Iran ('''Persian:''' ایران, also known as the ''Islamic Republic of Iran'', '''Iranian:''' جمهوری اسلامی ایران or ''Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān'') is the 18th largest country of the world, currently holding about 77,000,000 people inside its 7,000,000 km perimeter. Iran has a vast variety of flora and fauna, much like a more compact version of the United States. Iran has many ethnicities living within its borders, which causes confusion. There's a small Arab minority, mainly in the south from Shatt al-Arab all along the coastlines overlooking the Persian Gulf, however, [[BerserkButton Persians are not Arabs and they will be very insulted if you call them that]]. Lord help you if you ever point out that Islam (the religion of Iran) is itself an Arabic construction, too.

[[AC: General]]

* Iran is an old country, dating back to 900 BCE (or 3200 BCE if you count Elam). Iran's history is divided into two parts by historians, ''Ancient Iran'' and ''post-Islamic Iran''.
* Iranians have called their country "Iran" since ancient times, the name being ultimately derived from ''Airyanem kshathra,'' or "land of the Aryans". The first Iranian empire had its origins in Fars province (Parsa in Old Persian), so the Greeks called the country "Persis," whence "Persia" is derived. That name was used in the West until 1935, when the Shah politely asked everyone to start using the name Iran.
** Regarding Aryan, yes, that's the same word that eugenicists (e.g. [[ThoseWackyNazis the Nazis]]) used in the early 20th century to denote what they thought were "pure Nordics" or "Atlanteans". The word has a very long history as can be seen in Wiki/{{Wikipedia}}, but the basic gist is that it was traditionally used by the Indo-Iranians to denote their people and their land. This word also occurs in [[UsefulNotes/IndianLanguages Sanskrit]], though the word has morphed to exclusively refer to the Brahmin/noble caste, instead of the entire nation as Iran does. The word was eventually interpreted by European ethnologists to refer to the entire Indo-European nation (as they thought that Sanskrit is the oldest in the family), eventually maligning to refer only to the "oldest" tribe, which eugenics ([[CriticalResearchFailure mistakenly]]) believed was the Nordics. "Aryan" itself means "noble" in the Proto-Indo-Iranian language.
** After reading the history of the word above, if you wonder what the Nazis thought about the Iranian nation, who gave birth to the term in the first place...they actually did regard them as part of the "Aryan" race too, as can be seen in [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Meyers_b11_s0476a.jpg the eugenics-driven racial map here]]. At the same time, however, they only considered the Indians "half-Aryan" (colored green in the map) despite them having equal claim to the term, as the eugenicists decided that [[NoTrueScotsman the Indians were already "corrupted" by the Dravidians.]]
* Before Cyrus the Great came around, however, Iran wasn't a unified nation as much as being a trio of individual Iranian nations, consisting of Media (the northwest), Parthia (the northeast), and finally, Persia (the south). These regions were ''not'' friendly to each other; they frequently took turn into conquering the others. Cyrus of Persia was the first person to be able to shut all three up and make them work together, creating the Achaemenid Empire, the first unified Iranian nation-state.
* Iran's ArchEnemy in ancient times was whatever the main cultural center was in Europe, be it AncientGreece, AncientRome, or the UsefulNotes/ByzantineEmpire, until it was ultimately conquered by the Islamic Caliphate in the late 600's and converted to Islam. Centuries later, Iran resumed the tradition by being one of the main opponents of the Ottoman Empire.
* At one point or another throughout its history, Iran has had Egypt, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Transoxiana, the Armenian plateau, the lower Caucasus, Punjab, and northern Greece under its rule, all of which has been lost to various other empires, such as the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mongols, Russians and the British. As recently as the 19th century, for example, Iran controlled the entire South Caucasus area (present-day UsefulNotes/{{Armenia}}, UsefulNotes/{{Azerbaijan}}, and UsefulNotes/GeorgiaEurope), which it lost after the wars with the Russian Empire. Humiliatingly, Iran also had to let go a half of the Azerbaijan region, which it had always held since ancient times despite its Turkification since the 11th century, though they had the luck of keeping its cultural capital, Tabriz, intact.
* Iran uses a solar calendar, invented by the famous Omar Khayyam. Each year starts at the first day of spring, celebrated by a traditional holiday named ''Nowrouz'' (meaning ''The Renewed Day''). In the present day, Nowrouz has become one of the few secular holidays to be approved by the current Islamic government (there was briefly a campaign to stop it, but public backlash prevented it from happening), and it is widely celebrated indeed, even by the most ardent Muslim clerics.
* Iran's official language is ''Persian'' or Farsi, and the official script is the Arabic alphabet with the addition of four letters to make up for sounds which Arabic lacks.
