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The history of Iran, commonly also known as Persia
Persia
in the Western world, is intertwined with the history of a larger region, also to an extent known as Greater Iran, comprising the area from Anatolia, the Bosphorus, and Egypt
Egypt
in the west to the borders of Ancient India
Ancient India
and the Syr Darya
Syr Darya
in the east, and from the Caucasus
Caucasus
and the Eurasian Steppe in the north to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
and the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
in the south. Iran
Iran
is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BCE.[1] The southwestern and western part of the Iranian Plateau participated in the traditional Ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
with Elam, from the Early Bronze
Bronze
Age, and later with various other peoples, such as the Kassites, Mannaeans, and Gutians. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
calls the Persians the "first Historical People".[2] The Medes
Medes
unified Iran as a nation and empire in 625 BCE.[3] The Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(550–330 BCE), founded by Cyrus the Great, was the first Persian empire
Persian empire
and it ruled from the Balkans
Balkans
to North Africa
North Africa
and also Central Asia, spanning three continents, from their seat of power in Persis
Persis
(Persepolis). It was the largest empire yet seen and the first world empire.[4] The First Persian Empire
Persian Empire
was the only civilization in all of history to connect over 40% of the global population, accounting for approximately 49.4 million of the world's 112.4 million people in around 480 BCE.[5] They were succeeded by the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian Empires, who successively governed Iran
Iran
for almost 1,000 years and made Iran
Iran
once again as a leading power in the world. Persia's arch-rival was the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and its successor, the Byzantine
Byzantine
Empire. The Persian Empire
Persian Empire
proper begins in the Iron Age, following the influx of Iranian peoples. Iranian people gave rise to the Medes, the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian Empires of classical antiquity. Once a major empire, Iran
Iran
has endured invasions too, by the Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and the Mongols. Iran
Iran
has continually reasserted its national identity throughout the centuries and has developed as a distinct political and cultural entity. The Muslim conquest of Persia
Muslim conquest of Persia
(633–656) ended the Sasanian Empire and is a turning point in Iranian history. Islamization of Iran
Islamization of Iran
took place during the eighth to tenth centuries, leading to the eventual decline of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
in Iran
Iran
as well as many of its dependencies. However, the achievements of the previous Persian civilizations were not lost, but were to a great extent absorbed by the new Islamic polity and civilization.* Iran, with its long history of early cultures and empires, had suffered particularly hard during the late Middle Ages and the early modern period. Many invasions of nomadic tribes, whose leaders became rulers in this country, affected it negatively.[6] Iran
Iran
was reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty, which set Shia
Shia
Islam
Islam
as the empire's official religion,[7] marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam.[8] Functioning again as a leading power, this time amongst the neighboring Ottoman Empire, its arch-rival for centuries, Iran
Iran
had been a monarchy ruled by an emperor almost without interruption from 1501 until the 1979 Iranian Revolution, when Iran
Iran
officially became an Islamic republic
Islamic republic
on April 1, 1979.[9][10] Over the course of the first half of the 19th century, Iran
Iran
lost many of its territories in the Caucasus, which had been a part of Iran
Iran
for centuries,[11] comprising modern-day Eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, to its rapidly expanding and emerged neighboring rival, the Russian Empire, following the Russo-Persian Wars between 1804–13 and 1826–8.[12]

Contents

1 Prehistory

1.1 Paleolithic 1.2 Neolithic to Chalcolithic 1.3 Bronze
Bronze
Age 1.4 Early Iron Age

2 Classical antiquity

2.1 Median and Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(650–330 BCE) 2.2 Greek conquest and Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(312 BCE–248 BCE) 2.3 Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
(248 BCE–224 AD) 2.4 Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
(224–651 AD)

3 Medieval Iran

3.1 Caliphate and Sultanate era

3.1.1 Islamic conquest of Persia
Persia
(633–651) 3.1.2 The Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
and its incursions into the Caspian coast 3.1.3 The Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
and Iranian semi-independent governments 3.1.4 Islamic golden age, Shu'ubiyya movement and Persianization process 3.1.5 Persianate
Persianate
states and dynasties (977–1219)

3.2 Mongol invasion (1219–1221)

3.2.1 Destruction under the Mongols 3.2.2 Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
(1256–1335) 3.2.3 Sunnism and Shiism in pre-Safavid Iran

4 Timurid Empire
Timurid Empire
(1370–1507) 5 Kara Koyunlu 6 Ak Koyunlu 7 Early modern era (1502–1925)

7.1 Safavid Empire
Safavid Empire
(1501–1736) 7.2 Nader Shah
Nader Shah
and his successors 7.3 Qajar dynasty
Qajar dynasty
(1796–1925) 7.4 Migration of Caucasian Muslims 7.5 Constitutional Revolution
Revolution
and deposement

8 Pahlavi era (1925–1979)

8.1 Reza Shah
Shah
(1925–1941) 8.2 World War II 8.3 Mohammad-Reza Shah
Shah
(1941–1979)

8.3.1 1953: U.S. organized coup removes Mosaddeq

9 Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
and the Islamic Republic (1979)

9.1 Ideology of the 1979 Iranian Revolution 9.2 Khomeini
Khomeini
Takes Power (1979–1989)

9.2.1 Iran
Iran
hostage crisis (1979–1981) 9.2.2 Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War (1980–1988)

9.3 Rule under Khamenei (1989–present)

9.3.1 The first eight years (1989–1997) 9.3.2 Reforms and consequences (1997–2005) 9.3.3 2005 presidential election and consequences (2005–2009) 9.3.4 2013 presidential election and improving US– Iran
Iran
relations (2013–present)

10 See also 11 References 12 Sources 13 Further reading 14 External links

Prehistory[edit] Further information: Archaeological sites in Iran
Archaeological sites in Iran
and Prehistory
Prehistory
of Iran Further information: Tepe Sialk, Jiroft culture, and Shahr-e Sukhteh Paleolithic[edit]

A gold cup at the National Museum of Iran, dating from the first half of 1st millennium BCE

Arg-e Bam
Arg-e Bam
before the 2003 earthquake

Chogha Zanbil
Chogha Zanbil
is one of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and is considered to be the best preserved example in the world.

The earliest archaeological artifacts in Iran
Iran
were found in the Kashafrud
Kashafrud
and Ganj Par
Ganj Par
sites that are thought to date back to 100,000 years ago in the Middle Paleolithic.[13] Mousterian
Mousterian
stone tools made by Neandertals have also been found.[14] There are more cultural remains of Neandertals dating back to the Middle Paleolithic
Middle Paleolithic
period, which mainly have been found in the Zagros region and fewer in central Iran
Iran
at sites such as Kobeh, Kunji, Bisitun Cave, Tamtama, Warwasi, and Yafteh
Yafteh
Cave.[15] In 1949, a Neanderthal radius was discovered by Carleton S. Coon
Carleton S. Coon
in Bisitun Cave.[16] Evidence for Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic
Epipaleolithic
periods are known mainly from the Zagros Mountains in the caves of Kermanshah, Piranshahr
Piranshahr
and Khorramabad
Khorramabad
and a few number of sites in the Alborz
Alborz
and Central Iran. During this time, people began creating rock art. Neolithic to Chalcolithic[edit] Early agricultural communities such as Chogha Golan
Chogha Golan
in 10,000 BCE[17][18] along with settlements such as Chogha Bonut (the earliest village in Elam) in 8000 BCE,[19][20] began to flourish in and around the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
region in western Iran.[21] Around about the same time, the earliest-known clay vessels and modeled human and animal terracotta figurines were produced at Ganj Dareh, also in western Iran.[21] There are also 10,000-year-old human and animal figurines from Tepe Sarab in Kermanshah
Kermanshah
Province among many other ancient artifacts.[14] The south-western part of Iran
Iran
was part of the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
where most of humanity's first major crops were grown, in villages such as Susa
Susa
(where a settlement was first founded possibly as early as 4395 cal BCE)[22] and settlements such as Chogha Mish, dating back to 6800 BCE;[1][23] there are 7,000-year-old jars of wine excavated in the Zagros Mountains[24] (now on display at the University of Pennsylvania) and ruins of 7000-year-old settlements such as Tepe Sialk are further testament to that. The two main Neolithic Iranian settlements were the Zayandeh River Culture
Zayandeh River Culture
and Ganj Dareh. Bronze
Bronze
Age[edit] Further information: Tepe Sialk, Jiroft culture, Elam, Kura–Araxes culture, Akkadian Empire, Kassites, and Mannaeans Parts of what is modern-day northwestern Iran
Iran
was part of the Kura–Araxes culture
Kura–Araxes culture
(circa 3400 BCE—ca. 2000 BCE), that stretched up into the neighboring regions of the Caucasus
Caucasus
and Anatolia.[25][26] Susa
Susa
is one of the oldest-known settlements of Iran
Iran
and the world. Based on C14 dating, the time of foundation of the city is as early as 4395 BCE,[27] a time that goes beyond the age of civilization in Mesopotamia. The general perception among archeologists is that Susa was an extension of the Sumerian city state of Uruk.[28][29] In its later history, Susa
Susa
became the capital of Elam, which emerged as a state found 4000 BCE.[27] There are also dozens of prehistoric sites across the Iranian plateau pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BCE,[1] One of the earliest civilizations in Iranian plateau was the Jiroft culture in southeastern Iran
Iran
in the province of Kerman. It is one of the most artifact-rich archaeological sites in the Middle East. Archaeological excavations in Jiroft led to the discovery of several objects belonging to the 4th millennium BCE.[30] There is a large quantity of objects decorated with highly distinctive engravings of animals, mythological figures, and architectural motifs. The objects and their iconography are unlike anything ever seen before by archeologists. Many are made from chlorite, a gray-green soft stone; others are in copper, bronze, terracotta, and even lapis lazuli. Recent excavations at the sites have produced the world's earliest inscription which pre-dates Mesopotamian inscriptions.[31][32] There are records of numerous other ancient civilizations on the Iranian Plateau
Iranian Plateau
before the emergence of Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
during the Early Iron Age. The Early Bronze Age
Early Bronze Age
saw the rise of urbanization into organized city states and the invention of writing (the Uruk period) in the Near East. While Bronze
Bronze
Age Elam
Elam
made use of writing from an early time, the Proto-Elamite
Proto-Elamite
script remains undeciphered, and records from Sumer
Sumer
pertaining to Elam
Elam
are scarce. Russian historian Igor M. Diakonoff states that the modern inhabitants of the Iranian Plateau
Iranian Plateau
are descendants of mainly non-Persian groups: "It is the autochthones of the Iranian plateau, and not the Proto-Indo-European tribes of Europe, which are, in the main, the ancestors, in the physical sense of the word, of the present-day Iranians."[33] Early Iron Age[edit] See also: Neo-Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
and Urartu Records become more tangible with the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and its records of incursions from the Iranian plateau. As early as the 20th century BCE, tribes came to the Iranian Plateau
Iranian Plateau
from the Pontic–Caspian steppe. The arrival of Iranians on the Iranian plateau forced the Elamites to relinquish one area of their empire after another and to take refuge in Elam, Khuzestan and the nearby area, which only then became coterminous with Elam.[34] Bahman Firuzmandi say that the southern Iranians might be intermixed with the Elamite peoples living in the plateau.[35] By the mid-first millennium BCE, Medes, Persians, and Parthians populated the Iranian plateau. Until the rise of the Medes, they all remained under Assyrian domination, like the rest of the Near East. In the first half of the first millennium BCE, parts of what is now Iranian Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
were incorporated into Urartu. Classical antiquity[edit] Median and Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(650–330 BCE)[edit] Main articles: Medes
Medes
and Achaemenid Empire See also: Greco-Persian Wars

A map of the Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
at its greatest extent

