country in SW Asia, between the Caspian Sea & the Persian Gulf: formerly an empire, it became an Islamic republic in 1979: 634,293 sq mi (1,642,813 sq km); pop. 49,445,000; cap. Tehran: former name Persia
plateau extending from the Tigris River to the Indus River, mostly in Iran & Afghanistan
A country of southwest Asia. Inhabited since c. 2000 B.C. by Iranian peoples, the region later became the core of the Persian Empire. After being conquered by Alexander the Great and ruled by the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, Persia was reestablished under the Sassanian dynasty (A.D. 224-651) and, after invasions by Arabs (7th century), Turks (10th century), and Mongols (13th-14th centuries), was reestablished again under the Safavid dynasty (1502-1736). The country, officially renamed Iran in 1935, was ruled by the Pahlavi dynasty from 1925 until the ouster of Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (1979) in a revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who established an Islamic republic. Tehran is the capital and the largest city. Population: 65,400,000.