** Persian is not related to Arabic, despite the large number of loanwords. Persian is an Indo-European language, which makes it related to most languages spoken in Europe and the Indian sub-continent, including English. Old Persian was rather similar to Sanskrit, though it evolved and picked up a fair amount of vocabulary from Arabic.
*** A good analogy for Farsi's linguistic situation is actually English: just as English is a Germanic language with substantial Romance (specifically French) vocabulary, Farsi is an Indo-European language (which Germanic and Romance languages are as well, by the way, albeit in separate sub-families both to Farsi and each other) with substantial Afro-Asiatic (specifically Arabic) vocabulary. Just as French-derived words in English are more "high-class" or "technical" than the Germanic ones, the Arabic imports in Farsi generally deal with more sophisticated topics (for the reason why, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratum_(linguistics) this]]). For instance, in the same way that English ''government'' comes from Old French and is clearly related to the Modern French ''gouvernement'' (same thing), the Farsi word for "government" is the Arabic-derived ''hokumet'' (the Arabic is ''hukumah'', but can be pronounced as ''hukumat'' in certain situations which we won't go into here). On the other hand, day-to-day words (or at least words whose meanings are very ancient) are almost inevitably Indo-European, just as 88% of the day-to-day vocabulary of English is Germanic. ''Star'' in English is clearly more closely related to the Dutch ''ster'' and German ''Stern'' than the French ''étoile'' or Italian ''stella'', and the Farsi ''setāre'' is very obviously Indo-European (the Arabic word is ''najm'').
** Some Persian words that are cognates of English words include
*** baradar - brother
*** dokhtar - daughter, girl
*** dar - door
*** khoda - god
*** carkh - circle (actually means wheel)
*** abad - abode
*** djavan - young
*** now - new
*** The two languages' common origin means that there are many other examples.
** Persian has influenced many languages throughout its long life. Its oldest ancestor, Old Persian, was propagated through the Achaemenids' expansion in the Middle East, although Aramaic still topped it as the region's ''lingua franca''; in particular, the language provided gigantic amount of loanwords to Armenian it was formerly thought the latter was a part of the Iranian language family. Later, Persian became one of the few escapees of the Arabs' language colonialism by managing to be its equal; it was through Persian that Islam was spread through such areas as the Caucasus and Central, South, and Southeast Asia, hence why Persian terminology is more favored there than Arabic itself (e.g. ''namaz'', the Persian word for Islamic prayers, is more common in those areas than the original Arabic word, ''salat''). The literary language of the Ottoman Empire is also a weird mixture of Turkish and Persian, with the former serving as its syntax and the latter providing the vocabulary. Languages influenced throughout this period include Hindustani, Bengali, Malay, Pashto, Azeri, Turkish, Punjabi...
** Other than Persian, Iran is home to most languages from the Western Iranian language family (which Persian is a part of) that laypeople usually don't know much, such as Kurdish, Balochi, Lankaran, Talysh, Mazanderani, Lurish, Gilaki, and several more. The language with the second-most speakers, though, came from the Turkic family: Azeri, spoken in the northwestern region of Azerbaijan. Other notable languages include Turkmen (spoken mainly in the northeast) and Arabic (in the southwest).
** Another significant language in Iran's history is Avestan, formerly spoken in the Parthian region, which has a history rivalling that of Persian itself. It was the sacred language of Zoroastrianism, and is ''very'' similar to Sanskrit, a coincidence since the latter is also the sacred language of a contemporary religion, Hinduism. However, unlike Persian, it never made it big and was already dead by the time of the Achaemenids' expansion, although Zoroastrian communities still use it for liturgical reasons.
* Iran is a very diverse country. In addition to ethnic Persians, there are Azeris, Kurds, Armenians, Arabs, Jews, and other groups living in the country. In fact, the country is home to the largest community of Azeris, even surpassing the titular country of Azerbaijan itself.
** Also, there is great diversity in how people look. Many Iranians have a tan or olive complexion, but there are also pale blondes and redheads, as well as people with a vaguely South Asian appearance. Some Iranians even have skin as dark as someone from Africa or southern India.
* Iran's official religion is Shi'a UsefulNotes/{{Islam}}. 98% of all Iranians are Muslim. Before Islam, most Iranians were [[UsefulNotes/{{Zoroastrianism}} Zoroastrian]]. A tiny community of Zoroastrians still live in Iran, but most Zoroastrians live elsewhere in modern times (particularly in India).
