|See also Persian Empire Former name (until 1935): Persia, Official name: Islamic Republic of Iran a republic in SW Asia, between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf: a monarchy until an Islamic revolution in 1979 headed by the Ayatollah Khomeini when the Shah was obliged to leave the country. Consists chiefly of a high central desert plateau almost completely surrounded by mountains, a semitropical fertile region along the Caspian coast, and a hot and dry area beside the Persian Gulf. Oil is the most important export. Official language: Persian (Iranian or Farsi). Official religion: Muslim majority. Currency: rial. Capital: Tehran. Pop: 68 789 000 (2004 est). Area: 1 647 050 sq km (635 932 sq miles)|
Republic in the Middle East, bordered by Armenia, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan to the north; Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east; the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south; and Iraq and Turkey to the west. Its capital and largest city is Teheran.
Note: Core of the ancient Persian Empire, Iran was known as Persia until 1935.
Note: The United States supported the regime of the shah (king) Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was forced by popular opposition to leave the country in 1979.
Note: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ruled from 1979 until his death in 1989, imposing strict Islamic law.
Note: In 1979, Iranian militants attacked the U.S. embassy and seized hostages, including sixty-two Americans, who were held until 1981.
Note: Iraq unsuccessfully invaded Iran in 1980.
Note: The Iranian government was widely believed to have controlled the taking of U. S. hostages in Lebanon. (See Iran-Contra affair.)
Note: The 1990s saw some moderating elements emerge to challenge the conservative heirs to Khomeini.
individual retirement annuity