Coordinates: 32°N 53°E / 32°N 53°E / 32; 53
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32°N 53°E / 32°N 53°E / 32; 53
Islamic Republic of Iran
جمهوری اسلامی ایران (Persian)
Jomhuri-ye Eslâmi-ye Irân
Motto: استقلال، آزادی، جمهوری اسلامی
Esteqlâl, Âzâdi, Jomhuri-ye Eslâmi
"Independence, freedom, the Islamic Republic"
Location of Iran
and largest city
35°41′N 51°25′E / 35.683°N 51.417°E / 35.683; 51.417
Official languagesPersian
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
Speaker of the Parliament
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i
Current constitution
3 December 1979
28 July 1989
• Total
1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi) (17th)
• Water (%)
1.63 (as of 2015)[4]
• 2022 estimate
86,758,304[5] (17th)
• Density
48/km2 (124.3/sq mi) (162nd)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
$1.692 trillion[6] (22nd)
• Per capita
$19,548[6] (80th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Decrease$367.968 billion[6] (43rd)
• Per capita
Decrease $4,252[6] (120th)
Gini (2019)Positive decrease 40.9[7]
HDI (2021)Decrease 0.783[8]
high · 70th
CurrencyIranian rial (ریال) (IRR)
Time zoneUTC+3:30 (IRST)
Date formatyyyy/mm/dd (SH)
Driving sideright
Calling code+98
ISO 3166 codeIR
Internet TLD

Iran,[a] also known as Persia[b][10] and officially as the Islamic Republic of Iran,[c] is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan to the north, by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south. It covers an area of 1.64 million square kilometres (0.63 million square miles), making it the 17th-largest country. Iran has an estimated population of 86.8 million, making it the 17th-most populous country in the world, and the second-largest in the Middle East. Its largest cities, in descending order, are the capital Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Karaj, Shiraz, and Tabriz.

The country is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the

Seljuk Turks and the Mongols
conquered the region.

In the 15th century, the native

Islamic Republic was established in 1979 by Ruhollah Khomeini, who became the country's first Supreme Leader


Sunni hegemony within the region. Since the Iranian Revolution, the country is widely considered to be the most determined adversary of Israel and also of Saudi Arabia. Iran is also considered to be one of the biggest players within Middle Eastern affairs, with its government being involved both directly and indirectly in the majority of modern Middle Eastern conflicts

Iran is a



Inscription of Ardeshir Babakan (ruling 224–242) in Naqsh-e Rostam
Inscription of Ardeshir Babakan (r. 224–242) in Naqsh-e Rostam: "This is the figure of Mazdaworshipper, the lord Ardashir, Shahanshah of Iran ..."[11]
An Ashrafi Coin of Nader Shah
An Ashrafi Coin of Nader Shah (r. 1736–1747), reverse: "Coined on gold the word of kingdom in the world, Nader of Greater Iran and the world-conqueror king."[12]

The term

Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- (Middle Persian) and ary- (Parthian), both deriving from Proto-Iranian language *arya- (meaning "Aryan", i.e. "of the Iranians"),[13][14] recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European language *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles (skilfully)".[15] In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta,[16][d] and remains also in other Iranian ethnic names Alan (Ossetian: Ир Ir) and Iron (Ирон).[14] According to the Iranian mythology, the country's name comes from the name of Iraj, a legendary prince and shah who was killed by his brothers.[17]
Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by
Fars.[20] As the most extensive interaction the ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted, even long after the Greco-Persian Wars
(499–449 BC).

