The Islamic Republic of Iran (جمهوری اسلامی ایران — Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān), also known as Persiais a sovereign state in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia, the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Azerbaijan; to the north by the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Comprising a land area of 636,372 square miles (1,648,195 km²), it is the second-largest country in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world. With 82.8 million inhabitants, Iran is the world’s 17th-most-populous country. It is the only country with both a Caspian Sea and an Indian Ocean coastline. The country’s central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, make it of great geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country’s capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. The largest ethnic groups in Iran are the Persians, Azeris, Kurds and Lurs.
Iran is the site of to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Proto-Elamite and Elamite kingdoms in 3200–2800 BC. The earliest archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated at the Kashafrud and Ganj Par sites, attest to a human presence in Iran since the Lower Paleolithic era, c. 800,000–200,000 BC. Iran’s Neanderthal artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic period, c. 200,000–40,000 BC, have been found mainly in the Zagros region, at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh Cave. Around the tenth to eighth millennium BC, early agricultural communities such as Chogha Golan and Chogha Bonut began to flourish in Iran, as well as Susa and Chogha Mish developing in and around the Zagros region.
The emergence of Susa as a city, as determined by radiocarbon dating, dates back to early 4,395 BC. There are dozens of prehistoric sites across the Iranian plateau, pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the 4th millennium BC. During the Bronze Age, Iran was home to several civilizations including Elam, Jiroft, and Zayande River. Elam, the most prominent of these civilizations, developed in the southwest of Iran, alongside those in Mesopotamia. The emergence of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BC.
The Elamite Kingdom continued its existence until the emergence of the Median and Achaemenid empires. Between 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, northwestern Iran was part of the Kura-Araxes culture that stretched into the neighboring regions of the Caucasus and Anatolia. Since the earliest second millennium BC, Assyrians settled in swaths of western Iran, and incorporated the region into their territories.
During the second millennium BC, Proto-Iranian tribes arrived in Iran from the Eurasian steppes, rivaling the native settlers of the country. As these tribes dispersed into the wider area of Greater Iran and beyond, the boundaries of modern Iran were dominated by the Persian, Median and Parthian tribes.
From the late tenth to late seventh centuries BC, the Iranian peoples, together with the pre-Iranian kingdoms, fell under the domination of the Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Nabopolassar of Babylon, as well as the Scythians and the Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire. The civil war ravaged the Assyrian Empire between 616 BC and 605 BC, thus freeing their respective peoples from three centuries of Assyrian rule. The unification of the Median tribes under a single ruler in 728 BC led to the foundation of the Median Empire which, by 612 BC, controlled the whole Iran and the eastern Anatolia. This marked the end of the Kingdom of Urartu as well, which was subsequently conquered and dissolved.
In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great, son of Mandane and Cambyses I, took over the Median Empire, and founded the Achaemenid Empire by unifying other city states. The conquest of Media was a result of what is called the Persian Revolt. The brouhaha was initially triggered by the actions of the Median ruler Astyages, and was quickly spread to other provinces, as they allied with the Persians. Later conquests under Cyrus and his successors expanded the empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, as well as the lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers.
539 BC was the year in which Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at Opis, and marked the end of around four centuries of Mesopotamian domination of the region with the transition from the Neo-Babylonian Period to the Achaemenid Period. Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch. Subsequent Achaemenid art and iconography reflect the influence of the new political reality in Mesopotamia.
At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire included the modern territories of Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria (Thrace), northern Greece and Macedonia (Paeonia and Ancient Macedon), Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, all significant ancient population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, parts of the UAE and Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and much of Central Asia, making it the first world government and the largest empire the world had yet seen.
It is estimated that in 480 BC, 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire. The empire at its peak ruled over 44% of the world’s population, the highest such figure for any empire in history. In Greek history, the Achaemenid Empire is considered as the antagonist of the Greek city states, for the emancipation of slaves including the Jewish exiles in Babylon, building infrastructures such as road and postal systems, and the use of an official language, the Imperial Aramaic, throughout its territories. The empire had a centralized, bureaucratic administration under the emperor, a large professional army, and civil services, inspiring similar developments in later empires. Furthermore, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, was built in the empire between 353 and 350 BC.
Eventual conflict on the western borders began with the Ionian Revolt which erupted into the Greco-Persian Wars, and continued through the first half of the fifth century BC, and ended with the Persian withdrawal from all of their European territories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper.
