IR of Iran, formerly known as Persia, is situated at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia, and the Arab states of the Middle East. This strategic position - and its access to the Persian Gulf in the south - have made Iran an important country throughout its history. Iran is one of the few countries that has a continuing influence in shaping contemporary history and also played a prominent role in the early history of civilisation.
Iran is an immensely fascinating modern state. One of the larger countries of the Middle East with a predominantly young population of nearly 80 million and 16th in size among the countries of the world, Iran is located in one of the most strategically important parts of our planet, linking Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent to Europe. Throughout history Iran has been a major junction between the trading nations of east and west. To put it more romantically, Iran sits on the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that made ancient economic exchanges between the West and the East possible and allowed this delicate commodity reach the markets in Rome.
Iran is an exciting tourist destination, offering breathtaking contrasts of nature as well as a wealth of ancient and medieval sites. Of the world's twelve places recognised and registered in UNESCO's Index of World Human Heritage, three are located in Iran.
Iran has a long history of scholarship that has created a rich culture of art, literature, poetry, music, cuisine, and architecture. Ancient Iranian thinkers wrote influential texts on philosophy and medicine, and it was an Iranian mathematician who invented algebra. Iran's universities are among the most respected in the Middle East.