Iran (Persian: ایران), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country in Western Asia. The name Iran has been in use natively since the antiquity and came into international use from 1935, before which the country was known internationally as Persia. Both “Persia” and “Iran” are used interchangeably in cultural context; however, Iran is the name used officially in political context. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan, and means “Land of the Aryans”. The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km², Iran has a population of over 70 million. It is a country of special geostrategic significance due to its central location in Eurasia. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea and condominium, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran’s direct neighbors to the north. Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey. Tehran is the capital, the country’s largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas.
Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. The first Iranian dynasty formed during the Elamite kingdom in 2800 BC. The Iranian Medes unified Iran into an empire in 625 BC. They were succeeded by three Iranian Empires, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids, which governed Iran for more than 1000 years. Iranian post-Islamic dynasties and empires expanded the Persian language and culture throughout the Iranian plateau.
Official Name: the Islamic Republic of Iran
Former Name: Persia
Government: Islamic Republic
Capital City: Tehran
Major Cities: Karaj, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz