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There are minority Christian (about 300,000), and Jewish (about 25,000 in 1984) populations, as well as Zoroastrians (about 30,000) and Baha'i (about 350,000).
Since that time, the country has struggled to work out the details of its dedication to the teachings of the prophet Muhammad in everyday life and in specific government policies while fighting an expensive border war with Iraq and seeing several million of its wealthiest and most highly educated citizenry emigrate to the West.
By the eleventh century, the religion of Islam dominated the plateau and the advanced Persian sciences, literature, and learning had seduced the leaders of more than one invading army, including Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century and Tamerlane in the fourteenth.
Various native rulers controlled the region over the next centuries.
Some see the first episode of the Cold War in the Soviets' refusal to remove their troops from Iran until forced to do so by the United States and the newly formed United Nations in 1946.
Iran became an even more significant player on the political scene worldwide as oil began to dominate the postwar world market—Iran possesses as much as ten percent of the world's oil reserves.