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Iran elections: key facts about the Islamic republic

Nearly 55 million people are eligible to vote in Iran's parliamentary electionsIran, which holds crucial elections on Friday, is an Islamic republic still rebuilding its international ties after implementing a deal with world powers on its long-controversial nuclear programme. The descendant of the Persian Empire, Iran, with an area of 1,648,195 square kilometres (659,278 square miles), was long a monarchy ruled by a shah and dominated by the Pahlavi dynasty from 1925 to 1979. In January 1979, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was driven out by a popular revolt and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a revolutionary Shiite cleric who had lived in exile for a decade and a half, made a triumphant return on February 1, 1979.

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