Persia is an Asian country with 2.4 million square kilometers, it is the Terra's seventh-largest country by total area (8th if we add the Antarctica). With a population of over 132 million, it is the sixth most populous country in Terra. The national capital is Isfahan, and the most populous city is Tehran. Persia is the oldest existing country in Terra, hence its motto Eternity.
Persia is a constitutional republic with three separate branches of government, including an unicameral legislature. The TR ranks high in international measures of democracy, civil rights and personal freedoms. Persia has a mixed economic system, which is mainly capitalistic but with some degree of public regulation, such a universal health care system. Due to its location in the melting pot of Central Asia, this country is a very racially and ethnically diverse nation.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Prehistory
- 2.2 Classical antiquity
- 2.3 Medieval period
- 2.4 Early modern period
- 2.5 1951–1978: Mosaddegh, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
- 2.6 Since the Islamic Revolution to 2020
- 2.7 COVID-19 outbreak and Mars colonization
- 2.8 World War III
- 2.9 A global government
- 2.10 Effects of the global government
- 2.11 Birth of the Terran Republic
- 2.12 Cold War II
- 2.13 Contemporary history
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government and politics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Infrastructure
- 8 Culture
The term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- (Middle Persian) and ary- (Parthian), both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya- (meaning "Aryan", i.e. "of the Iranians"), recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles (skilfully)". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, and remains also in other Iranian ethnic names Alan (Ossetian: Ир Ir) and Iron (Ирон). According to the Iranian mythology, the country's name comes from the name of Iraj, a legendary prince and shah who was killed by his brothers.
Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due mainly to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís (Ancient Greek: Περσίς; from Old Persian 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿 Pārsa), meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran that is today known as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted, even long after the Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC).
In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, Iran, effective 22 March that year. Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision in 1959, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceable in official state contexts.
But the international community in the 25th Century knows the country as Persia but also Iran is commonly used, as it is the official name.
The earliest attested archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated at Kashafrud and Ganj Par in northern Iran, confirm a human presence in Iran since the Lower Paleolithic. Iran's Neanderthal artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic have been found mainly in the Zagros region, at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh. From the 10th to the seventh millennium BC, early agricultural communities began to flourish in and around the Zagros region in western Iran, including Chogha Golan, Chogha Bonut, and Chogha Mish.
The occupation of grouped hamlets in the area of Susa, as determined by radiocarbon dating, ranges from 4395–3955 to 3680-3490 BC. There are dozens of prehistoric sites across the Iranian Plateau, pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BC. During the Bronze Age, the territory of present-day Iran was home to several civilizations, including Elam, Jiroft, and Zayanderud. Elam, the most prominent of these civilizations, developed in the southwest alongside those in Mesopotamia, and continued its existence until the emergence of the Iranian empires. The advent of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BC.
From the 34th to the 20th century BC, northwestern Iran was part of the Kura-Araxes culture, which stretched into the neighboring Caucasus and Anatolia. Since the earliest second millennium BC, Assyrians settled in swaths of western Iran and incorporated the region into their territories.
By the second millennium BC, the ancient Iranian peoples arrived in what is now Iran from the Eurasian Steppe, rivaling the native settlers of the region. As the Iranians dispersed into the wider area of Greater Iran and beyond, the boundaries of modern-day Iran were dominated by Median, Persian, and Parthian tribes.
From the late 10th to the late seventh century BC, the Iranian peoples, together with the "pre-Iranian" kingdoms, fell under the domination of the Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, as well as the fellow Iranian Scythians and Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire. The civil war ravaged the Assyrian Empire between 616 and 605 BC, thus freeing their respective peoples from three centuries of Assyrian rule. The unification of the Median tribes under king Deioces in 728 BC led to the foundation of the Median Empire which, by 612 BC, controlled almost the entire territory of present-day Iran and eastern Anatolia. This marked the end of the Kingdom of Urartu as well, which was subsequently conquered and dissolved.
In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great, the son of Mandane and Cambyses I, took over the Median Empire, and founded the Achaemenid Empire by unifying other city-states. The conquest of Media was a result of what is called the Persian Revolt. The brouhaha was initially triggered by the actions of the Median ruler Astyages, and was quickly spread to other provinces, as they allied with the Persians. Later conquests under Cyrus and his successors expanded the empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, as well as the lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers.
539 BC was the year in which Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at Opis, and marked the end of around four centuries of Mesopotamian domination of the region by conquering the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch. Subsequent Achaemenid art and iconography reflect the influence of the new political reality in Mesopotamia.
At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire included territories of modern-day Iran, Republic of Azerbaijan (Arran and Shirvan), Armenia, Georgia, Turkey (Anatolia), much of the Black Sea coastal regions, northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria (Thrace), northern Greece and North Macedonia (Paeonia and Macedon), Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, parts of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and much of Central Asia, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen.
It is estimated that in 480 BC, 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire. The empire at its peak ruled over 44% of the world's population, the highest such figure for any empire in history.
The Achaemenid Empire is noted for the release of the Jewish exiles in Babylon, building infrastructures such as the Royal Road and the Chapar (postal service), and the use of an official language, Imperial Aramaic, throughout its territories. The empire had a centralized, bureaucratic administration under the emperor, a large professional army, and civil services, inspiring similar developments in later empires.
Eventual conflict on the western borders began with the Ionian Revolt, which erupted into the Greco-Persian Wars and continued through the first half of the fifth century BC, and ended with the withdrawal of the Achaemenids from all of the territories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper.
