The Islamic Republic of Iran is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 17th-most populous in the world, with 77 million people in about 636,000 square miles. The mountainous country connects central, west, and south Asia and was also an important point along the trade routes that connected the ancient west to the east.

One of the world's oldest civilizations, Iran is descended from the early 3rd millennium B.C.E. kingdom of the Elamites. Ancient Persia was one of the dominant powers of the 1st millennium B.C.E., and after the area's invasion by Arab Muslims, Iran was central to the Islamic Golden Age of the 8th to 13th centuries.

In the modern era, a constitutional monarchy was established in 1906, but Western intervention in Iranian ...

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