Academic Committee

Academic Committee (A.C.) Member of IOAA 2009

  • Shahram Abbasi
  • Mohammad Alijani
  • Babak Amin Tafreshi
  • Hosein Haghi
  • Mahdi Khakian
  • Mohammad Taghi Mirtorabi
  • Alireza Molaei Nezhad
  • Sohrab Rahvar
  • Saeed Shami
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Modern Poems

Modern Poems

Modern Persian poetry starts with Nima Yushij (1897-1959):

The moonlight glimmers
The glow-worm glitters,
In nobody’s eyes is sleep broken and yet
The woe of these several sleepers
Break slumber in my wet eyes.
Anxious with me stands the dawn.
Urges me the morn to try and bring
These lost souls the news of its blessed breath.
Alas, in my heart a thorn
Breaks from the thought of this enterprise.
This slender-bodied flower fuse
That with my soul I planted,
And with my soul I watered,
Alas! In my arm it breaks.
Moonlight, by Nima Yushij, translated by S. Saeedpoor

and continues with many others:

There are birds
that leave their nests,
travel elsewhere
and dream of their nests.

Springs they go to winter
and dream
they are in spring.

There are birds
that leave us alone
day and night,
and dream they are with us
day and night.

You’ve seen these birds
and dream
they are with you.
The birds, by Zia Movahed( 1942 ), translated by S. Saeedpoor

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Persian Art

Applied and Decorative:

Calligraphy, the sacred art; in Iranian culture, from ancient times, dating back to the earliest days of the historic era,  to the Islamic period, writing has always been considered of divine origin. In The holly Koran, writing is deeply revered. In the ancient tradition of calligraphy, only through more than 20 years’ practice could a talented scribe gain the acceptance of experts and the authorization to sign his work. 
Persian, unlike Western languages, is written from right to left.
Normally it is written in straight, equally spaced lines, but in calligraphy, according to the taste of the artist, the lines on a page may be horizontal, diagonal, wavy or on a rising curve, and occasionally there are two or more different types of line spacing. In the calligraphy by Mir-Emad (d.1615) the technical principals and minutiae of rhythm, weight, composition and size have reached a state of considerable beauty. In calligraphy written by Mirza Gholam-Reza Isfahani in 1878, the text is only a means of giving shape to the calligrapher’s feeling, and its meaning is conveyed by the entire composition rather than simply the constituent words.


n describing Iranian painting within the realm of Islamic culture, what usually comes to mind is the small manuscript painting known as “miniatures”. Indeed this was the main sphere of the Iranian painter’s activity between the 14th. and 16th. centuries. In miniatures the painter chooses a story from literature and depicts it without ambiguity or complication. Usually gold, silver, lapis lazuli and chromatic grey are used for the large flat areas, and for small figurative elements, intense and brilliant hues such as red, yellow, and green. The medium is opaque watercolour. The manuscript illustrator always tries to make a logical connection between text and painting. The composition of some miniatures is based on fixed geometrical ratios. 
In 17th. century, the acquaintance of Western arts, affected Iranian paintings. 
Lacquerwork; the most interesting of the functional, decorative types of Iranian paintings, Lacquerwork, goes back to the centuries of Islam as an independent art form. It has become a popular art in which the Persian gift for visual beauty has a vast and diverse field of expression. While maintaining its miniaturistic quality of Iranian painting, it has expanded to cover everyday objects such as boxes, cases for different objects, frames, bookstands, and so on.

Carpet making- pile Rugs (knotted-pile rug weavings)

carpet making constitutes one of the most just and mot potent expression of the Iranian culture. The two oldest Iranian arts, painted pottery and rug weaving, are prominent throughout the nation’s long history. Persian rugs, remarkably free from shifts in decorative preferences and foreign influences, has remained true to its traditional artistic autonomy.
The number of knots per square meters or “gereh” is a big value factor for Persian carpets. Typically carpets run in these knots per m2: 10.000, 40.000, 90.000, 160.000 and 250.000. The more knots/m2, the finer the carpet is.

Carpet making – Flat weaves (gelim, zilu, jajim):

Gelim is a coarse woven woolen floor covers. They were preferred usually by tribes on the move, because of their light weigh and the fact that they do not occupy much space. They can also be used for wrapping goods or covering households. zilu is made from cotton, with a color palette of only blue and white, idle for hot climates of the regions around the desert. Jajim has a wrap-faced weave. In jajim the wraps are more active in patterning, and are exposed, while the wefts are hidden (in gelim and zilu it is the other way round).

