(CNN)Iran is a republic in 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.
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 1,648,195 sq km, slightly smaller than Alaska
Before the 1930s, Iran was known as Persia to outsiders.
1921 - Officer Reza Khan stages a coup and takes control of the military.