** Iranian Shiism is a surprisingly recent development: the conversion process only began around 1500, with the rise of the Safavid dynasty, and only took hold after a few centuries of concerted effort by the Safavids to get the Iranians to change their religion. Before that, Iran was noted as a bastion of Hanafi Sunnism.
** Due to the overarching influence of the Safavids as mentioned above, all major Muslim ethnic groups in Iran more or less submit to Shia Islam, even those that one wouldn't expect to be one, like the Arab minority. Outside of Iran, the Safavid influence also reaches some other countries in the region, most notably Iraq (Iraqi Arabs who were concentrated in the villages and towns in the south of Iraq where Savafid influence was strongest became Shi'ites, Iraqi Arabs in the major cities (e.g. Basra) and further north (what is now province of Babil and northwards) didn't convert. The demographic changes in these areas are much more recent, as any look into the demographics in Iraq in the 1920s would tell you), Bahrain (though many of whom are descended of Persian immigrants), Afghanistan (the Hazaras submitted to the Safavids, though the others didn't), and Azerbaijan (majority Azeris).
* Despite this, Iran is not controlled by Shari'a Law. Iran's judicial law is made-up on the spot. Iran's political system is supposed to be a mixture of "what's good and evil according to the subtext."
** This is mostly because ''Shari'a'' is chiefly a Sunni concept, and relies on an interpretation of the way the judiciary ought to work that fell out of fashion in Shi'a circles several centuries ago. Mainstream Shi'a jurisprudence is of the Usuli branch of the Ja'fari school, which grants (among other things) extensive power to judges to interpret and re-interpret Qur'anic law as they see fit in a process known as ''ijtihad''; ''ijtihad'' is seen in most Sunni circles as more or less impossible in modern times, and its revival and application to modern times is a very controversial issue among Sunni legal scholars.
* Since the inception of the Islamic Republic during the 1979 Revolution, Iran has garnered ''four'' different nations that qualify as their ArchEnemy.
** UsefulNotes/{{Iraq}} was always a regional rival due to the oil issue, even under the Shah, but it wasn't until UsefulNotes/SaddamHussein came into power that things really boiled over. Sensing the turmoil wrought from the Islamic Revolution, Saddam [[UsefulNotes/IranIraqWar launched a military offensive]] in an attempt to gain control of Iranian oil, consequently instigating a war that lasted throughout the 1980s. Most countries supported Iraq, the largest contributors being the Soviet Union and France, with America even going so far as to ignore Saddam's use of chemical weapons, although Iran did receive foreign aid, most notably from China. It was only after the death toll reached a quarter of a million deaths that anybody was willing to negotiate a ceasefire. Ruhollah Khomeini, the orchestrator of the Revolution and the Supreme Leader of Iran, refused initially. It wasn't until Hashemi Rafsanjani, his deputy, persuaded him otherwise that he accepted the ceasefire. Tensions remained long after the war, and it wasn't until Saddam was dethroned that Iran and Iraq have started patching things up.
** Iran has long felt that UsefulNotes/{{Israel}} is an illegitimate state built upon unjust occupation of Palestinian inhabitants and a foreign "cancer" in the Middle East. Israel feels that its existence is threatened by Iranian terrorism, sponsorship of its' enemies (including [[TheButcher the Assad family]] and the explicitly genocidal Hezbollah) and the prospect of Iran obtaining nukes (and vehemently maintains that Iran is looking to get nukes). Iran insists that their nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes, pointing to their being a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (something Israel has not signed due to their "nuclear ambiguity"). Khomeini prosecuted Jews (along with anyone he felt was insufficiently Muslim) by the thousands under his rule, although things have softened up somewhat since Ali Khamenei succeeded him, as Jews now have a member in the Iranian parliament. Nevertheless, Israel and Iran maintain their hostility. This has led to something of a proxy conflict between the two, as Iran funds Hezbollah in Lebanon (whose founders were followers of Khomeini) and Hamas.
** Their premier enemy is [[UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates the United States of America]]. The reason they have such a bitter feud is a long, complicated story, beginning with conflicts over Britain's sphere of interest over Southern Iran in the Victorian Era and US backing of it, to an invasion in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, to ending a [[GambitPileup complicated standoff]] by overthrowing the popular, relatively liberal Prime Minister in 1953 (who wished to nationalize his country's oil when it was a hot strategic commodity, resulting in his group [[DealWithTheDevil making cause with the Soviets even if he personally disliked Communism]]) and re-instituting the authoritarian but pro-Western monarchy of the Shah. When the Islamic Revolution came around, Iranians took the American Embassy diplomats hostage for 444 days (and as ''Film/{{Argo}}'' told - with [[AmericaSavesTheDay some]] [[ArtisticLicenseHistory licenses]] and [[http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/reports-iran-mulls-suing-hollywood-argo-18707756 ensuing protests from the Iranian government]] - a few employees managed to hide in the Canadian embassy and were removed from the country with a CrazyEnoughToWork plan). It should be noted America and Iran have tried to patch it up but, because of the inability to appease all factions within and outside them both and [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters at least largely irreconcilable]] [[DemocracyIsBad worldviews between the two]], thus far it hasn't worked.
