(CNN) -- Iran is a republic in Central Asia, sharing a border with seven countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. It has been officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Iran is a Shiite Muslim country, but the majority of its people are Persian, not Arab.
About Iran: (from the CIA World Factbook) Area: 1,648,195 sq km, slightly smaller than Alaska
Population: 79,853,900 (July 2013 est.)
Median Age: 27.8 years
Ethnic Groups: Persian 61%, Azeri 16%, Kurd 10%, Lur 6%, Baloch 2%, Arab 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%
Religion: Muslim 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i) 2%
GDP: $1.016 trillion (2012 est.)
GDP Per Capita: $13,300 (2012 est.)
Unemployment: 15.5% (2012 est.)
Other Facts: The official language that most Iranians speak is Farsi.
Most Iranians are descended from an Asian tribe called Aryans who migrated in the 1500s B.C.
The name Iran means "land of the Aryans."
Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic relations since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Officially designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. government.
Timeline: 1935 - Reza Shah officially changes the name of the country from Persia to Iran.
September 1941 - Russia and Great Britain invade Iran and force Reza Shah Pahlavi to abdicate the throne. He is replaced by his 21-year-old son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
1951 - Politician Mohammad Mosaddeq orchestrates passage of a bill in Iran's parliament which nationalizes British oil fields in Iran.
1953 - The Shah is forced to abdicate by the supporters of Premier Mosaddeq. However, within weeks, Great Britain and the U.S. secure the Shah's return to power.
1963 - The Shah forces popular cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a critic of his modernization plans, into exile in Iraq.
October 1971 - The Shah hosts an elaborate party to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. The party reportedly costs between $100 and $200 million dollars.
June 13, 1975 - Iran and Iraq sign a treaty of reconciliation, settling a border dispute. Iran then ends its support for rebellious Kurds in Northern Iraq, while Saddam Hussein expels Ayatollah Khomeini from Iraq.
January 16, 1979 - Shah Reza Pahlavi leaves Iran, in what is described as a vacation, but is generally understood to be a permanent exile.
February 1, 1979 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran from exile in France. After his supporters overthrow the government of Premier Shahpur Bakhtiar, Khomeini becomes the Supreme Leader of Iran.
April 1, 1979 - The country is renamed the Islamic Republic of Iran.
October 22, 1979 - The Shah arrives in the U.S. for treatment of lymphatic cancer.
November 4, 1979 - Iranian revolutionaries seize control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and take 66 embassy workers hostage. They demand the extradition of the Shah from the U.S. in exchange for the hostages. Thirteen of the hostages are released within two weeks, and one is released later for medical reasons. The other 52 spend a total of 444 days in captivity.
April 1980 - A rescue attempt by U.S. airborne forces fails, killing eight U.S. service members.
July 27, 1980 - The Shah dies in Cairo, Egypt.
January 20, 1981 - The remaining 52 U.S. hostages are released.
September 22, 1980-1988 - Iraq invades Iran, starting an eight year war that causes much bloodshed. The war ends in 1988 in a cease-fire, with no clear victor.
June 3, 1989 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini dies.
June 1989 - Seyyed Ali Khamenei becomes Supreme Leader of Iran.
July 28, 1989 - Hashemi Rafsanjani is elected president of Iran.
May 1997 - Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, is elected to the office of president.
June 2001 - Khatami is re-elected as president of Iran.
November 2003 - The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran has been secretly manufacturing small amounts of uranium and plutonium for two decades.
June 2005 - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mayor of Tehran, is elected president of Iran.
June 12, 2009 - In a highly controversial election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is announced the winner of the presidential election with 62.63 percent of the vote according to Iranian government sources. His nearest rival, Mir Hossein Moussavi receives 33.75 percent of the votes.
June 2009 - Demonstrations take place in Tehran, protesting the outcome of the election. Dozens of people are reported killed.
June 30, 2009 - Despite widespread unrest the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is formally certified by the Council of Guardians.
July 4, 2009 - Leading clerics openly defy the Ayatollah and call for nullification of the election.
February 13, 2011 - In reaction to the anti-government protests spreading throughout the Arab world, demonstrations break out in major Iranian cities and are met with reportedly brutal force by security officers.
February 22, 2011 - Two Iranian warships pass through the Suez Canal, the first such ships to sail through the Canal since the 1979 revolution.
November 29, 2011 - Hundreds of Iranian protesters storm Great Britain's embassy and a separate diplomatic compound in Tehran. The next day, Great Britain evacuates all embassy staff in Iran and orders that Iran immediately close its embassy in London.
December 1, 2011 - European Union foreign ministers agree to impose sanctions on Iranian firms and individuals in response to protesters storming the British Embassy in Tehran. Italy withdraws its ambassador.
December 2, 2011 - The U.S. Senate passes economic sanctions against Iran.
December 4, 2011 - Iran's military claims it has shot down a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone into eastern Iran. NATO's ISAF says a U.S. unarmed reconnaissance aircraft was flying a mission over western Afghanistan last week when operators lost control.
December 12, 2011 - At a news conference, President Barack Obama says that the U.S. has asked Iran to return the U.S. drone aircraft that Iran claims it recently brought down.
January 23, 2012 - The European Union announces it will ban the import of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products.
February 14, 2012 - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak blames Iran for a series of bombings in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai bombings come one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames Iran for the explosion of a device attached to an Israeli Embassy van in New Delhi and the safe detonation of another device attached to an embassy car in Tbilisi, Georgia. Ramin Mehmanparast, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, denies Iran's involvement.
February 19, 2012 - Iran's oil ministry says that it has suspended crude exports to British and French companies, days after Iran threatened to cut oil exports to some European Union countries in retaliation for sanctions.
March 30, 2012 - President Obama announces that the U.S. will implement previously announced sanctions that could significantly cut sales of Iranian oil.
July 1, 2012 - A full embargo of Iranian oil from the European Union takes effect.
October 3, 2012 - Demonstrators in Tehran launch protests against President Ahmadinejad, blaming him for the rapidly falling value of Iran's currency.
June 14, 2013 - Hassan Rouhani wins the presidential election after securing 50.7% of the 36,704,156 votes tallied. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not eligible to run, due to term limits. Rouhani is sworn in August 3rd.
September 27, 2013 - President Rouhani and President Obama speak by phone, the first direct conversation between leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979.
November 24, 2013 - Six world powers and Iran reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program. The deal calls on Iran to limit its nuclear activities in return for lighter sanctions.