In 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire, defeating the last Achaemenid emperor, Darius III, at the Battle of Issus. Following the premature death of Alexander, Iran came under the control of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. In the middle of the second century BC, the Parthian Empire rose to become the main power in Iran, and the century-long geopolitical arch-rivalry between the Romans and the Parthians began, culminating in the Roman–Parthian Wars. The Parthian Empire continued as a feudal monarchy for nearly five centuries, until 224 CE, when it was succeeded by the Sasanian Empire. Together with their neighboring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantines, they made up the world's two most dominant powers at the time, for over four centuries.
The Sasanians established an empire within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, with their capital at Ctesiphon. Late antiquity is considered one of Iran's most influential periods, as under the Sasanians their influence reached the culture of ancient Rome (and through that as far as Western Europe), Africa, China, and India, and played a prominent role in the formation of the medieval art of both Europe and Asia.
Most of the era of the Sasanian Empire was overshadowed by the Roman–Persian Wars, which raged on the western borders at Anatolia, the Western Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Levant, for over 700 years. These wars ultimately exhausted both the Romans and the Sasanians and led to the defeat of both by the Muslim invasion.
Throughout the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian eras, several offshoots of the Iranian dynasties established eponymous branches in Anatolia and the Caucasus, including the Pontic Kingdom, the Mihranids, and the Arsacid dynasties of Armenia, Iberia (Georgia), and Caucasian Albania (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan).
The prolonged Byzantine–Sasanian wars, most importantly the climactic war of 602–628, as well as the social conflict within the Sasanian Empire, opened the way for an Arab invasion of Iran in the seventh century. The empire was initially defeated by the Rashidun Caliphate, which was succeeded by the Umayyad Caliphate, followed by the Abbasid Caliphate. A prolonged and gradual process of state-imposed Islamization followed, which targeted Iran's then Zoroastrian majority and included religious persecution, demolition of libraries and fire temples, a special tax penalty ("jizya"), and language shift.
In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads. Arabs Muslims and Persians of all strata made up the rebel army, which was united by the converted Persian Muslim, Abu Muslim. In their struggle for power, the society in their times gradually became cosmopolitan and the old Arab simplicity and aristocratic dignity, bearing and prestige were lost. Persians and Turks began to replace the Arabs in most fields. The fusion of the Arab nobility with the subject races, the practice of polygamy and concubinage, made for a social amalgam wherein loyalties became uncertain and a hierarchy of officials emerged, a bureaucracy at first Persian and later Turkish which decreased Abbasid prestige and power for good.
After two centuries of Arab rule, semi-independent and independent Iranian kingdoms—including the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, and Buyids—began to appear on the fringes of the declining Abbasid Caliphate.
The blossoming literature, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and art of Iran became major elements in the formation of a new age for the Iranian civilization, during a period known as the Islamic Golden Age. The Islamic Golden Age reached its peak by the 10th and 11th centuries, during which Iran was the main theater of scientific activities.
The cultural revival that began in the Abbasid period led to a resurfacing of the Iranian national identity; thus, the attempts of Arabization never succeeded in Iran. The Shu'ubiyya movement became a catalyst for Iranians to regain independence in their relations with the Arab invaders. The most notable effect of this movement was the continuation of the Persian language attested to the works of the epic poet Ferdowsi, now considered the most prominent figure in Iranian literature.
The 10th century saw a mass migration of Turkic tribes from Central Asia into the Iranian Plateau. Turkic tribesmen were first used in the Abbasid army as mamluks (slave-warriors), replacing Iranian and Arab elements within the army. As a result, the Mamluks gained a significant political power. In 999, large portions of Iran came briefly under the rule of the Ghaznavids, whose rulers were of mamluk Turkic origin, and longer subsequently under the Seljuk and Khwarezmian empires. The Seljuks subsequently gave rise to the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia, while taking their thoroughly Persianized identity with them. The result of the adoption and patronage of Persian culture by Turkish rulers was the development of a distinct Turko-Persian tradition.
From 1219 to 1221, under the Khwarazmian Empire, Iran suffered a devastating invasion by the Mongol Empire army of Genghis Khan. According to Steven R. Ward, "Mongol violence and depredations killed up to three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Some historians have estimated that Iran's population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century."
Following the fracture of the Mongol Empire in 1256, Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Ilkhanate in Iran. In 1370, yet another conqueror, Timur, followed the example of Hulagu, establishing the Timurid Empire which lasted for another 156 years. In 1387, Timur ordered the complete massacre of Isfahan, reportedly killing 70,000 citizens. The Ilkhans and the Timurids soon came to adopt the ways and customs of the Iranians, surrounding themselves with a culture that was distinctively Iranian.
Early modern period
By the 1500s, Ismail I of Ardabil established the Safavid Empire, with his capital at Tabriz. Beginning with Azerbaijan, he subsequently extended his authority over all of the Iranian territories, and established an intermittent Iranian hegemony over the vast relative regions, reasserting the Iranian identity within large parts of Greater Iran. Iran was predominantly Sunni, but Ismail instigated a forced conversion to the Shia branch of Islam, spreading throughout the Safavid territories in the Caucasus, Iran, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. As a result, modern-day Iran is the only official Shia nation of the world, with it holding an absolute majority in Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, having there the first and the second highest number of Shia inhabitants by population percentage in the world. Meanwhile, the centuries-long geopolitical and ideological rivalry between Safavid Iran and the neighboring Ottoman Empire led to numerous Ottoman–Iranian wars.
The Safavid era peaked in the reign of Abbas I (1587–1629), surpassing their Turkish archrivals in strength, and making Iran a leading science and art hub in western Eurasia. The Safavid era saw the start of mass integration from Caucasian populations into new layers of the society of Iran, as well as mass resettlement of them within the heartlands of Iran, playing a pivotal role in the history of Iran for centuries onwards. Following a gradual decline in the late 1600s and the early 1700s, which was caused by internal conflicts, the continuous wars with the Ottomans, and the foreign interference (most notably the Russian interference), the Safavid rule was ended by the Pashtun rebels who besieged Isfahan and defeated Sultan Husayn in 1722.