** Just about the only country more reviled than even America is UsefulNotes/SaudiArabia. Iran and Saud are so diametrically opposed to one another that it's a miracle war has not broken out. For starters, the Saudis [[CaptainObvious are in the Arabian Peninsula]], the homeland of both the Arab pan-ethnicity and the entire religion of Islam; Iran is mostly Persian, and has been conquered by Islamic Caliphates at various points in time. Saud is a leading member of the Sunni version of Islam, whereas Iran became the largest Shia-leaning Muslim nation (the schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/Islam is better-explained here]]). Modern Iran was founded on populism (it's not called Revolution for nothing), Saudi Arabia was founded through tribal dynasties playing power politics while Western empires destroyed the last Caliphate. Iran is something of a theocratic authoritarian oligarchy that often settles internal oligarchical differences by polling, while Saudi Arabia is an {{Egopolis}} absolute theocratic monarchy that has a solid division of power between the royal family and theocratic Sunni instructors who run domestic policy. Both are major producers and developers of oil, so they tend to butt heads over the right to regional hegemony. To that end, Saudi Arabia sabotages the countries that are allied with Iran, such as [[WeAreStrugglingTogether parts of Lebanon]] and Syria, and rallies fellow totalitarian monarchies to gang up on Iran. Meanwhile, Iran funds predominantly-Shi'ite resistance groups and terrorist cadres to antagonize the Saudis' allies, such as the Houthis in Yemen and the protesters in Bahrain. Syria is the highest this conflict has ever reached, where many would consider it to be less of a CivilWar and more of a proxy war between the Shias and Sunnis (among other such foreign parties that have a stake in Assad's potential fall).
* Currently Iran is under sanctions by the West, with at least a hundred people dying every year because of outdated airplanes, tears dropped because of low-speed Internet connections, and millions wasted from the lack of support of [=PayPal=]/Visa. Or so the Iranian government unhesitatingly says, and while more than a bit might have kernals of truth in it people are advised to take this with [[UnreliableNarrator the usual grains of salt.]]
** In 2015, the government of Iran and a coalition of several other governments, including the US, the UK, and Germany, came to an historic agreement that would involve lifting most of the sanctions in exchange for Iran discontinuing any plans for a nuclear weapon and submitting to random inspections to ensure they were not building one. Though lauded in some circles (notably, of course, Iran itself), conservatives in many coalition governments were mercilessly critical of the agreement; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called it a "stunning historic mistake," and American conservatives unfavorably compared it to Neville Chamberlain's infamous appeasement of Hitler.
* The president from 2005 to 2013 was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, widely noted for his antics and [[TheUnpronounceable tongue-twister name]]. Widespread protests broke out over the results of his last election (2009), but were quickly put down. This was big news in the West, but then Music/MichaelJackson died and they forgot about it. The President [[NeverLiveItDown famously declared]] at Columbia University that Iran didn't have gay people like the United States did, and is an avowed Holocaust denier, as well as being anti-Israel in general. Internally, Ahmedinejad was noted as a populist and a leader of a movement of pietist laity: he was the first president not to be a cleric (he was a civil engineer and professor of engineering before going into politics full-time), and his faction was noted for mostly being made of hard-headed merchants and professionals, deeply religious and conservative but with a suspicion of clerics (he and Khamenei famously did not get along).
** Ahmedinejad's successor is Hassan Rouhani, who surprisingly won the 2013 elections in one round. Rouhani is noted as a moderate cleric, from the same faction as former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and a pragmatist engaged in serious diplomacy on the nuclear issue, of the same clout as former President Mohammad Khatami.
* Contrary to a popular interpretation of the Middle East, Iran actually has plenty of mountains covered in snow enough to support ski resorts. (This is actually true of the Middle East more generally; there are also snowy mountains and ski resorts in Turkey, Lebanon, and Morocco, and Iraq and Syria would be able to support a reasonable industry if they weren't, well, [[TheWarOnTerror Iraq]] and [[CivilWar Syria]]).
** The entire country is covered from head to toe by mountains it really is ridiculous should one depict the country as anything but that. Look at [[http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/roustaei325/images/figure1big.jpg this map]]. See how brown the country is compared to its surroundings? Persia was famous in the ancient world due to how painfully hard it is to conquer by outside powers, as the people there were mountaineers, very much a reversal of their ArchEnemy, the Greeks, who were primarily seafarers. Depicting it as mere desert is akin to showing that the Switzerland is a confederation of swampy bogs and marshes.

