Iran is a Middle East country descended from one of the most ancient and important civilizations to originate from this region. The Iranian people have established themselves in the Middle East since many centuries ago and are the most important to have developed out of the Persian Empire. Persia is also the name with which the country was know until 1935. Iran was originally governed by a Monarchy ruled by the Phalevi family, with the soverign known as the “Shah”. The last Shah was Reza Phalevi, who was abducated in 1979 following the Iranian revolution.
With this change, Iran became theocracy lead by the Grand Ayatolla and the head of the Shia Muslim clergy. For more than five centuries, Shiism has been the most widespread religion in the country, with Iran being home to the most Shia muslims of any country in the world. The capital is Teheran, other important cities are Qom, Mashad, Esfahan and Tabriz.