In 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire, defeating the last Achaemenid emperor, Darius III, at the Battle of Issus. Following the premature death of Alexander, Iran came under the control of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. In the middle of the second century BC, the Parthian Empire rose to become the main power in Iran, and the century-long geopolitical arch-rivalry between Romans and Parthians began, culminating in the Roman–Parthian Wars. The Parthian Empire continued as a feudal monarchy for nearly five centuries, until 224 CE, when it was succeeded by the Sassanid Empire. Together with their neighboring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantines, they made up the world’s two most dominant powers at the time, for over four centuries.
The Sassanids established an empire within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, with their capital at Ctesiphon. The Sassanid Empire of the Late Antiquity is considered as one of the most influential periods of Iran, as Iran influenced the culture of ancient Rome (and through that as far as Western Europe), Africa, China, and India, and played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art.
Most of the era of both Parthian and Sassanid empires were overshadowed by the Roman-Persian Wars, which raged on their western borders at the Anatolia, the western Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Levant, for over 700 years. These wars exhausted both Romans and Sassanids, and led to the defeat of both at the hands of the invading Muslim Arabs.
Several offshoots of the Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sassanids, established eponymous dynasties and branches in Anatolia and the Caucasus, including the Kingdom of Pontus, the Mihranids, and the Arsacid dynasties of Armenia, Iberia (Georgia), and Caucasian Albania (present-day Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan).
The prolonged Byzantine-Sassanid Wars, most importantly the climactic Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602-628, as well as the social conflict within the Sassanid Empire, opened the way for an Arab invasion to Iran in the seventh century. Initially defeated by the Arab Rashidun Caliphate, Iran came under the rule of the Arab caliphates of Umayyad and Abbasid. The prolonged and gradual process of the Islamization of Iran began following the conquest. Under the new Arab elite of the Rashidun and later the Umayyad caliphates, both converted (mawali) and non-converted (dhimmi) Iranians were discriminated against, being excluded from the government and military, and having to pay a special tax called Jizya. Gunde Shapur, home of the Academy of Gunde Shapur which was the most important medical center of the world at the time, survived after the invasion, but became known as an Islamic institute thereafter.
In 750, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads, due mainly to the support from the mawali Iranians. The mawali formed the majority of the rebel army, which was led by the Iranian general Abu Muslim. The arrival of the Abbasid Caliphs saw a revival of Iranian culture and influence, and a move away from the imposed Arabic customs. The role of the old Arab aristocracy was gradually replaced by an Iranian bureaucracy.
After two centuries of the Arab rule, semi-independent and independent Iranian kingdoms such as the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, and Buyids began to appear on the fringes of the declining Abbasid Caliphate. By the Samanid era in the ninth and tenth centuries, the efforts of Iranians to regain their independence had been well solidified.
The blossoming literature, philosophy, medicine, and art of Iran became major elements in the formation of a new age for the Iranian civilization, during the period known as the Islamic Golden Age. The Islamic Golden Age reached its peak by the tenth and eleventh centuries, during which Iran was the main theater of the scientific activities. After the tenth century, the Persian language, alongside Arabic, was used for the scientific, philosophical, historical, musical, and medical works, whereas the important Iranian writers, such as Tusi, Avicenna, Qotb od Din Shirazi, and Biruni, had major contributions in the scientific writing.
The cultural revival that began in the Abbasid period led to a resurfacing of the Iranian national identity, and so earlier attempts of Arabization never succeeded in Iran. The Iranian Shuubiyah movement became a catalyst for Iranians to regain independence in their relations with the Arab invaders. The most notable effect of this movement was the continuation of the Persian language attested to the epic poet Ferdowsi, now regarded as the most important figure in Iranian literature.
The tenth century saw a mass migration of Turkic tribes from Central Asia into the Iranian plateau. Turkic tribesmen were first used in the Abbasid army as mamluks (slave-warriors), replacing Iranian and Arab elements within the army. As a result, the mamluks gained a significant political power. In 999, large portions of Iran came briefly under the rule of the Ghaznavids, whose rulers were of mamluk Turk origin, and longer subsequently under the Turkish Seljuk and Khwarezmian empires. These Turks had been Persianized and had adopted Persian models of administration and rulership. The Seljuks subsequently gave rise to the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia, while taking their thoroughly Persianized identity with them. The result of the adoption and patronage of Persian culture by Turkish rulers was the development of a distinct Turko-Persian tradition.
In 1219–21, the Khwarezmian Empire suffered a devastating invasion by the Mongol army of Genghis Khan. According to Steven R. Ward, “Mongol violence and depredations killed up to three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Some historians have estimated that Iran’s population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-twentieth century.”
