Iran dominates the media headlines once again, taking center stage in U.S. and European Union strategy toward the Middle East. A more nuanced understanding of Iranian society is now urgently needed. This two volume encyclopedia offers crucial insight into an often misunderstood country that is shrouded in mystery and misperception. Iran embodies a rich and diverse mosaic defining its national identity. There is diversity in Iran’s landscapes and geography, its multiple ethnic groups, varied cultures and traditions, as well as vastly different levels of economic and industrial development, conflicting political tendencies, and often contradictory social and cultural outlooks. Because of its tumultuous recent political history, Iran appears to encapsulate all of these internal differences and stark contrasts more distinctly than most of its neighbors. These texts offer authoritative information on a full range of critical topics of interest, falling under the categories of history, politics, economics, society and culture. The most significant aspects of Iranian life since the 1979 revolution - the era of the Islamic Republic so far - are stressed. Entries show the richness and complexity of Iranian society, and its nuanced responses to political repression, instability, war, pervasive crisis and tension between modernity and tradition.