In 1729, Nader Shah, a chieftain and military genius from Khorasan, successfully drove out and conquered the Pashtun invaders. He subsequently took back the annexed Caucasian territories which were divided among the Ottoman and Russian authorities by the ongoing chaos in Iran. During the reign of Nader Shah, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sasanian Empire, reestablishing the Iranian hegemony all over the Caucasus, as well as other major parts of the west and central Asia, and briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time.
Nader Shah invaded India and sacked far off Delhi by the late 1730s. His territorial expansion, as well as his military successes, went into a decline following the final campaigns in the Northern Caucasus against then revolting Lezgins. The assassination of Nader Shah sparked a brief period of civil war and turmoil, after which Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty came to power in 1750, bringing a period of relative peace and prosperity.
Compared to its preceding dynasties, the geopolitical reach of the Zand dynasty was limited. Many of the Iranian territories in the Caucasus gained de facto autonomy, and were locally ruled through various Caucasian khanates. However, despite the self-ruling, they all remained subjects and vassals to the Zand king. Another civil war ensued after the death of Karim Khan in 1779, out of which Agha Mohammad Khan emerged, founding the Qajar dynasty in 1794.
In 1795, following the disobedience of the Georgian subjects and their alliance with the Russians, the Qajars captured Tbilisi by the Battle of Krtsanisi, and drove the Russians out of the entire Caucasus, reestablishing the Iranian suzerainty over the region.
The Russo-Iranian wars of 1804–1813 and 1826–1828 resulted in large irrevocable territorial losses for Iran in the Caucasus, comprising all of Transcaucasia and Dagestan, which made part of the very concept of Iran for centuries, and thus substantial gains for the neighboring Russian Empire.
As a result of the 19th-century Russo-Iranian wars, the Russians took over the Caucasus, and Iran irrevocably lost control over its integral territories in the region (comprising modern-day Dagestan, Georgia, Armenia, and Republic of Azerbaijan), which got confirmed per the treaties of Gulistan and Turkmenchay. The area to the north of Aras River, among which the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia are located, were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.
As Iran shrank, many Transcaucasian and North Caucasian Muslims moved towards Iran, especially until the aftermath of the Circassian Genocide, and the decades afterwards, while Iran's Armenians were encouraged to settle in the newly incorporated Russian territories, causing significant demographic shifts.
Around 1.5 million people—20 to 25% of the population of Iran—died as a result of the Great Famine of 1870–1871.
Between 1872 and 1905, a series of protests took place in response to the sale of concessions to foreigners by Qajar monarchs Naser-ed-Din and Mozaffar-ed-Din, and led to the Constitutional Revolution in 1905. The first Iranian constitution and the first national parliament of Iran were founded in 1906, through the ongoing revolution. The Constitution included the official recognition of Iran's three religious minorities, namely Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, which has remained a basis in the legislation of Iran since then. The struggle related to the constitutional movement was followed by the Triumph of Tehran in 1909, when Mohammad Ali Shah was defeated and forced to abdicate. On the pretext of restoring order, the Russians occupied northern Iran in 1911 and maintained a military presence in the region for years to come. But this did not put an end to the civil uprisings and was soon followed by Mirza Kuchik Khan's Jungle Movement against both the Qajar monarchy and foreign invaders.
Despite Iran's neutrality during World War I, the Ottoman, Russian and British empires occupied the territory of western Iran and fought the Persian Campaign before fully withdrawing their forces in 1921. At least 2 million Persian civilians died either directly in the fighting, the Ottoman perpetrated anti-Christian genocides or the war induced famine of 1917-1919. A large number of Iranian Assyrian and Iranian Armenian Christians, as well as those Muslims who tried to protect them, were victims of mass murders committed by the invading Ottoman troops, notably in and around Khoy, Maku, Salmas, and Urmia.
Apart from the rule of Agha Mohammad Khan, the Qajar rule is characterized as a century of misrule. The inability of Qajar Iran's government to maintain the country's sovereignty during and immediately after World War I led to the British directed 1921 Persian coup d'état and Reza Shah's establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Shah, became the new Prime Minister of Iran and was declared the new monarch in 1925.
In the midst of World War II, in June 1941, Nazi Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and invaded the Soviet Union, Iran's northern neighbor. The Soviets quickly allied themselves with the Allied countries and in July and August, 1941 the British demanded that the Iranian government expel all Germans from Iran. Reza Shah refused to expel the Germans and on 25 August 1941, the British and Soviets launched a surprise invasion and Reza Shah's government quickly surrendered. The invasion's strategic purpose was to secure a supply line to the USSR (later named the Persian Corridor), secure the oil fields and Abadan Refinery (of the UK-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company), prevent a German advance via Turkey or the USSR on Baku's oil fields, and limit German influence in Iran. Following the invasion, on 16 September 1941 Reza Shah abdicated and was replaced by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, his 21-year-old son.
During the rest of World War II, Iran became a major conduit for British and American aid to the Soviet Union and an avenue through which over 120,000 Polish refugees and Polish Armed Forces fled the Axis advance. At the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied "Big Three"—Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill—issued the Tehran Declaration to guarantee the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran. However, at the end of the war, Soviet troops remained in Iran and established two puppet states in north-western Iran, namely the People's Government of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Mahabad. This led to the Iran crisis of 1946, one of the first confrontations of the Cold War, which ended after oil concessions were promised to the USSR and Soviet forces withdrew from Iran proper in May 1946. The two puppet states were soon overthrown and the oil concessions were later revoked.
1951–1978: Mosaddegh, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh was appointed as the Prime Minister. He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the United States had participated in the overthrow of a foreign government during the Cold War.