The monument assumed to be the tomb of Cyrus the Great

Representation of the palace of Darius I
Darius I
at Persepolis

In 646 BCE, Assyrian king Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal
sacked Susa, which ended Elamite supremacy in the region.[36] For over 150 years Assyrian kings of nearby Northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
had been wanting to conquer Median tribes of Western Iran.[37] Under pressure from Assyria, the small kingdoms of the western Iranian plateau coalesced into increasingly larger and more centralized states.[36] In the second half of seventh century BCE, the Medes
Medes
gained their independence and were united by Deioces. In 612 BCE, Cyaxares, Deioces' grandson, and the Babylonian king Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar
invaded Assyria
Assyria
and laid siege to and eventually destroyed Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, which led to the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.[38] Urartu
Urartu
was later on conquered and dissolved as well by the Medes.[39][40] The Medes
Medes
are credited with founding Iran
Iran
as a nation and empire, and established the first Iranian empire, the largest of its day until Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
established a unified empire of the Medes
Medes
and Persians, leading to the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(c.550–330 BCE). Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
overthrew, in turn, the Median, Lydian, and Neo-Babylonian Empires, creating an empire far larger than Assyria. He was better able, through more benign policies, to reconcile his subjects to Persian rule; the longevity of his empire was one result. The Persian king, like the Assyrian, was also "King of Kings", xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām (shāhanshāh in modern Persian) – "great king", Megas Basileus, as known by the Greeks. Cyrus's son, Cambyses II, conquered the last major power of the region, ancient Egypt, causing the collapse of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt. Since he became ill and died before, or while, leaving Egypt, stories developed, as related by Herodotus, that he was struck down for impiety against the ancient Egyptian deities. The winner, Darius I, based his claim on membership in a collateral line of the Achaemenid Empire. Darius' first capital was at Susa, and he started the building programme at Persepolis. He rebuilt a canal between the Nile
Nile
and the Red Sea, a forerunner of the modern Suez Canal. He improved the extensive road system, and it is during his reign that mention is first made of the Royal Road
Royal Road
(shown on map), a great highway stretching all the way from Susa
Susa
to Sardis
Sardis
with posting stations at regular intervals. Major reforms took place under Darius. Coinage, in the form of the daric (gold coin) and the shekel (silver coin) was standardized (coinage had already been invented over a century before in Lydia
Lydia
c. 660 BCE but not standardized),[41] and administrative efficiency increased. The Old Persian
Old Persian
language appears in royal inscriptions, written in a specially adapted version of the cuneiform script. Under Cyrus the Great and Darius I, the Persian Empire
Persian Empire
eventually became the largest empire in human history up until that point, ruling and administrating over most of the then known world,[42] as well as spanning the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The greatest achievement was the empire itself. The Persian Empire
Persian Empire
represented the world's first superpower[43][44] that was based on a model of tolerance and respect for other cultures and religions.[45]

Map showing key sites during the Persian invasions of Greece

In the late sixth century BCE, Darius launched his European campaign, in which he defeated the Paeonians, conquered Thrace, and subdued all coastal Greek cities, as well as defeating the European Scythians around the Danube
Danube
river.[46] In 512/511, Macedon became a vassal kingdom of Persia.[46] In 499 BCE, Athens
Athens
lent support to a revolt in Miletus, which resulted in the sacking of Sardis. This led to an Achaemenid campaign against mainland Greece known as the Greco-Persian Wars, which lasted the first half of the 5th century BCE, and is known as one of the most important wars in European history. In the First Persian invasion of Greece, the Persian general Mardonius resubjugated Thrace
Thrace
and made Macedon a full part of Persia.[46] The war eventually turned out in defeat however. Darius' successor Xerxes I
Xerxes I
launched the Second Persian invasion of Greece. At a crucial moment in the war, about half of mainland Greece was overrun by the Persians, including all territories to the north of the Isthmus of Corinth,[47][48] however, this was also turned out in a Greek victory, following the battles of Plataea and Salamis, by which Persia
Persia
lost its footholds in Europe, and eventually withdrew from it.[49] During the Greco-Persian wars Persia
Persia
gained major territorial advantages capture and razed Athens
Athens
in 480 BCE. However, after a string of Greek victories the Persians were forced to withdraw thus losing control of Macedonia, Thrace
Thrace
and Ionia. Fighting continued for several decades after the successful Greek repelling of the Second Invasion with numerous Greek city states under the latters' newly formed Delian League, which eventually ended with the peace of Callias in 449 BCE, ending the Greco-Persian Wars. In 404 BCE, following the death of Darius II, Egypt
Egypt
rebelled under Amyrtaeus. Later pharaohs successfully resisted Persian attempts to reconquer Egypt
Egypt
until 343 BCE, when Egypt
Egypt
was reconquered by Artaxerxes III.

A panoramic view of Persepolis.

Greek conquest and Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(312 BCE–248 BCE)[edit] Main article: Seleucid Empire

The Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
in 200 BCE, before Antiochus was defeated by the Romans

From 334 BCE to 331 BCE, Alexander the Great, also known in Avestan as Arda Wiraz Nâmag ("the accursed Alexander"), defeated Darius III
Darius III
in the battles of Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela, swiftly conquering the Persian Empire
Persian Empire
by 331 BCE. Alexander's empire broke up shortly after his death, and Alexander's general, Seleucus I Nicator, tried to take control of Iran, Mesopotamia, and later Syria
Syria
and Anatolia. His empire was the Seleucid Empire. He was killed in 281 BCE by Ptolemy Keraunos. Greek language, philosophy, and art came with the colonists. During the Seleucid era, Greek became the common tongue of diplomacy and literature throughout the empire. Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
(248 BCE–224 AD)[edit] Main article: Parthian Empire See also: Roman–Parthian Wars

Bronze
Bronze
Statue of a Parthian prince, National Museum of Iran

The Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
was the realm of the Arsacid dynasty, who reunited and governed the Iranian plateau after the Parni conquest of Parthia and defeating the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
in the later third century BCE, and intermittently controlled Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
between ca 150 BCE and 224 AD. The Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
quickly included Eastern Arabia.

Bagadates I, first native Persian ruler after Greek rule

Parthia
Parthia
was the eastern arch-enemy of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and it limited Rome's expansion beyond Cappadocia
Cappadocia
(central Anatolia). The Parthian armies included two types of cavalry: the heavily armed and armoured cataphracts and the lightly-armed but highly-mobile mounted archers. For the Romans, who relied on heavy infantry, the Parthians were too hard to defeat, as both types of cavalry were much faster and more mobile than foot soldiers. The Parthian shot
Parthian shot
used by the Parthian cavalry was most notably feared by the Roman soldiers, which proved pivotal in the crushing Roman defeat at the Battle of Carrhae. On the other hand, the Parthians found it difficult to occupy conquered areas as they were unskilled in siege warfare. Because of these weaknesses, neither the Romans nor the Parthians were able completely to annex each other's territory. The Parthian empire subsisted for five centuries, longer than most Eastern Empires. The end of this empire came at last in 224 AD, when the empire's organization had loosened and the last king was defeated by one of the empire's vassal peoples, the Persians under the Sasanians. However, the Arsacid dynasty continued to exist for centuries onwards in Armenia, the Iberia, and the Caucasian Albania, which were all eponymous branches of the dynasty. Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
(224–651 AD)[edit] Main article: Sasanian Empire See also: Roman–Iranian relations, Byzantine–Sasanian wars, and Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
of Iranian emperor Shapur I
Shapur I
(on horseback) capturing Roman emperor Valerian (kneeing) and Philip the Arab (standing).

The first shah of the Sasanian Empire, Ardashir I, started reforming the country economically and militarily. For a period of more than 400 years, Iran
Iran
was once again one of the leading powers in the world, alongside its neighboring rival, the Roman and then Byzantine Empires.[50][51] The empire's territory, at its height, encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia, Dagestan, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, parts of Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, parts of Pakistan, Central Asia, Eastern Arabia, and parts of Egypt. Most of the Sassanian Empire's lifespan it was overshadowed by the frequent Byzantine–Sasanian wars, a continuation of the Roman–Parthian Wars
Roman–Parthian Wars
and the all-comprising Roman–Persian Wars; the last was the longest-lasting conflict in human history. Started in the first century BCE by their predecessors, the Parthians and Romans, the last Roman–Persian War was fought in the seventh century. The Persians defeated the Romans at the Battle of Edessa
Battle of Edessa
in 260 and took emperor Valerian prisoner for the remainder of his life. Eastern Arabia
Eastern Arabia
was conquered early on. During Khosrow II's rule in 590–628, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon
Lebanon
were also annexed to the Empire. The Sassanians called their empire Erânshahr ("Dominion of the Aryans", i.e., of Iranians).[52]

Battle between Heraclius' army and Persians under Khosrow II. Fresco by Piero della Francesca, c. 1452.

A chapter of Iran's history followed after roughly six hundred years of conflict with the Roman Empire. During this time, the Sassanian and Romano- Byzantine
Byzantine
armies clashed for influence in Anatolia, the western Caucasus
Caucasus
(mainly Lazica
Lazica
and the Kingdom of Iberia; modern-day Georgia and Abkhazia), Mesopotamia, Armenia
Armenia
and the Levant. Under Justinian I, the war came to an uneasy peace with payment of tribute to the Sassanians. However, the Sasanians used the deposition of the Byzantine
Byzantine
emperor Maurice as a casus belli to attack the Empire. After many gains, the Sassanians were defeated at Issus, Constantinople, and finally Nineveh, resulting in peace. With the conclusion of the over 700 years lasting Roman–Persian Wars
Roman–Persian Wars
through the climactic Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, which included the very siege of the Byzantine
Byzantine
capital of Constantinople, the war-exhausted Persians lost the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah
Battle of al-Qādisiyyah
(632) in Hilla
Hilla
(present day Iraq) to the invading Muslim
Muslim
forces. The Sasanian era, encompassing the length of Late Antiquity, is considered to be one of the most important and influential historical periods in Iran, and had a major impact on the world. In many ways the Sassanian period witnessed the highest achievement of Persian civilization, and constitutes the last great Iranian Empire before the adoption of Islam. Persia
Persia
influenced Roman civilization considerably during Sassanian times,[53] their cultural influence extending far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe,[54] Africa,[55] China
China
and India[56] and also playing a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asiatic medieval art.[57] This influence carried forward to the Muslim
Muslim
world. The dynasty's unique and aristocratic culture transformed the Islamic conquest and destruction of Iran
Iran
into a Persian Renaissance.[54] Much of what later became known as Islamic culture, architecture, writing, and other contributions to civilization, were taken from the Sassanian Persians into the broader Muslim
Muslim
world.[58] Medieval Iran[edit] Caliphate and Sultanate era[edit] Islamic conquest of Persia
Persia
(633–651)[edit] Main article: Muslim
Muslim
conquest of Persia

Phases of the Islamic conquest   Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632   Expansion during the Patriarchal Caliphate, 632–661   Expansion during the Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliphate, 661–750

In 633, when the Sasanian king Yazdegerd III
Yazdegerd III
was ruling over Iran, the Muslims under Umar
Umar
invaded the country right after it had been in a bloody civil war. Several Iranian nobles and families such as king Dinar of the House of Karen, and later Kanarangiyans of Khorasan, mutinied against their Sasanian overlords. Although the House of Mihran had claimed the Sasanian throne under the two prominent generals Bahrām Chōbin
Bahrām Chōbin
and Shahrbaraz, it remained loyal to the Sasanians during their struggle against the Arabs, but the Mihrans were eventually betrayed and defeated by their own kinsmen, the House of Ispahbudhan, under their leader Farrukhzad, who had mutinied against Yazdegerd III. Yazdegerd III, fled from one district to another until a local miller killed him for his purse at Merv
Merv
in 651.[59] By 674, Muslims had conquered Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
(which included modern Iranian Khorasan province and modern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and parts of Transoxiana). The Muslim conquest of Persia
Muslim conquest of Persia
ended the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
and led to the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
religion in Persia. Over time, the majority of Iranians converted to Islam. Most of the aspects of the previous Persian civilizations were not discarded, but were absorbed by the new Islamic polity. As Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis
has commented:

These events have been variously seen in Iran: by some as a blessing, the advent of the true faith, the end of the age of ignorance and heathenism; by others as a humiliating national defeat, the conquest and subjugation of the country by foreign invaders. Both perceptions are of course valid, depending on one's angle of vision.[60]

The Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
and its incursions into the Caspian coast[edit] Main article: Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliphate After the fall of the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
in 651, the Arabs
Arabs
of the Umayyad Caliphate adopted many Persian customs, especially the administrative and the court mannerisms. Arab provincial governors were undoubtedly either Persianized Arameans
Arameans
or ethnic Persians; certainly Persian remained the language of official business of the caliphate until the adoption of Arabic
Arabic
toward the end of the seventh century,[61] when in 692 minting began at the capital, Damascus. The new Islamic coins evolved from imitations of Sasanian coins (as well as Byzantine), and the Pahlavi script
Pahlavi script
on the coinage was replaced with Arabic
Arabic
alphabet. During the Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliphate, the Arab conquerors imposed Arabic
Arabic
as the primary language of the subject peoples throughout their empire. Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who was not happy with the prevalence of the Persian language
Persian language
in the divan, ordered the official language of the conquered lands to be replaced by Arabic, sometimes by force.[62] In al-Biruni's From The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries for example it is written:

When Qutaibah bin Muslim
Muslim
under the command of Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef was sent to Khwarazmia with a military expedition and conquered it for the second time, he swiftly killed whomever wrote the Khwarazmian native language that knew of the Khwarazmian heritage, history, and culture. He then killed all their Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
priests and burned and wasted their books, until gradually the illiterate only remained, who knew nothing of writing, and hence their history was mostly forgotten."[63]

There are a number of historians who see the rule of the Umayyads as setting up the "dhimmah" to increase taxes from the dhimmis to benefit the Muslim
Muslim
Arab community financially and by discouraging conversion.[64] Governors lodged complaints with the caliph when he enacted laws that made conversion easier, depriving the provinces of revenues.

