Home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, Iran is seen as a force for stability by some and as a threat by others in a volatile region. Either way, it's one of west Asia's two major democracies — archrival Israel is the other — and a regional power. The majority Shia nation is a middle-income country, boasts one the world's largest oil and gas reserves, and is home to ancient archaeological wonders.
Need to Know
More from Iran
Traditionally, ground henna is made by just three factories in the world. Step inside one of them.
- Fast Forward
New diplomatic challenges offer opportunities for an industry focused on pirates.
Washington and Tehran are playing a game of chicken, and diplomatic opportunities to blink or save face are running thin.
Explore the world with OZY.COM
This year, OZY will be bringing you untold stories from every single country on the map, one day at a time, to introduce you to new people, new trends and new places. Travel with us for sights, sounds, and surprises from across our diverse world.View Full Series