Following the fracture of the Mongol Empire in 1256, Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Ilkhanate in Iran. In 1370, yet another conqueror, Timur, followed the example of Hulagu, establishing the Timurid Empire which lasted for another 156 years. In 1387, Timur ordered the complete massacre of Isfahan, reportedly killing 70,000 citizens. The Ilkhans and the Timurids soon came to adopt the ways and customs of the Iranians, choosing to surround themselves with a culture that was distinctively Iranian.
By the 1500s, Ismail I from Ardabil, established the Safavid dynasty, with Tabriz as the capital. Beginning with Azerbaijan, he subsequently extended his authority over all of the Iranian territories, and established an intermittent Iranian hegemony over the vast relative regions, reasserting the Iranian identity within large parts of the Greater Iran. Iran was predominantly Sunni, but Ismail instigated a forced conversion to the Shia branch of Islam, by which the Shia Islam spread throughout the Safavid territories in the Caucasus, Iran, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. As a result, thereof, the modern-day Iran is the only official Shia nation of the world, with it holding an absolute majority in Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, having there the first and second highest number of Shia inhabitants by population percentage in the world.
The centuries-long geopolitical and ideological rivalry between Safavid Iran and the neighboring Ottoman Empire, led to numerous Ottoman–Persian Wars. The Safavid Era peaked in the reign of Abbas the Great, 1587–1629, surpassing their Ottoman archrivals in strength, and making the empire a leading hub in Western Eurasia for the sciences and arts. The Safavid Era saw the start of mass integration from Caucasian populations into new layers of the society of Iran, as well as mass resettlement of them within the heartlands of Iran, playing a pivotal role in the history of Iran for centuries onwards. Following a gradual decline in the late 1600s and early 1700s, which was caused by the internal conflicts, the continuous wars with the Ottomans, and the foreign interference (most notably the Russian interference), the Safavid rule was ended by the Pashtun rebels who besieged Isfahan and defeated Soltan Hosein in 1722.
In 1729, Nader Shah, a chieftain and military genius from Khorasan, successfully drove out and conquered the Pashtun invaders. He subsequently took back the annexed Caucasian territories which were divided among the Ottoman and Russian authorities by the ongoing chaos in Iran. During the reign of Nader Shah, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sassanid Empire, reestablishing the Iranian hegemony all over the Caucasus, as well as other major parts of the west and central Asia, and briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time.
Nader Shah invaded India and sacked far off Delhi by the late 1730s. His territorial expansion, as well as his military successes, went into a decline following the final campaigns in the Northern Caucasus. The assassination of Nader Shah sparked a brief period of civil war and turmoil, after which Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty came to power in 1750, bringing a period of relative peace and prosperity.
The geopolitical reach of the Zand dynasty was limited, compared to its preceding dynasties. Many of the Iranian territories in the Caucasus gained de facto independence and were locally ruled through various Caucasian khanates. However, despite the self-ruling, they all remained subjects and vassals to the Zand king. The khanates exercised control over their affairs via international trade routes between Central Asia and the West.
Another civil war ensued after the death of Karim Khan in 1779, out of which Aqa Mohammad Khan emerged, founding the Qajar dynasty in 1794. In 1795, following the disobedience of the Georgian subjects and their alliance with the Russians, the Qajars captured Tblisi by the Battle of Krtsanisi, and drove the Russians out of the entire Caucasus, reestablishing the Iranian suzerainty over the region.
The Russo-Persian wars of 1804–1813 and 1826–1828 resulted in large irrevocable territorial losses for Iran in the Caucasus, comprising all of Transcaucasia and Dagestan, which made part of the very concept of Iran for centuries, and thus substantial gains for the neighboring Russian Empire.
As a result of the nineteenth century Russo-Persian wars, the Russians took over the Caucasus, and Iran irrevocably lost control over its integral territories in the region (comprising modern-day Dagestan, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan), which got confirmed per the treaties of Gulistan and Turkmenchay. The area to the north of the river Aras, among which the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Armenia, were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.
As Iran shrank, many Transcaucasian and North Caucasian Muslims moved towards Iran, especially until the aftermath result of the Caucasian War, and the decades afterwards, while Iran’s Armenians were encouraged to settle in the newly incorporated Russian territories, causing significant demographic shifts. Around 1.5 million people — 20 to 25% of the population of Iran — died as a result of the Great Famine of 1870–1871.
Between 1872 and 1905, a series of protests took place in response to the sale of concessions to foreigners by Qajar monarchs Nasser ed Din and Mozaffar ed Din, and led to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. The first Iranian Constitution and the first national parliament of Iran were founded in 1906, through the ongoing revolution. The Constitution included the official recognition of Iran’s three religious minorities, namely Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews, which has remained a basis in the legislation of Iran since then.
