Iran is an ancient nation that in the pas was known as Persia. Once, it was a major empire in its own right. But gradually it has been invaded by many cultures (by Arabs, Turks, Mongols and others).

Iran is an ancient nation that in the pas was known as Persia. Once, it was a major empire in its own right. But gradually it has been invaded by many cultures (by Arabs, Turks, Mongols and others).

Since Cyrus the Great has gathered all the peoples of the Iranian plateaus under his authority and has led them to conquer the East, from the Aegean Sea to the Indus River, Iran has not ceased to radiate on the world surrounding.

- The Achaemenid Empire (539 to 330 BC)
The empire of Cyrus leaves a rare impression of balance, humanity and tolerance. Cyrus and his successors showed respect for the local liberties, divinities and traditions of their subjects. They take the title of "King of Kings," meaning that they admit other sovereigns into their empire.
Thanks to the Achaemenids, a great civilization emerged, as witnessed by the ruins of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire in Shiraz city.






- From Hellenism to the Parthians (330 BC to 224 BC)
The conquest of the Achaemenid empire by Alexander the Great led to the unexpected marriage of Greek and Persian cultures.
While Rome seizes the kingdoms of the Mediterranean littoral, the peoples of Iran fall under the yoke of the Parthians. These rough warriors ruled Iran for four centuries without ceasing to lead the hard life to the Romans, on the border of the Euphrates.

Parthian Army

- Persia returns with the Sassanids (224-651)
In 224, a pure Persian was crowned "King of kings" (ShahanShah) under the name of Ardashir I and established his capital at Ctesiphon, in Mesopotamia. He restored the traditions of Achaemenid Persia and the unity of the country around the Mazdist religion.
For four centuries, his descendants of the Sassanid dynasty fought fiercely against their rivals in the Roman Empire of the East, established in Constantinople. At the end of their strength, they were not able to repulse the Muslim riders arising from Arabia after the death of Prophet Mahomet.

- The Muslim caesura (651 to 1501)
Iran falls into the hands of the Muslim Arabs after the battle of Nehavend (or Nahavand) in 642. It passes under the authority of the Caliph, initially established in Medina and then in Damascus, Syria.
When a caliph, acknowledged as the leader of all Sunni Muslims, moved his capital to Baghdad a century later, all the Muslim elites were imbued with Persian culture. This is the "Iranian Interlude"! The tales of the Thousand and One nights retain the memory of this privileged moment of Islam.
In the Iranian provinces emerged autonomous principalities, under the authority of local dynasties, often of Turkish origin, like the Ghaznevids in present-day Afghanistan or the Samanids in Khorassan. Islamic Iran knows its intellectual apogee around the year 1000, with the poet Ferdowsi and the scholar Ibn Sînâ (Avicenna).
In 1055, the Seljuk Turks seized Baghdad and imposed their yoke on the whole of Iran. They, like their predecessors, quickly adopted the Persian culture and admired its greatness. Thanks to them, the "Persian style" spreaded throughout the Islamic Orient, from Mesopotamia to the north of India, from the Tigris to the Ganges. It lasted until the 19th century.
The worst happened in the thirteenth century with the Mongol Genghis Khan rampaging the country like the rest of Central Asia, shaving cities and destroying irrigation systems. One of his descendants, Tamerlane, returned to the rampage. He and his successors nevertheless relished in Samarkand the refinement of Persian civilization.

- Safavid Splendours (1501 to 1736)
Iran is reborn with Shah Ismail, a Turkish prince from the shores of the Caspian Sea. his dynasty is called Safavid (or Safavid) according to a religious mystic from which it came, Safi al-Din.

Shah Ismail imposes Shiism as a state religion, at the cost of violent persecution against the Sunnis. Iran thus marks its difference to the other Muslim states .

Persian culture flourished during the reign of Abbas I as evidenced by the beautiful monuments of Isfahan, carpets, ceramics and delicious miniatures of that time.


Safavid Painting

- Eradication and Renewal of Iran

In 1722, the country, in its decline, was invaded by the Afghans, a people of Persian language but of Sunni religion and then persecuted by the Safavids. The sovereign called a chief of band to his aid. The latter finally seized the crown and took the name of Nadir Shah. The country was sinking into anarchy. In 1796, a Turkish chief seized the royal title and founded the Qadjar dynasty. Times were rough. The country and its new capital, Tehran, vegetate, without administration worthy of the name.

Moved by the defeat of Russia against Japan in 1905, some nationalist intellectuals decided to stir. They imposed on the sovereign, on August 6, 1906, the convocation of a national constituent assembly. A first Parliament (Majlis) takes office at the end of the year.

this is the moment when English and Russians are interested in Iran. By the agreement of August 31, 1907, they divided the country into zones of influence and put an end to the liberal adventure. Their interest in the country increased with the discovery of an oil deposit on May 26, 1908!

- From Revolution to Revolution

After the First World War, an energetic officer restored a semblance of order with the help of England. He was crowned October 31, 1925 under the name of Reza Shah Pahlevi.


He was a great admirer of the Turkish Mustafa Kemal, and, like him, undertook the modernization of his country on forced marches. During the Second World War, as he refused England and the USSR to transport material through Iran, his country was invaded on 25 August 1941 and he himself had to abdicate for the benefit of his son Mohammed (22 years old).

In 1953, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh attempted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. It is an unprecedented fact ... When the oil crisis broke out in 1974, after the Yom Kippur War, the Shah was the first to demand an increase in the royalties paid to the exporting countries, taking over the Mossadegh program!


In 1978, the first demonstrations of streets broke out. The Shiite clergy, suffered by a too hasty modernization, skillfully stir them up. Its main representative, Ayatollah Khomeyni, takes the lead of the Islamic Republic after the escape of the Shah.


Faced with the external threats, first of all that of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, secondly that of the Sunni Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, the Islamic Republic of Iran tried to ensure its right to exist.