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The Iran Portal

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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 82 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."

Selected article

The Byzantine–Seljuq Wars were a series of decisive battles that shifted the balance of power in Asia Minor and Syria from the Byzantine Empire to the Seljuq Turks. Riding from the steppes of Central Asia, the Seljuq Turks replicated tactics practiced by the Huns hundreds of years earlier against a similar Roman opponent but now combining it with new-found Islamic zeal; in many ways, the Seljuq Turks resumed the conquests of the Muslims in the Byzantine–Arab Wars initiated by the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abassid Caliphate in the Levant, North Africa and Asia Minor. Today, the Battle of Manzikert is widely seen as the moment when the Byzantines lost the war against the Turks; however the Byzantine military was of questionable quality before 1071 with regular Turkish incursions overrunning the failing theme system. Even after Manzikert, Byzantine rule over Asia Minor did not end immediately, nor were any heavy concessions levied by the Turks on their opponents — it took another 20 years before the Turks were in control of the entire Anatolian peninsula and not for long either. During the course of the war, the Seljuq Turks and their allies attacked the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt, capturing Jerusalem and catalyzing the call for the First Crusade. Crusader assistance to the Byzantine Empire was mixed with treachery and looting, although substantial gains were made in the First Crusade. Within a hundred years of Manzikert, the Byzantines had (with Crusader assistance) successfully driven back the Turks from the coasts of Asia Minor and extended their influence right down to Palestine and even Egypt. Later, the Byzantines were unable to extract any more assistance, and the Fourth Crusade even led to the sack of Constantinople. Before the conflict petered out, the Seljuqs managed to take more territory from the weakened Empire of Nicaea until the Sultanate itself was taken over by the Mongols, leading to the rise of the ghazis and the conclusive Byzantine–Ottoman wars.

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Avicenna Mausoleum
Credit: Aryobarzan

Avicenna Mausoleum in Hamedan.

In this month

  • June 21, 1978 - 1978 Iranian Chinook shootdown: Iranian helicopters stray into Soviet airspace and are shot down.
  • June 28, 1987 - Iraqi warplanes dropped mustard gas bombs on the Iranian town of Sardasht in two separate bombing rounds, on four residential areas. This was the first time a civilian town was targeted by chemical weapons.

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Selected biography

Razi was the preeminent pharmacist and physician of his time.
Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi was a versatile Islamic philosopher who made fundamental and lasting contributions to the fields of medicine, chemistry (alchemy) and philosophy. He is credited with, among other things, the discovery of sulfuric acid, the "work horse" of modern chemistry and chemical engineering; and also of alcohol and its use in medicine. Razi was a prolific writer, having produced 184 books and articles, in several fields of science. According to historian Ibn an-Nadim, Razi distinguished himself as the best physician of his time who had fully absorbed Greek medical learning. As a medical educator, he attracted many students of all levels.

In the news

Did you know...

Did you know?


  • ...that during the Shiraz blood libel, the first to start the pogrom of the Jewish quarter were the soldiers sent to protect the Jews against mob violence?


  • ...that, in connection with the 7th-century Turkic conquest of Aghvania, the invaders were reported "to suck the children's blood like milk"?




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Mohsen Kadivar
There are approximately 100,000 clerics in Iran and over 60,000 of them are in Qom. Most of them are theology students who have been studying there for many years, between 10-25 years on average.... Every student has to study a minimum of 25 years before he can attain the status of ‘ayatollah’, however most students spend 10 years studying in the hawza.

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