[[AC: Human Rights and Politics]]

* Iran has the second-highest execution rate in the world, just behind China.
* The Guardian Council puts the "Islamic" in Islamic Republic of Iran. They are meant to interpret the law based on Muslim doctrine, they can veto bills from popularly-elected officials and they have authority to approve or disqualify parliamentary candidates. It repeatedly vetoes bills in favor of women's rights, electoral reform, the prohibition of torture and ratification of international human rights treaties.
* Iran is controlled by an interesting conglomeration of a government. There is a Supreme Leader, a President, and the Majles, the Iranian parliament. The Supreme Leader is exactly as powerful as the name implies; elected officials only have however much authority the Supreme Leader sees fit to delegate to them. While the President is usually the most visible member of the government, especially in the West, his influence is usually over economic policy.
** Interestingly, the Jewish populace of Iran has a seat in parliament. (Iran hosts the second-largest population of Jews in the Middle East.) The Armenian populace has one as well.
* Iran's major export, and best known, is oil. It also exports goods to the landlocked countries of Central Asia, such as foodstuffs. It has also started exporting cars to other countries; some are license-built European items, but others are homegrown. Iran also has its hand in electronic consumerism, but just enough for the domestic use.
** The Iranian economy is very interesting to economists, as it has robust GDP growth, but both inflation and unemployment are high--and having all three together is supposed to be impossible. As it turns out, when you factor out oil, Iran's economic growth rate is rather small--in other words, Iran is facing stagflation. Although sanctions haven't exactly helped Iran's economic circumstances, it does mean that Iran's current economic policy--which is highly inflationary (to the point of [[RidiculousExchangeRates near-hyperinflation]] in late 2012)--is exactly the opposite of what it should be doing from a purely economic standpoint. (Mainstream economics holds that when faced with stagflation, the first priority should be contractionary monetary policy to fight inflation, taking the hit to growth and employment while prices stabilize; for political reasons, Iran can't do this, as a hit to growth or employment might cause political instability, resulting in the whole complicated political system outlined above crashing down.) As of 2015, the prospective lifting of sanctions as a result of the nuclear deal with the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany (but mostly just the United States) has some prospects for changing things, but everything remains untested.
* The Cyrus Cylinder, issued by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century B.C., proclaims the benefits of Cyrus' rule, and has been called the first human rights charter in history. Despite being an ancient propaganda piece, [[FairForItsDay Cyrus was indeed known for his enlightened rule]]. Iranian reformers count Cyrus and the Cylinder among their sources of inspiration.
** Regarding Cyrus the Great, his ludicrously-massive accomplishments almost border on the stuff of legend. He created Iran's first multi-national empire: the Achaemenid Empire, which [[http://orig13.deviantart.net/ebbc/f/2013/027/c/d/achaemenid_empire_engorged_by_daeres-d5sxia8.png stretched all the way from northwestern Indian subcontinent to Greece, then down to Egypt]]. It was the largest empire in the ancient world had known by that point, even surpassing the Roman Empire, which only reached such extent about five centuries later. Such accomplishment obviously netted him many titles, including the King of Kings, Great Leader (this time, that pretentious title ''is'' justified), and believe it or not, ''[[MessianicArchetype Messiah]]''. The last part was even written in the freaking ''[[UsefulNotes/{{TheBible}} Bible]]''; Cyrus' annexation of Babylonia happened when the Jews were in the midst of their exile. Being known for his leniency against minorities, he allowed the Jews their safe return to the Holy Land and even approved the building of the Second Temple, two things that the Jews will never forget him for. For this reason, he is the only Gentile (i.e. non-Jew) to explicitly be called by their prophetic title: Messiah.
* Along with the Celts, ancient Iran was one of the most egalitarian societies with regards to gender. Women served as warriors, generals, and civil administrators. Today, [[NoWomansLand women face numerous restrictions on dress and behavior]], enforced with varying degrees of zeal. Despite this, there is a strong women's movement in Iran.
* Iran has had a friendship with Armenia going back to ancient times, despite religious differences, though this strains Iran's relations with Azerbaijan as a result...which may seem strange at first, since more Azeris live in Iran than in Azerbaijan, and Tabriz, the capital of Azeri culture, is in Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei (the current Supreme Leader) himself is Azeri on his father's side.
** Iran's neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh War with Armenia was what really irked Azerbaijan. And [[PatrioticFervor Azeri nationalism being what it is]], some of the more extreme nationalists believe northern Iran rightfully belongs to Azerbaijan (if anything, it's the other way around; see the General section above). When Azerbaijan first became independent in 1918 it took its name from the northern Iranian province (it was known as Caucasian Albania in antiquity; Azerbaijan was the name of the satrapy installed by the Sassanids, which ''did'' encompass both sides of the border. However, the Azerbaijan of the past was Iranian, not Turk. It's complicated); Iran suspected this naming as a ploy for the country to eventually annex the province at some point in the future. In response to this tension Israel has been grooming Azerbaijan as a possible ally, selling them weapons.
** Also, with the economic sanctions in place, Armenia is one of the only bordering countries that will still trade with Iran (not that it has much of a choice, since two out of the four countries that border with it have closed their borders). As a result, the two countries have a vested interest in keeping one another happy.
* Most of Iran's allies are similarly geopolitical pariahs. It is one of the few countries that supports the Syrian government in its ongoing civil war. It also gets along well with Russia, India and North Korea.