Architectural Ornament:

Brick work: The art of bonding bricks to produce effects of light and shade, with interlaced geometric designs of flush- laid basket work patterns reached impressive heights during early 12th century. The magnificent Toghrol Tower at Ray, built and ornamented in brickwork was completed in 1139, and also the Chehel Dokhtaran Minaret in Isfahan (1107) and many many brick towers, minarets all over Iran testify the immense creativity of Persian brick work.

Tile work:

With the advent of Islam, Iranian artists, responding to the evolution of Irano-Islamic architecture and the widespread use of tiles in Islamic monuments, gave their creativity free rein to produce perhaps the most beautiful architectural ornaments ever devised, and this is why kashi-kari (tile work) in Iran reached a degree of sophistication unsurpassed anywhere in the world. 
The earliest known and recorded monument with monochrome tile decoration is the minaret of Friday mosque in Damghan (1058). 
The large number of surviving signed and dated luster tiles, combined with other historical evidence indicate that most of the important tile work of the 11th. and 12th. centuries can be ascribed to three generations of the family of Abi Taher Kashani.


the art of decorating the interior surface of buildings with sculpted stucco opened a new chapter in the history of architecture decoration in the Islamic era, and altered the relation between construction and decoration. An example of Coloured stucco may be seen in Ali Qapu Palace in Isfahan.

Mirror Mosaic

the art of creating designs, mostly geometrical, from pieces of mirror set in stucco or wood, creating a sparkling interior space with multiple reflections dates from 1544 in the palace of Shah Tahmasb in the city of Qazvin. However, it was in Isfahan, the third capital of Safavids, that mirror works became an indispensable interior decoration for palaces, and later in mansions and shrines.


There is an epigraph, dated 1672, at the mausoleum of Khajeh Rabi in Mashhad, which states that a wealthy lady named Omm Kolsum paid for the construction of a pool “full of refreshing water,…” This, among many others in the world of Islam, exemplifies the function of a large body of Islamic architectural inscriptions which record a lasting public message.

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The language

The official language of Iran is Persian (Farsi).
The Persian spoken in Iran today developed in the first two centuries after the country’s conversion to Islam in the mid-seventh century AD.
The Persian spoken then, the language of the Sassanid was gradually modified by the introduction of many Arabic words; these retained their Arabic spelling, although their pronunciation adapted to Persian.
Other languages are Turkic dialects, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, and Arabic.
Among the educated classes, English and French are spoken.

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History of Iran

Iran’s history is usually studied in two eras: before Islam and after Islam.
The pre-Islamic period contains five major dynasties: The Elamite with Susa as their capital city; The Medas who were the first to unify Iran politically, with their chief city being Ecbatana (modern Hamadan); The Achaemenids who made the Persian Empire by their first king Cyrus (559-539 BC), and expanded and organized by Darius the Great (522-486 BC).

It lasted until Alexander’s invasion in 330 BC. It evolved from Median state but was far greater in extent, bureaucracy, military, and economy. The Persian Empire was the first to contain, as Darius proudly says in his inscriptions “many people of many tongues”. By the end of Achaemenid period Persepolis (in Shiraz) was famous for being the richest and most beautiful city of the ancient world; The Partians royal family was firmly established in northeastern Iran by 200 BC, and by a century later it had reunified Iranian lands. The Partians continued the Achaemenids’ policy of tolerance and maintained their administrative system; and finally the Sasanians (sassanids) who ruled Persia from 224 to mid- seventh century AD. It was considered then that the civilized world was divided between the Persian and the Roman Empires.

The post-Islamic period: Arabs brought Islam to Iran. From the early ninth century local Iranian rulers and dynasties ruled over different parts of Iran. 
The revival of Persian culture and artistic traditions began mainly during the Samanid rule in Khorasan, and continued during the rule of the Ghaznaids (977-1041). Persian literary activities, particularly in poetry, led to the recognition of the Persian language’s preeminence in Iran. 

Turks began invading in the 10th century and soon established several Turkish states. The invasion of Turks was followed by the Mongols, led by Jenghiz Khan in the 13th century and Timur in the late 14th cent. 

Safavid dynasty (1500-1735, with their capital mainly in Isfahan), was founded by Shah (king) Ismail. It was during this period, specially during the reign (1587-1629) of Shah Abbas that the majestic city of Isfahan was endowed with unprecedented glory and grandeur. A potent factor in the unification of Iran under Safavids was the adaptation of Shi’ism as the official sect of religion. 
The Afghan invasion in 1722 led to a short period of chaotic rule in eastern Iran before Nader Shah (Afshar dynasty), an army officer, crowned himself king in 1736. However, this success was short- lived and was followed by another short- lived yet constructive dynasty , that of Zand dynasty (1750-1794, capital Shiraz), which saw the return of political stability and economic security, as well as a Safavid-style architectural renaissance, albeit on a smaller scale. 

