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History & Politics of Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country located in west Asia, once known as Persia to the Western world. Iran borders Armenia, Azerbaijan (including its Nakhichevan exclave), and Turkmenistan to the north, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. In addition, it borders the Persian Gulf, across which lie Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Shi'a Islam is the official state religion and Persian is its official language.
Throughout history, Iran has been of great geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia.
Iran is a member and co-founder of the United Nations, NAM, the OIC, and OPEC.
Iran is also significant in international politics on account of its large supply of petroleum.
The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and literally means "Land of the Aryans".
Historical & Tourist Attractions in Iran
The capital is essentially a modern city, but the best of the old has been preserved. The Shahid Motahari Mosque has eight minarets, from which the city can be viewed. The Bazaar (open every day except Friday and religious holidays) is one of the world’s largest; another bazaar, catering mainly for local communities, can be found in the Tajrish suburb. Located in the north of the capital, an endless maze of vaulted alleys, everything from fine carpets to silver- and copperware to exotic aromatic spices can be found here.
Shiraz is the capital of the Fars Province, and another of the country’s ancient cities. Several of the buildings date back to the ninth century, and there are many excellent parks and gardens. About 50km (30 miles) away is Persepolis, also on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and famous for the Ceremonial Seat of Darius, built on an enormous platform carved out of the Kuhe Rahmat. Another UNESCO-listed archaeological site can be found at Changha Zanbil, 40km (25 miles) southeast of Susa.
Khorasan is a large province in the east where a great revival of learning occurred in the early Middle Ages. Mashhad, a former trading post on the Silk Road, is the capital of the region.
The city of Kerman in the southern desert region has several stunning mosques and a ruined citadel, although visitors are advised to exercise caution and only travel on tours organized through Iranian government-approved tourist organizations.