Iran History and Culture

Iran History and Culture

According to paradisdachat, Iran is an Islamic Republic. The Constitution approved by referendum on 2 December 1979 establishes the subordination of the state to the leadership of the Shiite clergy. At the top of the state is the religious leader, Rahbar, appointed by the Assembly of Experts (a Council of 84 theologians elected by direct suffrage every 8 years). The Rahbar chairs the Council of Guardians of the Constitution and the Shari’ah (whose members are appointed by him) and has control over the laws and organs of the State, including the President of the Republic, who is the head of the executive power. The latter, who on the basis of an amendment to the Constitution in 1989 expanded his powers with the abolition of the figure of the prime minister, is elected by direct suffrage every 4 years as are the members of the Islamic Assembly, who are legislative power. The judicial system in use is based on Islamic law; the emanations of the International Court of Justice are not considered binding. The death penalty is in effect. The armed forces present in the country are organized according to the classic tripartition: army, navy, air force. To these bodies, a Revolutionary Guard (pasdaran) in turn at the head of a voluntary militia (Basij) ready to mobilize in case of need.


People lived in the Zagros Mountains as early as the Stone Age. The Persians created in the 6th century BC A large empire in Western Asia that fought against Greek states in the Persian Wars. Alexander the Great conquered in 330 BC The Persian Empire. The Iranian Parthians from the east of today’s Iran (from 2nd century BC) and the Persian Sassanids (224–631 AD) renewed the empire. They were strong opponents of Rome.

In the middle of the 7th century, the area of ​​what is now Iran was conquered by Muslim Arabs and then ruled by the caliphs in Damascus and later in Baghdad. The Turkish Seljuks made Isfahan their capital for the first time in the 11th century. From 1258 onwards, Mongol armies caused great destruction and fragmentation of the territory. The Safavids (1501–1722) renewed the Persian Empire, which became a great power under Abbas I (1587–1629).

In the 19th century, Iran got caught up in the conflict between Great Britain and Russia. European influence led to the first constitution in 1906. Resa Shah from the Pahlavi dynasty (1925–79) tried to modernize the country based on the Turkish model. Under the regime of his son Mohammed Resa (from 1941), which was supported by the USA, social differences intensified and the resistance of the Shiite clergy grew. The 1979 Islamic Revolution under Ayatollah R. Khomeini created the Islamic Republic of Iran. She promoted Islamic fundamentalism and sees the USA and Israel as her main enemies.

In the 1st Gulf War (1980-88) Iran asserted itself against the attacking Iraq. After Khomeini’s death (1989), “reformers” tried like President. Saijid Mohammed Khatami (* 1943; 1997–2005) failed to liberalize politics and society. Under the strictly conservative President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (* 1956; 2005–13) there were mass protests in 2009 and the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program intensified. The USA and European states in particular accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons. An international agreement that banned the country from producing nuclear weapons-grade material defused the situation at short notice in 2015.


On the soil of present-day Iran, in exchange with neighboring Mesopotamia, ancient oriental civilizations such as the kingdom of Elam developed from the 4th millennium to the 7th century BC. Testimonies are, among other things, step temples, as they also emerged in Babylon , and palace complexes made of mud bricks as in Susa. The rulers from the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids built palaces from monumental stone walls in Susa, Pasargadai and Persepolis. The Greek culture brought Alexander the Great and his successors, the Seleucids, to Middle East and Central Asia. The Persian Sassanids (224–651) revived Persian court art. They created large rock reliefs, built palaces and left behind a wealth of handicrafts, including silver tableware. Under the Sassanids the religion of the “fire worshipers”, actually Parsism or Zoroastrianism, was able to develop particularly well.

After the Arab conquest in the 7th century, Islamic art received important impulses from Iran: with mosques , mausoleums, Islamic universities, known as madrasas, and gardens, as well as illumination and hand-knotted “Persian carpets”. Magnificent sacred buildings were built in Isfahan, including the Friday Mosque, and in the Shiite pilgrimage sites in Meshhed, Kum and Shiraz. Shiraz, the »city of roses«, was also home to two great exponents of oriental poetry: Saadi († 1296) and Hafis (around 1320–1388). Her poems are popular to this day.

Prose literature came to Iran only through European influence at the beginning of the 20th century. The sound film gained a foothold in 1933 and a diverse film scene emerged. Many Iranian directors now work abroad because of strict censorship. Animated films such as “Persepolis” (2007) by Marjane Satrapi (* 1969), based on her comic of the same name about her childhood and youth after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, also became famous.

In the big cities, especially Tehran , an underground scene with Iranian pop and rock music has established itself. Popular meeting places, where live bands also play, are teahouses. The most popular sport is soccer. People go skiing in the Elbursgebirge. The Iranian weight training goes back to pre-Islamic times, among other things with wooden clubs (zuchaneh). The game of chess spread throughout the world from Persia in the Middle Ages. Its name goes back to the Persian king title Shah.

Iran History and Culture