In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, Iran, on Nowruz, falling on 21 March 1935 (Esfand 30, 1313), 4:43 pm Tehran time; effective 22 March (the Iranian New Year on Farvardin 1, 1314) that year.[21][22] Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision in 1959, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably.[23] Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains mandatory in official state contexts.[24]

Historical and cultural usage of the word Iran is not restricted to the modern state proper.[25][26][27] "Greater Iran" (Irānzamīn or Irān e Bozorg)[28] refers to territories of the Iranian cultural and linguistic zones. In addition to modern Iran, it includes portions of the Caucasus, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.[29][page needed]


The Persian pronunciation of Iran is [ʔiːˈɾɒːn]. Common Commonwealth English pronunciations of Iran are listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as /ɪˈrɑːn/ and /ɪˈræn/,[30] while American English dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster's provide pronunciations which map to /ɪˈrɑːn, -ˈræn, ˈræn/,[31] or likewise in Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary as /ɪˈræn, ɪˈrɑːn, ˈræn/. The Cambridge Dictionary lists /ɪˈrɑːn/ as the British pronunciation and /ɪˈræn/ as the American pronunciation. Similarly, Glasgow-based Collins English Dictionary provides both English English and American English pronunciations. The pronunciation guide from Voice of America also provides /ɪˈrɑːn/.[32]

The American English pronunciation /ˈræn/ may be heard in U.S. media. Max Fisher in The Washington Post[33] prescribed /ˈrɑːn/ for Iran, while proscribing /ˈræn/. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, in the dictionary's 2014 Usage Ballot, addressed the topic of the pronunciations of Iran and Iraq.[34] According to this survey, the pronunciations /ɪˈrɑːn/ and /ɪˈræn/ were deemed almost equally acceptable, while /ɪˈrɑːn/ was preferred by most panelists participating in the ballot. With regard to the /ˈræn/ pronunciation, more than 70% of the panelists deemed it unacceptable. Among the reasons given by those panelists were that /ˈræn/ has "hawkish connotations" and sounds "angrier", "xenophobic", "ignorant", and "not ... cosmopolitan". The /ˈræn/ pronunciation remains standard and acceptable, reflected in the entry for Iran in the American Heritage Dictionary itself, as well as in each of the other major dictionaries of American English.



Lorestan from the 2nd millennium BC.[35]

The earliest attested archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated at Kashafrud and Ganj Par in northern Iran, confirm a human presence in Iran since the Lower Paleolithic.[36] Iran's Neanderthal artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic have been found mainly in the Zagros region, at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh.[37][38][page needed] From the tenth to the seventh millennium BC, early agricultural communities began to flourish in and around the Zagros region in western Iran, including Chogha Golan,[39][40] Chogha Bonut,[41][42] and Chogha Mish.[43][44][page needed][45]

The occupation of grouped hamlets in the area of

Iranian Plateau, pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BC.[45][47][48] During the Bronze Age, the territory of present-day Iran was home to several civilizations,[49][50] including Elam, Jiroft, and Zayanderud. Elam, the most prominent of these civilizations, developed in the southwest alongside those in Mesopotamia, and continued its existence until the emergence of the Iranian empires. The advent of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BC.[51]

From the 34th to the 20th century BC, northwestern Iran was part of the

Kura-Araxes culture, which stretched into the neighboring Caucasus and Anatolia. Since the earliest second millennium BC, Assyrians
settled in swaths of western Iran and incorporated the region into their territories.

Classical antiquity

A bas-relief at Persepolis, depicting the united Medes and Persians

By the second millennium BC, the ancient Iranian peoples arrived in what is now Iran from the Eurasian Steppe,[52] rivaling the native settlers of the region.[53][54] As the Iranians dispersed into the wider area of Greater Iran and beyond, the boundaries of modern-day Iran were dominated by Median, Persian, and Parthian tribes.

From the late tenth to the late seventh century BC, the Iranian peoples, together with the "pre-Iranian" kingdoms, fell under the domination of the Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia.[55][page needed] Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, as well as the fellow Iranian Scythians and Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire. The civil war ravaged the Assyrian Empire between 616 and 605 BC, thus freeing their respective peoples from three centuries of Assyrian rule.[55] The unification of the Median tribes under king Deioces in 728 BC led to the foundation of the Median Empire which, by 612 BC, controlled almost the entire territory of present-day Iran and eastern Anatolia.[56] This marked the end of the Kingdom of Urartu as well, which was subsequently conquered and dissolved.[57][58]

Tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire, in Pasargadae

In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great, the son of Mandane and Cambyses I, took over the Median Empire, and founded the Achaemenid Empire by unifying other city-states. The conquest of Media was a result of what is called the Persian Revolt. The brouhaha was initially triggered by the actions of the Median ruler Astyages, and was quickly spread to other provinces as they allied with the Persians. Later conquests under Cyrus and his successors expanded the empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, as well as the lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers.

