The brouhaha was initially triggered by the actions of Median ruler Astyages, and was quickly spread to other provinces, as they allied with the Persians.Later conquests under Cyrus and his successors expanded the empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, as well as the lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers.In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great, the son of Mandane and Cambyses I, took over the Median Empire, and founded the Achaemenid Empire by unifying other city states.The conquest of Media was a result of what is called the Persian Revolt.The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third-largest number in Asia and eleventh-largest in the world.The term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians.Following the coup of 1953, which was instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States, Iran gradually became closely aligned with the West, and grew increasingly autocratic.

Iran made major contributions to the Islamic Golden Age that followed, producing many influential figures in art and science.

and reached its greatest extent during the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great in the sixth century BC, stretching from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming a larger empire than previously ever existed in the world.

The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, but reemerged shortly after as the Parthian Empire, followed by the Sasanian Empire, which became a leading world power for the next four centuries.

According to international reports, Iran's human rights record is exceptionally poor.

The regime in Iran has frequently persecuted and arrested critics of the government and its Supreme Leader.

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