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Prior to 1979, Iran was ruled by a constitutional monarchy; however, it was in name only, not in practice.

Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi changed the country's name from Persia to Iran in 1935 under a directive of Iran's representative abroad who believed that the province under which Persia was named (Pars) was only a single part of the entire country, while the birthplace of the Aryan race was Iran.

By the eleventh century, the religion of Islam dominated the plateau and the advanced Persian sciences, literature, and learning had seduced the leaders of more than one invading army, including Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century and Tamerlane in the fourteenth.By the end of the eighteenth century, a Turkish tribe called the Qajars ruled the area now known as Iran.The Qajars governed Iran until the 1920s when Reza Shah (1878-1944) took over the government and established the Pahlavi monarchy.The remaining Muslims are members of the Sunni sect of Islam.There are minority Christian (about 300,000), and Jewish (about 25,000 in 1984) populations, as well as Zoroastrians (about 30,000) and Baha'i (about 350,000).

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