539 BC was the year in which Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at Opis, and marked the end of around four centuries of Mesopotamian domination of the region by conquering the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch. Subsequent Achaemenid art and iconography reflect the influence of the new political reality in Mesopotamia.[59][60][61]

The Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC) around the time of Darius the Great and Xerxes I

At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire included territories of modern-day Iran, Republic of Azerbaijan (Arran and Shirvan), Armenia, Georgia, Turkey (Anatolia), much of the Black Sea coastal regions, northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria (Thrace), northern Greece and North Macedonia (Paeonia and Macedon), Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, parts of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and much of Central Asia, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen.[60]

It is estimated that in 480 BC, 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire.[62][63] The empire at its peak ruled over 44% of the world's population, the highest such figure for any empire in history.[64]

The Achaemenid Empire is noted for the release of the Jewish exiles in Babylon,[65] building infrastructures such as the Royal Road and the Chapar (postal service), and the use of an official language, Imperial Aramaic, throughout its territories.[60] The empire had a centralized, bureaucratic administration under the emperor, a large professional army, and civil services, inspiring similar developments in later empires.[66][67]

Eventual conflict on the western borders began with the Ionian Revolt, which erupted into the Greco-Persian Wars and continued through the first half of the fifth century BC, and ended with the withdrawal of the Achaemenids from all of the territories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper.[68]

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire, defeating the last Achaemenid emperor, Darius III, at the Battle of Issus. Following the premature death of Alexander, Iran came under the control of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. In the middle of the second century BC, the Parthian Empire rose to become the main power in Iran, and the century-long geopolitical arch-rivalry between the Romans and the Parthians began, culminating in the Roman–Parthian Wars. The Parthian Empire continued as a feudal monarchy for nearly five centuries, until 224 CE, when it was succeeded by the Sasanian Empire.[69] Together with their neighboring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantines, they made up the world's two most dominant powers at the time, for over four centuries.[70][71]

The Sasanians established an empire within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, with their capital at Ctesiphon. Late antiquity is considered one of Iran's most influential periods, as under the Sasanians,[72] their influence reached the culture of ancient Rome (and through that as far as Western Europe),[73][74] Africa,[75] China, and India,[76] and played a prominent role in the formation of the medieval art of both Europe and Asia.[70][71]

Medieval period

The prolonged

Byzantine–Sasanian wars, most importantly the climactic war of 602–628, as well as the social conflict within the Sasanian Empire, opened the way for an Arab invasion of Iran in the seventh century.[77][78] The empire was initially defeated by the Rashidun Caliphate, which was succeeded by the Umayyad Caliphate, followed by the Abbasid Caliphate. A prolonged and gradual process of state-imposed Islamization followed, which targeted Iran's then Zoroastrian majority and included religious persecution,[79][80][81] demolition of libraries[82] and fire temples,[83] a special tax penalty ("jizya"),[84][85] and language shift.[86][87]

In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads.[88] Arabs Muslims and Persians of all strata made up the rebel army, which was united by the converted Persian Muslim, Abu Muslim.[89][90][91] In their struggle for power, the society in their times gradually became cosmopolitan and the old Arab simplicity and aristocratic dignity, bearing and prestige were lost. Persians and Turks began to replace the Arabs in most fields. The fusion of the Arab nobility with the subject races, the practice of polygamy and concubinage, made for a social amalgam wherein loyalties became uncertain and a hierarchy of officials emerged, a bureaucracy at first Persian and later Turkish which decreased Abbasid prestige and power for good.[92]