After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and sultanistic, and Iran entered a phase of decades-long controversial close relations with the United States and some other foreign governments. While the Shah increasingly modernized Iran and claimed to retain it as a fully secular state, arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, the SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition.
Ruhollah Khomeini, a radical Muslim cleric, became an active critic of the Shah's far-reaching series of reforms known as the White Revolution. Khomeini publicly denounced the government, and was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, he refused to apologize, and was eventually sent into exile.
Due to the 1973 spike in oil prices, the economy of Iran was flooded with foreign currency, which caused inflation. By 1974, the economy of Iran was experiencing double digit inflation, and despite the many large projects to modernize the country, corruption was rampant and caused large amounts of waste. By 1975 and 1976, an economic recession led to increased unemployment, especially among millions of youths who had migrated to the cities of Iran looking for construction jobs during the boom years of the early 1970s. By the late 1970s, many of these people opposed the Shah's regime and began to organize and join the protests against it.
Since the Islamic Revolution to 2020
The 1979 Revolution, later known as the Islamic Revolution, began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah. After a year of strikes and demonstrations paralyzing the country and its economy, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled to the United States, and Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran in February 1979, forming a new government. After holding a referendum, Iran officially became an Islamic republic in April 1979. A second referendum in December 1979 approved a theocratic constitution.
The immediate nationwide uprisings against the new government began with the 1979 Kurdish rebellion and the Khuzestan uprisings, along with the uprisings in Sistan and Baluchestan and other areas. Over the next several years, these uprisings were subdued in a violent manner by the new Islamic government. The new government began purging itself of the non-Islamist political opposition, as well as of those Islamists who were not considered radical enough. Although both nationalists and Marxists had initially joined with Islamists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were executed by the new regime afterwards. Many former ministers and officials in the Shah's government, including former prime minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda, were executed following Khomeini's order to purge the new government of any remaining officials still loyal to the exiled Shah.
On 4 November 1979, a group of Muslim students seized the United States Embassy and took the embassy with 52 personnel and citizens hostage, after the United States refused to extradite Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Iran, where his execution was all but assured. Attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages, and a failed rescue attempt, helped force Carter out of office and brought Ronald Reagan to power. On Jimmy Carter's final day in office, the last hostages were finally set free as a result of the Algiers Accords. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left the United States for Egypt, where he died of complications from cancer only months later, on 27 July 1980.
The Cultural Revolution began in 1980, with an initial closure of universities for three years, in order to perform an inspection and clean up in the cultural policy of the education and training system.
On 22 September 1980, the Iraqi army invaded the western Iranian province of Khuzestan, launching the Iran–Iraq War. Although the forces of Saddam Hussein made several early advances, by mid 1982, the Iranian forces successfully managed to drive the Iraqi army back into Iraq. In July 1982, with Iraq thrown on the defensive, the regime of Iran took the decision to invade Iraq and conducted countless offensives in a bid to conquer Iraqi territory and capture cities, such as Basra. The war continued until 1988 when the Iraqi army defeated the Iranian forces inside Iraq and pushed the remaining Iranian troops back across the border. Subsequently, Khomeini accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. The total Iranian casualties in the war were estimated to be 123,220–160,000 KIA, 60,711 MIA, and 11,000–16,000 civilians killed.
Following the Iran–Iraq War, in 1989, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his administration concentrated on a pragmatic pro-business policy of rebuilding and strengthening the economy without making any dramatic break with the ideology of the revolution. In 1997, Rafsanjani was succeeded by moderate reformist Mohammad Khatami, whose government attempted, unsuccessfully, to make the country more free and democratic.
The 2005 presidential election brought conservative populist candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to power. By the time of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, the Interior Ministry announced incumbent President Ahmadinejad had won 62.63% of the vote, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi had come in second place with 33.75%. The election results were widely disputed, and resulted in widespread protests, both within Iran and in major cities outside the country, and the creation of the Iranian Green Movement.
Hassan Rouhani was elected as the president on 15 June 2013, defeating Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates. The electoral victory of Rouhani relatively improved the relations of Iran with other countries.
The 2017–18 Iranian protests swept across the country against the government and its longtime Supreme Leader in response to the economic and political situation. The scale of protests throughout the country and the number of people participating were significant, and it was formally confirmed that thousands of protesters were arrested. The 2019–20 Iranian protests started on 15 November in Ahvaz, spreading across the country within hours, after the government announced increases in the fuel price of up to 300%. A week-long total Internet shutdown throughout the country marked one of the most severe Internet blackouts in any country, and in the bloodiest governmental crackdown of the protestors in the history of Islamic Republic, tens of thousands were arrested and hundreds were killed within a few days according to multiple international observers, including Amnesty International.
On 3 January 2020, the revolutionary guard's general, Qasem Soleimani, was assassinated by the United States in Iraq, which considerably heightened the existing tensions between the two countries. Three days after, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched a retaliatory attack on US forces in Iraq and shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing 176 civilians and leading to nation-wide protests. An international investigation led to the government admitting to the shootdown of the plane by a surface-to-air missile after three days of denial, calling it a "human error".
COVID-19 outbreak and Mars colonization
At the end of 2019, a virus appeared to change the world. The world's economy was heavily affected by this situation, flights were cancelled, the countries were closing their borders causing travel restrictions. Millions lost their jobs and were forced to stay home. Countries without a public health system or with an underfunded one suffered hundreds of thousands of deaths. But many pharmaceutical companies were producing vaccines to sell to the world governments making the pharma industry even more powerful. But the people of the world started to feel suspicious about the situation and realized that the economic system that allowed that situation to happen was not fair, specially working class people. Riots all over the world started.
