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Iran (also Iran with article, Persian ايران, full form: Islamic Republic of Iran), especially before 1935 at the international level (exonym) also Persia, is a state in the Middle East. With around 80 million inhabitants (as of 2016) and an area of ​​1,648,195 square kilometers, it is one of the 20 most populous and largest states in the world. Tehran is the capital, largest city and economic and cultural center of Iran, and Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz, Karaj, Shiraz, Ahvaz and Ghom are other megacities. Iran has called itself an Islamic Republic since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran consists for the most part of high mountains and dry, desert-like basins. Its location between the Caspian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz on the Persian Gulf makes it an area of ​​great geostrategic importance with a long history reaching back to antiquity.

After between 3200 and 2800 BC. The kingdom of Elam was formed by the Iranian Medes in 625 BC. For the first time became a state that took over the cultural and political leadership of the region. The Dynasty of the Achaemenids founded by Cyrus ruled from southern Iran to the largest realm of history to date. It was built in 330 BC. Destroyed by the troops of Alexander the Great. According to Alexander, his successors (Diadochi) divided the empire among themselves until they were in the Iranian area around the middle of the 3rd century BC. Were replaced by the Parthians. On this followed from about 224 AD, the empire of the Sassanids, which counted until the 7th century next to the Byzantine Empire to the most powerful states in the world. After the spread of Islamic expansion to Persia, during which Zoroastrianism was replaced by Islam, Persian scholars became promoters of the Golden Age, until the Mongol invasion in the 13th century threw the country far behind in its development.

The Safavids united the country and in 1501 made the Twelver Shi’ite commitment to the state religion. Under the Kadscharen dynasty, founded in 1794, the influence of Persia shrank; Russia and Great Britain forced the Persians into territorial and economic concessions. In 1906, a constitutional revolution occurred, resulting in Persia receiving its first parliament and a constitution providing for a separation of powers. As a state form it received the constitutional monarchy. The two monarchs of the Pahlavi dynasty pursued a policy of modernization and secularization, parallel to which the country was occupied by Russian, British and Turkish troops in World War I and by British and Soviet troops during World War II. This was followed by repeated foreign influence, such as the founding of an Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan with Soviet aid or a coup d’état organized by the CIA in 1953. The suppression of the Liberal, Communist and Islamic opposition led to the manifold tensions that arose in the 1979 revolution and the Fall of the Shah culminated.

In addition to ethnic Persians, many other peoples of Iran have their own linguistic and cultural identity. The official language is Persian. The largest ethnic groups after the Persians are Azerbaijanis, Kurds and Lurs. The peoples of Iran have long traditions in arts and crafts, architecture, music, calligraphy and poetry; There are numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country.


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Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany

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Michael Klor-Berchtold, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary



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