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Monday 23rd October
Iran Facts
Mount Damavand, a volcano which last erupted in 500 AD, is the highest peak in Iran.

Dasht-i-Kavir, the Great Salt Desert, is one of Iran's large deserts. Iran's other great desert is the Dasht-i-Lut.

Elam, the oldest known civilisation in Iran, was founded in 1250 BC.

Elamites were said to have been the descendents from Shem, one of the sons of Noah.

Izeh, a town near Ahwaz, in Xuzestan province, was built during the time of the Elamite civilisation.

The name Iran was derived from the Aryan, or Irani, tribes.

The name Persia was derived from the ancient province of Persis, the home of the Parsa people.

Cuneiform writing, a form of picture writing, was used in Iran over three thousand years ago.

The empire of the Achaemenid Dynasty (550 BC-334 BC) comprised of Persia (Iran), Mesopotamia (Iraq), Syria, Egypt, and parts of Asia Minor (Turkey) and India.

The Cylinder of Cyrus the Great, found during excavations in Babylon, was inscribed with the first known declaration of human rights.

The Persians built the world's longest road (1,500 miles), known as the Royal Road. Postmen could make a journey along the road in six to nine days instead of three months.

Persepolis, the capital city of the Achaemenid Empire, was founded by King Darius the Great (522-486 BC).

Darius introduced the darik, one of the first systems of common coinage.

Esther was a Jewish girl who married Xerxes (King Ahasuerus) and became Queen of Persia. She is famous for protecting her people from Haman, the king's advisor, who wanted to kill the Jewish people in the kingdom.

In 331 BC Alexander the Great destroyed the Persian capital, Persepolis.

Ibn Sina (980-1037), born near Bukhara, was a Persian philosopher and physician. Known in the West as Avicenna, he wrote the Book of Healing and the Canon of Medicine. The Canon of Medicine, the most famous book in the history of medicine, was widely used by western physicians.

Nasir Al-Din Tusi (1201-1274), born in Tus, was an astronomer and philosopher who built the famous observatory in Maragheh.

Shah Ismail I founded the Safavid Dynasty (1501), bringing the country under Iranian leadership.

Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri, born in Tehran in 1817, founded the Bahai Faith which teaches unification and the ideal of world citizenship.

In 1908 large quantities of oil were discovered in Iran.

In 1951 Iran nationalised the oil industry and the National Iranian Oil Company was formed.

Iran was known as Persia until 1935. On 1 April 1979 Iran became an Islamic Republic.

On 4 November 1979, during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, Iranians took American hostages in the United States Embassy in Tehran. This crisis between Iran and the USA lasted 444 days.

On 26 December 2003 an earthquake in Iran, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale, devastated the city of Bam. It is estimated that over 40,000 people lost their lives in one of the world's worst natural disasters during the last ten years.

On 22 February 2005 over five hundred people were believed to have been killed and nine hundred injured in an earthquake, measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale. It is estimated that thirty thousand people were left homeless in villages in Central Iran, 160 miles from Bam.

The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions since the end of 2006 calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing programme and comply with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) obligations and responsibilities.

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