Although Iran is not the biggest and the most influential country in the world, there are multiple peculiarities that make it genuinely unique. First of all, it may be regarded as the birthplace of the Elamite kingdoms, one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. In the present day, Iran has a particular authority among other Middle Eastern countries partly due to being the global epicenter of Shia Islam (Desilver & Masci, 2018). 80 million Iranians who constitute 90-95% of the country’s population are Shia – it is the largest global concentration of Shia Muslims (Desilver & Masci, 2018). Having close relationships with other countries with large Shia communities, such as Lebanon and Iraq, it is the main rival to the region’s Sunni Muslim states, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Iran is a cradle of Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion the traditions of which are still present in the Iranian culture.
The economic and military potential of Iran is impressive as well. The country has one of the most powerful and largest armed forces among Middle Easter countries with 534,000 active military and 400,000 active reserve military personnel (Desilver & Masci, 2018). Moreover, the fourth-largest stock of proven crude oil reserves in the world belongs to Iran (Desilver & Masci, 2018). At the same time, the country is famous for its culture and traditions – being an almost purely Muslim state, it saved the traditions of its ancestors. Iranians use a solar calendar and celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, associated with multiple symbols that aim to bring health, luck, and prosperity. And it goes without saying that Iran is special due to multiple things that originated there and were subsequently spread all over the world. For instance, they include Persian carpets and Persian cat breed.
Desilver, D., & Masci, D. (2018). 5 facts about Iran. Pew Research Center. Web.