Iran officially the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1980, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, with Kazakhstan and Russia across the Caspian Sea; 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. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world; with over 77 million inhabitants, Iran is the world’s 17th most populous nation. It is the only country that has both a Caspian Sea and Indian Ocean coastline.
Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia and the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Proto-Elamite and Elamite kingdom in 3200 – 2800 BCE. The Iranian Medes unified the country into the first of many empires in 625 BCE, after which it became the dominant cultural and political power in the region.
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