Map of Tabaristan
Tabaristan
and its neighbouring territories

In the 7th century, when many non- Arabs
Arabs
such as Persians entered Islam, they were recognized as mawali ("clients") and treated as second-class citizens by the ruling Arab elite until the end of the Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliphate. During this era, Islam
Islam
was initially associated with the ethnic identity of the Arab and required formal association with an Arab tribe and the adoption of the client status of mawali.[64] The half-hearted policies of the late Umayyads to tolerate non-Arab Muslims and Shias had failed to quell unrest among these minorities. However, all of Iran
Iran
was still not under Arab control, and the region of Daylam
Daylam
was under the control of the Daylamites, while Tabaristan was under Dabuyid and Paduspanid control, and the Mount Damavand region under Masmughans of Damavand. The Arabs
Arabs
had invaded these regions several times, but achieved no decisive result because of the inaccessible terrain of the regions. The most prominent ruler of the Dabuyids, known as Farrukhan the Great
Farrukhan the Great
(r. 712–728), managed to hold his domains during his long struggle against the Arab general Yazid ibn al-Muhallab, who was defeated by a combined Dailamite-Dabuyid army, and was forced to retreat from Tabaristan.[65] With the death of the Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik
Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik
in 743, the Islamic world was launched into civil war. Abu Muslim was sent to Khorasan by the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
initially as a propagandist and then to revolt on their behalf. He took Merv
Merv
defeating the Umayyad
Umayyad
governor there Nasr ibn Sayyar. He became the de facto Abbasid governor of Khurasan. During the same period, the Dabuyid ruler Khurshid declared independence from the Umayyads, but was shortly forced to recognize Abbasid authority. In 750, Abu Muslim became leader of the Abbasid army and defeated the Umayyads at the Battle of the Zab. Abu Muslim stormed Damascus, the capital of the Umayyad
Umayyad
caliphate, later that year. The Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
and Iranian semi-independent governments[edit] Main articles: Abbasid Caliphate, Tahirid dynasty, Saffarid dynasty, Ziyarid dynasty, Samanids, Sajid dynasty, Sallarid dynasty, Ilyasids, Buyid dynasty, and Kakuyids

The Saffarid dynasty
Saffarid dynasty
in 900.

Map of the Iranian dynasties in the mid 10th-century

The Abbasid army consisted primarily of Khorasanians and was led by an Iranian general, Abu Muslim Khorasani. It contained both Iranian and Arab elements, and the Abbasids enjoyed both Iranian and Arab support. The Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads in 750.[66] According to Amir Arjomand, the Abbasid Revolution
Abbasid Revolution
essentially marked the end of the Arab empire and the beginning of a more inclusive, multiethnic state in the Middle East.[67] One of the first changes the Abbasids made after taking power from the Umayyads was to move the empire's capital from Damascus, in the Levant, to Iraq. The latter region was influenced by Persian history and culture, and moving the capital was part of the Persian mawali demand for Arab influence in the empire. The city of Baghdad
Baghdad
was constructed on the Tigris River, in 762, to serve as the new Abbasid capital.[68] The Abbasids established the position of vizier like Barmakids in their administration, which was the equivalent of a "vice-caliph", or second-in-command. Eventually, this change meant that many caliphs under the Abbasids ended up in a much more ceremonial role than ever before, with the vizier in real power. A new Persian bureaucracy began to replace the old Arab aristocracy, and the entire administration reflected these changes, demonstrating that the new dynasty was different in many ways to the Umayyads.[68] By the 9th century, Abbasid control began to wane as regional leaders sprang up in the far corners of the empire to challenge the central authority of the Abbasid caliphate.[68] The Abbasid caliphs began enlisting mamluks, Turkic-speaking warriors, who had been moving out of Central Asia
Central Asia
into Transoxiana
Transoxiana
as slave warriors as early as the 9th century. Shortly thereafter the real power of the Abbasid caliphs began to wane; eventually they became religious figureheads while the warrior slaves ruled.[66] As the power of the Abbasid caliphs diminished, a series of dynasties rose in various parts of Iran, some with considerable influence and power. Among the most important of these overlapping dynasties were the Tahirids
Tahirids
in Khorasan (821–873); the Saffarids
Saffarids
in Sistan (861–1003, their rule lasted as maliks of Sistan
Sistan
until 1537); and the Samanids
Samanids
(819–1005), originally at Bukhara. The Samanids eventually ruled an area from central Iran
Iran
to Pakistan.[66] By the early 10th century, the Abbasids almost lost control to the growing Persian faction known as the Buyid dynasty
Buyid dynasty
(934–1062). Since much of the Abbasid administration had been Persian anyway, the Buyids were quietly able to assume real power in Baghdad. The Buyids
Buyids
were defeated in the mid-11th century by the Seljuq Turks, who continued to exert influence over the Abbasids, while publicly pledging allegiance to them. The balance of power in Baghdad
Baghdad
remained as such – with the Abbasids in power in name only – until the Mongol invasion of 1258 sacked the city and definitively ended the Abbasid dynasty.[68] During the Abbassid
Abbassid
period an enfranchisement was experienced by the mawali and a shift was made in political conception from that of a primarily Arab empire to one of a Muslim
Muslim
empire[69] and c. 930 a requirement was enacted that required all bureaucrats of the empire be Muslim.[64]

Islamic golden age, Shu'ubiyya movement and Persianization process[edit] See also: Islamization
Islamization
of Iran, Islamic Golden Age, and Shu'ubiyya

Extract from a medieval manuscript by Qotbeddin Shirazi (1236–1311), a Persian astronomer, depicting an epicyclic planetary model

Islamization
Islamization
was a long process by which Islam
Islam
was gradually adopted by the majority population of Iran. Richard Bulliet's "conversion curve" indicates that only about 10% of Iran
Iran
converted to Islam
Islam
during the relatively Arab-centric Umayyad
Umayyad
period. Beginning in the Abassid period, with its mix of Persian as well as Arab rulers, the Muslim percentage of the population rose. As Persian Muslims consolidated their rule of the country, the Muslim
Muslim
population rose from approximately 40% in the mid-9th century to close to 100% by the end of the 11th century.[69] Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Seyyed Hossein Nasr
suggests that the rapid increase in conversion was aided by the Persian nationality of the rulers.[70] Although Persians adopted the religion of their conquerors, over the centuries they worked to protect and revive their distinctive language and culture, a process known as Persianization. Arabs
Arabs
and Turks participated in this attempt.[71][72][73] In the 9th and 10th centuries, non-Arab subjects of the Ummah
Ummah
created a movement called Shu'ubiyyah in response to the privileged status of Arabs. Most of those behind the movement were Persian, but references to Egyptians, Berbers and Aramaeans
Aramaeans
are attested.[74] Citing as its basis Islamic notions of equality of races and nations, the movement was primarily concerned with preserving Persian culture and protecting Persian identity, though within a Muslim
Muslim
context. The most notable effect[citation needed] of the movement was the survival of the Persian language
Persian language
to the present day.[citation needed] The Samanid dynasty
Samanid dynasty
led the revival of Persian culture and the first important Persian poet after the arrival of Islam, Rudaki, was born during this era and was praised by Samanid kings. The Samanids
Samanids
also revived many ancient Persian festivals. Their successor, the Ghaznawids, who were of non-Iranian Turkic origin, also became instrumental in the revival of Persian.[75]

Persian manuscript describing how an ambassador from India brought chess to the Persian court

The culmination of the Persianization movement was the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran, written almost entirely in Persian. This voluminous work, reflects Iran's ancient history, its unique cultural values, its pre-Islamic Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
religion, and its sense of nationhood. According to Bernard Lewis:[60]

" Iran
Iran
was indeed Islamized, but it was not Arabized. Persians remained Persians. And after an interval of silence, Iran
Iran
reemerged as a separate, different and distinctive element within Islam, eventually adding a new element even to Islam
Islam
itself. Culturally, politically, and most remarkable of all even religiously, the Iranian contribution to this new Islamic civilization is of immense importance. The work of Iranians can be seen in every field of cultural endeavor, including Arabic
Arabic
poetry, to which poets of Iranian origin composing their poems in Arabic
Arabic
made a very significant contribution. In a sense, Iranian Islam
Islam
is a second advent of Islam
Islam
itself, a new Islam
Islam
sometimes referred to as Islam-i Ajam. It was this Persian Islam, rather than the original Arab Islam, that was brought to new areas and new peoples: to the Turks, first in Central Asia
Central Asia
and then in the Middle East in the country which came to be called Turkey, and of course to India. The Ottoman Turks brought a form of Iranian civilization to the walls of Vienna..."

The Islamization of Iran
Islamization of Iran
was to yield deep transformations within the cultural, scientific, and political structure of Iran's society: The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine and art became major elements of the newly forming Muslim
Muslim
civilization. Inheriting a heritage of thousands of years of civilization, and being at the "crossroads of the major cultural highways",[76] contributed to Persia emerging as what culminated into the "Islamic Golden Age". During this period, hundreds of scholars and scientists vastly contributed to technology, science and medicine, later influencing the rise of European science during the Renaissance.[77] The most important scholars of almost all of the Islamic sects and schools of thought were Persian or lived in Iran, including the most notable and reliable Hadith
Hadith
collectors of Shia
Shia
and Sunni
Sunni
like Shaikh Saduq, Shaikh Kulainy, Hakim al-Nishaburi, Imam Muslim
Muslim
and Imam Bukhari, the greatest theologians of Shia
Shia
and Sunni
Sunni
like Shaykh Tusi, Imam Ghazali, Imam Fakhr al-Razi and Al-Zamakhshari, the greatest physicians, astronomers, logicians, mathematicians, metaphysicians, philosophers and scientists like Avicenna, and Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī, the greatest Shaykh of Sufism
Shaykh of Sufism
like Rumi, Abdul-Qadir Gilani. Persianate
Persianate
states and dynasties (977–1219)[edit] Main articles: Persianate, Ghaznavids, Great Seljuq, and Khwarezmid Dynasty

The Kharaghan twin towers, built in 1067, Persia, contain tombs of Seljuq princes.

In 977 a Turkic governor of the Samanids, Sabuktigin, conquered Ghazna (in present-day Afghanistan) and established a dynasty, the Ghaznavids, that lasted to 1186.[66] The Ghaznavid empire grew by taking all of the Samanid territories south of the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
in the last decade of the 10th century, and eventually occupied parts of Eastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan
Pakistan
and northwest India.[68] The Ghaznavids
Ghaznavids
are generally credited with launching Islam
Islam
into a mainly Hindu
Hindu
India. The invasion of India was undertaken in 1000 by the Ghaznavid ruler, Mahmud, and continued for several years. They were unable to hold power for long, however, particularly after the death of Mahmud in 1030. By 1040 the Seljuqs had taken over the Ghaznavid lands in Iran.[68] The Seljuqs, who like the Ghaznavids
Ghaznavids
were Persianate
Persianate
in nature and of Turkic origin, slowly conquered Iran
Iran
over the course of the 11th century.[66] The dynasty had its origins in the Turcoman tribal confederations of Central Asia
Central Asia
and marked the beginning of Turkic power in the Middle East. They established a Sunni
Sunni
Muslim
Muslim
rule over parts of Central Asia
Central Asia
and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries. They set up an empire known as Great Seljuq Empire
Great Seljuq Empire
that stretched from Anatolia
Anatolia
in the west to western Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in the east and the western borders of (modern-day) China
China
in the northeast; and was the target of the First Crusade. Today they are regarded as the cultural ancestors of the Western Turks, the present-day inhabitants of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan, and they are remembered as great patrons of Persian culture, art, literature, and language.[78][79][80]

Seljuq empire at the time of its greatest extent, at the death of Malik Shah
Shah
I[citation needed]

The dynastic founder, Tughril Beg, turned his army against the Ghaznavids
Ghaznavids
in Khorasan. He moved south and then west, conquering but not wasting the cities in his path. In 1055 the caliph in Baghdad
Baghdad
gave Tughril Beg
Tughril Beg
robes, gifts, and the title King of the East. Under Tughril Beg's successor, Malik Shah
Shah
(1072–1092), Iran
Iran
enjoyed a cultural and scientific renaissance, largely attributed to his brilliant Iranian vizier, Nizam al Mulk. These leaders established the observatory where Omar Khayyám
Omar Khayyám
did much of his experimentation for a new calendar, and they built religious schools in all the major towns. They brought Abu Hamid Ghazali, one of the greatest Islamic theologians, and other eminent scholars to the Seljuq capital at Baghdad
Baghdad
and encouraged and supported their work.[66] When Malik Shah I
Malik Shah I
died in 1092, the empire split as his brother and four sons quarrelled over the apportioning of the empire among themselves. In Anatolia, Malik Shah I
Malik Shah I
was succeeded by Kilij Arslan I who founded the Sultanate of Rûm
Sultanate of Rûm
and in Syria
Syria
by his brother Tutush I. In Persia
Persia
he was succeeded by his son Mahmud I whose reign was contested by his other three brothers Barkiyaruq
Barkiyaruq
in Iraq, Muhammad I in Baghdad
Baghdad
and Ahmad Sanjar in Khorasan. As Seljuq power in Iran weakened, other dynasties began to step up in its place, including a resurgent Abbasid caliphate and the Khwarezmshahs. The Khwarezmid Empire was a Sunni
Sunni
Muslim
Muslim
Persianate
Persianate
dynasty, of East Turkic origin, that ruled in Central Asia. Originally vassals of the Seljuqs, they took advantage of the decline of the Seljuqs to expand into Iran.[81] In 1194 the Khwarezmshah Ala ad-Din Tekish
Ala ad-Din Tekish
defeated the Seljuq sultan Toghrul III in battle and the Seljuq empire in Iran
Iran
collapsed. Of the former Seljuq Empire, only the Sultanate of Rum
Sultanate of Rum
in Anatolia
Anatolia
remained. A serious internal threat to the Seljuqs during their reign came from the Ismailis, a secret sect with headquarters at Alamut
Alamut
between Rasht and Tehran. They controlled the immediate area for more than 150 years and sporadically sent out adherents to strengthen their rule by murdering important officials. Several of the various theories on the etymology of the word assassin derive from these killers.[66]

