Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Iran(ایران] or formerly known as Persia
Iran is formerly Persia, one of the early civilization in human history, its civilization and culture has influenced and enriched many countries of the world. Persia, the ancient country that you have read so much in history, but known too little of its modern country, Iran.

Personally I have met three Iranian in my life when we were able to talk freely about their lives and their country. One was at Mt Nebo, Jordan(جبل نيبو‎, Jabal Nibu) where I met one nun from Iran, a kind and gentle woman, standing in front of the mountain where Mosses looked at the land of milk and honey, the promised land. I always remember her, because she is the first nun that I met from an Islamic country. Another incident was in Kuantan, when a young Iranian man asked me to take him to see a church, talking with him, he want to see how the life of Christian in Malaysia. He said most of people in middle east are cousins and from Abraham, the Abraham people. I did not meet him again, and do not know his purpose of the visit to Malaysia. The last Iranian I met was a businessman, in China where he talk about the business opportunities and economy ; he gave me a business card, but I had lost it. Later, one of my office mates visited Iran, and I listen to her story of Iran, a beautiful country. The country where I wish to visit one day...... and I still remember the sweet Iranian dates I ate during Ramadan.

Map of Iran

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Iran (ایران), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country in Western Asia. The name Iran has been in use natively 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 a diverse country consisting of people of many religions and ethnic backgrounds cemented by the Persian culture. The majority of the population speaks the Persian language, which is also the official language of the country, as well as other Iranian languages or dialects. Turkic languages and dialects (most importantly Azeri) are spoken in different areas in Iran. Additionally, Arabic is spoken in the southwestern parts of the country.

The main ethnic groups in Iran are Persians (65 percent), Azeris (16 percent), Kurds (7 percent), Lurs (6 percent),Arabs (2 percent), Baluchi (2 percent), Turkmens (1 percent), Turkic tribal groups such as the Qashqai (1 percent), and non-Persian, non-Turkic groups such as Armenians, Assyrians, and Georgians (less than 1 percent). Persian, the official language, is spoken as a mother tongue by at least 65 percent of the population and as a second language by a large proportion of the remaining 35 percent. Other languages in use are Azeri and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Luri, Arabic, and Baluchi.

Religion in Iran is dominated by the Twelver Shi'a branch of Islam, which is the official state religion and to which about 89% of Iranians belong. About 9% of Iranians belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, mainly Kurds and Iran's Balochi Sunni. The remaining 2% are non-Muslim religious minorities, including Bahá'ís, Mandeans, Hindus, Yezidis, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians. The latter three minority religions are officially recognized and protected, and have reserved seats in the Majlis (Parliament). However the Bahá'í Faith, Iran's largest religious minority, is not officially recognized, and has been persecuted during its existence in Iran. Since the 1979 revolution the persecution of Bahá'ís has increased with executions, the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education and employment.

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. Early Iranian dynasties which re-asserted Iranian independence included the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids and Buyids.

The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Muslim civilization and started with the Saffarids and Samanids. Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty—who promoted Twelver Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. "Persia's Constitutional Revolution" established the nation's first parliament in 1906, within a constitutional monarchy. Iran officially became an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979, following the Iranian Revolution, when after the ruling Shah was forced into exile.

Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.

Iran is divided into thirty provinces (ostān), each governed by an appointed governor (استاندار, ostāndār). The provinces are divided into counties (shahrestān), and subdivided into districts (bakhsh) and sub-districts (dehestān). Their major cities are:

1. Tehran, with a population of 7,705,036, is the largest city in Iran and is the Capital. Tehran is home to around 11% of Iran's population. Tehran, like many big cities, suffers from severe air pollution. It is the hub of the country's communication and transport network.

2. Mashhad, with a population of 2,410,800, is the second largest Iranian city and the centre of the province of Razavi Khorasan. Mashhad is one of the holiest Shi'a cities in the world as it is the site of the Imam Reza shrine. It is the centre of tourism in Iran and between 15 and 20 million pilgrims go to the Imam Reza's shrine every year.

3. Isfahan (population 1,583,609), which is the capital of Isfahan Province. The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city contains a wide variety of Islamic architectural sites ranging from the eleventh to the 19th century. The growth of the suburban area around the city has turned Isfahan into Iran's second most populous metropolitan area (3,430,353).

Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world with the most archeological architectural ruins and attractions from antiquity as recognized by UNESCO. Fifteen of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites are creations of Iranian architecture and the mausoleum of Maussollos was identified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Iran hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with more than one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2006, Iranian officials have been working with the UNHCR and Afghan officials for their repatriation. According to estimates, between two and three million Iranian citizens have emigrated to other countries, mostly since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Persia, a beautiful ancient country, with beautiful history....a great ancient nation and civilization. The wonder of the wonders......

Iran, a "new country" where few people know.......a place seems far away....

The upload of this video(by Nima Abmangol)from youtube, I may not understand the Persian language but the Iranian song, with traditional instruments (including "daff"),in which, the singer Iraj Bastami, who is away from home, explains how he yearns for his homeland. Should be a great song when it tell you about the love of the mother land. The song is by Jalaledin Mohammadi.

Iran, Persia, a beautiful country; her history, her geography, her people... the country that played vital role in the past...the country that is able to be good global citizen... the country that many people want to see, it will be great for tourism.

Not only Iraj Bastami want to return to his motherland; many people want to visit Iran/Persia......

Related articles:

1. Iran, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persia
2. http://tehran.stanford.edu/
3. Iranian.com, http://www.iranian.com/
4. Iran Daily, http://www.iran-daily.com/
5. SalamIran, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ottawa, Canada; http://www.salamiran.org/content/
6. Iran Travel Guide, http://wikitravel.org/en/Iran

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