The struggle related to the constitutional movement continued until 1911, when Mohammad Ali Shah was defeated and forced to abdicate. On the pretext of restoring order, the Russians occupied northern Iran in 1911, and maintained a military presence in the region for years to come. During World War I, the British occupied much of the territory of western Iran, and fully withdrew in 1921. The Persian Campaign commenced furthermore during World War I in northwestern Iran after an Ottoman invasion, as part of the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. As a result of Ottoman hostilities across the border, a large amount of the Assyrians of Iran were massacred by the Ottoman armies, notably in and around Urmia. Apart from the rule of Aqa Mohammad Khan, the Qajar rule is characterized as a century of misrule.
The Persian Cossack Brigade, which was the most effective military force available to the crown, began a military coup supported by the British in February 1921. The Qajar dynasty was subsequently overthrown, and Reza Khan, the former general of the Cossack Brigade, became the new Prime Minister of Iran. Eventually, he was declared the new monarch in 1925—thence known as Reza Shah — establishing the Pahlavi dynasty.
In the midst of World War II in 1941, Nazi Germany began the so-called Operation Barbarossa and invaded the Soviet Union, breaking the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This had a major impact on Iran, which had declared neutrality in the conflicts. Later that year, following an Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, Reza Shah was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Subsequently, Iran became a major conduit for British and American aid to the Soviet Union until the end of the ongoing war.
At the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied “Big Three” (Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill) issued the Tehran Declaration to guarantee the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran. However, at the end of the war, Soviet troops remained in Iran and local pro-Soviet groups established two puppet states in northwestern Iran, namely the People’s Government of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Mahabad. Receiving a promise of oil concessions, the Soviets withdraw from Iran proper in May 1946. The two puppet states were soon overthrown following the Iran crisis of 1946, and the oil concessions were revoked.
In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected as the prime minister. He became enormously popular in Iran, after he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the United States had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War.
After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and sultanistic, and Iran entered a phase of decades-long controversial close relations with the United States and some other foreign governments. While the Shah increasingly modernized Iran and claimed to retain it as a fully secular state, arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, the SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition.
Ruhollah Khomeini, a radical Muslim cleric, became an active critic of the Shah’s far-reaching series of reforms known as the White Revolution. Khomeini publicly denounced the government, and was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, he refused to apologize, and was eventually sent into exile.
Due to the 1973 spike in oil prices, the economy of Iran was flooded with foreign currency, which caused inflation. By 1974, the economy of Iran was experiencing double digit inflation, and despite the many large projects to modernize the country, corruption was rampant and caused large amounts of waste. By 1975 and 1976, an economic recession led to increased unemployment, especially among millions of youth who had migrated to the cities of Iran looking for construction jobs during the boom years of the early 1970s. By the late 1970s, many of these people opposed the Shah’s regime and began to organize and join the protests against it.
The 1979 Revolution, later known as the Islamic Revolution, began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah. After a year of strikes and demonstrations paralyzing the country and its economy, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country and Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran in February 1979, forming a new government. After holding a referendum, Iran officially became an Islamic republic in April 1979. A second referendum in December 1979 approved a theocratic constitution.
The immediate nationwide uprisings against the new government began with the 1979 Kurdish rebellion and the Khuzestan uprisings, along with the uprisings in Sistan and Baluchestan Province and other areas. Over the next several years, these uprisings were subdued in a violent manner by the new Islamic government. The new government began purging itself of the non-Islamist political opposition, as well as of those Islamists who were not considered radical enough. Although both nationalists and Marxists had initially joined with Islamists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were executed by the new regime afterwards.
On November 4, 1979, a group of Muslim students seized the United States Embassy and took the embassy with 52 personnel and citizens hostage, after the United States refused to return Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Iran to face trial in the court of the new regime and all but certain execution. Attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages, and a failed rescue attempt, helped force Carter out of office and brought Ronald Reagan to power. On Jimmy Carter’s final day in office, the last hostages were finally set free as a result of the Algiers Accords.
The Cultural Revolution began in 1980, with an initial closure of universities for three years, in order to perform an inspection and cleanup in the cultural policy of the education and training system.