Parts of northwestern Iran
Iran
were conquered in the early 13th century AD by the Kingdom of Georgia, led by Tamar the Great.[82] Mongol invasion (1219–1221)[edit] Main articles: Mongol invasion of Central Asia, Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran, and Mongol Empire

Eurasia
Eurasia
on the eve of the Mongol invasions, c. 1200

The Khwarezmid Empire
Khwarezmid Empire
only lasted for a few decades, until the arrival of the Mongols. Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
had unified the Mongols, and under him the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
quickly expanded in several directions, until by 1218 it bordered Khwarezm. At that time, the Khwarezmid Empire
Khwarezmid Empire
was ruled by Ala ad-Din Muhammad (1200–1220). Muhammad, like Genghis, was intent on expanding his lands and had gained the submission of most of Iran. He declared himself shah and demanded formal recognition from the Abbasid caliph an-Nasir. When the caliph rejected his claim, Ala ad-Din Muhammad proclaimed one of his nobles caliph and unsuccessfully tried to depose an-Nasir. The Mongol invasion of Iran
Iran
began in 1219, after two diplomatic missions to Khwarezm
Khwarezm
sent by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
had been massacred. During 1220–21 Bukhara, Samarkand, Herat, Tus and Nishapur
Nishapur
were razed, and the whole populations were slaughtered. The Khwarezm- Shah
Shah
fled, to die on an island off the Caspian coast.[83] During the invasion of Transoxania
Transoxania
in 1219, along with the main Mongol force, Genghis Khan used a Chinese specialist catapult unit in battle, they were used again in 1220 in Transoxania. The Chinese may have used the catapults to hurl gunpowder bombs, since they already had them by this time.[84] While Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
was conquering Transoxania
Transoxania
and Persia, several Chinese who were familiar with gunpowder were serving in Genghis's army.[85] "Whole regiments" entirely made out of Chinese were used by the Mongols
Mongols
to command bomb hurling trebuchets during the invasion of Iran.[86] Historians have suggested that the Mongol invasion had brought Chinese gunpowder weapons to Central Asia. One of these was the huochong, a Chinese mortar.[87] Books written around the area afterward depicted gunpowder weapons which resembled those of China.[88] Destruction under the Mongols[edit] Before his death in 1227, Genghis had reached western Azerbaijan, pillaging and burning cities along the way. The Mongol invasion was disastrous to the Iranians. Although the Mongol invaders were eventually converted to Islam
Islam
and accepted the culture of Iran, the Mongol destruction of the Islamic heartland marked a major change of direction for the region. Much of the six centuries of Islamic scholarship, culture, and infrastructure was destroyed as the invaders burned libraries, and replaced mosques with Buddhist temples.[89] The Mongols
Mongols
killed many Iranian civilians. Destruction of qanat irrigation systems destroyed the pattern of relatively continuous settlement, producing numerous isolated oasis cities in a land where they had previously been rare.[90] A large number of people, particularly males, were killed; between 1220 and 1258, 90% of the total population of Iran
Iran
may have been killed as a result of mass extermination and famine.[91] Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
(1256–1335)[edit] Main article: Ilkhanate

The Mongol Empire's expansion and its successor khanates

After Genghis's death, Iran
Iran
was ruled by several Mongol commanders. Genghis' grandson, Hulagu Khan, was tasked with the westward expansion of Mongol dominion. However, by time he ascended to power, the Mongol Empire had already dissolved, dividing into different factions. Arriving with an army, he established himself in the region and founded the Ilkhanate, a breakaway state of the Mongol Empire, which would rule Iran
Iran
for the next eighty years and become Persianate
Persianate
in the process. Hulagu Khan
Hulagu Khan
seized Baghdad
Baghdad
in 1258 and put the last Abbasid caliph to death. The westward advance of his forces was stopped by the Mamelukes, however, at the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
in Palestine in 1260. Hulagu's campaigns against the Muslims also enraged Berke, khan of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
and a convert to Islam. Hulagu and Berke
Berke
fought against each other, demonstrating the weakening unity of the Mongol empire. The rule of Hulagu's great-grandson, Ghazan Khan
Ghazan Khan
(1295–1304) saw the establishment of Islam
Islam
as the state religion of the Ilkhanate. Ghazan and his famous Iranian vizier, Rashid al-Din, brought Iran
Iran
a partial and brief economic revival. The Mongols
Mongols
lowered taxes for artisans, encouraged agriculture, rebuilt and extended irrigation works, and improved the safety of the trade routes. As a result, commerce increased dramatically. Items from India, China, and Iran
Iran
passed easily across the Asian steppes, and these contacts culturally enriched Iran. For example, Iranians developed a new style of painting based on a unique fusion of solid, two-dimensional Mesopotamian painting with the feathery, light brush strokes and other motifs characteristic of China. After Ghazan's nephew Abu Said died in 1335, however, the Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
lapsed into civil war and was divided between several petty dynasties – most prominently the Jalayirids, Muzaffarids, Sarbadars
Sarbadars
and Kartids. The mid-14th-century Black Death
Black Death
killed about 30% of the country's population.[92] Sunnism and Shiism in pre-Safavid Iran[edit] Main article: Islam
Islam
in Iran

Imam Reza shrine, the greatest religious site in Iran, built in the 9th century

Prior to the rise of the Safavid Empire, Sunni
Sunni
Islam
Islam
was the dominant religion, accounting for around 90% of the population at the time. According to Mortaza Motahhari
Mortaza Motahhari
the majority of Iranian scholars and masses remained Sunni
Sunni
until the time of the Safavids.[93] The domination of Sunnis did not mean Shia
Shia
were rootless in Iran. The writers of The Four Books
The Four Books
of Shia
Shia
were Iranian, as well as many other great Shia
Shia
scholars. The domination of the Sunni
Sunni
creed during the first nine Islamic centuries characterized the religious history of Iran
Iran
during this period. There were however some exceptions to this general domination which emerged in the form of the Zaydīs of Tabaristan
Tabaristan
(see Alid dynasties of northern Iran), the Buyids, the Kakuyids, the rule of Sultan Muhammad Khudabandah (r. Shawwal 703-Shawwal 716/1304-1316) and the Sarbedaran.[94] Apart from this domination there existed, firstly, throughout these nine centuries, Shia
Shia
inclinations among many Sunnis of this land and, secondly, original Imami Shiism as well as Zaydī Shiism had prevalence in some parts of Iran. During this period, Shia
Shia
in Iran were nourished from Kufah, Baghdad
Baghdad
and later from Najaf
Najaf
and Hillah.[94] Shiism was the dominant sect in Tabaristan, Qom, Kashan, Avaj
Avaj
and Sabzevar. In many other areas merged population of Shia
Shia
and Sunni
Sunni
lived together. During the 10th and 11th centuries, Fatimids
Fatimids
sent Ismailis
Ismailis
Da'i (missioners) to Iran
Iran
as well as other Muslim
Muslim
lands. When Ismailis divided into two sects, Nizaris established their base in Iran. Hassan-i Sabbah
Hassan-i Sabbah
conquered fortresses and captured Alamut
Alamut
in 1090 AD. Nizaris used this fortress until a Mongol raid in 1256. After the Mongol raid and fall of the Abbasids, Sunni
Sunni
hierarchies faltered. Not only did they lose the caliphate but also the status of official madhhab. Their loss was the gain of Shia, whose center wasn't in Iran
Iran
at that time. Several local Shia
Shia
dynasties like Sarbadars
Sarbadars
were established during this time. The main change occurred in the beginning of the 16th century, when Ismail I
Ismail I
founded the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
and initiated a religious policy to recognize Shi'a Islam
Islam
as the official religion of the Safavid Empire, and the fact that modern Iran
Iran
remains an officially Shi'ite state is a direct result of Ismail's actions. Timurid Empire
Timurid Empire
(1370–1507)[edit]

A map of the Timurid Empire.

Main article: Timurid Empire Iran
Iran
remained divided until the arrival of Timur, who is variously described as of Mongol or Turkic origin[95] belonging to the Timurid dynasty. Like its predecessors, the Timurid Empire
Timurid Empire
was also part of the Persianate
Persianate
world. After establishing a power base in Transoxiana, Timur
Timur
invaded Iran
Iran
in 1381 and eventually conquered most of it. Timur's campaigns were known for their brutality; many people were slaughtered and several cities were destroyed.[96] His regime was characterized by its inclusion of Iranians in administrative roles and its promotion of architecture and poetry. His successors, the Timurids, maintained a hold on most of Iran
Iran
until 1452, when they lost the bulk of it to Black Sheep Turkmen. The Black Sheep Turkmen were conquered by the White Sheep Turkmen
White Sheep Turkmen
under Uzun Hasan in 1468; Uzun Hasan
Uzun Hasan
and his successors were the masters of Iran until the rise of the Safavids.[96] Kara Koyunlu[edit] Main article: Kara Koyunlu Ak Koyunlu[edit] Main article: Ak Koyunlu Early modern era (1502–1925)[edit] Persia
Persia
underwent a revival under the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
(1502–1736), the most prominent figure of which was Shah
Shah
Abbas I. Some historians credit the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
for founding the modern nation-state of Iran. Iran's contemporary Shia
Shia
character, and significant segments of Iran's current borders take their origin from this era (e.g. Treaty of Zuhab). Safavid Empire
Safavid Empire
(1501–1736)[edit] Main article: Safavid Empire See also: Ottoman–Persian wars and Safavid conversion of Iran
Iran
to Shia
Shia
Islam

The Safavid Empire
Safavid Empire
at its greatest extent

The Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Persia
Persia
(modern Iran), and "is often considered the beginning of modern Persian history".[97] They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires after the Muslim
Muslim
conquest of Persia[98][99][100][101] and established the Twelver
Twelver
school of Shi'a Islam[7] as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim
Muslim
history. The Safavids
Safavids
ruled from 1501 to 1722 (experiencing a brief restoration from 1729 to 1736) and at their height, they controlled all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
and Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait
Kuwait
and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan. Safavid Iran
Iran
was one of the Islamic "gunpowder empires", along with its neighbours, its archrival and principal enemy the Ottoman Empire, as well as the Mughal Empire. The Safavid ruling dynasty was founded by Ismāil, who styled himself Shāh Ismāil I.[102] Practically worshipped by his Qizilbāsh followers, Ismāil invaded Shirvan
Shirvan
to avenge the death of his father, Shaykh Haydar, who had been killed during his siege of Derbent, in Dagestan. Afterwards he went on a campaign of conquest, and following the capture of Tabriz
Tabriz
in July 1501, he enthroned himself as the Shāh of Azerbaijan,[103][104][105] minted coins in this name, and proclaimed Shi'ism the official religion of his domain.[7] Although initially the masters of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
and southern Dagestan only, the Safavids
Safavids
had, in fact, won the struggle for power in Persia which had been going on for nearly a century between various dynasties and political forces following the fragmentation of the Kara Koyunlu and the Aq Qoyunlu. A year after his victory in Tabriz, Ismāil proclaimed most of Persia
Persia
as his domain, and[7] quickly conquered and unified Iran
Iran
under his rule. Soon afterwards, the new Safavid Empire rapidly conquered regions, nations, and peoples in all directions, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, parts of Georgia, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
(Iraq), Kuwait, Syria, Dagestan, large parts of what is now Afghanistan, parts of Turkmenistan, and large chunks of Anatolia, laying the foundation of its multi-ethnic character which would heavily influence the empire itself (most notably the Caucasus
Caucasus
and its peoples).