After two centuries of Arab rule, semi-independent and independent Iranian kingdoms—including the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, and Buyids—began to appear on the fringes of the declining Abbasid Caliphate.[93]

Tomb of Hafez, a medieval Persian poet whose works are regarded as a pinnacle in Persian literature and have left a considerable mark on later Western writers, most notably Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.[94][95][96]

The blossoming literature, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and art of Iran became major elements in the formation of a new age for the Iranian civilization, during a period known as the Islamic Golden Age.[97][98] The Islamic Golden Age reached its peak by the 10th and 11th centuries, during which Iran was the main theater of scientific activities.[99]

The tenth century saw a mass migration of Turkic tribes from Central Asia into the Iranian Plateau.[100] Turkic tribesmen were first used in the Abbasid army as mamluks (slave-warriors), replacing Iranian and Arab elements within the army.[89] As a result, the Mamluks gained significant political power. In 999, large portions of Iran came briefly under the rule of the Ghaznavids, whose rulers were of mamluk Turkic origin, and longer subsequently under the Seljuk and Khwarezmian empires.[100] The Seljuks subsequently gave rise to the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia, while taking their thoroughly Persianized identity with them.[101][102] The result of the adoption and patronage of Persian culture by Turkish rulers was the development of a distinct Turco-Persian tradition.

From 1219 to 1221, under the Khwarazmian Empire, Iran suffered

a devastating invasion by the Mongol Empire army of Genghis Khan. According to Steven R. Ward, "Mongol violence and depredations killed up to three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Some historians have estimated that Iran's population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century."[103] Most modern historians either outright dismiss or are highly skeptical of such statistics of colossal magnitude pertaining the Mongol onslaught on the Khwarazmian empire, mainland Iran and other Muslim regions and deem them to be exaggerations by Muslim chroniclers of that era (whose recordings were naturally of an anti-Mongol bent). Indeed, as far as the Iranian plateau was concerned, the bulk of the Mongol onslaught and battles were in the northeast of what is modern-day Iran, such as in the cities of Nishapur and Tus.[104][105][106]

Following the fracture of the Mongol Empire in 1256, Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Ilkhanate in Iran. In 1357, the capital Tabriz was occupied by the Golden Horde khan Jani Beg and the centralized power collapsed, resulting in the emergence of rivaling dynasties. In 1370, yet another conqueror, Timur from Transoxiana, took control over Persia, establishing the Timurid Empire which lasted for another 156 years. In 1387, Timur ordered the complete massacre of Isfahan, reportedly killing 70,000 citizens.[107] The Ilkhans and the Timurids soon came to adopt the ways and customs of the Iranians, surrounding themselves with a culture that was distinctively Iranian.[108]

Early modern period


Venetian portrait, kept at the Uffizi, of Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid Empire

By the 1500s, Ismail I of Ardabil established the Safavid Empire,[109][110] with his capital at Tabriz.[100] Beginning with Azerbaijan, he subsequently extended his authority over all of the Iranian territories, and established an intermittent Iranian hegemony over the vast relative regions, reasserting the Iranian identity within large parts of Greater Iran.[111] Iran was predominantly Sunni,[112] but Ismail instigated a forced conversion to the Shia branch of Islam,[113][110][114][115] spreading throughout the Safavid territories in the Caucasus, Iran, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. As a result, modern-day Iran is the only official Shia nation of the world, with it holding an absolute majority in Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, having there the first and the second highest number of Shia inhabitants by population percentage in the world.[116][117] Meanwhile, the centuries-long geopolitical and ideological rivalry between Safavid Iran and the neighboring Ottoman Empire led to numerous Ottoman–Iranian wars.[103]

The Safavid era peaked in the reign of

Sultan Husayn
in 1722.