On September 22, 1980, the Iraqi army invaded the western Iranian province of Khuzestan, launching the Iran–Iraq War. Although the forces of Saddam Hussein made several early advances, by mid 1982, the Iranian forces successfully managed to drive the Iraqi army back into Iraq. In July 1982, with Iraq thrown on the defensive, Iran took the decision to invade Iraq and conducted countless offensives in a bid to conquer Iraqi territory and capture cities, such as Basra. The war continued until 1988, when the Iraqi army defeated the Iranian forces inside Iraq and pushed the remaining Iranian troops back across the border. Subsequently, Khomeini accepted a truce mediated by the UN. The total Iranian casualties in the war were estimated to be 123,220–160,000 KIA, 60,711 MIA, and 11,000–16,000 civilians killed.
Following the Iran–Iraq War, in 1989, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his administration concentrated on a pragmatic pro-business policy of rebuilding and strengthening the economy without making any dramatic break with the ideology of the revolution. In 1997, Rafsanjani was succeeded by the moderate reformist Mohammad Khatami, whose government attempted, unsuccessfully, to make the country more free and democratic.
The 2005 presidential election brought conservative populist candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to power. During the 2009 Iranian presidential election, the Interior Ministry announced incumbent president Ahmadinejad had won 62.63% of the vote, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi had come in second place with 33.75%. Allegations of large irregularities and fraud provoked the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, both within Iran and in major cites outside the country.
Hassan Rouhani was elected as President of Iran on June 15, 2013, defeating Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates. The electoral victory of Rouhani has improved the relations of Iran with other countries.
In the pre-stamp era an ancient system of couriers operated throughout the Persian empire. At a very early stage, these couriers used the ancient route from Babylon to Kermanshah, up to Hamadan—the classic Ecbatana — touching Tsagros in transit. This royal route changed in the course of time. According to ancient sources like Herodotus and Xenophon, Cyrus, King of Persia paid close attention to the communication network. From Xenophon, we learn that Cyrus had stations and stables built to facilitate the couriers’ missions and their efficient delivery of messages from the central power to the provinces. It was not a postal service as we know it today and it was not accessible to everyone.
In 1864, British colonial post offices using India’s postage stamps were opened in Muscat and Bushire. These two postal outlets proved very successful and in 1867, Anglo-Indian post offices were opened in Bandar Abbas, and Linga. In the course of time a total of 13 Indian Post Offices operated in Iran. Following a 1922 agreement between India and Iran, on March 30, 1923, all Indian postal facilities in Iran were closed, except for two exchange bureaux in Duzdab and Mirjawa that continued to function for a few more years,
Russian post offices operated in 1908-18 in northern Persia using stamps of Russia.
The modern era of postal service in Iran started in 1851 with a postal reform that had no immediate effects. The success of the Anglo-Indian postal operations combined with the positive reports about postal reforms in Europe and throughout the British Empire generated a renewed interest about postal communications and telegraphy in Naser al-Din, the Shah who reigned from 1848 to 1896. In 1865, he sent a delegation to Paris to liaise with the French Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications. The news of the Iranian mission got around and a private businessman by the name of A.M. Riester submitted essays for Iranian stamps featuring a lion and a rising sun behind it, set in an oval inner frame, part of an ornamentally rich frame. Months went by and Riester decided to contact Teheran, but he was chided for taking the liberty of using national symbols for unsolicited stamps. Meanwhile, the Iranian mission had opted for essays featuring a similar design prepared by Albert Barre. These essays caught the attention of top bureaucrats and eventually that of the Shah; as a result, in 1868 imperforate stamps with basically the same design of the Barre essays were printed in Teheran in quantities varying from 3,000 to 8,000 and issued for postal use in four denominations: 1 shahi violet; 2 shais green. 4 shais blue; and 8 shais red. They have been nicknamed the Bagheri stamps, possibly in reference to the person who printed or designed them. There was no hand-stamp or date-stamp in use to cancel these stamps and their circulation and use was relatively modest. In fact, not many letters are recorded, and because of the lack of any canceling device, it is rather problematic to determine their genuine postal use simply because it is easy to exponentially increase the value of an un-canclled letter by just adding an adhesive or two on to it.
Scott #2133 was released on October 23, 1983, part of a set of ten stamps picturing religious or political figures. The 20-rial lilac and black stamp was printed by photogravure and perforated 13, It portrays Sheikh Fazel Assad Nouri (شیخ فضلالله نوری; also Hajj Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri Tabarsi, Sheikh Nouri) was a prominent Shia Muslim cleric in Qajar Iran during the late nineteenth and early twenieth century and founder of political Islam in Iran. He fought against the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and was executed for treason by Constitutionalists as a result. Today he is considered a martyr (shahid) in the fight against democracy by Islamic conservatives in Iran. Nouri opposed the constitutional movement and an elected parliament as a danger to Islam, separating religion and state, and colonial intervention (he believed) in the affairs of Qajar Iran.