[[AC: Culture]]
* Though Iranians do not like to say they imitate Western culture ''per se'', in reality the country is extremely multicultural and open to foreign influences.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsacid_empire#Society_and_culture Not much]] has changed in 2000 years.
* Despite having an Islamic government, the country has a relative tolerance for religious minorities.[[note]]With the exception of the Bahá'í Faith, whose persecution kicked up in the early 20th century, something the government (both pre and post-Revolution) makes little effort to hide.[[/note]] Christians, Jews, and even a few Zoroastrians have had communities in Iran for centuries. This is surprising when compared to neighboring Turkey, which also has a Islamic majority but a secular government, and yet are far less welcoming to minorities.
* Iran has a one-day weekend, one of the only two to adopt it in the entire world, alongside UsefulNotes/{{Djibouti}}. Friday is the sole day off of the week as mandated by the law. This is not just a mere rule; Friday is the equivalent of Sabbath in Islam, and, considering that Islam shapes up the society of modern Iran, the rule is strictly upheld. Setting up Friday as a holiday is actually quite common in countries that observe Islamic governance, but they also adopt a different day as a complementary weekend, while Iran, for some reason, doesn't.[[note]] Recently, anyway. Afghanistan used to have the same Friday-only rule as well thanks to the Taliban, though it is no longer the case. Pre-1979 Revolution Iran also had the usual Saturday-Sunday weekend.[[/note]]
* Iranians have a rich background when it comes to science. You can check Wiki/TheOtherWiki for more information.
* Iranian cuisine is very interesting and tasty. Those unfamiliar with it should think of a blend of Pakistani/North Indian and Middle Eastern, with Middle Eastern more dominant. Of course, it isn't so much a blend as a part of a larger spectrum of cuisines; many dishes considered characteristically North Indian or Middle Eastern have their origins (if not in their current forms) in Iran (e.g. ''kofta'' for the Middle East and ''naan'' for Pakistan/India), while Iran has itself imported, modified, and naturalized a large number of dishes from its neighbors. Naturally, the Iranian kitchen produces many delicious dishes:
** Chelo-Kabab: Turkish kebab with rice cooked in the Iranian way. First rice is cooked with steam until it becomes soft and floppy like a marshmallow. Then it is dried and cooked again until it loses all the nutrients, but gains more flavour.
** Khoresh-Ghorme-Sabzi: Biff, a special mix of vegetables and beans with spices. Eaten with rice.
** Khoresh-Gheime: Biff, split pea with whatever you want, eaten with rice.
** Koofte: Meatball. In Turkish parts of Iran, they're made with rice and vegetables. They're also called "Koofte-Tabrizi".
** And many, many more.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazaar_of_Tabriz Bazaar of Tabriz]] is famous as the world's largest covered bazaar and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