In 1729,

west and central Asia, and briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time.[119][120][121][119]

Statue of Nader Shah, the first Afsharid ruler of Iran, at his Tomb

Nader Shah

campaigns in the Northern Caucasus against then revolting Lezgins. The assassination of Nader Shah sparked a brief period of civil war and turmoil, after which Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty came to power in 1750, bringing a period of relative peace and prosperity.[103]


Compared to its preceding dynasties, the geopolitical reach of the Zand dynasty was limited. Many of the Iranian territories in the Caucasus gained de facto autonomy and were locally ruled through various Caucasian khanates. However, despite the self-ruling, they all remained subjects and vassals to the Zand king.[122] Another civil war ensued after the death of Karim Khan in 1779, out of which Agha Mohammad Khan emerged, founding the Qajar dynasty in 1794.


In 1795, following the disobedience of the Georgian subjects and their alliance with the Russians, the Qajars captured Tbilisi by the Battle of Krtsanisi, and drove the Russians out of the entire Caucasus, reestablishing the Iranian suzerainty over the region.

A map showing the 19th-century northwestern borders of Iran, comprising modern-day eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan, before being ceded to the neighboring Russian Empire by the Russo-Iranian wars

The Russo-Iranian wars of

1826–1828 resulted in large irrevocable territorial losses for Iran in the Caucasus, comprising all of the South Caucasus and Dagestan, which made part of the very concept of Iran for centuries,[120]
and thus substantial gains for the neighboring Russian Empire.

As a result of the 19th-century Russo-Iranian wars, the Russians took over the Caucasus, and Iran irrevocably lost control over its integral territories in the region (comprising modern-day Dagestan,


As Iran shrank, many South Caucasian and North Caucasian Muslims moved towards Iran,[132][133] especially until the aftermath of the Circassian Genocide,[133] and the decades afterwards, while Iran's Armenians were encouraged to settle in the newly incorporated Russian territories,[134][135][136] causing significant demographic shifts.

Around 1.5 million people—20 to 25% of the population of Iran—died as a result of the

Great Famine of 1870–1872.[137]

Between 1872 and 1905, a series of protests took place in response to the sale of

Zoroastrians,[138] which has remained a basis in the legislation of Iran since then. The struggle related to the constitutional movement was followed by the Triumph of Tehran in 1909, when Mohammad Ali Shah was defeated and forced to abdicate. In 1907, the Anglo-Russian Convention divided Qajar Iran into influence zones, formalising many of the concessions. On the pretext of restoring order, the Russians occupied northern Iran and the city of Tabriz and maintained a military presence in the region for years to come. But this did not put an end to the civil uprisings and was soon followed by Mirza Kuchik Khan's Jungle Movement
against both the Qajar monarchy and foreign invaders.

Despite Iran's neutrality during

Iranian Armenian Christians, as well as those Muslims who tried to protect them, were victims of mass murders committed by the invading Ottoman troops, notably in and around Khoy, Maku, Salmas, and Urmia.[139][140][141][142][143]

Apart from the rule of Agha Mohammad Khan, the Qajar rule is characterized as a century of misrule.

Prime Minister of Iran
and was declared the new monarch in 1925.


In the midst of

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company), prevent a German advance via Turkey or the USSR on Baku's oil fields, and limit German influence in Iran. Following the invasion, on 16 September 1941 Reza Shah abdicated and was replaced by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, his 21-year-old son.[145][146][147]

The Allied "Big Three" at the 1943 Tehran Conference

During the rest of World War II, Iran became a major conduit for British and American aid to the Soviet Union and an avenue through which over 120,000 Polish refugees and Polish Armed Forces fled the Axis advance.[148] At the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied "Big Three"—Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill—issued the Tehran Declaration to guarantee the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran. However, at the end of the war, Soviet troops remained in Iran and established two puppet states in north-western Iran, namely the People's Government of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Mahabad. This led to the Iran crisis of 1946, one of the first confrontations of the Cold War, which ended after oil concessions were promised to the USSR and Soviet forces withdrew from Iran proper in May 1946. The two puppet states were soon overthrown, and the oil concessions were later revoked.[149][150]

1951–1978: Mosaddegh, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh was appointed as the Prime Minister of Pahlavi Iran. After the nationalization of Iran's oil industry, he became enormously popular. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the United States had participated in an overthrow of a foreign government during the Cold War.[151]

After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and sultanistic, and Iran entered a decades-long phase of controversially close relations with the United States and some other foreign governments.[152] While the Shah increasingly modernized Iran and claimed to retain it as a fully secular state,[153] arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, the SAVAK, were used for crushing all forms of political opposition.[154]

Ruhollah Khomeini, a radical Muslim cleric,[155] became an active critic of the Shah's far-reaching series of reforms known as the White Revolution. Khomeini publicly denounced the government, and was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, he refused to apologize and was eventually sent into exile.

