The climatic conditions of the country are at the origin of the great poverty of vegetation. In general, steppe formations predominate, with grasses, astragals, thorny plants. Among the tree species there are tamarisks and acacias, but in general with little developed stems. In the southernmost part, the tropicality of the climate is revealed by the presence of dwarf palms (pish) and, in the coastal oases, date palms, especially in the Ābādān area. On the mountainous slopes that are best sprayed there are plant species of a temperate environment, including in particular oaks, which once had to form large woods, today very degraded. Lush woods, on the other hand, can still be found on the Caspian side of the Elburz, where many other temperate species appear, such as poplars and willows, elms, etc., trees of a riparian environment present wherever there is water and irrigation, even on the plateau. Wildlife includes leopards, gazelles, tigers, onagers, hyenas, bears, wild boars, ibex. There are numerous rodents, reptiles and amphibians; the number of migratory birds is also noteworthy. A great variety of fish lives in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. Protected areas cover 6.8% of the territory with 16 national parks, established to preserve particular ecosystems, and numerous oases and reserves. There is considerable air pollution (mainly in urban areas) due to industrial and automobile emissions, and water pollution due to urban waste and waste water; the Persian Gulf is also polluted by oil. The country has been severely damaged, including at the environmental level, by wars, in particular the Iran-Iraq one. Deforestation, desertification, land degradation are other environmental problems of the country. Finally, there is insufficient drinking water.
HISTORY: ANCIENT PERSIA
Iran, before being occupied by the Aryan tribes, was the seat in its western part of the Elamite kingdom with its capital in Susa, which during the second millennium BC. C., under Mesopotamian influences, had an important cultural part between the Tigris valley, the Zagros chain and the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Indo-European tribes, whose first headquarters were probably the steppes of southern Russia and Transcaucasia, moved southward around the middle of the second millennium. Among the Iranian tribes settled in the western part of the plateau, the Scythians, whose supremacy was short-lived, the Medes, already mentioned in the Assyrian annals in 836 BC, emerge in importance . C., whose kingdom, with Ecbatana as its capital, came from Elam to Urartu, and mainly the Achaemenid Persians. The latter, at first sovereigns of a small kingdom in the region of Pārsa, semi-independent under Assyrians and Elamites, and then vassal of the Medes, soon came to dominate almost the entire ancient world, particularly under Cyrus the Great and Darius I (6th century) -V BC), with which the Achaemenid empire extended from Thrace and Egypt in the west to Gandhāra and the Indus valley in the east. This empire, characterized by a composite and cosmopolitan culture, a grandiose synthesis of the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt and Asia Minor, in the century. IV a. C. fell in a few years under the blows of Alexander the Great, who paved the way for a profound Hellenization both political and cultural of Iran, continued under the Seleucids. The Parthians (II century BC-III AD), originally from Khorāsān, then took over the Iranian plateau, while the eastern extremity of Iran was dominated, in the first two centuries of our era, by the kingdom of the Kuṣāṇa. According to usprivateschoolsfinder, an Iranian national reaction was formed by the rise of the Sassanid dynasty (III-VII century), originally from Fārs, whose strongly centralized empire, with its capital at Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia., is marked by a reabsorption of the Hellenistic elements that penetrated Iran in previous eras and by a rebirth of national traditions and of the Mazdean religion.
LITERATURE. PRE-ISLAMIC PRODUCTION
The oldest document of Iranian literature before the advent of Islam is the Avestā, which contains the religious preaching of Zarathustra (6th century BC). From Achaemenid Iran (6th-4th century BC) there are no literary works, but only monumental inscriptions; the most important are those of Behistūn, Persepolis and Susa, sculpted by Darius and Xerxes, in ancient Persian, Akkadian and Elamic. With the Sassanids (III-VII century) we assist, after the Hellenization parenthesis of the Arsacid period, to a vigorous revival of the Zoroastrian religion, testified by a vast production of paraphrases and exegesis of Avestan texts, in a Southwestern Middle Iranian language, Pahlavi . Of this exegetical literature it will suffice to recall the Denkart (Acts of Faith), a kind of encyclopedia of Mazdeism (more recent name to express the religion of Zarathustra) which has come down to us in a late edition, from the 13th century. IX, and the Bundahišn (Creation Story). Also in Pahlavithere is a not vast production of profane inspiration, where the legends dear to the poets of Muslim Iran begin to appear. Important, because immediate precedents of the Book of Kings of Firdūsī in terms of heritage of legends and national inspiration, are the short prose novels very popular at that time, of which the best known is the Book of Deeds of Artaxšīr, son of Papakān, in which the Sassanid dynasty is celebrated, known to us in drafting composed around 650. Shortly we have the poetic production: only the history of Zārer (perhaps sec. IV) seems to welcome the epic echo of YaST of ‘ Avesta in the story of the war between the king Turkic Arǧasp and the king Guštasp, faithful to the religion of Zarathustra.