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. The greater part of Iran is situated on the Iranian plateau. 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

A map of the Qayen Earthquake

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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Saint Thaddeus Monastery
Credit: Zereshk

The Saint Thaddeus Monastery, also known as Kara Kilise, is an ancient Armenian monastery located in the mountainous area of Iran's West Azarbaijan Province, about 20 km from the town of Maku. In July 2008, the St. Thaddeus Monastery was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List, along with the St. Stepanos monastery and the chapel of Dzordzor as a part of The Armenian Monastic Ensemble in Iran.

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

Yazdgard I, slaying a stag.
Yazdegerd I, also spelled Yazdgerd I and Yazdgird I, was the Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 399 to 420. A son of Shapur III (r. 383–388), he succeeded his brother Bahram IV (r. 388–399) after the latter's assassination. Yazdegerd I's largely-uneventful reign is seen in Sasanian history as a period of renewal. Although he was periodically known as "the Sinner" in native sources, Yazdegerd was more competent than his recent predecessors. He enjoyed cordial relations with the Eastern Roman Empire and was entrusted by Arcadius with the guardianship of the latter's son Theodosius. Yazdegerd I is known for his friendly relations with the Jews and Christians of the Church of the East, which he acknowledged in 410. Because of this, he was praised by Jews and Christians as the new Cyrus the Great (r. 550 – 530 BC, king of the Iranian Achaemenid Empire who liberated the Jews from captivity in Babylon).

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19 June 2021 – 2021 Iranian presidential election
Rival candidates concede victory to hardline Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, who was widely predicted to be the next president. An official from the Interior Ministry claims that Raisi won 17.8 million votes out of the 28 million votes cast. (Reuters)
18 June 2021 – 2019–2021 Persian Gulf crisis
The Biden administration removes eight Patriot anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Iraq, removes the THAAD anti-missile defense system from Saudi Arabia, and announces that most jet squadrons and hundreds of American troops will be withdrawn from the region. The changes come in light of both de-escalating tensions with Iran and the administration changing its focus on countering China. (Wall Street Journal)
18 June 2021 – 2021 Iranian presidential election
Iranian voters head to the polls to elect a successor to current President Hassan Rouhani. Hardline Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi is projected to be the winner. Reformists and dissidents are calling for a boycott after most of their candidates were initially rejected by the Guardian Council and one other, former Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh, dropped out, saying that there is no serious competition against the hardliners. (BBC)
10 June 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Iran
Iran surpasses three million cases of COVID-19. (France 24)
8 June 2021 – War in Afghanistan
Afghanistan's power distributor, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, says that 23 electricity pylons have been destroyed or damaged by explosions in the past month, disrupting imported power from Iran and Uzbekistan to numerous provinces and districts. ISIL has claimed responsibility for destroying the towers. (TOLO)

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Ashraf Pahlavi
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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