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[ih-ran, ih-rahn, ahy-ran] /ɪˈræn, ɪˈrɑn, aɪˈræn/
a republic in SW Asia. About 635,000 sq. mi. (1,644,650 sq. km).
Capital: Teheran.
Formerly (until 1935) Persia.


1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Iran
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It does not go back beyond the period of the Arabian empire over Iran.

  • Transcaucasia, now joined to Russia, is a part of the plateau of Iran.

    Commercial Geography Jacques W. Redway
  • At first scorned and disregarded, the Russians have risen into the strongest and most dangerous opponent of Iran.

  • The variety in the literature no doubt reflects a variety in the religion of Iran.

    History of Religion Allan Menzies
  • The plateau of Iran is also noted for its wool, and the rugs from this region cannot be imitated elsewhere in the world.

    Commercial Geography Jacques W. Redway
British Dictionary definitions for 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: 79 853 900 (2013 est). Area: 1 647 050 sq km (635 932 sq miles) Former name (until 1935) Persia Official name Islamic Republic of Iran See also Persian Empire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Iran

from Persian Iran, from Middle Persian Ērān "(land) of the Iranians," genitive plural of ēr- "an Iranian," from Old Iranian *arya- (Old Persian ariya-, Avestan airya-) "Iranian", from Indo-Iranian *arya- or *ārya- (see Aryan), a self-designation, perhaps meaning "compatriot." In 1935 the government of Reza Shah Pahlavi requested governments with which it had diplomatic relations to call his country Iran, after the indigenous name, rather than the Greek-derived Persia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Iran in Culture
Iran [(i-ran, i-rahn, eye-ran)]

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.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Related Abbreviations for Iran


individual retirement annuity
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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