New global powers
Countries like the United States were almost about to collapse and the President, Joe Biden promised that they will take some measures to protect the health of the people without enough purchasing power, not without oposition. At this point, China stepped further reaching the position of world's first economy. And the relations between the United States and the European Union were not very good after the previous President Donald Trump's office, so the European Union break the diplomatic relations with the US. The NATO also disappeared. The United States had a plan to divert the attention of its citizens, space race. They prepared the mission New Home with the objective to send humans to Mars to establish a colony.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in 2025, the European Union member states met in Berlin to approve different measures. Like the creation of the EU Armed Forces and the expulsion of Spain and Greece from the union. The economies of Spain and Greece were devastated after the virus outbreak and they could not recover. Greeks and Spaniards already had a hatred towards the EU because joining the European Union made their economies not productive because both countries became a vacational resort and lost their industry to favour German economy. Both countries had parallel events, in both people took the control of the government, the powerful people of both countries flee to the European Union (even the Spanish King exiled his family to Switzerland, becoming Spain a republic) and communist parties took the role of the government. The leaders of both countries met in Empúries (Catalonia, Spain) to sign an alliance the Emporion Pact. The Emporion Pact was formed by the Socialist Hellenic Republic (Greece) and the Union of Iberian Socialist Republics (Spain).
The European Union invested in the European Space Agency (ESA) to send a European mission to Mars in order to compete with the US in their space race.
The Russian government saw the European Union situation of rearming as a threat and they became closer with the members of the Emporion Pact giving military support and assistance. Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia became allies with them too.
In Russia the situation did not change too much, their influence in Europe grew and the situation of the United States made them even stronger. The international allies of Russia were China and India. Both countries saw how their economies grew even more and all of them had plans to participate in the space race.
Japan saw the new situation as a threat and they decided to rearm themselves, they needed a strong navy to counterpart the growth of Russia and China and the United States loss of power. The new international policy of Japan was isolation and defence. Eventually in the year 2030, a new event happened, the Japanese National Awakening, the warrior and isolationist spirit of Japan was reborn and they became a Monarchy governed by a military chief, a shogun. Takeuchi Iwao became the Shogun of Japan.
Under this situation of uncertainty, the Indian Government impulsed in 2030, the creation of a Federal State, the South Asian Union merging India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia into a macro-state.
The United Kingdom focused its international policy in strenghten the relations with Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
As usual, the situation was not better in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen and the Syrian War became more brutal. Turkey reinforced its presence in northern Syria and that allowed Greece to grow stronger in the Mediterranean levant. Assad now supported by Russia, Greece and Iberia ended the war. Assad was given a condition imposed by the Emporion Pact or entering the club or giving independence to the Kurd people. The outcome was the birth of the Socialist Levantine Union formed by Syria and Kurdistan (the Syrian part) but governed by Assad, and of course backed by Russia. The stability seemed to arrive to the region but Israel could occupy the Lebanon quickly to have a bigger influence on the region and compensate the power of the re-industrialized and nuclear powered Emporion Pact.
In Iran at that time started a civil uprising against the government, asking for more personal freedoms for people. Many people hoped that one of the alliances of the conflict would help the protestors but the Iranian Armed Forces were very successful avoiding the expansion of the regional conflicts within its borders.
World War III
If the previous World Wars started in Europe, the third started in North Africa. Morocco saw itself sorrounded by enemies, from the west the Iberian Armed Forces were pushing them, from the south the Polisario Front was expelling Moroccan forces to the north, from the east the Algerian Army was advancing without stop and from the north Iberian and Greek combined forces were closing the circle. Morocco's most powerful ally, the United States were not existing anymore. But Morocco was an ally of France and they could ask for help.
European Union intervention
France proposed to intervene in the Moroccan War with the European Union Armed Forces (EUAF) and the member countries voted to allow that, seeing in the situation a perfect test for the centralized EUAF. The EU Navy in the Mediterranean set a blockade to the Balearic islands and the EU Navy in the Atlantic did the same with the Canary Islands, so the advance against Morocco had to stop, but Algeria already pushed the Moroccan to the coast.
The UK sent the Royal Navy to the Strait of Gibraltar in order to protect the Gibraltarians. In August 2032, The EU Army occupied the Iberian Republic of Baskonia, but the Basques formed militias which would lead the situation to a war of attrition.
Russia joins the war
Putin's Russia deployed the Armed Forces to take the Baltics as a response of the invasion of Baskonia, in a couple of weeks, the three Baltic republics were occupied by Russia. In September 2032, the European Union had three open fronts: the Iberian Front, the Russian Front and the Greek Front. Turkey saw the oportunity to take some Egean Sea islands knowing that Syria would not support its Emporion Pact allies because it was in a long recovery process from a long civil war. Russia sent some troops to attack Turkey and the Armenian Armed Forces joined the Russians. Georgia declared itself neutral in the conflict. Armenia in a safe position thanks to the presence of Russian troops attacked Azerbaijan. And the Socialist Kurdistan attacked Turkey from the southeast.
The War in the Middle East
Israel occupying Lebanon revived the conflict, Lebanese liberation militias were diverting Israel Defence Forces from taking any action in the conflict, so Israel focused in securing its positions. At the beginning of 2033, Kurdistan annexed the Turkish and the Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq declared war to Kurdistan and Iran, in defence of the Kurds declared the war on Iraq. The Kingdom of Jordan and Egypt remained neutral and Saudi Arabia declared War on Iran.
The Japanese Shogun, Takeuchi Iwao, sent the navy to invade the Kuril islands but it was stopped by the Russian navy. China answered to this provocation by establishing maritime patrols on its surrounding seas. South Korea tried to form an alliance with the Shogunate but they found no answer, in 2034, North Korea invaded South Korea and China invaded Taiwan. Australia joined the Philippines in a military alliance for the West Pacific. The little North American states formed alliances with different countries, California, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington formed an alliance with Australia and the Philippines, the Pacific Alliance. The little island states of the Pacific Ocean became battle scenarios between China-Russia allies, the Pacific alliance or the Japanese, that were on their own trying to expand their dominion in the Pacific islands, like ninety years ago. As a mutual defence pact, the Pan-Malay Union was born, an self-defence alliance between Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.