Portrait of Shah
Shah
Abbas I

During Tahmasp' reign, he carried out multiple invasions in the Caucasus
Caucasus
which had been incorporated in the Safavid empire
Safavid empire
since Shah Ismail I
Ismail I
and for many centuries afterwards, and started with the trend of deporting and moving hundreds of thousands of Circassians, Georgians, and Armenians
Armenians
to Iran's heartlands. Initially only solely put in the royal harems, royal guards, and minor other sections of the Empire, Tahmasp believed he could eventually reduce the power of the Qizilbash, by creating and fully integrating a new layer in Iranian society. As Encyclopædia Iranica states, for Tahmãsp, the problem circled around the military tribal elite of the empire, the Qezelbāš, who believed that physical proximity to and control of a member of the immediate Safavid family guaranteed spiritual advantages, political fortune, and material advancement.[106] With this new Caucasian layer in Iranian society, the indisputed might of the Qizilbash
Qizilbash
(who functioned much like the ghazis of the neighboring Ottoman Empire) would be questioned and fully diminished as society would become fully meritocratic. Shah
Shah
Abbas I and his successors would significantly expand this policy and plan initiated by Tahmasp, deporting during his reign alone around some 200,000 Georgians, 300,000 Armenians
Armenians
and 100,000–150,000 Circassians
Circassians
to Iran, completing the foundation of a new layer in Iranian society. With this, and the complete systematic disorganisation of the Qizilbash
Qizilbash
by his personal orders, he eventually fully succeeded in replacing the power of the Qizilbash, with that of the Caucasian ghulams. These new Caucasian elements (the so-called ghilman / غِلْمَان / "servants"), almost always after conversion to Shi'ism depending on given function would be, were unlike the Qizilbash, fully loyal only to the Shah. The other masses of Caucasians were deployed in all other possible functions and positions available in the empire, as well as in the harem, regular military, craftsmen, farmers, etc. This system of mass usage of Caucasian subjects remained to exist until the fall of the Qajar Dynasty.

Rostom (also known as Rustam Khan), viceroy of Kartli, eastern Georgia, from 1633–1658

The greatest of the Safavid monarchs, Shah
Shah
Abbas I the Great (1587–1629) came to power in 1587 aged 16. Abbas I first fought the Uzbeks, recapturing Herat
Herat
and Mashhad
Mashhad
in 1598, which had been lost by his predecessor Mohammad Khodabanda
Mohammad Khodabanda
by the Ottoman–Safavid War (1578–1590). Then he turned against the Ottomans, the Safavids
Safavids
their archrivals, recapturing Baghdad, eastern Iraq
Iraq
and the Caucasian provinces and beyond by 1618. Between 1616–1618, following the disobedience of his most loyal Georgian subjects Teimuraz I and Luarsab II, Abbas carried out a punitive campaign in his territories of Georgia, devastating Kakheti
Kakheti
and Tbilisi
Tbilisi
and carrying away 130,000[107] – 200,000[108][109] Georgian captives towards mainland Iran. His new army, which had dramatically been improved with the advent of Robert Shirley
Robert Shirley
and his brothers following the first diplomatic mission to Europe, pitted the first crushing victory over the Safavids' archrivals, the Ottomans in the abovementioned 1603–1618 war and would surpass the Ottomans in military strength. He also used his new force to dislodge the Portuguese from Bahrain (1602) and Hormuz (1622) with aid of the English navy, in the Persian Gulf. He expanded commercial links with the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
and established firm links with the European royal houses, which had been initiated by Ismail I
Ismail I
earlier on by the Habsburg–Persian alliance. Thus Abbas I was able to break the dependence on the Qizilbash
Qizilbash
for military might and therefore was able to centralize control. The Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
had already established itself during Shah
Shah
Ismail I, but under Abbas I it really became a major power in the world along with its archrival the Ottoman Empire, against whom it became able to compete with on equal foot. It also started the promotion of tourism in Iran. Under their rule Persian Architecture flowered again and saw many new monuments in various Iranian cities, of which Isfahan
Isfahan
is the most notable example. Except for Shah
Shah
Abbas the Great, Shah
Shah
Ismail I, Shah
Shah
Tahmasp I, and Shah
Shah
Abbas II, many of the Safavid rulers were ineffectual, often being more interested in their women, alcohol and other leisure activities. The end of Abbas II's reign in 1666, marked the beginning of the end of the Safavid dynasty. Despite falling revenues and military threats, many of the later shahs had lavish lifestyles. Shah Soltan Hosain (1694–1722) in particular was known for his love of wine and disinterest in governance.[110] The declining country was repeatedly raided on its frontiers. Finally, Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Pashtun chieftain named Mir Wais Khan began a rebellion in Kandahar
Kandahar
and defeated the Safavid army under the Iranian Georgian governor over the region, Gurgin Khan. In 1722, Peter the Great
Peter the Great
of neighbouring Imperial Russia
Imperial Russia
launched the Russo-Persian War (1722–1723), capturing many of Iran's Caucasian territories, including Derbent, Shaki, Baku, but also Gilan, Mazandaran
Mazandaran
and Astrabad. At the mids of all chaos, in the same year 1722 an Afghan army led by Mir Wais' son Mahmud marched across eastern Iran, besieged and took Isfahan. Mahmud proclaimed himself 'Shah' of Persia. Meanwhile, Persia's imperial rivals, the Ottomans and the Russians, took advantage of the chaos in the country to seize more territory for themselves.[111] By these events, the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
had effectively ended. In 1724, conform the Treaty of Constantinople, the Ottomans and the Russians agreed to divide the newly conquered territories of Iran amongst themselves.[112] Nader Shah
Nader Shah
and his successors[edit] Main articles: Afsharid dynasty
Afsharid dynasty
and Zand dynasty

Nader Shah

Iran's territorial integrity was restored by a native Iranian Turkic Afshar warlord from Khorasan, Nader Shah. He defeated and banished the Afghans, defeated the Ottomans, reinstalled the Safavids
Safavids
on the throne, and negotiated Russian withdrawal from Irans Caucasian territories, by the Treaty of Resht and Treaty of Ganja. By 1736, Nader had become so powerful he was able to depose the Safavids
Safavids
and have himself crowned shah. Nader was one of the last great conquerors of Asia and briefly possessed over what was probably the most powerful empire in the world. To financially aid his wars against Persia's archrival, the Ottoman Empire, he fixated his mind on the weak but rich Mugal Empire
Mugal Empire
to the east. In 1739, accompanied by his loyal Caucasian subjects including Erekle II,[113][114] he invaded Mughal India, defeated a numerically superior Mughal army in less than three hours, and completely sacked and looted Delhi, bringing back immense wealth to Persia. On his way back, he also conquered all Uzbek khanates – except Kokand
Kokand
– and made the Uzbeks his vassals. He also firmly reestablished Persian rule over the entire Caucasus, Bahrain, as well as large parts of Anatolia
Anatolia
and Mesopotamia. Undefeated for years, his defeat in Dagestan, following guerrilla rebellions by the Lezgins
Lezgins
and the assassination attempt on him near Mazandaran
Mazandaran
is often marked as the turning point in Naders impressive career. Frustratingly for him, the Dagestanis resorted to guerrilla warfare and Nader with his standard army could make little headway against them.[115] At the Battle of Andalal and the Battle of Avaria, Nader's army was crushingly defeated and he lost half of his entire force, as well forcing him to flee for the mountains.[116] Though Nader managed to take most of Dagestan
Dagestan
during his campaign, the effective guerrilla warfare as deployed by the Lezgins, but also the Avars and Laks made the Iranian re-conquest of the particular North Caucasian region this time a short lived one; several years later, Nader was forced to withdraw. Around the same time, the assassination attempt was made on him near Mazandaran
Mazandaran
which accelerated the course of history; he slowly grew ill and megalomaniac, blinding his sons whom he suspected of the assassination attempts, and increasing cruelty against his subjects and officers. In his later years this eventually provoked multiple revolts and, ultimately, Nader's assassination in 1747.[117] Nader's death was followed by a period of anarchy in Iran
Iran
as rival army commanders fought for power. Nader's own family, the Afsharids, were soon reduced to holding on to a small domain in Khorasan. Many of the Caucasian territories broke away in various Caucasian khanates. Ottomans regained lost territories in Anatolia
Anatolia
and Mesopotamia. Oman and the Uzbek khanates of Bukhara
Bukhara
and Khiva
Khiva
regained independence. Ahmad Shah
Shah
Durrani, one of Nader's officers, founded an independent state which eventually became modern Afghanistan. Erekle II
Erekle II
and Teimuraz II, who, in 1744, had been made the kings of Kakheti
Kakheti
and Kartli
Kartli
respectively by Nader himself for their loyal service,[118] capitalized on the eruption of instability, and declared de facto independence. Erekle II
Erekle II
assumed control over Kartli
Kartli
after Teimuraz II's death, thus unifying the two as the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, becoming the first Georgian ruler in three centuries to preside over a politically unified eastern Georgia,[119] and due to the frantic turn of events in mainland Iran
Iran
he would be able to remain de facto autonomous through the Zand period.[120] From his capital Shiraz, Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty
Zand dynasty
ruled "an island of relative calm and peace in an otherwise bloody and destructive period,"[121] however the extent of Zand power was confined to contemporary Iran
Iran
and parts of the Caucasus. Karim Khan's death in 1779 led to yet another civil war in which the Qajar dynasty
Qajar dynasty
eventually triumphed and became kings of Iran. During the civil war, Iran
Iran
permanently lost Basra
Basra
in 1779 to the Ottomans, which had been captured during the Ottoman–Persian War (1775–76),[122] and Bahrain
Bahrain
to Al Khalifa family
Al Khalifa family
after Bani Utbah invasion in 1783.[citation needed] Qajar dynasty
Qajar dynasty
(1796–1925)[edit] Main articles: Qajar dynasty, Russo-Persian War (1804–13), and Russo-Persian War (1826–28) See also: Battle of Krtsanisi, Treaty of Gulistan, Treaty of Turkmenchay, and Iranian Constitutional Revolution

Mihr 'Ali
Mihr 'Ali
(Iranian, active ca. 1800–1830). Portrait of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar. Brooklyn Museum.

Qajar era currency bill with depiction of Nasser al-Din Shah
Shah
Qajar.

A map of Iran
Iran
under the Qajar dynasty
Qajar dynasty
in the 19th century.

Map showing Iran's northwestern borders in the 19th century, comprising Eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, before being forced to cede the territories to Imperial Russia
Imperial Russia
per the two Russo-Persian Wars of the 19th century.

Agha Mohammad Khan
Agha Mohammad Khan
emerged victorious out of the civil war that commenced with the death of the last Zand king. His reign is noted for the reemergence of a centrally led and united Iran. After the death of Nader Shah
Nader Shah
and the last of the Zands, most of Iran's Caucasian territories had broken away into various Caucasian khanates. Agha Mohammad Khan, like the Safavid kings and Nader Shah
Nader Shah
before him, viewed the region as no different than the territories in mainland Iran. Therefore, his first objective after having secured mainland Iran, was to reincorpate the Caucasus
Caucasus
region into Iran.[123] Georgia was seen as one of the most integral territories.[120] For Agha Mohammad Khan, the resubjugation and reintegration of Georgia into the Iranian Empire was part of the same process that had brought Shiraz, Isfahan, and Tabriz
Tabriz
under his rule.[120] As the Cambridge History of Iran
Iran
states, its permanent secession was inconceivable and had to be resisted in the same way as one would resist an attempt at the separation of Fars or Gilan.[120] It was therefore natural for Agha Mohammad Khan to perform whatever necessary means in the Caucasus
Caucasus
in order to subdue and reincorporate the recently lost regions following Nader Shah's death and the demise of the Zands, including putting down what in Iranian eyes was seen as treason on the part of the wali (viceroy) of Georgia, namely the Georgian king Erekle II
Erekle II
(Heraclius II) who was appointed viceroy of Georgia by Nader Shah
Nader Shah
himself.[120] Agha Mohammad Khan
Agha Mohammad Khan
subsequently demanded Heraclius
Heraclius
II to renounce the treaty with Russia of several years earlier, and to reaccept Persian suzerainty,[123] in return for peace and the security of his kingdom. The Ottomans, Iran's neighboring rival, recognized the latters rights over Kartli
Kartli
and Kakheti
Kakheti
for the first time in four centuries.[124] Heraclius
Heraclius
appealed then to his theoretical protector, Empress Catherine II of Russia, pledging for at least 3,000 Russian troops,[124] but he was ignored, leaving Georgia to fend off the Persian threat alone.[125] Nevertheless, Heraclius
Heraclius
II still rejected the Khan's ultimatum.[126] As a response, Agha Mohammad Khan
Agha Mohammad Khan
invaded the Caucasus
Caucasus
region after crossing the Aras river, and, while on his way to Georgia, he re-subjugated Iran's territories of the Erivan Khanate, Shirvan, Nakhchivan Khanate, Ganja khanate, Derbent
Derbent
Khanate, Baku
Baku
khanate, Talysh Khanate, Shaki Khanate, Karabakh Khanate, which comprise modern-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, and Igdir. Having reached Georgia with his large army, it culminated in the Battle of Krtsanisi, which resulted in the capture, and sack of Tbilisi, as well as the effective resubjugation of Georgia into Iran.[127][128] Upon his return from his successful campaign in Tbilisi
Tbilisi
and in effective control over Georgia, together with some 15,000 Georgian captives that were moved back to mainland Iran,[125] Agha Mohammad was formally crowned Shah
Shah
in 1796 in the Mughan plain, just like his predecessor Nader Shah
Nader Shah
was about sixty years earlier. Agha Mohammad Shah
Shah
was later assassinated while preparing a second expedition against Georgia in 1797 in Shusha[129] (nowadays part of the Republic of Azerbaijan) and the seasoned king Heraclius
Heraclius
died early in 1798. Reassessment of Iranian hegemony over Georgia did not last long; in 1799 the Russians marched into Tbilisi.[130] The Russians were already actively occupied with an expansionistic policy towards its neighboring empires to its south, namely the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and the successive Iranian kingdoms since the late 17th/early 18th century. The next two years following Russia's entrance into Tbilisi were a time of muddle and confusion, and the weakened and devastated Georgian kingdom, with its capital half in ruins, was easily absorbed by Russia in 1801.[125][126] As Iran
Iran
could not permit or allow the cession of Transcaucasia
Transcaucasia
and Dagestan, which had made an integral part of Iran
Iran
for centuries,[11] it would lead directly to the wars of several years later, namely the Russo-Persian Wars of 1804-1813 and 1826-1828. The outcome of these two wars ( Treaty of Gulistan
Treaty of Gulistan
and the Treaty of Turkmenchay, respectively) proved for the irrevocable forced cession and loss of what is nowadays eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
to Imperial Russia.[131][127] The area to the North of the river Aras, among which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia
Armenia
were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.[132][133][134][135][136][137][138]

Painting showing the Battle of Sultanabad, 13 February 1812. State Hermitage Museum.

