Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia and Southern Asia. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations. The first dynasty in Iran formed during the Elamite kingdom in 2800 BC. The name "Iran", which in Persian means "Land of the Aryans", has been in use natively since the Sassanian era. It came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia. Both "Persia" and "Iran" are used interchangeably in cultural contexts; however, "Iran" is the name used officially in political contexts.
The 18th-largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), Iran has a population of around 75 million. It is a country of particular geopolitical significance owing to its location in three spheres of Asia (West, Central, and South).
Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north.
Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey. Tehran is the capital, the country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power, and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Iran has the second largest proven natural gas reserves in the world and the fourth largest proven petroleum reserves.
Tehran sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807 it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, the largest city in Western Asia, one of the largest in Southern Asia, and the 19th-largest city globally.
Contemporary Tehran is a modern city featuring many structures, of which the Azadi (Freedom) Tower and the Milad Tower have come to be symbols of Tehran itself. In 2008 Tehran was the least expensive capital in the world and the second-least expensive city globally based on the cost-of-living index presenting the best value for money in the world. Globally it stands 19th by city population, 56th by the size of its GDP and 29th by the population of its metropolitan area.
Throughout Iran's history, the capital city has been relocated many times, with Tehran being the 32nd national capital of Iran. Persian is the city's native tongue, with roughly 98% of the population able to speak and understand it. The majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians.
of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in the world. It also includes other items collected by the Shahs of Iran during the 2,500 year existence of the Iranian Kingdom. The Imperial Crown Jewels are still on display in the Iranian Central Bank in Tehran.
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