Back to Africa
In Sub-Saharan Africa the war was lived in a different way, they were starting a become pressured to choose side in the war but their countries were not willing to participate. They were only active militias in Angola and Mozambique backed by Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Bolivia was surrounded by rival countries but they declared neutrality, Cuba and Venezuela expanded their influence on the Caribbean occupying the Dominican Republic (2035) and Florida (2036), but they found resistance in Puerto Rico, which was supported by North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Costa Rica started to receive a huge amount of war refugees due to its neutrality. Many former US citizens became mercenaries due to their experience with weapons as civils and it was not strange to find them in the Caribbean battle scenarios. United Kingdom's Royal Navy had their role at protecting the lesser Antilles.
The Balkans and Eastern Europe
The EU Armed Forces reinforced the Ukrainian Army to prevent a Russian attack through there, but they were surprised by the Serbians, using guerrilla tactics to sabotage the advance of the EUAF. In 2037 the EUAF surrounded Serbia with their presence in Bosnia, Romania and Bulgaria but a new push from the Greeks helped them. Albania and Kosovo also gave tactical support to the EUAF. With the Serbian diversion, the Ukrainian troops were defeated by Russia.
Last years of the war
With all the opened fronts of the EUAF, Iberia recovered the control of Baskonia and the naval blockade was lifted. In 2039, the Iberians and the Algerians withdrew from Morocco but liberated the Western Sahara, which became another member of the Emporion Pact. The same year Turkey surrendered because it was pushed too hard by Russia, Armenia and Kurdistan and they were forced to withdraw from the Aegean islands. The EU negotiated the ceasefire because Russia won at the Turkish front and Japan ceased its attempts to expand in 2040.
In 2040, Iran and Saudi Arabia ceased their fire exchange by establishing a buffer Iraqi state without the Kurdish majority area.
The war in the Caribbean lasted one year more, when Puerto Rico and its allies defeated the Emporion Pact forces with the help of the British. With the withdrawal of the Cuban Navy from Florida, World War III ended in 2041, after nine years of conflict.
Aftermath of the conflict
- Russia annexed Belarus and Ukraine and withdrew from the Baltic Republics.
- Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia joined the Emporion Pact.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the European Union.
- Albania annexed Kosovo and joined the European Union.
- Western Sahara became independent and along with Algeria, they joined the Emporion Pact.
- Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia joined in the Pan-Malay Union, Singapore left the union remaining independent.
- The Socialist Levantine Union was divided into the Arab Socialist Republic of Syria and the Socialist Republic of Kurdistan, being both of them members of the Emporion Pact.
- A neutral Iraqi buffer state was formed being under control of UN peacekeeping missions.
- Turkey lost all the islands they had in the Egean Sea to Greece and they renounced to the Kurdish majority areas and Northern Cyprus. Erdoğan was forced to resign.
- Destruction of the Islamic State by the Kurds.
- Armenia annexed the Artsakh.
- Independence of Greenland.
- China annexed Taiwan and Korea was unified under the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
- With the war, the space race was stopped and all the Martian colonists could not survive.
- The South Asian Union took the lead in the space race.
- Four years after the war in 2045, Japan was expelled from the United Nations.
After the end of the war, the planet was destroyed and many countries fell into anarchy. In 2042, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi and Madagascar joined in a federal state named East African Federation, which had a strange political system combining socialism and a multy-party democracy.
The international situation was not stable after the war, Japan became a dictatorial regime under the Shogun and it was expelled from the United Nations on 2045 and in October 2048, the riots took the rule of Iran, proclaiming the Provisional Republic of Persia, but the government could not do anything to control the mass of protesters, at the end, the government then established a constitutional monarchy, reigned by Shahbanu Noor Pahlavi.
But more steps were done in Mars colonization project, Russia and China sent a colonist crew to Mars in 2045 in agreement with the Treaty of New York, one year later, the South Asian Union did the same. Japan after being expelled from the UN, they were not bound by the New York Treaty and they occupied the US assigned zone of Mars and the ESA send a team of engineers and scientists to Mars to advance in the terraforming project.
A global government
With the unstoppable growth of anarchy and socialism in the world during the 2050's and the 2060's, the United Nations were dealing with the member countries to make one step in the creation of a world government. It was voted and the proposal was successful and it would take effect in October 2067. That caused many countries to abandon the UN, like East Africa Federation, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Singapore, Persia and the member countries of the Emporion Pact. On October 16, 2067, all remaining member states of the United Nations were now under the same flag and the global government was named, the Confederation of Terra.
Effects of the global government
The existence of a global government that claimed all Terra made the European Union obsolete and it ceased to exist. Many European countries wanted to remain independent from this world government, specially the monarchies, and they friendly agree with the Confederation to form an independent supranational entity named Kingdoms of Terra. This organization was founded in December 2070 and the members were: Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Vatican City. And later, Australia, Canada and New Zealand joined.
In 2071, Vladimir Putin died at the age of 119, leading to riots and protests for freedom. The Russian oligarchy had to seek for shelter in Switzerland and countries of the Kingdoms of Terra. The provisional government of Gennadiy Kuzmin, allowed the people to protest and freed Belarus and Ukraine. Different republics of Russia declared independence between 2075 and 2080. All of these resultant countries, including the still powerful Russia, joined the Emporion Pact and the Hoxhaist ideology.