Storming of Lankaran, 1812. Painted by Franz Roubaud.

Battle of Elisabethpol
Elisabethpol
(Ganja), 1828. Franz Roubaud. Part of the collection of the Museum for History, Baku.

Migration of Caucasian Muslims[edit] See also: Ayrums, Qarapapaqs, and Ethnic Cleansing of Circassians

Persian Cossack Brigade
Persian Cossack Brigade
in Tabriz
Tabriz
in 1909

Following the official losing of the aforementioned vast territories in the Caucasus, major demographic shifts were bound to take place. Solidly Persian-speaking territories of Iran
Iran
were lost, with all its inhabitants in it. Following the 1804–1814 War, but also per the 1826–1828 war which ceded the last territories, large migrations, so called Caucasian Muhajirs, set off to migrate to mainland Iran. Some of these groups included the Ayrums, Qarapapaqs, Circassians, Shia Lezgins, and other Transcaucasian Muslims.[139] Through the Battle of Ganja of 1804 during the Russo-Persian War (1804–13), many thousands of Ayrums and Qarapapaqs
Qarapapaqs
were settled in Tabriz. During the remaining part of the 1804–1813 war, as well as through the 1826–1828 war, the absolute bulk of the Ayrums and Qarapapaqs
Qarapapaqs
that were still remaining in newly conquered Russian territories were settled in and migrated to Solduz
Solduz
(in modern-day Iran's West Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
province).[140] As the Cambridge History of Iran
Iran
states; "The steady encroachment of Russian troops along the frontier in the Caucasus, General Yermolov's brutal punitive expeditions and misgovernment, drove large numbers of Muslims, and even some Georgian Christians, into exile in Iran."[141] In 1864 until the early 20th century, another mass expulsion took place of Caucasian Muslims as a result of the Russian victory in the Caucasian War. Others simply voluntarily refused to live under Christian
Christian
Russian rule, and thus disembarked for Turkey
Turkey
or Iran. These migrations once again, towards Iran, included masses of Caucasian Azerbaijanis, other Transcaucasian Muslims, as well as many North Caucasian Muslims, such as Circassians, Shia
Shia
Lezgins
Lezgins
and Laks.[139][142] Many of these migrants would prove to play a pivotal role in further Iranian history, as they formed most of the ranks of the Persian Cossack Brigade, which was also to be established in the late 19th century.[143] The initial ranks of the brigade would be entirely composed of Circassians
Circassians
and other Caucasian Muhajirs.[143] This brigade would prove decisive in the following decades to come in Qajar history. Furthermore, the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay
Treaty of Turkmenchay
included the official rights for the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
to encourage settling of Armenians
Armenians
from Iran
Iran
in the newly conquered Russian territories.[144][145] This also helped in changing the demographics of the regions considerably.[146] The Treaty of Adrianople, concluded with Turkey
Turkey
in 1829 granted for more mass settling of Armenians
Armenians
in the newly incorporated territories. Slowly but surely, the number of Christians, that formerly made out since the 17th century a relatively small minority in the region (except for Georgia), were starting to compose an ever-growing number of the total population, especially in the former Iranian-ruled Armenian and Georgian territories. Following the resettlement of Persian Armenians
Armenians
in the newly conquered Russian territories after 1828, thus significant demographic shifts were bound to take place. The Armenian-American historian George Bournoutian gives a summary of the ethnic makeup prior to the events of 1828 just for the territory of the Erivan administrative division as an example:[147]

“ In the first quarter of the 19th century the Khanate of Erevan included most of Eastern Armenia
Armenia
and covered an area of approximately 7,000 square miles. The land was mountainous and dry, the population of about 100,000 was roughly 80 percent Muslim
Muslim
(Persian, Azeri, Kurdish) and 20 percent Christian
Christian
(Armenian). ”

After the incorporation of the Erivan khanate
Erivan khanate
into the Russian Empire, Muslim
Muslim
majority of the area gradually changed, at first the Armenians who were left captive were encouraged to return.[148] As a result of which an estimated 57,000 Armenian refugees from Persia
Persia
returned to the territory of the Erivan khanates after 1828, while about 35,000 Muslims (Persians, Turkic groups, Kurds, Lezgis, etc.) out total population of over 100,000 left the region.[149] Fath Ali Shah's reign saw increased diplomatic contacts with the West and the beginning of intense European diplomatic rivalries over Iran. His grandson Mohammad Shah, who fell under the Russian influence and made two unsuccessful attempts to capture Herat, succeeded him in 1834. When Mohammad Shah
Shah
died in 1848 the succession passed to his son Nasser-e-Din, who proved to be the ablest and most successful of the Qajar sovereigns.[citation needed] Constitutional Revolution
Revolution
and deposement[edit] The Great Persian Famine
Famine
of 1870–1871 is believed to have caused the death of 2 million persons.[150] A new era in the history of Persia
Persia
dawned with the Persian Constitutional Revolution
Revolution
against the Shah
Shah
in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Shah
Shah
managed to remain in power, granting a limited constitution in 1906 (making the country a constitutional monarchy). The first Majlis (parliament) was convened on October 7, 1906. The discovery of petroleum in 1908 by the British in Khuzestan spawned intense renewed interest in Persia
Persia
by the British Empire
British Empire
(see William Knox D'Arcy and Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now BP). Control of Persia remained contested between the United Kingdom and Russia, in what became known as The Great Game, and codified in the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, which divided Persia
Persia
into spheres of influence, regardless of her national sovereignty. During World War I, the country was occupied by British, Ottoman and Russian forces but was essentially neutral (see Persian Campaign). In 1919, after the Russian revolution
Russian revolution
and their withdrawal, Britain attempted to establish a protectorate in Persia, which was unsuccessful. Finally, the Constitutionalist movement of Gilan
Gilan
and the central power vacuum caused by the instability of the Qajar government resulted in the rise of Reza Khan, who was later to become Reza Shah
Shah
Pahlavi, and the subsequent establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty
Pahlavi dynasty
in 1925. In 1921, a military coup established Reza Khan, an officer of the Persian Cossack Brigade, as the dominant figure for the next 20 years. Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabai was also a leader and important figure in the perpetration of the coup. The coup was not actually directed at the Qajar monarchy; according to Encyclopædia Iranica, it was targeted at officials who were in power and actually had a role in controlling the government; the cabinet and others who had a role in governing Persia.[151] In 1925, after being prime minister for two years, Reza Khan became the first shah of the Pahlavi dynasty. Pahlavi era (1925–1979)[edit] Main article: Pahlavi dynasty Reza Shah
Shah
(1925–1941)[edit] Main articles: Persian Cossack Brigade
Persian Cossack Brigade
and 1921 Persian coup d'état Reza Shah
Shah
ruled for almost 16 years until September 16, 1941, when he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. He established an authoritarian government that valued nationalism, militarism, secularism and anti-communism combined with strict censorship and state propaganda.[152] Reza Shah
Shah
introduced many socio-economic reforms, reorganizing the army, government administration, and finances.[153] To his supporters his reign brought "law and order, discipline, central authority, and modern amenities – schools, trains, buses, radios, cinemas, and telephones".[154] However, his attempts of modernisation have been criticised for being "too fast"[155] and "superficial",[156] and his reign a time of "oppression, corruption, taxation, lack of authenticity" with "security typical of police states."[154] Many of the new laws and regulations created resentment among devout Muslims and the clergy. For example, mosques were required to use chairs; most men were required to wear western clothing, including a hat with a brim; women were encouraged to discard the hijab; men and women were allowed to freely congregate, violating Islamic mixing of the sexes. Tensions boiled over in 1935, when bazaaris and villagers rose up in rebellion at the Imam Reza shrine
Imam Reza shrine
in Mashhad, chanting slogans such as 'The Shah
Shah
is a new Yezid.' Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured when troops finally quelled the unrest.[157] World War II[edit] See also: Anglo-Soviet Invasion of Iran, Polish civilian camps in World War II, and Persian Corridor

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
with FDR at the Tehran
Tehran
Conference, 1943

Polish refugee camp on the outskirts of Teheran, c.1943

German interests held great influence within Iran
Iran
in 1941, with the Germans staging a coup in an attempt to overthrow the Pahlavi dynasty. With German armies highly successful against Russia, the Iranian government expected Germany to win the war and establish a powerful force on its borders. It rejected British and Russian demands to expel the Germans. In response the Allies invaded in August 1941, and easily overwhelmed the weak Iranian army in Operation Countenance. Iran became the major conduit of Allied Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union. The purpose was to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure Allied supply lines (see Persian Corridor) . Iran
Iran
remained officially neutral. Its monarch Rezā Shāh
Rezā Shāh
was deposed during the subsequent occupation and replaced with his young son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[158] At the Tehran
Tehran
Conference of 1943, the Allies issued the Tehran Declaration guaranteed the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran. However, when the war actually ended, Soviet troops stationed in northwestern Iran
Iran
not only refused to withdraw but backed revolts that established short-lived, pro-Soviet separatist national states in the northern regions of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
and Iranian Kurdistan, the Azerbaijan People's Government and the Republic of Kurdistan
Republic of Kurdistan
respectively, in late 1945. Soviet troops did not withdraw from Iran
Iran
proper until May 1946 after receiving a promise of oil concessions. The Soviet republics in the north were soon overthrown and the oil concessions were revoked.[159][160] Mohammad-Reza Shah
Shah
(1941–1979)[edit]

Tehran
Tehran
men celebrating the 1953 Iranian coup d'état

Shah
Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Initially there were hopes that post-occupation Iran
Iran
could become a constitutional monarchy. The new, young Shah
Shah
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi initially took a very hands-off role in government, and allowed parliament to hold a lot of power. Some elections were held in the first shaky years, although they remained mired in corruption. Parliament
Parliament
became chronically unstable, and from the 1947 to 1951 period Iran
Iran
saw the rise and fall of six different prime ministers. Pahlavi increased his political power by convening the Iran Constituent Assembly, 1949, which finally formed the Senate of Iran—a legislative upper house allowed for in the 1906 constitution but never brought into being. The new senators were largely supportive of Pahlavi, as he had intended. In 1951 Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq
Mohammed Mosaddeq
received the vote required from the parliament to nationalize the British-owned oil industry, in a situation known as the Abadan Crisis. Despite British pressure, including an economic blockade, the nationalization continued. Mosaddeq was briefly removed from power in 1952 but was quickly re-appointed by the shah, due to a popular uprising in support of the premier and he, in turn, forced the Shah
Shah
into a brief exile in August 1953 after a failed military coup by Imperial Guard Colonel Nematollah Nassiri. 1953: U.S. organized coup removes Mosaddeq[edit] Main article: 1953 Iranian coup d'état Shortly thereafter on August 19 a successful coup was headed by retired army general Fazlollah Zahedi, organized by the United States (CIA)[161] with the active support of the British (MI6) (known as Operation Ajax
Operation Ajax
and Operation Boot to the respective agencies).[162] The coup—with a black propaganda campaign designed to turn the population against Mosaddeq—forced Mosaddeq from office. Mosaddeq was arrested and tried for treason. Found guilty, his sentence reduced to house arrest on his family estate while his foreign minister, Hossein Fatemi, was executed. Zahedi succeeded him as prime minister, and suppressed opposition to the Shah, specifically the National Front and Communist Tudeh Party.

