected president of Iran, proclaiming the beginning of a policy of tolerant attitude to culture and the establishment of closer ties with Western countries. In the late 90s, European states began to restore economic ties with Iran, interrupted by the revolution. Nevertheless, the United States remained unchanged in its position. The American leadership has charged Iran with sponsoring terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. Later, US President George W. Bush assigned Iran the label of an "Axis of Evil" country.

On June 20, 2019, the IRGC air force shot down an American unmanned vehicle near the Strait of Hormuz. According to IRNA, the US RQ-4 Global Hawk drone violated Iranian airspace and was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the province of Hormozgan. According to the US version, the MQ-4C Triton drone flew in international airspace and did not violate Iran's borders. The United States planned to retaliate against three military targets in Iran, however, according to Donald Trump, he canceled this decision 10 minutes before the attack.