In 2083, Afghanistan and Tajikistan left the Confederation of Terra and joined Persia for cultural reasons, Persia was then an economic powerhouse.
The Confederate Navy, the most powerful in Terra, took Taiwan from China and invaded Korea in 2087, making China renounced they party policy and join the Emporion Pact. Now the military alliance of the Emporion Pact had a significant amount of power but lacked coordination compared to their rivals of the Confederation of Terra , so they decided to unite into one socialist macro-state.
Birth of the Terran Republic
Some of the member states of the Emporion Pact were reluctant to cease their autonomy in order to create another global government but in 2090, the Kingdoms of Terra united themselves into one country. So on 15 June 2091, the Terran Republic was born.
Cold War II
The global situation now was very tense, the Confederation with their powerful fleet dominated the seas and the Terran Republic with their enormous army took the North of Korea. Cold War II began.
There was no a direct conflict between the Terran countries because there was an intrincated network of allies and enemies between the different existing countries: the Confederation of Terra , the Terran Republic, Japan, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Singapore, Persia and East Africa. The local disputes had to be resolved thanks to a common ally or an arbiter country. The arbiter countries had to role to mediate in conflicts as a neutral part, those were Costa Rica (in charge of the Americas), Switzerland (in charge of Europe and Africa) and Singapore (in charge of Asia and the Pacific).
The situation of the Antarctica was different, it was considered by the Council of Arbiters (created in 2194 by the Treaty of Bern) as No Man's Land, so it was and it is still a land without law, without any kind of organized government, often refuge for outlaws and pirates.
In 2115, in the context of the Cold War II, the Persians voted ina national referendum to abolish the monarchy and the country became a constitutional republic.
In 2248, many countries opposed to Persia formed the Islamic Federation of States.
As the United Nations did not exist anymore, the Treaty of New York was cancelled and the colonizing mission to Mars bring weapons there. The Cold War was not so cold in Mars. Because of the colonization efforts of the Terran countries, sending their best scientists and engineers to Mars, the progress of technology in Terra was really slow while Mars was almost terraformed.
In 2298, the process of terraforming was finished successfully and the Martian leaders of the different factions were exhausted of the Terran wars at their home, so they decided to become independent in 2300. Japan was the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Mars and gradually the rest of countries were doing so. But the Confederation of Terra, the country who invested more in the terraforming project, refused to recognize the independence and declared war on Mars. The first Martian president, Sophie Zheng, said that the Confederation of Terra was "the bully of the seven seas pretending to be bully of our Solar System".
The Confederate-Martian War lasted only two years (2300-2302) and the Confederation of Terra proved to be technologically obsolete to fight against the Martian Space Navy, the Confederate Space Navy was massacred by the Martian space ships which had powerful plasma cannons and more technologically advanced weapons.
Shortly after Martian independence, the Martian government started what the Terrans called The Purge, they went after the already minority, religious people of Mars. This caused the animosity of Persia, whose citizens are very religious.
Contemporary history starts with the Martian creation of the first Alcubierre drive space ship in 2320, which marked the beginning of the Expansion of Humanity to other solar systems. In 2331, Mars invited the representatives of each Terran faction to sign the Treaty of Solis Lacus, which gave the Terran factions the domain over the Solar System not further than the asteroid belt (with the exception of Mars and its moons) and Mars dominion would go further than the asteroid belt. The Islamic Federation did not attend the meeting and they were excluded from the treaty losing their right to have a piece of the asteroid belt cake.
At this point in the year 2421, the situation did not change too much for Persia, they are a Terran country whose biggest ally is still the Terran Republic and they still have a tense relationship with the Confederation of Terra and the Islamic Federation of States. Persia has a diversified economy but they are renowned for their drinking-water technology.
Persia includes part of the Middle East and Central Asia. It also has territories in the asteroid belt, as well as 1/4 of Vesta. Persia shares land and maritime borders with the Terran Republic]] and the Islamic Federation of States.
- Continent: Asia.
- Area: 2,444,159 km2 (ranked 7th, 8th if we count the Antarctica).
- Highest point: Ismoil Somoni Peak (7,495 m).
- Lowest point: Caspian Sea (-28 m).
- Longest river: Amur Daria (2,540 km) or entirely within national borders, Mehran (1,289 km).
- Largest lake: Caspian Sea (371,000 km2).
- Climate: A wide range of desert and arid climates as well as high mountain climate.
- Terrain: Mostly mountainous.
- Natural resources: oil, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulphur, gold and crystals.
- Natural hazards: earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, desertification, deforestation, storms...
Persia is the sixth most populous country in the world with 132,017,626 people. Persians (Iranians) constitute the majority of the population of the country being a 38% of the country's population, so that means that the country has a huge ethnic diversity.
- Population: 132,017,626 (ranked 6th).
- Density: 54/km2 (ranked 8th).
- Growth rate: 0%
- Birth rate: 12 births/1,000 population.
- Death rate: 12 deaths/1,000 population.
- Life expectancy: 100 years.
- female: 105 years.
- male: 95 years.
- Fertility rate: 2.1 children born/woman.
- Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population.
