Portal:Iran

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به درگاه سرزمین ایران خوش آمدید
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Iran, (Persian: ايران‎‎, Īrān; pronunciation: [iːˈɾɒn]), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ايران‎‎, transliteration: Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Īrān), formerly known internationally as Persia, is a country in Western Asia. The 18th largest country in the world, Iran is approximately the size of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined and has a population of over 75 million people. Iran borders Armenia, Azerbaijan, to the north-west, Russia and Kazakhstan through the Caspian Sea to the north, Turkmenistan to the north-east, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. In addition, it borders the Persian Gulf, an important oil-producing area, and the Caspian sea. Shi'a Islam is the official state religion and Persian the official language. The political system of Iran comprises several intricately connected governing bodies and is based on the 1979 Constitution. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader, currently served by Ali Khamenei.

Iran has one of the oldest histories in the world, extending more than 5000 years, and throughout history, Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia. Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC, OPEC, and ECO. Iran as a major regional power occupies an important position in the world economy due to its substantial reserves of petroleum and natural gas, and has considerable regional influence in Western Asia. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and literally means "Land of the Aryans."

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The Qayen earthquake was a major earthquake that struck Northern Iran's Khorasan Province on May 10, 1997. The largest in the area since 1990, it measured 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale and was centered approximately 270 kilometers (170 mi) south of Mashhad on the village of Ardekul. The third earthquake that year to cause severe damage, it devastated the Birjand–Qayen region, killing 1,567 and injuring over 2,300. The earthquake—which left 50,000 homeless and damaged or destroyed over 15,000 homes—was described as the deadliest of 1997 by the United States Geological Survey. Some 155 aftershocks caused further destruction and drove away survivors. The earthquake was later discovered to have been caused by a rupture along a fault that runs underneath the Iran–Afghanistan border. Damage was eventually estimated at $100 million, and many countries responded to the emergency with donations of blankets, tents, clothing, and food. Rescue teams were also dispatched to assist local volunteers in finding survivors trapped under the debris. The destruction around the earthquake's epicenter was, in places, almost total; this has been attributed to poor construction practices, and imparted momentum to a growing movement for changes in building codes. With 1 in 3,000 deaths in Iran attributable to earthquakes, one expert has suggested that a country-wide rebuilding program would be needed to address the ongoing public safety concerns.

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A Paykan seen here in the countryside.
Credit: Fabienkhan

An old model of Peykan near Chaldoran, West Azerbaijan, Iran.

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Artaxerxes III of Persia (c. 425 BC – 338 BC) (Persian: اردشير سوم‎‎) (Old Persian: 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎠,transliterated as Artaxšaçā), was the Great King (Shah) of Persia and the eleventh Emperor of the Achaemenid Empire, as well as the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. He was the son and successor of Artaxerxes II and was succeeded by his son, Arses of Persia (also known as Artaxerxes IV). His reign coincided with the reign of Philip II in Macedon and Nectanebo II in Egypt. Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes was a satrap and commander of his father's army. Artaxerxes came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last murdered and his father, Artaxerxes II died at the age of 86. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all of the royal family to secure his place as emperor. He started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, and was followed up by rebellions throughout the western empire. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt, driving him from Egypt, stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way. In Artaxerxes' later years, Philip II of Macedon's power was increasing in Greece, where he tried to convince the Greeks to revolt against Achaemenid Persia. His activities were opposed by Artaxerxes, and with his support, the city of Perinthus resisted a Macedonian siege. There is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis in his later life, where Artaxerxes erected a new palace and built his own tomb, and began long-term projects like the Unfinished Gate. According to a Greek source, Diodorus of Sicily, Bagoas poisoned Artaxerxes, but a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests that the king died from natural causes.

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I found that many Americans did not even know that a country named Iran existed, let alone what it was like. Even among the diplomatic corps and among well-educated people, there was a vagueness about who the Iranians were or what the culture was, a tendency to confuse Iran with Iraq or to mistakenly assume that Iran is an Arab country simply because it is an Islamic nation. This fuzziness about the world outside is unique to America; among the intelligensia of European countries, for example, there is generally a higher level of awareness and information regarding cultures other than their own.
Ashraf Pahlavi, 1980

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