Play media

1971 film about Iran
Iran
under the Shah

Iran
Iran
was ruled as an autocracy under the shah with American support from that time until the revolution. The Iranian government entered into agreement with an international consortium of foreign companies which ran the Iranian oil facilities for the next 25 years splitting profits fifty-fifty with Iran
Iran
but not allowing Iran
Iran
to audit their accounts or have members on their board of directors. In 1957 martial law was ended after 16 years and Iran
Iran
became closer to the West, joining the Baghdad
Baghdad
Pact and receiving military and economic aid from the US. In 1961, Iran
Iran
initiated a series of economic, social, agrarian and administrative reforms to modernize the country that became known as the Shah's White Revolution. The core of this program was land reform. Modernization and economic growth proceeded at an unprecedented rate, fueled by Iran's vast petroleum reserves, the third-largest in the world. However the reforms, including the White Revolution, did not greatly improve economic conditions and the liberal pro-Western policies alienated certain Islamic religious and political groups. In early June 1963 several days of massive rioting occurred in support of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Ruhollah Khomeini
following the cleric's arrest for a speech attacking the shah. Two years later, premier Hassan Ali Mansur
Hassan Ali Mansur
was assassinated and the internal security service, SAVAK, became more violently active. In the 1970s leftist guerilla groups such as Mujaheddin-e-Khalq
Mujaheddin-e-Khalq
(MEK), emerged and attacked regime and foreign targets. Nearly a hundred Iran
Iran
political prisoners were killed by the SAVAK during the decade before the revolution and many more were arrested and tortured.[163] The Islamic clergy, headed by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Ruhollah Khomeini
(who had been exiled in 1964), were becoming increasingly vociferous. Iran
Iran
greatly increased its defense budget and by the early 1970s was the region's strongest military power. Bilateral relations with its neighbor Iraq
Iraq
were not good, mainly due to a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway. In November 1971, Iranian forces seized control of three islands at the mouth of the Persian Gulf; in response, Iraq expelled thousands of Iranian nationals. Following a number of clashes in April 1969, Iran
Iran
abrogated the 1937 accord and demanded a renegotiation. In mid-1973, the Shah
Shah
returned the oil industry to national control. Following the Arab-Israeli War of October 1973, Iran
Iran
did not join the Arab oil embargo against the West and Israel. Instead, it used the situation to raise oil prices, using the money gained for modernization and to increase defense spending. A border dispute between Iraq
Iraq
and Iran
Iran
was resolved with the signing of the Algiers Accord on March 6, 1975. Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
and the Islamic Republic (1979)[edit] Main articles: Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
and History of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Khomeini
Khomeini
returns to Iran
Iran
after 14 years exile in France on 1 February 1979.

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution,[164] was the revolution that transformed Iran
Iran
from an absolute monarchy under Shah
Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to an Islamic republic
Islamic republic
under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, one of the leaders of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic.[10] Its time span can be said to have begun in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations,[165] and concluded with the approval of the new theocratic Constitution—whereby Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Khomeini
Khomeini
became Supreme Leader of the country—in December 1979.[166] In between, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
left the country for exile in January 1979 after strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country, and on February 1, 1979 Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Khomeini
Khomeini
returned to Tehran.[166] The final collapse of the Pahlavi dynasty
Pahlavi dynasty
occurred shortly after on February 11 when Iran's military declared itself "neutral" after guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah
Shah
in armed street fighting. Iran
Iran
officially became an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so.[167] Ideology of the 1979 Iranian Revolution[edit] Further information: Ideology of the 1979 Iranian Revolution The ideology of revolutionary government was populist, nationalist and most of all Shi'a Islamic. Its unique constitution is based on the concept of velayat-e faqih the idea advanced by Khomeini
Khomeini
that Muslims – in fact everyone – requires "guardianship", in the form of rule or supervision by the leading Islamic jurist or jurists.[168] Khomeini served as this ruling jurist, or supreme leader, until his death in 1989. Iran's rapidly modernising, capitalist economy was replaced by populist and Islamic economic and cultural policies. Much industry was nationalized, laws and schools Islamicized, and Western influences banned. The Islamic revolution also created great impact around the world. In the non- Muslim world
Muslim world
it has changed the image of Islam, generating much interest in the politics and spirituality of Islam,[169] along with "fear and distrust towards Islam" and particularly the Islamic Republic and its founder.[170] Khomeini
Khomeini
Takes Power (1979–1989)[edit] Khomeini
Khomeini
served as leader of the revolution or as Supreme Leader of Iran
Iran
from 1979 to his death on June 3, 1989. This era was dominated by the consolidation of the revolution into a theocratic republic under Khomeini, and by the costly and bloody war with Iraq. The consolidation lasted until 1982–3,[171][172] as Iran
Iran
coped with the damage to its economy, military, and apparatus of government, and protests and uprisings by secularists, leftists, and more traditional Muslims—formerly ally revolutionaries but now rivals—were effectively suppressed. Many political opponents were executed by the new regimes. Following the events of the revolution, Marxist guerrillas and federalist parties revolted in some regions comprising Khuzistan, Kurdistan and Gonbad-e Qabus, which resulted in severe fighting between rebels and revolutionary forces. These revolts began in April 1979 and lasted between several months to over a year, depending on the region. The Kurdish uprising, led by the KDPI, was the most violent, lasting until 1983 and resulting in 10,000 casualties. In the summer of 1979 a new constitution giving Khomeini
Khomeini
a powerful post as guardian jurist Supreme Leader[173] and a clerical Council of Guardians power over legislation and elections, was drawn up by an Assembly of Experts
Assembly of Experts
for Constitution. The new constitution was approved by referendum in December 1979. Iran
Iran
hostage crisis (1979–1981)[edit] Main article: Iran
Iran
hostage crisis An early event in the history of the Islamic republic
Islamic republic
that had a long-term impact was the Iran
Iran
hostage crisis. Following the admitting of the former Shah
Shah
of Iran
Iran
into the United States for cancer treatment, on November 4, 1979, Iranian students seized US embassy personnel, labeling the embassy a "den of spies."[174] Fifty-two hostages were held for 444 days until January 1981.[175] An American military attempt to rescue the hostages failed.[176] The takeover was enormously popular in Iran, where thousands gathered in support of the hostage takers, and it is thought to have strengthened the prestige of the Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Khomeini
Khomeini
and consolidated the hold of anti-Americanism. It was at this time that Khomeini
Khomeini
began referring to America as the "Great Satan." In America, where it was considered a violation of the long-standing principle of international law that diplomats may be expelled but not held captive, it created a powerful anti-Iranian backlash. Relations between the two countries have remained deeply antagonistic and American international sanctions have hurt Iran's economy.[177] Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War (1980–1988)[edit] Main article: Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War

An Iranian soldier with gas mask during the Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War

During this political and social crisis, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein attempted to take advantage of the disorder of the Revolution, the weakness of the Iranian military and the revolution's antagonism with Western governments. The once-strong Iranian military had been disbanded during the revolution, and with the Shah
Shah
ousted, Hussein had ambitions to position himself as the new strong man of the Middle East, and sought to expand Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
by acquiring territories that Iraq
Iraq
had claimed earlier from Iran
Iran
during the Shah's rule. Of chief importance to Iraq
Iraq
was Khuzestan which not only boasted a substantial Arab population, but rich oil fields as well. On the unilateral behalf of the United Arab Emirates, the islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs
Greater and Lesser Tunbs
became objectives as well. With these ambitions in mind, Hussein planned a full-scale assault on Iran, boasting that his forces could reach the capital within three days. On September 22, 1980, the Iraqi army invaded Iran
Iran
at Khuzestan, precipitating the Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War. The attack took revolutionary Iran completely by surprise. Although Saddam Hussein's forces made several early advances, Iranian forces had pushed the Iraqi army back into Iraq
Iraq
by 1982. Khomeini sought to export his Islamic revolution westward into Iraq, especially on the majority Shi'a Arabs
Arabs
living in the country. The war then continued for six more years until 1988, when Khomeini, in his words, "drank the cup of poison" and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. Tens of thousands of Iranian civilians and military personnel were killed when Iraq
Iraq
used chemical weapons in its warfare. Iraq
Iraq
was financially backed by Egypt, the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
states, the United States (beginning in 1983), France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, and the People's Republic of China
China
(which also sold weapons to Iran). There were more than 100,000 Iranian victims[178] of Iraq's chemical weapons during the eight-year war. The total Iranian casualties of the war were estimated to be between 500,000 and 1,000,000. Almost all relevant international agencies have confirmed that Saddam engaged in chemical warfare to blunt Iranian human wave attacks; these agencies unanimously confirmed that Iran
Iran
never used chemical weapons during the war.[179][180][181][182] Starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting about five months the government systematically executed thousands of political prisoners across Iran. This is commonly referred to as the 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners or the 1988 Iranian Massacre. The main target was the membership of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran
Iran
(PMOI), although a lesser number of political prisoners from other leftist groups were also included such as the Tudeh Party of Iran
Iran
(Communist Party).[183][184] Estimates of the number executed vary from 1,400[185] to 30,000.[186][187] Rule under Khamenei (1989–present)[edit] The first eight years (1989–1997)[edit] On his deathbed in 1989, Khomeini
Khomeini
appointed a 25-man Constitutional Reform Council which named then president Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei
as the next Supreme Leader, and made a number of changes to Iran's constitution.[188] A smooth transition followed Khomeini's death on June 3, 1989. While Khamenei lacked Khomeini's "charisma and clerical standing", he developed a network of supporters within Iran's armed forces and its economically powerful religious foundations.[189] Under his reign Iran's regime is said – by at least one observer – to resemble more "a clerical oligarchy ... than an autocracy."[189] Succeeding Khamenei as president was pragmatic conservative Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who served two four-year terms and focused his efforts on rebuilding Iran's economy and war-damaged infrastructure though low oil prices hampered this endeavor. He sought to restore confidence in the government among the general population by privatizing the companies that had been nationalized in the first few years of the Islamic Republic, as well as by bringing in qualified technocrats to manage the economy. The state of their economy also influenced the government to move towards ending their diplomatic isolation. This was achieved through the reestablishment of normalized relations with neighbors such as Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and an attempt to improve its reputation in the region with assertions that its revolution was not exportable to other states.[190] During the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
in 1991 the country remained neutral, restricting its action to the condemnation of the U.S. and allowing fleeing Iraqi aircraft and refugees into the country. Iran
Iran
in the 1990s had a greater secular behavior and admiration for Western popular culture than in the previous decades, it had become a way in which the urban population expressed their resentment at the invasive Islamic policies of the government.[191] The pressures from the population placed on the new Supreme Leader, Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei led to an uneasy alliance between him and President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Through this alliance they attempted to hinder the ulama's ability to gain further control of the state. In 1989, they created a sequence of constitutional amendments that removed the office of prime minister and increased the scope of presidential power. However, these new amendments did not curtail the powers of the Supreme Leader of Iran
Iran
in any way; this position still contained the ultimate authority over the armed forces, the making of war and peace, the final say in foreign policy, and the right to intervene in the legislative process whenever he deemed it necessary.[191] Reforms and consequences (1997–2005)[edit]

Mohammad Khatami, reformist President of Iran
Iran
from 1997 to 2005

President Rafsanjani's economic policies that led to greater relations with the outside world and his government's relaxation on the enforcement certain regulations on social behavior were met with some responses of widespread disenchantment among the general population with the ulama as rulers of the country.[191] This led to the defeat of the government's candidate for president in 1997, who had the backing of the supreme Islamic jurist. He was beaten by an independent candidate from the reformist, Mohammad Khatami. He received 69% of the vote and enjoyed particular support from two groups of the population that had felt ostracized by the practices of the state: women and youth. The younger generations in the country had been too young to experience the shah's regime or the revolution that ended it, and now they resented the restrictions placed on their daily lives under the Islamic Republic. Mohammad Khatami's presidency was soon marked by tensions between the reform-minded government and an increasingly conservative and vocal clergy. This rift reached a climax in July 1999 when massive anti-government protests erupted in the streets of Tehran. The disturbances lasted over a week before police and pro-government vigilantes dispersed the crowds. Khatami was re-elected in June 2001 but his efforts were repeatedly blocked by the conservatives in the parliament. Conservative elements within Iran's government moved to undermine the reformist movement, banning liberal newspapers and disqualifying candidates for parliamentary elections. This clampdown on dissent, combined with the failure of Khatami to reform the government, led to growing political apathy among Iran's youth. In June 2003, anti-government protests by several thousand students took place in Tehran.[192][193] Several human rights protests also occurred in 2006. 2005 presidential election and consequences (2005–2009)[edit] In 2005 Iranian presidential election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mayor of Tehran, became the sixth president of Iran, after winning 62 percent of the vote in the run-off poll, against former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[194] During the authorization ceremony he kissed Khamenei's hand in demonstration of his loyalty to him.[195][196] During this time, the American invasion of Iraq, overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime and empowerment of its Shi'a majority, all strengthened Iran's position in the region particularly in the mainly Shi'a south of Iraq, where a top Shia
Shia
leader in the week of September 3, 2006 renewed demands for an autonomous Shi'a region.[197] At least one commentator (Former U.S. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen) has stated that as of 2009 Iran's growing power has eclipsed anti-Zionism as the major foreign policy issue in the Middle East.[198] During 2005 and 2006, there were claims that the United States and Israel
Israel
were planning to attack Iran, with the most cited reason being Iran's civilian nuclear energy program which the United States and some other states fear could lead to a nuclear weapons program. China and Russia opposed military action of any sort and opposed economic sanctions. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei
issued a fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. The fatwa was cited in an official statement by the Iranian government at an August 2005 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) in Vienna.[199][200] In 2009, Ahmadinejad's reelection was hotly disputed and marred by large protests that formed the "greatest domestic challenge" to the leadership of the Islamic Republic "in 30 years". The resulting social unrest is widely known as the Iranian Green Movement.[201] Reformist opponent Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Mir-Hossein Mousavi
and his supporters alleged voting irregularities and by 1 July 2009, 1000 people had been arrested and 20 killed in street demonstrations.[202] Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other Islamic officials blamed foreign powers for fomenting the protest.[203] 2013 presidential election and improving US– Iran
Iran
relations (2013–present)[edit] On 15 June 2013, Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
won the presidential election in Iran, with a total number of 36,704,156 ballots cast; Rouhani won 18,613,329 votes. In his press conference one day after election day, Rouhani reiterated his promise to recalibrate Iran's relations with the world. On April 2, 2015, following eight days of tortuous discussions in Switzerland, which lasted through the night to Thursday, Iran
Iran
and six world powers (United States, United Kingdom, France, China
China
and Russia plus Germany) agreed on the outlines of an understanding to limit Iran's nuclear programs, negotiators indicated, as both sides prepared for announcements. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: "Found solutions. Ready to start drafting immediately." European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini
tweeted that she would meet the press with Zarif after a final meeting of the seven nations in the nuclear talks. She wrote: "Good news." Reading out a joint statement, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini
hailed what she called a "decisive step" after more than a decade of work. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif followed with the same statement in Persian. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
and the top diplomats of Britain, France and Germany also briefly took the stage behind them. The deal is intended to be a provisional framework for a comprehensive agreement that is not due to be signed until the end of June, but if it includes concrete facts and figures, it will mark a significant breakthrough in the 12-year history of negotiations with Iran
Iran
over its nuclear programme. See also[edit]

