Iran is a large country within the Greater Middle East and is part of the South-Central Asian Union, between the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea. It is bordered by Iraq to the west, Turkey, Azerbaijan’s Naxcivan enclave, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the northwest, Turkmenistan to the northeast, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east.
Known as Persia until 1935 in the western world, whereas the indigenous name has been Iran forever. Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling Shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces subsequently crushed Westernisation and also any liberal or left-wing influences. Key current issues affecting the country include the pace of accepting outside modernising influences, reconciliation between clerical control of the regime and popular participation in government, and widespread demands for reform. Inflation and unemployment (particularly among youth) are major economic challenges.
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