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Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century AD, ultimately leading to the displacement of the indigenous faiths of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism with Islam . Iran made major contributions to the Islamic Golden Age that followed, producing many influential figures in art and science. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were later conquered by the Turks and the Mongols . The rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, [4] which followed the country's conversion to Shia Islam , marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history . [5] [23] By the 18th century, under Nader Shah , Iran briefly possessed what was arguably the most powerful empire at the time. [24] The 19th-century conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses. [25] [26] Popular unrest culminated in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 , which established a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature . Following a coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States in 1953 , Iran gradually became closely aligned with the West, and grew increasingly autocratic. [27] Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression led to the 1979 Revolution , which followed the establishment of an Islamic republic , [28] a political system which includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic " Supreme Leader ". [29] During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq , which lasted for almost nine years and resulted in a high number of casualties and financial loss for both sides.

Nadr then attacked and routed the Ottoman Turks, who had occupied adjacent areas of Azerbaijan and Iraq . Meanwhile, Ṭahmāsp had rashly attacked the Turks while Nadr was absent quelling a revolt in Khorāsān , but the shah was heavily defeated and was forced to conclude peace with the Turks on ignominious terms. Enraged at this, Nadr hurried back, deposed Ṭahmāsp, placed the latter’s infant son on the throne, and declared himself regent. After sustaining a defeat at the hands of the Turks in Iraq, Nadr revenged himself by driving them completely out of Iran. Then, by threatening Russia with war, he forced that nation to relinquish its Caspian provinces to Iran. In 1736 Nadr deposed the youthful ʿAbbās III (as Ṭahmāsp II’s son was styled) and ascended the Iranian throne himself, taking the title of Nādir Shāh.


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