|Chief of State||Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (1989)|
|President||Hassan Rouhani (2013)|
|Total Area||636,368 Square Miles, 1,648,195 Square Kilometers|
|Location||Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan|
Green in the Iranian culture, it symbolizes growth, happiness, unity, nature, vitality, and the Persian Language. Historically, a green and white flag in a triangular form used to be the flag of the Persians (Pars).
White The traditional color of white stand for freedom, because white is blank and it is free to hold anything on it.
Red It stands for martyrdom. In the Iranian culture, it symbolizes bravery, fire, life, love, warmth, and sophistication. Historically, a red and white flag in a triangular form used to be the flag of the Medes (Mada).
History of Iran
Iran is a wide country with 1,648,195 km situated in South-West Asia. It is an ancient country with more than 7000 years of history and about 17000 years of prehistoric record. The name of the country changed from Persia into Iran about 100 years ago, and now the official name for it is Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is located on “The Eremic Belt” of northern hemisphere and so it is expected to be arid with wide deserts, but instead it enjoys high climate diversity. Iran is surrounded by Caspian Sea in the north and Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman in the south. There are two wide deserts in central Iran: Dasht-e-Kavir and Lout desert. The region now called Iran was occupied by the Medes and the Persians in the 1500s B.C,
Iran, a Middle Eastern country south of the Caspian Sea and north of the Persian Gulf, is three times the size of Arizona. It shares borders with Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The Elbrus Mountains in the north rise to 18,603 ft. (5,670 m) at Mount Demavend. From northwest to southeast, the country is crossed by a desert 800 mi (1,287 km) long.
The current flag of Iran was adopted on 29 July 1980, and is a reflection of the changes brought about by the Iranian Revolution. Its field is a tricolor comprising equal horizontal bands of green, white, and red.
Persia or Iran, a brief history
Present Iran was historically referred to as Persia until 1935 when Reza Shah Pahlavi formally asked the international community to call the country by its native name, Iran. But In 1959 due to controversial debates over the name, it was announced that both could be used.
The First inhabitants of Iran were a race of people living in western Asia. When the Aryans arrived, they gradually started mingling with the old native Asians. Aryans were a branch of the people today known as the Indo-Europeans, and are believed to be the ancestors of the people of present India, Iran, and most of Western Europe.
Recent discoveries indicate that, centuries before the rise of earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia, Iran was inhabited by human. But the written history of Iran dates back to 3200 BC. It begins with the early Achaemenids, The dynasty whose under the first Iranian world empire blossomed.
Cyrus the Great was the founder of the empire and he is the first to establish the charter of human rights. In this period Iran stretched from the Aegean coast of Asia Minor to Afghanistan, as well as south to Egypt. The Achaemenid Empire was overthrown by Alexander the Great in 330 BC and was followed by The Seleucid Greek Dynasty.
After the Seleucids, we witness about dozen successive dynasties reigning over the country, Dynasties such as Parthian, Sassanid, Samanid, Ghaznavid, Safavid, Zand, Afsharid, Qajar and Pahlavi. In 641 Arabs conquered Iran and launched a new vicissitudinous era. Persians, who were the followers of Zoroaster, gradually turned to Islam and it was in Safavid period when Shiite Islam became the official religion of Iran.
Since Qajar dynasty on, due to the inefficiency of the rulers, Iran intensely begins to decline and gets smaller and smaller. The growing corruption of the Qajar monarchy led to a constitutional revolution in 1905-1906. The Constitutional Revolution marked the end of the medieval period in Iran, but the constitution remained a dead letter.
During World Wars I and II the occupation of Iran by Russian, British, and Ottoman troops was a blow from which the government never effectively recovered.
In 1979, the nation, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, erupted into revolution and the current Islamic republic of Iran was founded.
Throughout Iran’s long history, in spite of different devastating invasions and occupations by Arabs, Turks, Mongols, British, Russians, and others, the country has always maintained its national identity and has developed as a distinct political and cultural entity.
With a long-standing and proud civilization, Persian culture is among the richest in the world. Two and a half millennia of inspiring literature, thousands of poets and writers, magnificent and impressive architecture, live customs dating back to Zoroastrians over 3000 years ago, and other unique characteristics of the nation are rivaled by only a few countries.
Throughout the history, this grand treasure of Persia was gradually transferred to eastern and western nations. Iran’s significant contribution into the world civilization in many respects is indispensable. Many ceremonies of the ancient Persians are the basis of western celebrations.
Among the ceremonies still being held are Norouz, Charshanbeh Suri, Sizdah Bedar, Yalda Night and Haft Sin. Sitting around Haft Sin and reciting Hafez, visiting family and friends during Norouz celebration, night of Charshanbeh Suri and jumping over the bonfire in the hope of getting rid of all illnesses and misfortunes, spending Sizdah Bedar, the 13th day of the New Year, in nature, are old interesting traditions coming from the Achaemenid Empire.
Another eminent feature of Persian culture is art. In fact culture and art are two closely interwoven concepts forming the soul of human civilizations. Persian exquisite carpets, subtle soulful classic music, outstanding tile work of unique blue mosques, old influential architectural style and countless brilliant literary works are famous in the world.
Persian or Farsi, is one of the world’s oldest languages still in use today, and is known to have one of the most powerful literary traditions and potentials. Persian poetry with masterpieces of Saadi, Hafiz, Rumi and Omar Khayyam is well known around the world.
As all Persians are quick to point out, Farsi is not related to Arabic, it is a member of the Indo-European family of languages.
One more art intertwined with Persian culture, worth mentioning, is the art of cooking. Persian foods, accompanied by herbs and spices are product of the creativity, skill and patience of many generations of cooks.