Iran, also known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia, the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Azerbaijan; with Kazakhstan and Russia across the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world; with 78.4 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 17th most populous nation. It is the only country that has both a Caspian Sea and Indian Ocean coastline. Iran has long been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz.
The Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 established the nation's first parliament, which operated within a constitutional monarchy. Following a coup d'état instigated by the U.K. and the U.S. in 1953, Iran gradually became autocratic. Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression culminated in the Iranian Revolution, which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979. Tehran is the capital and largest city, serving as the cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation.
Quotes by IraniansEdit
- The reason most of my countrymen would tell you that they carry a grudge against the United States is that the U.S. government has given its unconditional support to a monarch who has terrorized a whole nation, plundered its wealth and bought billions of dollars' worth of military equipment which neither he nor our nation knows how to use.
- Reza Baraheni (1977) The Crowned Cannibals: Writings on Repression in Iran, p. 10
- Where are your valiant warriors and your priests? Where are your hunting parties and your feasts? Where is that warlike mien, and where are those? Great armies that destroyed our country's foes? . . . Count Iran as a ruin, as the lair of lions and leopards! Look now and despair!
- Kaiumers first sat upon the throne of Persia, and was master of the world.
- Iran's civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war. The luminaries of Iranian literature, in particular our Gnostic literature, from Hafiz, Mowlavi [better known in the West as Rumi] and Attar to Saadi, Sanaei, Naser Khosrow and Nezami, are emissaries of this humanitarian culture.
- Foreign travellers in Iran, not only recently but in previous generations, have observed that some of our citizens habitually lie … In our culture, steeped in history as we are, some liars actually try to explain and justify their behaviour by referring back to past national catastrophes. For example, they will tell you, when Mongol hordes overran the country, lying was the price to pay for personal survival ; and that gave us the habit of mendacity. Whatever its merits as an historical explanation, this point of view certainly offers a pitifully weak justification for today's liars.
- Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (1961) Mission for my Country, London, pp. 246-247.
- I found that many Americans did not even know that a country named Iran existed, let alone what it was like. Even among the diplomatic corps and among well-educated people, there was a vagueness about who the Iranians were or what the culture was, a tendency to confuse Iran with Iraq or to mistakenly assume that Iran is an Arab country simply because it is an Islamic nation. This fuzziness about the world outside is unique to America; among the intelligensia of European countries, for example, there is generally a higher level of awareness and information regarding cultures other than their own.
- Ashraf Pahlavi (1980), Faces in a Mirror, Prentice Hall, p. 100.
- Iran is the land of lofty mystics and a treasure of spirituality.
- Majd Nasseri, as quoted in "Iran Helping Turkey Organize Rumi Confab", Iran Daily (17 March 2007)
- I come from the noble land of Iran, representing a great and renowned nation, famous for its age old civilization as well as its distinguished contribution to the founding and expansion of the Islamic civilization; a nation that has survived the strong winds of despotism, reactionism and submission, relying on its cultural and human wealth; a nation which pioneered in the East the establishment of civil society and constitutional government in the course of its contemporary history, even though as a result of foreign interference and domestic deficiencies, at times it may have faltered in its course; a nation which has been at the forefront of the struggle for independence and against colonialism, though its national movement was subverted by a foreign- orchestrated coup. And, a nation which carries the torch of its popular revolution, not won by force of arms or a coup, but by dethroning of the regime of coup d'etat through the power of "word" and "enlightenment". In the course of its new experience, our nation has endured eight years of an imposed war, pressure, sanctions and various allegations. It has also fallen victim to terrorism, this ominous and sinister phenomenon of the twentieth century.
- Whereas now Iranian cinema shows the Iranian people to the world. The US has tried very hard to make an entire people out to be terrorists. The Iranian cinema tries to say that the Iranian people are very warm and poetic people.
- Mohsen Makhmalbaf, as quoted in "Gabbeh and A Moment of Innocence: two films directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf", WSWS (23 September 2006)].
