Here is a few background on a nation whose affect stretches from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, however which is grappling with a extreme financial disaster.
Successor to the traditional Persian Empire dominated by monarchs known as shahs, navy strongman Reza Shah Pahlavi took the throne in 1925 after years of upheaval.
He was compelled to abdicate in 1941 in favour of his son Mohammad Reza after Britain and the Soviet Union invaded.
Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who had nationalised the British-controlled oil business, is ousted in a 1953 coup orchestrated by London and Washington.
Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the chief of opposition to the shah’s modernising reforms, is deported in 1964.
Anti-government demonstrations and strikes erupt in January 1978. In the face of the rising protests, the shah leaves the nation in January 1979.
Khomeini, who had led the rebellion from exile, makes a triumphant return in February from France.
An Islamic republic is proclaimed on April 1, with Khomeini its first supreme chief.
Iran’s structure provides the ultimate say on all problems with state to the supreme chief, whose authority trumps that of the elected president.
The position is taken by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after Khomeini’s dying in 1989.
An elected council of vetted clerics, the Assembly of Experts, oversees the work of the supreme chief and has the authority to dismiss him.
Next in line is the president, who names the federal government and is elected for 4 years by common suffrage.
Moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani, now 72, grew to become president in 2013 and gained a second time period in 2017.
He changed populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose re-election in 2009 had sparked huge protests and a authorities crackdown.
Parliament’s powers are restricted. Legislation is vetted by the Guardian Council made up of 12 clerics and jurists, who’ve the authority to reject measures they deem opposite to Islam or the structure.
The Revolutionary Guards, armed forces wedded to the ideology of the state, are notably influential.
Iran is holding greater than a dozen Western residents, most of them twin nationals, in jail or underneath home arrest in what activists say is a brazen act of hostage-taking to extract concessions.
Shiite-majority Iran rivals Sunni kingpin Saudi Arabia for affect within the Middle East, the 2 taking opposing sides in a number of regional conflicts.
Tehran has been the principle regional backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad towards Riyadh-backed Sunni rebels since civil battle broke out in 2011.
In Yemen, Iran helps Shiite rebels who nonetheless management many of the north, together with the capital Sanaa, regardless of greater than six years of Saudi-led navy intervention.
In Lebanon, Iran-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah performs a pivotal position in political life, whereas its fighters are closely concerned in neighbouring Syria in assist of Assad’s authorities.
In 2015, Iran struck a landmark settlement with main powers after 12 years of on-off negotiations to just accept limits on its nuclear programme in trade for an easing of crippling sanctions.
But then US president Donald Trump withdrew from the hard-won accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.
The different events have vowed to maintain the accord alive, and talks have been held in Vienna to rescue it.
Iran is a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and sits on the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and second-largest gasoline reserves.
But it suffers from power unemployment and excessive inflation, and Washington’s reimposition of sanctions despatched its foreign money tumbling.