List of rulers of Iran Outline of Iran Politics of Iran Religion and culture in ancient Iran Safavid conversion of Iran
Iran
to Shia
Shia
Islam Timeline of Tehran

General

History of the Middle East History of the Caucasus

References[edit]

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– Lost Kingdom of Van Archived 2015-07-02 at the Wayback Machine. ^ " Urartu
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Civilization – All About Turkey".  ^ FORGOTTEN EMPIRE the world of Ancient Persia
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Byzantine
Studies Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine
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Studies, London, 21–26 August 2006, Volumes 1–3 pp 29. Ashgate Pub Co, 30 sep. 2006 ISBN 075465740X ^ Garthwaite, Gene R., The Persians, p. 2 ^ J. B. Bury, p.109. ^ a b Durant. ^ "Compareti – Sasanians in Africa – Transoxiana
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AD 661–750, (London) 1986, pp. 63–64 ^ Cambridge History of Iran, by Richard Nelson Frye, Abdolhosein Zarrinkoub, et al. Section on The Arab Conquest of Iran
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and . Vol 4, 1975. London. p.46 ^ Al-Biruni. الآثار الباقية عن القرون الخالية, p.35,36,48 وقتی قتبیه بن مسلم سردار حجاج، بار دوم بخوارزم رفت و آن را باز گشود هرکس را که خط خوارزمی می نوشت و از تاریخ و علوم و اخبار گذشته آگاهی داشت از دم تیغ بی دریغ درگذاشت و موبدان و هیربدان قوم را یکسر هلاک نمود و کتابهاشان همه بسوزانید و تباه کرد تا آنکه رفته رفته مردم امی ماندند و از خط و کتابت بی بهره گشتند و اخبار آنها اکثر فراموش شد و از میان رفت ^ a b c Fred Astren pg.33–35 ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 312–313 ^ a b c d e f g "History of Iran: Islamic Conquest".  ^ Saïd Amir Arjomand, Abd Allah Ibn al-Muqaffa and the Abbasid Revolution. Iranian Studies, vol. 27, #1–4. London: Routledge, 1994. JSTOR i401381 ^ a b c d e f "The Islamic World to 1600". Applied History Research Group, University of Calagary. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2006.  ^ a b Tobin 113–115 ^ Nasr, Hoseyn; Islam
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and the pliqht of modern man ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, "Seljuq", Online Edition, (LINK) ^ Richard Frye, The Heritage of Persia, p. 243. ^ Rayhanat al- adab, (3rd ed.), vol. 1, p. 181. ^ Enderwitz, S. "Shu'ubiyya". Encyclopedia of Islam. Vol. IX (1997), pp. 513–14. ^ "History of Iran: Samanid Dynasty".  ^ Caheb C., Cambridge History of Iran, Tribes, Cities and Social Organization, vol. 4, p305–328 ^ Kühnel E., in Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesell, Vol. CVI (1956) ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, "Seljuq", Online Edition, (LINK): "... Because the Turkish Seljuqs had no Islamic tradition or strong literary heritage of their own, they adopted the cultural language of their Persian instructors in Islam. Literary Persian thus spread to the whole of Iran, and the Arabic
Arabic
language disappeared in that country except in works of religious scholarship ..." ^ O.Özgündenli, "Persian Manuscripts in Ottoman and Modern Turkish Libraries", Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition, (LINK) ^ M. Ravandi, "The Seljuq court at Konya and the Persianisation of Anatolian Cities", in Mesogeios (Mediterranean Studies), vol. 25–6 (2005), pp. 157–69 ^ "Academic Home".  ^ Lordkipanidze, Mariam (1987), Georgia in the XI-XII Centuries. Tbilisi: Ganatleba, p. 154. ^ " Iran
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– history – geography".  ^ Kenneth Warren Chase (2003). Firearms: a global history to 1700 (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0-521-82274-2. Retrieved 2011-11-28. Chinggis Khan organized a unit of Chinese catapult specialists in 1214, and these men formed part of the first Mongol army to invade Transoxania
Transoxania
in 1219. This was not too early for true firearms, and it was nearly two centuries after catapult-thrown gunpowder bombs had been added to the Chinese arsenal. Chinese siege equipment saw action in Transoxania
Transoxania
in 1220 and in the north Caucasus
Caucasus
in 1239–40.  ^ David Nicolle, Richard Hook (1998). The Mongol Warlords: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulegu, Tamerlane (illustrated ed.). Brockhampton Press. p. 86. ISBN 1-86019-407-9. Retrieved 2011-11-28. Though he was himself a Chinese, he learned his trade from his father, who had accompanied Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
on his invasion of Muslim
Muslim
Transoxania and Iran. Perhaps the use of gunpowder as a propellant, in other words the invention of true guns, appeared first in the Muslim
Muslim
Middle East, whereas the invention of gunpowder itself was a Chinese achievement CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ Arnold Pacey (1991). Technology in world civilization: a thousand-year history (reprint, illustrated ed.). MIT Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-262-66072-5. Retrieved 2011-11-28. During the 1250s, the Mongols
Mongols
invaded Iran
Iran
with 'whole regiments' of Chinese engineers operating trebuchets (catapults) throwing gunpowder bombs. Their progress was rapid and devastating until, after the sack of Baghdad
Baghdad
in 1258, they entered Syria. There they met an Islamic army similarly equipped and experienced their first defeat. In 1291, the same sort of weapon was used during the siege of Acre, when the European Crusaders were expelled form Palestine.  ^ Chahryar Adle, Irfan Habib (2003). Ahmad Hasan Dani; Chahryar Adle; Irfan Habib, eds. History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast : from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Volume 5 of History of Civilizations of Central Asia
Central Asia
(illustrated ed.). UNESCO. p. 474. ISBN 92-3-103876-1. Retrieved 2011-11-28. Indeed, it is possible that gunpowder devices, including Chinese mortar (huochong), had reached Central Asia
Central Asia
through the Mongols
Mongols
as early as the thirteenth century.71 Yet the potential remained unexploited; even Sultan Husayn's use of cannon may have had Ottoman inspiration. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ Arnold Pacey (1991). Technology in world civilization: a thousand-year history (reprint, illustrated ed.). MIT Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-262-66072-5. Retrieved 2011-11-28. The presence of these individuals in China
China
in the 1270s, and the deployment of Chinese engineers in Iran, mean that there were several routes by which information about gunpowder weapons could pass from the Islamic world to China, or vice versa. Thus when two authors from the eastern Mediterranean region wrote books about gunpowder weapons around the year 1280, it is not surprising that they described bombs, rockets and fire-lances very similar to some types of Chinese weaponry.  ^ The Il-khanate Archived 2007-06-10 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Water, ch. 3 ^ "Battuta's Travels: Part Three – Persia
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in World History (New Oxford World History) (Oxford University Press, 2011), page 94: "He was born some 100 km (62 miles) south of Samarkand
Samarkand
into a clan of the Barlas, a Turkicized tribe of Mongol descent." ^ a b This section incorporates test from the public domain Library of Congress Country Studies [1] ^ "SAFAVID DYNASTY". Encyclopædia Iranica.  ^ Helen Chapin Metz. Iran, a Country study. 1989. University of Michigan, p. 313. ^ Emory C. Bogle. Islam: Origin and Belief. University of Texas Press. 1989, p. 145. ^ Stanford Jay Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press. 1977, p. 77. ^ Andrew J. Newman, Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire, I.B. Tauris (March 30, 2006). ^ "Ismail Safavi" Encyclopædia Iranica. ^ Richard Tapper. "Shahsevan in Safavid Persia", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 37, No. 3, 1974, p. 324 ^ Lawrence Davidson, Arthur Goldschmid, A Concise History of the Middle East, Westview Press, 2006, p. 153 ^ "Safavid Dynasty", Britannica Concise. Online Edition 2007 ^ "ṬAHMĀSP I". Retrieved 12 May 2015.  ^ Eskandar Beg, pp. 900–901, tr. Savory, II, p. 1116 ^ Mikaberidze 2015, pp. 291, 536. ^ Malekšāh Ḥosayn, p. 509 ^ Mottahedeh, Roy, The Mantle of the Prophet : Religion and Politics in Iran, One World, Oxford, 1985, 2000, p.204 ^ Michael Axworthy, biography of Nader, The Sword of Persia
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Sources[edit]

Fisher, William Bayne; Avery, P.; Hambly, G. R. G; Melville, C. (1991). The Cambridge History of Iran. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521200954.  Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia. 1. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1598843362.  Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1442241466.  Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (2011). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-44-435163-7. 

Further reading[edit]

Abrahamian, Ervand (2008). A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82139-8.  Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
(1968–1991). Cambridge History of Iran. (8 vols.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45148-5.  Daniel, Elton L. (2000). The History of Iran. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood. ISBN 0-313-36100-2.  Foltz, Richard (2015). Iran
Iran
in World History. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199335497.  Rudi Matthee, Willem Floor. "The Monetary History of Iran: From the Safavids
Safavids
to the Qajars" I.B.Tauris, 25 apr. 2013 Del Guidice, Marguerite (August 2008). " Persia
Persia
– Ancient soul of Iran". National Geographic Magazine.  Joseph Roisman, Ian Worthington. "A companion to Ancient Macedonia" pp 342–346, pp 135–138. (Achaemenid rule in the Balkans
Balkans
and Eastern Europe). John Wiley & Sons, 7 jul. 2011. ISBN 144435163X. Olmstead, Albert T. E. (1948). The History of the Persian Empire: Achaemenid Period. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Van Gorde, A. Christian. Christianity in Persia
Persia
and the Status of Non-Muslims in Iran
Iran
(Lexington Books; 2010) 329 pages. Traces the role of Persians in Persia
Persia
and later Iran
Iran
since ancient times, with additional discussion of other non- Muslim
Muslim
groups. Sabri Ateş. "Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary, 1843–1914" Cambridge University Press, 21 okt. 2013. ISBN 1107245087. Askolʹd Igorevich Ivanchik, Vaxtang Ličʻeli. "Achaemenid Culture and Local Traditions in Anatolia, Southern Caucasus
Caucasus
and Iran". BRILL, 2007. Benjamin Walker, Persian Pageant: A Cultural History of Iran, Arya Press, Calcutta, 1950. Nasr, Hossein (1972). Sufi Essays. Suny press. ISBN 978-0-87395-389-4.  Rezvani, Babak., "Ethno-territorial conflict and coexistence in the Caucasus, Central Asia
Central Asia
and Fereydan" Amsterdam University Press, 15 mrt. 2014. Stephanie Cronin., "Iranian-Russian Encounters: Empires and Revolutions Since 1800" Routledge, 2013. ISBN 0415624339. Chopra, R.M., article on "A Brief Review of Pre-Islamic Splendour of Iran", INDO-IRANICA, Vol.56 (1–4), 2003. Vladimir Minorsky. "The Turks, Iran
Iran
and the Caucasus
Caucasus
in the Middle Ages" Variorum Reprints, 1978.

External links[edit]

Persian History Persian History Iran
Iran
an article by Encyclopædia Iranica Iran
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an article by Encyclopædia Britannica
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online by Janet Afary Ancient Iran
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online by Adrian David Hugh Bivar and Mark J. Dresden Iran
Iran
History Iran
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chamber WWW-VL History Index: Iran The History of Persia
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