Located in the heart of the Middle East, Iran was at the crossroads of several early societies and home to the powerful Persian Empire, one of history's most influential civilizations. Today, Iran continues to occupy a prominent position on the global stage. With an estimated 11 percent of the world's oil reserves, Iran plays a key role in the global economy. Culturally, the Islamic nation continues to have an impact that extends far beyond its borders. In addition to its rich petroleum resources, Iran is sandwiched between conflict-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan. This strategic location, magnified by the country's own ongoing political instability and toying with nuclear energy, makes Iran an important geopolitical power. This new edition, authored by an Iranian American, looks into Iran's fascinating past, views its present-day people and places, and gazes into the country's possible future.