Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Iran Research Paper

Iran Research Paper

Iran and its History, Geography, and Religion
Iran is a country situated in the Middle East. Iran borders of Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The country is situated to the south of the Caspian Sea and north of the Persian Gulf. The Elburz Mountains, which rise up to 18.603 ft are situated on the northern part of the country. Big desert crosses the country from the northwest till southeast.

Till the February 11, 1979 Iran was under the Pahlavi rule.

The territory of Iran makes 1,648,000 square kilometers. The terrestrial borders of the country make more than 5, 000 kilometers, and water borders make more than 2,500 kilometers. Iran, like a bridge, unites the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf. This way it makes the bridge from East to West. Geographical location conditioned Iranian cultural, political and social position. This country became a unique combination of Eastern and Western style of life and culture. “The mountains of Iran belong to the folding of Cenozoic period and some of them with volcanic origin, have brought about the means of appearance of thermal springs”(Milani, 105).


This country is situated in the beautiful and picturesque place of the world. Vast lands and high mountains create a unique combination, which attracts tourists from all over the world. Vast plains, mountains, multiple lakes and rivers form and diverse landscape. All four seasons can be visible in this country any time. “Having more than 500 known mineral water and thermal springs, which are used for different purposes (recreation & therapeutic) Iran has one the most important sources for tourism income .In the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea, there are many wide and luxuriant regions with mountain slopes covered with dense forests” (Hitchcock, 63).

The history of Iran is very interesting. The territory of modern Iran was occupied by the Persians and the Medes in the 1500s B.C. Starting from the 1500 B.C. the Persian king Cyrus became the ultimate ruler of the Persian empire. During the 330s B.B. the territory of Iran was ruled by Alexander and a number of other Greek rulers, who followed him. During the middle of 800s Persia became a scientific and cultural centre. This successful era lasted till the invasion of the Mongols in the 12th century. This territory was under the rule of the Safavid dynasty during the period from 15001 till 1722. During the time Shiite Islam became the dominant religion. The Safavid dynasty was replaced by the Oajar dynasty in 1794. This dynasty ruled the country from 1794 till 1925. This era was marked by the fighting between British and Russian for the economic domination in this region. During the World War I Iran tried to stay neutral but this did not prevent it from becoming a battlefield for British and Russian army. Reza Kahn came to power in 1921 with the help of a coup. Under his reign the country made serious steps to modernization and economical development. He also managed to limit foreign influence to great extend. During the World War Two Iran joined pro-Axis alliance. This resulted in Anglo-Russian occupation in 1941. Reza Shah Pahlave was deprived of his position for the favour of his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Under his rule a number of demonstrations and protests took place. People protested against his authoritarian rule. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi had to live the country in January 1979 and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini re-established an Islamic theocracy. Ayatollah put much effort trying to return to Islamic traditions and way of life. During this time the rights of women became limited again. Women were forced to wear veils and cover their heads. Ayatollah also wanted to limit the Western influence by prohibiting Western music, movies, and any other sources of information, which could have brought people information about non-Islamic way of life.

Political and social rights also became suppressed during this time. Different political parties, which did not correspond to state ideology were prohibited. Hostile policy towards other countries resulted in the taking the staff of the U.S. Embassy of Tehran as hostages in November 1979. This became the beginning of withstanding between Iranian and American government. The U.S. answered to taking Americans citizens as hostages with the economical boycott and deportation of the Iranian students from the U.S. All diplomatic relations between the two countries were broken. Iranian government demanded the U.S. to stop any kind of interference in all affairs of the country. “As the first anniversary of the embassy seizure neared, Khomeini and his followers insisted on their original conditions: guarantee by the U.S. not to interfere in Iran’s affairs, cancellation of U.S. damage claims against Iran, release of $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, an apology, and the return of the assets held by the former imperial family” (Hitchcock 67). American government met all the requirement of the Iranian government in order to free hostages and finally all hostages were release on January 20, 1981. 52 American citizens spent in captivity more than 400 days. In the year of 1982 new crises of Irani-Amercican relations took place. Starting from the end of 1980 Iran became involved in the war with Iraq with lasted till the 1988. During this period much effort was put in order to stop war withstanding and Iraq agree to stop war actions for several times but Iranian government demanded compensation for the damages caused by Iraqi troops.

By the 1991 Rafsanjani, the president of the country had to face serious economic crises. He chooses a movement to the free market in order to revive a stagnant economy of the country. Presidential elections of 1997 became a turning point for the development of democracy of the country. During this elections Mohammed Khatami, won more than 70% of votes. This way the citizens of the country demonstrated their desire to live in the democratic country and showed their desire for democratic changes and liberalization. After the election Iran experienced great political and social transformations. The reformist movement has also influenced the parliament. After parliamentary elections of 2000, the representatives of reformist movement won surprisingly big quantity of seats, which belonged to hard-liners since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Iran is not a one-nation state. It is rather a multinational empire. Persian, who descend from Aryans make more than a half of country population. “The Persians constitute the largest ethnic component in Iran. They predominate in the major urban areas of central and eastern Iran - in the cities of Tehran, Esfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz, Arak, Kashan, Kerman, Qom, and Yazd - and in the villages of the Central Plateau. An estimated 50 to 60 percent of the population speaks Persian as a first language” (Price 106). Arabs create another big ethnic group of this country. They constitute more than 3 percent of Iranian population. Many Arabian minority groups live on the southwest of the country. Minority groups often complain on poor life conditions, discrimination and unemployment. “In November 1986, the government reported that the preliminary count in the fourth national census, which had been conducted during October, showed a total population of 48,181,463. The population of Iranian nationals, approximately 45.6 million, represented an increase of about 12 million over the 33.7 million enumerated in the 1976 census. This indicated that the Iranian population had grown at an annual rate of 3.6 percent between 1976 and 1986” (Price 113).

Iranian population grows more than 3.3 per cent per year. This is one of the highest growth rates in the world. The population of Iran is heterogeneous. People how live there speak many languages. Indo-Iranian, Turkic and Semitic are the most widespread languages. About 70 per cents of the population speak Indo-Iranian.

Iran is an Islamic state. Shii Islam is a dominant religion of this country. This religion has a very strong influence on not only social, but also political and cultural life of the country. “About 88% of all Iranians are Shi’is (this applies to all peoples of the country). About 8% are Sunni Muslims, 2% Baha’is, and more than 1% are Christians” (Milani 102). There are also small religious communities of Jews and Parsians. These communities are around 50, 000 each. The followers of Christian, Jewish and Persian religions do not experience much pressure in Iran since these religions are considered to by compatible with Islam. The Baha’is religions community faces much pressure in this country. They are treated as heretics and by Islamists and thus adherents of this religion experience much abuse in Iran.

Iranian culture can not separated from its religion. All religions rituals and traditions tell about the rich history of the country. Religions traditions can tell a lot of the mentality and culture of the Iranian people. For example Haft Sin, or traditional celebration of the New Year includes seven necessary items. These things start with S and symbolize core ideas of Iranian religion and culture. All these seven kinds of food should be presented on the New Year table in order to bring things they symbolize to people. These seven necessary items are: wheat, which symbolizes rebirth; pudding, which symbolizes affluence; dried fruit of the oleaster tree, which symbolize love; garlic, which symbolizes medicine; apples, which symbolize beauty and health; sumac berries, which symbolize sunrise; and vinegar, which symbolizes patience. All seven items symbolize important virtues and good wishes. Knowing about these traditional items we can make our mind about the type of virtue Iranian tradition follows.
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