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The advent of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BC.
From the 34th to the 20th century BC, northwestern Iran was part of the Kura-Araxes culture, which stretched into the neighboring Caucasus and Anatolia.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, in the dictionary's 2014 Usage Ballot, addressed the topic of the pronunciations of Iran and Iraq.
According to this study, the pronunciations "ih-RAHN" and "ih-RANN" were almost equally acceptable, while "ih-RAHN" was preferred by most panelists participating in the ballot.
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.
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.
With regard to the "eye-RANN" pronunciation, however, more than 70% of the panelists deemed it unacceptable.
Among the reasons given by those panelists were that "eye-RANN" has "hawkish connotations" and sounds "angrier", "xenophobic", "ignorant", and "not...cosmopolitan".
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.
and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan; to the north by the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq.
The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance.
From the late 10th to the late seventh century BC, the Iranian peoples, together with the "pre-Iranian" kingdoms, fell under the domination of the Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia.
Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, as well as the fellow Iranian Scythians and Cimmerians, and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire.
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.