Iran or officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a large Middle Eastern country in Western Asia covering some 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 ml2) of land with about 78.4 million inhabitants.
In recent years the name of Iran or Persia as many refer to it, has been associated with an ongoing nuclear dispute and extensive talks with world powers (5 +1) but Iran is much more than that.
It is a geographically diverse country with majestic mountain ranges, vast mystical deserts edged with jewel-like towns, alpine forests and green plains. From the shores of the Caspian Sea to the north to the semi-tropical Persian Gulf and Oman Sea to the south, the country has many different climatic conditions. This climatic diversity is mirrored in the many different cultures, ethnicities and religions throughout the country.
The many cultures and ethnicities have roots in distant times, as long ago as the Lower Paleolithic era. An empire of some 25 centuries, Iran has a rich and colourful history with countless monuments, archaeological sites and relics.
The emerging civilisation impacted upon the known world, the idea of an empire and a new style in governance, unifying various ethnicities and cultures whilst respecting them were new and unique. The historian Professor Arthur Upham Pope and the philosopher Will Durant have attributed a great influence to this empire and have discussed its influence on the march of civilisation in great details.