Due to the 1973 spike in oil prices, the economy of Iran was flooded with foreign currency, which caused inflation. By 1974, the economy of Iran was experiencing a double-digit inflation rate, and despite the many large projects to modernize the country, corruption was rampant and caused large amounts of waste. By 1975 and 1976, an economic recession led to an increased unemployment rate, especially among millions of youths who had migrated to the cities of Iran looking for construction jobs during the boom years of the early 1970s. By the late 1970s, many of these people opposed the Shah's regime and began organizing and joining the protests against it.[156]

After the 1979 Iranian Revolution


The immediate nationwide uprisings against the new government began with the

Sistan and Baluchestan and other areas. Over the next several years, these uprisings were subdued violently by the new Islamic government. The new government began purging itself of the non-Islamist political opposition, as well as of those Islamists who were not considered radical enough. Although both nationalists and Marxists had initially joined with Islamists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were executed by the new regime afterward.[166] Following Khomeini's order to purge the new government of any remaining officials still loyal to the exiled Shah, many former ministers and officials in the Shah's government, including former prime minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, were executed

On 4 November 1979, after the United States refusal for the extradition of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the new government, a group of Muslim students seized the United States Embassy and took the embassy with 52 personnel and citizens hostage .[167] Attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages, and a failed rescue attempt, helped with the falling popularity of Carter among the US citizens and it pushed him out of the presidential office and brought Ronald Reagan to power. On Jimmy Carter's final day in office, the last hostages were finally set free due to the Algiers Accords. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left the United States for Egypt, where he died of complications from cancer only months later, on 27 July 1980.

The Cultural Revolution began in 1980, with an initial closure of universities for three years, in order to perform an inspection and clean up in the cultural policy of the education and training system.[citation needed]

An Iranian soldier wearing a gas mask on the front line during the Iran–Iraq War

On 22 September 1980, the Iraqi army invaded the western Iranian province of Khuzestan, initiating the Iran–Iraq War. Although the forces of Saddam Hussein made several early advances, by mid-1982, the Iranian forces successfully managed to drive the Iraqi army back into Iraq. In July 1982, with Iraq thrown on the defensive, the regime of Iran decided to invade Iraq and conducted countless offensives to conquer Iraqi territory and capture cities, such as Basra. The war continued until 1988, when the Iraqi army defeated the Iranian forces inside Iraq and pushed the remaining Iranian troops back across the border. Subsequently, Khomeini accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. The total Iranian casualties in the war were estimated to be 123,220–160,000 KIA, 60,711 MIA, and 11,000–16,000 civilians killed.[168][169]

The Green Movement's Silent Demonstration during the 2009–10 Iranian election protests

Following the Iran–Iraq War, in 1989,

reformist Mohammad Khatami, whose government attempted, unsuccessfully, to make the country more free and democratic.[170]


populist candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to power.[171] By the time of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, the Interior Ministry announced incumbent President Ahmadinejad had won 62.63% of the vote, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi had come in second place with 33.75%.[172][173] The election results were widely disputed,[174][175] and resulted in widespread protests, both within Iran and in major cities outside the country,[176][177] and the creation of the Iranian Green Movement

Hassan Rouhani was elected as the president on 15 June 2013, defeating Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates.[178][179] The electoral victory of Rouhani relatively improved the relations of Iran with other countries.[180]

2017–18 Iranian protests
were initiated on 31 December 2017 and continued for months.