Iran or Persia is a country in South Asia part of the Greater Middle East region. It shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.
Tehran is the capital and the biggest city. Iran is the 18th largest country in the world and has 70million people.
Iran used to be called Persia for a long time by people outside of Iran. Iranians or Persians since the Sassanian era called their country "Iran". The name Iran comes from "Aryan" and is also mentioned in the ancient book of the Zoroastrians, which was called the Avesta. "Iran" means "Land of Aryans"
Around 500 BC, present-day Iran was the center of the Persian Empire. Then, Alexander the Great took the country by fighting and the "Achaemenid dynasty" of Persia later ruled. After them the "Sassanian dynasty" (AD 224-651) took over.
Other people took Persia by fighting like the Arabs (7th century), Turks (10th century) and Mongols (13th century). However, Iran has always maintained a distinct culture and continued to survive.
The "Safavid dynasty" (1502-1736) made Islam the religion of Iran although Islam was always popular then. The latest kings of Iran where from "Pahlavi dynasty", and ruled from 1925 until 1979, when there was a revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini created an Islamic republic.
In 1951 Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was brought to power after being elected as prime minister by nearly all members of the Majlis (parliament) in Iran. His first act in office was to take control of the oil industry in Iran which had been controlled by Great Britain. Most of Britain's oil was pumped from Iran at the time. This move was seen as a danger to Great Britain's security and empire, so they tried to overthrow the government but failed. After this they convinced the United States through diplomacy that the government of Iran was a communist threat.
The CIA worked in Iran to create riots which led to the removal of Prime Minister Mossadegh. The United States and Great Britain then made the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi leader of Iran again. He ruled in Iran for less than a year when he left Iran and the Iranian government was changed to an Islamic Republic. Soon afterwards, Iranian students, with the backing of the new government took over the U.S. Embassy and held most of the diplomats hostage for over a year. Relations between the two countries have not been good since. For example. The US has imposed various types of economic sanctions against Iran. The US claims the Iran supports terrorist groups against Israel, something that is completly not true. Iran does not recognize Israel as a state. Iran, along with most Arab countries believe that Israel does not have the right to occupy the land of Palestinians.
Iran has long borders in common with Iraq. (The words "Iran" and "Iraq" are similar only in Latin alphabet. In Arabic and Persian, they are written different.) Iranians are ethnically not Arabs. Iran defended itself against Iraqi invasion in 1980, a war that lasted eight years. Many Arab and Western countries, including the United States provided weapons (including biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction) and technical support for Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
Today, the West is trying hard to prevent Iran from mastering nuclear technology, even though Iran is a member of the NPT. They voice their concern claiming that Iran's intention is to develop nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported numerous times that there is no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, however, it also says that it cannot say for sure that Iran is not doing so in secret. A CIA report on nuclear activity in Iran in December 2007 claimed that Iran's secret program to achieve nuclear weapons technology was stopped in 2003, and that since then, it was never restarted. It reports that Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon will probably not happen soon.

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