[[AC: Stereotypes]]
* Dash-Mashti: Favorite stereotype of older Iranian movies. See below.
* Laat: Douchebags who waste their time, rarely doing anything.
* Bache-mosbat: Young bookworms who have [[AmbiguousDisorder autistic-like behavior.]]
* Jakesh: The world literally means pimp, but it's used to describe loud-mouthed assholes in general.
* Tork: Meaning Turk, this word is used to describe dumb people.
* Bache-Sosol: Hipsters, in general.

[[AC: Movies and TV Industry]]

Before the revolution, Iran's movie industry was a Bollywood-esque thing with Pretty Cool Guys jumping on motorcycles, flirting with girls, being rejected by their father after asking for marriage, taking them to a warehouse at night, being [[AboveTheInfluence too decent gentlemen to commit premarital sex]], being diagnosed with terminal cancer after that father accepts the marriage when the girl lies to his father about what took place in that warehouse, and then dying in peace.

Movies about Dash-mashtis (see above) were also popular at that time. These people had a promiscuous love interest, and even wives, but they preferred having sex with their favorite prostitute. They had master degrees in [[KnifeNut knife fighting]], and they were all raised in poor neighborhoods by housemaid mothers. Although most of the above movies were extremely cheesy, there's one masterpiece, which is considered the best movie of early Iranian cinema, called "Gheisar". In this movie, Gheisar, our dash-mashti, seeks revenge after death of his brother and sister. His sister committed suicide after being raped by her friend's brother, and his brother was murdered for going after that dude. Long story short, he spends most of the movie running from cops.

Another good movie from this era is an adaptation from a short story called "Gav" (cow). This story is about a simple, rural man who, after his cow dies, goes crazy and thinks he's a cow.

After the revolution, films changed to fit the law. Also many children's movies with cute puppets were made during the 80s and 90s, because producing animation was too expensive and time-consuming. In recent years the relatively thriving underground movie scene from before the revolution has seen a come back, with many anti-gov films being made either clandestinely in country or abroad by expats.

