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Iran

A starboard bow view of ships of tanker convoy No. 12 underway in the Persian Gulf, 21 October 1987

If tensions between the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf lead to war, it will not be the first time.

Ayatollah Khomeini greets the crowd at Tehran University after his return from exile in 1979.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became a lightning rod for the mass protests which overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979, but the causes of the Iranian Revolution lay elsewhere.

Anti-British propaganda in a Tehran street. ‘The evil state of Britain is an enemy of the Iranian nation and is one of its oldest and most traditional enemies.’

Relations between Iran and Britain have often been strained. Yet the relationship is an old one, marked by mutual admiration.

Given the boot: monarchists and the Iranian army celebrate in Tehran, 27 August 1953.

Why the British government can’t reveal more about an ‘open secret’.

Iranian riflemen guard a refinery belonging to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 1940s.

During the Second World War, Britain, the US and the Soviet Union worked together in oil-rich Iran. But cooperation was to degenerate into suspicion and hostility. 

The protests that broke out across Iran towards the end of 2017 were not triggered by one event. Their cause was mounting unrest at zulm: an all-encompassing term for the injustice, iniquity and oppression that has permeated Iranian society for more than a century.

a silver plate depicting the Sasanid King Peroz I on a hunting expedition. Opposite: Khosraw II on a relief in Taq. Ⓒ Bridgeman Images

Iran, despite its conquest by the armies of Islam, retained its own Persian language and much of its culture. Khodadad Rezakhani examines the process by which a Zoroastrian empire became part of the Islamic world.  

Rock relief of Xerxes being accompanied by two servants, Persepolis, Iran by Nick Taylor. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The monumental city of Persepolis was the pride of the Persian empire until its destruction by fire. Richard Stoneman revisits its builders, Darius and Xerxes, and their role in its construction.

Statue of Rashid-al-Din Hamadani in Iran.

J.J. Saunders describes how a Persian servant of the Mongol Khans wrote the first truly global history.

George Woodcock outlines how, by about 515 B.C., architects, sculptors, goldsmiths and silversmiths were assembled from all quarters of the Persian Empire to build a new capital, Parsa, which the Greeks called Persepolis.