Top 10 cities
- Tehran, Tehran
- Kabul, Central Afghanistan
- Mashhad, Mashhad
- Isfahan, Isfahan
- Karaj, Tehran
- Shiraz, Isfahan
- Tabriz, Tabriz
- Qom, Tehran
- Ahvaz, Kermanshah
- Kermanshah, Kermanshah
The official language of Persia is Persian, but the 25th Century Persian is a mix between Persian, Pashto, Dari, Kurdish and Tajik, as a convergent language, some linguists call it Neo-Persian, which is virtually spoken by all the citizens but none of them has it as native language. The most common first languages of the population of Persia are:
- Persian (Iran variety): 28.8%
- Dari: 19.7%
- Pashto: 12.3%
- Azeri: 8.7%
- Kurdish: 5.4%
- Tajik: 5.0%
- Luri: 3.8%
- Uzbek: 3.7%
- Gilaki: 1.9%
- Mazenderani: 1.9%
- Turkmen: 1.9%
- English: 1.5%
- Arabic: 1.3%
- Balochi: 1.3%
The citizens of Persia have granted the freedom of religion. Persia has the highest percentage of Muslim population in Terra. The religion in Persia is represented like this:
- 99.4% Muslims
- 0.3% No religion
- 0.1% Christians
- 0.2% Others
Health and education
Due to the Persian universal healthcare, life expectancy is quite high in the country reaching 100 years. Education is also granted to all citizens and public education has a very high level.
Government and politics
Persia is an unitary constitutional republic with 9 regions and some territories in the asteroid belt, including 1/4 of Vesta. In the Persian political system, citizens are subject to two levels of government: state and local. The Persian regions have only organizational and statistic purpose so there are no regional governments.
The government comprises three branches:
- Legislative: The unicameral Deliberative Assembly, makes law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.
- Executive: the president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law (subject to congressional override), and appoints the Prime Minister (subject to the Assembly approval) who appoints the members of the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce laws and policies.
- Judicial: the Supreme Court and lower regional courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with the Assembly approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.
The Deliberative Assembly has 705 members in proportion with the population of the region they represent. The president serves a four-year term and may be re-elected without limit. The Supreme Court, led by the chief justice, has seven members, who serve for life. Despite its rivalry with the Confederation of Terra, the Persian political system is very similar.
The 9 regions are the principal divisions in the country. These are subdivided into municipalities. The capital is Isfahan, located in the homonymous region. The 9 regions of Persia are:
- Central Afghanistan
- North Afghanistan
- South Afghanistan
Parties and elections
Persia works under a multiple-party political system with proportional representation. Elections are held every 4 years, the citizens vote to choose the members of the Deliberative Assembly and for local elections. All citizens can vote from the age of 18.
|Confederation of Terra||Hostile|
|Kingdoms of Terra||Hostile|
Taxation in Persia is quite high compared to other countries, specially those that do not have a welfare system.
The President is the commander-in-chief of the Persian Armed Forces and appoints its leaders and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Ministry of Defence administers four of the five service branches, which are made up of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Space Navy. The Coastal Protection Service, also a branch of the armed forces, is administered by the Ministry of the Interior in peacetime and by the Ministry of Defence in wartime.
Military service in Persia is voluntary, although conscription may occur in wartime. Persia has a very effective intelligence agency, it is rumored to have spies even in the core of the Martian government. It is useless to start a conflict against Persia, because thanks to its extensive spy network they can prevent an attack even before the enemy troops receive the order to attack. The country holds nuclear weapons too.
Law enforcement and crime
Crime in Persian cities is extremely low but it increases when someone approaches less densely populated areas, where the control of the government is less evident. Capital punishment is existing for some crimes like drug trafficking or murder and it is practised frequently.
Persia has a very diversified and mixed economy, they technology related with water extraction and purification methods. The main trade partners of Persia are the Terran Republic and the South Asian Union. The government guarantees public retirement pensions, fully-paid paternity and maternity leaves until the infant is 3 years old and a minimum of 30 days of paid holidays yearly. Having the same system of the Kingdoms of Terra.
Income, poverty and wealth
Persia has wealth gaps but somewhere in between the Kingdoms of Terra and the Confederation of Terra. Salaries are high but taxes are high too, but everybody working has enough income to have a decent life.
Persia has a very good public transport system so most families do not own their own vehicle. Only in less densely populated areas, owning a vehicle is the norm due to the lack of public transport in these areas.
Persia is self-suficient in energy, it has a large number of nuclear fision power plants in all the country to supply it.
Iranian culture is today considered to be centered in what is called the Iranian Plateau, and has its origins tracing back to the Andronovo culture of the late Bronze Age, which is associated with other cultures of the Eurasian Steppe. It was, however, later developed distinguishably from its earlier generations in the Steppe, where a large number of Iranian-speaking peoples (i.e., the Scythians) continued to participate, resulting in a differentiation that is displayed in Iranian mythology as the contrast between Iran and Turan.
Like other Indo-Europeans, the early Iranians practiced ritual sacrifice, had a social hierarchy consisting of warriors, clerics, and farmers, and recounted their deeds through poetic hymns and sagas. Various common traits can be discerned among the Iranian peoples. For instance, the social event of Nowruz is an ancient Iranian festival that is still celebrated by nearly all of the Iranian peoples. However, due to their different environmental adaptations through migration, the Iranian peoples embrace some degrees of diversity in dialect, social system, and other aspects of culture.
With numerous artistic, scientific, architectural, and philosophical achievements and numerous kingdoms and empires that bridged much of the civilized world in antiquity, the Iranian peoples were often in close contact with people from various western and eastern parts of the world.
The early Iranian peoples practiced the ancient Iranian religion, which, like that of other Indo-European peoples, embraced various male and female deities. Fire was regarded as an important and highly sacred element, and also a deity. In ancient Iran, fire was kept with great care in fire temples. Various annual festivals that were mainly related to agriculture and herding were celebrated, the most important of which was the New Year (Nowruz), which is still widely celebrated. Zoroastrianism, a form of the ancient Iranian religion that is still practiced by some communities, was later developed and spread to nearly all of the Iranian peoples living in the Iranian Plateau. Other religions that had their origins in the Iranian world were Mithraism, Manichaeism, and Mazdakism, among others. The various religions of the Iranian peoples are believed by some scholars to have been significant early philosophical influences on Christianity and Judaism.
The most popular sport in Persia is association football (soccer) but in Afghanistan, it is cricket.