ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

Destination Iran, an Islamic republic between the Caspian Sea in north and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in south. The country was formerly known as Persia. Iran is bordered by Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

The country shares also maritime borders with Kazakhstan, and Russia (in the Caspian Sea), Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. With an area of 1,648,195 km², Iran is almost three times the size of France or slightly smaller than Alaska.

Most of the country is situated on the Iranian Plateau (a geological formation in Western and Central Asia), with the exception of the coastal regions at the Caspian Sea and the Khuzestan Province in south- west at the Persian Gulf. The Zagros Mountains in west is the largest mountain range in Iran, Iraq and southeastern Turkey. In the north is the Alborz mountain range that stretches from the border of Azerbaijan along the western and entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea. Mount Damavand at 5,610 m (18,410 ft), Iran’s highest mountain, is located in the Alborz mountain range.

The country has a population of 79 million people (in 2017). Largest city and capital is Tehran. Other major cities are Mashhad, Isfahan, Karaj, Tabriz, Shiraz, Ahvaz, and Qom. Spoken languages are Persian (Farsi, official), Kurdish, Azeri, Arabic, Baluchi. Official religion  is Shia Islam.

Tehran

Badab Sort Fountains

According to archaeological excavations, the antiquity of Iran civilization dates back to the 5th millennium BC. The migration of Aryan tribes to the Plateau of Iran began in the 2nd millennium BC. Out of these tribes, the Parthians dwelled in Khorasan, the Medes in the west, and the Parsees resided in southern Iran. The Median Empire rose in Hegmataneh (Ekbatan) which is today the honored city oh Hamadan. The Achaemenids established the first great Persian Empire after defeating the Medes and conquering of their capital. The limits of the Achaemenian territory during the reign of Dariush I (485- 522,BC) extended from the plain of the Sand river in the east to the borders of Greece in the west. After the decline of the Achaemenian dynasty, succeeding Seleucids, dominated Iran for a short period of time. During this time, the interaction between Iranian and Hellenic cultures occurred. Around the year 250 BC, the Parthians, who were an Aryan tribe as well as horse riders, advanced from Khorasan towards the west and south-west and founded their empire on Iran plateau choosing Teesfoon as their capital.

Persepolis

This empire survived only until the year 224 AD. The Sassanides, after defeating the last Parthian King in 225 AD, founded a new empire, which lasted until mid 7th century AD. The influence of Islam in Iran began in the early 7th century AD after the decline of the Sassanid Empire. After that, different local governments were appointed by Islamic Central Government. But due to differences among the local governments, the Iranian government became weak and declined. In the Safavid time (1501- 1732), the second great Iranian Empire was founded and limited till then, was formalized. The dynamic nature of Shiism and its political and social commitments firmly safeguarded Iranian independence and national identity against Ottoman assaults. Thus, Iran once again became a new political and religious power. With the decline of the Safavid, Afsharieh and later the Zandieh took the throne. After the Zandieh rule, the Qajars took power. At this time, the influence of foreign powers such as Britain and Russia in the internal affairs of Iran significantly increased. In the Pahlavi period, despite the regime’s oppositions, Oil Industry Nationalization Movement succeeded. Some years later in 1963, a popular uprising started against the regime which finally led to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The government of Iran is “Islamic Republic” which was founded after the Islamic Revolution. The founder of the Republic and the leader of the Revolution was Imam Khomeini, who passed away in July 1989 and the Assembly of the Experts elected Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamene’i as the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The official language spoken in Iran is Persian or Farsi.  In addition,  there  are  some  other languages such as Turkish, Arabic, and Kurdish spoken in various parts of the country. The only script in use is Farsi script.

The official religion of Iran is Islam. In the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, religions such as Zoroastrian, Christian, and Judaism are officially recognized and their disciples have equal political, social and economic rights as Muslims. Religious minorities of Zoroastrian, Armenian, Jew, Assyrian, and Chaldean have their own independent representatives in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament).

A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE IN IRAN

The practice and study of medicine in Persia have a long and prolific history. The ancient Iranian medicine was inseparable ties with Zoroastrianism mentioned in their holy book of Avesta and combined by different medical traditions from Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China and Greece for more than 4000 years and merged to form what became the nucleus and foundation of medical practice in the European countries in the 13th century. According to some ancient Iranian myths, practicing medicine can be traced back to the era of Jamshid, the fourth mythical king of Iran and the oldest evidence of surgery demonstrates the trephination of a 13-year-old hydrocephalous girl performed 4850 years ago. The Iranian academic centers like Jundishapur University (3rd century AD) were a breeding ground for the union among the great scientists from different civilizations and attracted many scientists from all over the world especially from Greece, Rome, etc.. These centers successfully followed their predecessors’ theories and greatly extended their scientific research through history. Iranian physicians during the glorious Islamic civilization had a tremendous share in the progress of medical sciences. Upon the rise of Islam and its expansion, Arabic became the official language of the Muslim World and Iranian Muslim scientists and physicians wrote their great works in that language. The excellent clinical observations and physical examinations and writings of Iranian scientists such as Rhazes (Al-Razi, 865-925 AD), Haly Abbas (Ali ibn-al Abbas-al Majusi, died 994 AD), Avicenna (Abou Ali Sina, 980-1037) and Jurjan (Osmail ibn al-Husayn al-Jurjani, 110 AD) influenced all fields of medicine.

Ghanoon Fi Teb by Ibn Sina

Modern medicine flourished under the Qajar Dynasty after a great man called Amir Kabir established Dar-ol-Fonoon School in 1851 in which medicine; pharmacology, mathematics, literature, fine arts, and many others were taught. Through employing foreign teachers, and sending a number of students abroad in 1858, the School came to play a key role in the development and education of modern medicine before the establishment of Tehran University. Following the establishment of the Tehran university school of medicine in 1934 and the return of Iranian graduates from the medical schools in Europe, much progress was made in the development and availability of trained manpower and specialized faculties in medicine. After the Islamic revolution by the growing spirit of independence inspired by the Iranian government the number of medical schools and medical students increased more than 10 times. For the 1st time in recent modern history the Iranian medical universities started to offer post-graduate specialized degrees in basic, clinical and engineering sciences.

Ibn Sina

 Abu Ali Sina wrote several treatises and commentaries on Aristotelian philosophy and Neo-platonism which were influential in medieval European Scholasticism. Zakariya Razi was an alchemist before he started his medical studies and wrote several books and treatises on alchemy of which only four survive.  Razi’s significant achievement was to change alchemy from an occult practice shrouded in mystery into a rational and empirical science of chemistry. One of his innovations was to classify matter into ‘solids’, ‘liquids’ and ‘gases’ and to subdivide naturally occurring matter into ‘animal, ‘vegetable’ and ‘mineral’. He further described his alchemy in three sections viz: knowledge of chemical substances; knowledge of instruments; and knowledge of  its methods to achieve specific chemical reactions. He was incidentally, also the discoverer of alcohol, sulfuric acid and ammonium chloride.

Razi