Iran (Persian: ایران Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] (listen)), also called Persia () and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایران Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān (listen)), is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.
Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE. It was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history. The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, which was succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries.Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE. The Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, which was by then the country's dominant religion, and Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were later conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols. The rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for almost eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides.
The sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, and its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians (61%), Azeris (16%), Kurds (10%), and Lurs (6%).Iranian Americans
Iranian Americans or Persian Americans are U.S. citizens who are of Iranian ancestry or who hold Iranian citizenship.
Iranian Americans are among the most highly educated people in the United States. They have historically excelled in business, academia, science, the arts, and entertainment, but have traditionally shied away from participating in U.S. politics and other civic activities.Based on a 2012 announcement by the National Organization for Civil Registration, an organization of the Ministry of Interior of Iran, the United States has the highest number of Iranians outside the country.List of Iranians
This is an alphabetic list of notable people from Iran or its historical predecessors.Lists of country-related topics
Each entry below presents a list of topics about a specific nation or state (country), followed by a link to the main article for that country. Entries for nations are in bold type, while those for subnational entities are in normal (unbolded) type.Outline of Iran
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Iran:
Iran – sovereign country located in Southwest Asia and the Middle East. Iran is bound by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south and the Caspian Sea to its north. Shi'a Islam is the official religion, and Persian is the official language. The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 square kilometres (636,372 sq mi), Iran has a population of over seventy million. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC. Throughout history, Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and is a regional power. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.