- Turkmens claim that they have the lowest life expectancy in Iran and that they are denied fair access to higher education. Those who manage to apply for university places are often turned away because they fail religious tests based on Shiism; their inadequate mastery of Persian reduces their chances further. Tehran authorities blame the Turkmen revolt on “secessionists” and “counterrevolutionaries,” allegedly supported by the United States. In fact, the revolt highlights the failure of a narrowly based ideological regime to understand the pluralist nature of Iranian society and the legitimate aspirations of its diverse component parts for dignity, equal opportunity and a fair share in decision-making.
- What normal country has three former presidents, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Muhammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who can’t obtain passports to travel abroad? And dozens of former high officials in jail, plus an ex-prime minister, Mir-Hussein Mussavi, and a former speaker of parliament, Mehdi Karrubi, under house arrest without charge?
- Amir Taheri, "Have the Mullah's Abandoned their Dreams of Empire?", Elaph.com, (November 16, 2014)
- All of us are Iranian and wherever and in whatever post we are should try to elevate status of our dear country.
- Majid Samii, as quoted in "Iranian professor says his medal belongs to whole Iranians" IRNA (29 September 2007)
Quotes by non-IraniansEdit
- Where will it [Iran] drop it [the future nuclear bomb], this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone off 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed to the ground.
- We like to forget the history, Iranians don't. In 1953, The United States and Britain overthrew the parliamentary government [in Iran] and installed a brutal dictator. [...] In 1979, the population overthrew the dictator. And since then the United States has been essentially torturing Iran: First tried the military coup and then supported Saddam Hossein during Iraq’s invasion of Iran which killed hundreds of thousands of people and after that United States started imposing harsh sanctions on Iran.
- I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran [if it attacks Israel]. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That's a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.
- Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and Somalia are the only countries in the world that still execute people in public.
- Jeanine Di Giovanni, "When It Comes To Beheadings, ISIS Has Nothing Over Saudi Arabia" (24 October 2014), Newsweek.
- The American people have the greatest respect and admiration for the Iranian people. Your Kings from Cyrus and Darius are known among those famous monarchs who have advanced the cause of humanity. Your scientists have contributed to the foundations on which we have built our industrial society. Your philosophers and poets have enriched the culture of the west.
- Everything I learned about Iranians, I learned working in the pool room. I met a lot of liars, and I know Iranians are liars.
- Lindsey Graham, as quoted in "Republican conference: Day two - Bush 'proud' of family" (22 May 2015), by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, United Kingdom: British Broadcasting Corporation.
- One of the signs of Iran's underdevelopment is the culture of rumor and paranoia that attributes all ills to the manipulation of various demons and satans. And, of course, the long and rich history of British imperial intervention in Persia does provide some support for the notion. But you have no idea how deep is the primitive belief that it is the Anglo-Saxons—more than the CIA, more even than the Jews—who are the puppet masters of everything that happens in Iran.
- To say that Iran doesn't practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees.
- Iran has a long history. People of the world can learn much from the portrayal of Iranian civilization by the Iranian arts over such a long period of time.
- Paul Sheldon Foote, as quoted in "Iranian culture in the Eyes of Americans" by Moj News Agency (2007).
- In Iran, the walls of homes are transparent and the halls of justice are opaque. This ‘morality’ campaign shows how fragile respect for privacy and personal dignity is in Iran today.
- Joe Stork, as quoted in "Iran: End Arrests on Immorality Charges" at Human Rights News (17 May 2007).
- The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs even for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and cannot do without them for an hour.
- A democratic Iran would be a natural ally of the United States while the Saudis, with their popularly backed medieval system, are natural enemies. At some point the U.S. will pivot, and the pivot will likely be permanent, but until the clerical regime in Tehran reforms itself out of all recognition or is overthrown from below, we're stuck with the awkward and ailing alliance we have. Let's try not to squander it further.