Iranian cinema has become popular in Europe. Some notable post-revolution Iranian movies are:
* '''Mother''': A mother who has 5 children is dying, so she invites them to her house. The children have been apart for many years, and when they find each other living under the same roof again, instead of attending their soon-to-be dead mother, they spend their time conflicting with each other.
* '''Kamal-ol-molk''': Biography of the famous titular painter, Mohammad Ghaffari.
* '''Storks Dream Without D''': A surreal work from Hussein Yari.
* '''Puppet Thief''': Sci-fi children's work, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* '''School of Mice''': Puppet movie mice who are escaping from a cat.
* '''Kolah-Ghermezi and Pesar-Khale''': Possibly the most famous children's movie, about some boy who [[Literature/RequiemForADream wants to be on TV]] (with more laughs). Two main characters (Ghermezi and his cousin) are played by puppets.
* '''Pari''': A MindScrew movie, but a well-done one.
* '''Dorna''': A live-action children's movie.
* '''Dog Massacre''': In the early days of the Shah's fall, a man has sent his wife to clean up his fraudulent history so he can start a new life in the new government.
* '''The Red''': About a very, very dysfunctional couple.
* '''Mom's Guests'''
* '''Film/TasteOfCherry''': Probably the most famous movie of Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami, about a man seeking help with his suicide. Suprisingly un-depressing for some reason.
* '''Film/AtFiveInTheAfternoon'''
* '''Film/ASeparation''': About the disintegration of a marriage, Iranian-style, which has won quite a few awards. First Iranian film to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
* '''Children of Heaven''': An inspiring movie about a brother and sister who live in relative poverty in Tehran.
* '''Film/AGirlWalksHomeAloneAtNight''': "the first Iranian vampire western", released in 2014.
* '''Film/CafeSetareh'''
* '''Film/TheSalesman''': Husband-and-wife actors have to cope after an incident of shocking violence. Second Iranian film to win the Foreign Language Film Oscar.

As for TV, Iran produced good shows with original plots before they became soap opera-esque drama. Foreign shows have little to do with time slots; reruns are rarely found in Iranian TV. Some notable Iranian TV series are:
* '''Hezar Dastan''': From the director of ''Mother'' and ''Kamal-ol-molk'', this show had such a great location that [[RecycledSet it's still being used by other historical shows]].
* '''Amir Kabir'''
* '''After the Rain''': A TV series set in olden days, centering around a JerkAss land owner who has a dickhead brother in law. There's some [[Series/{{Scrubs}} Guy-love]] between the two, enough that after the feudal "Arbab" remarries another woman, the in-law kills him and burns his house.
* '''The Nights of Barrareh''': A journalist is deported to a village called Barrareh, home to some completely dimwitted people who believe that Alexander the Great once set foot there and tripped, Victor Hugo was theirs and peas are the only food on the planet.
* '''The Magic Lamp''': Probably the only Iranian show that's comparable to American shows.

[[AC: Literature]]

Hafiz, Sa'adi, [[Literature/TheShahnameh Ferdowsi]], Khayyam and Molavi Rumi are known world-wide for their poetry. Some other classic Persian poets are:
* Nezami Ganjavi: Wrote romantic poems. Most famous in the West for writing ''Layla and Majnun'', the classic love story of Persian literature.
* Obeid Zakani: His famous poem ''Cat and Mice'' is probably the predecessor of ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'', with a cat who drinks and kills mice, then repents, but then he gets so mad about a mouse that he gathers an army to fight with them (and the mouse gathers an army, too). He has a Jook too, which mostly consists of homophobic and racist jokes.

Some modern Persian poets are:
* Nima Yushij
* Forough Farrokhzad

And some notable Iranian writers are:
* Sadegh Hedayat: Angst Fuel writer. Known for his MindScrew book, ''The Blind Owl''.
* Mohammad Jamalzade: Although he left Iran when he was 9, he has many Persian books. He also lived for 101 years.
* Hoshand Moradi Kermani
* Marjane Satrapi: A graphic artist notably known for ''Comicbook/{{Persepolis}}'' and ''Comicbook/ChickenWithPlums''.

The Ghazal, a form of poem consisting of 12-14 couplets all ending with the same word, originated in Iran sometime in the 1200s.

[[AC:The Iranian flag]]
->The green, white and red bands symbolize Islam and growth, honesty and peace, and bravery and martyrdom, respectively. At the edges of the green and red bands are the stylized words "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Great") repeated 22 times, 11 on each side, symbolizing the day the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah: February 11, 1979 -- or, according to the Persian calendar, Bahman 22, 1357 (the 22nd day of the 11th month). At the center is the stylized word "Allah", designed to resemble a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom.