Past to Present
Until the 1930s, the region now known as the Islamic Republic of Iran was called Persia. It borders on several historical centres of power – the Arab world, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and India – and is itself a dominant power in the Persian Gulf region. For centuries the region was administered by dynasties of shahs (kings in Farsi). The last ‘dynasty’ – Reza Pahlavi (self-appointed) and his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – dates from after World War I. This rulership terminated with the Islamic Revolution and the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. It was replaced by a political order in which the Constitution stipulates that the Supreme Leader (Rahbar) has ultimate control.