The Zands were succeded by Qajar dynasty (1795-1925, capital Tehran) a Turkish tribe who ruled Iran until the first quarter of the twentieth century.
The important event in the early 20th century in Iran was the rise of the constitutional movement and a constitution establishing a parliament was accepted by the king in 1906. 

Reza Khan, founder of the Pahlavi dynasty (1926), and his son The Shah (Mohammad Reza) ruled Iran until 1978. In 1978, through the Islamic Revolution, people demanded the abolition of the monarchy and the return from exile of Ayatollah Khomeini. On return of The Ayatollah, following a referendum, Iran was declared as Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979. After Ayatollah Khomeini demised in 1989, Ayatollah Khamenei was selected as the Supreme Leader of the country.

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Agriculture contributes just over 20% to the gross national product and employs a third of the labor force. The main food-producing areas are in the Caspian region and in the valleys of the northwest. Wheat, the most important crop, is grown mainly in the west and northwest; rice is the major crop in the Caspian region.
Barley, corn, cotton, sugar beets, tea, hemp, tobacco, fruits (including citrus), nuts, and dates are also grown, and livestock is raised.
Illicit cultivation of the opium poppy is fairly common.
The construction of multipurpose dams and reservoirs along the rivers in the Zagros and Elburz mts. has increased the amount of water available for irrigation.
The northern slopes of the Elburz Mts. are heavily wooded, and forestry products are economically important. In the rivers entering the Caspian Sea are salmon, carp, trout, and pike; sturgeon are abundant in the Caspian Sea.
Petroleum (discovered in 1908 in Khuzestan province) and natural gas are by far the most important of the variety of natural resources found in Iran.
The chief oil fields are found in the central and southwestern parts of the Zagros Mts. in W Iran. Oil also is found in N Iran and in the South in offshore waters of the Persian Gulf.
Domestic oil and gas, along with hydroelectric power facilities, provide the country with power.
Iran is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Besides crude and refined petroleum, Iran’s chief exports are carpets, fruits, nuts, hides, and iron and steel.

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Message by Former Minister of Education

The third International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics will be held in Tehran, Iran between the 17th and 26th of October, 2009. We are pleased to invite aspiring young students from all over the world to join us for a competition which we hope will spur vivacity and compassion among nations. In a competition fortuitously coiciding with the International Year of Astronomy, we seek not only to introduce you to Iranian culture, but also to give you an opportunity to appreciate how Iranian astronomers have contributed to the science throughout the course of history.

I would like to thank you for your participation and warmly welcome you to Iran. I wish you a very pleasant stay and good luck.

Alireza Aliahmadi
Former Minister of Education

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General Information About Iran

Map and land of Iran

IRAN, officially Islamic Republic of Iran, has the area of 636,290 sq miles (1,648,000 sq km), SW Asia. The country’s name was changed from Persia to Iran in 1935. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea; on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and on the west by Turkey and Iraq.

The Shatt al Arab forms part of the Iran-Iraq border. Tehran is the capital, largest city and the political, cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation. The country is divided into 30 provinces. In addition to Tehran, important cities include Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, Rasht, Hamadan, Abadan, and Ahwaz.

The land lies within the Alpine-Himalayan mountain system and is composed of a vast central plateau rimmed by mountain ranges and limited lowland regions. Iran is subject to numerous and often severe earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Iranian Plateau (alt. 4,000 ft/1,200 m), which extends beyond the low ranges of E Iran into Afghanistan, is a region of interior drainage. It consists of a number of arid basins of salt and sand, such as those of Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut, and some marshlands, such as the area around Hamun-i-Helmand along the Afghanistan border. The plateau is surrounded by high folded and volcanic mountain chains including the Kopet Mts. in the northwest, the Elburz Mts. (rising to 18,934 ft/5,771 m at Mt. Damavand, Iran’s highest point) in the north, and the complex Zagros Mts. in the west. Lake Urmia, the country’s largest inland body of water, is in the Zagros of NW Iran. Narrow coastal plains are found along the shores of the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and the Caspian Sea; at the head of the Persian Gulf is the Iranian section of the Mesopotamian lowlands. Of the few perennial rivers in Iran, only the Karun in the west is navigable for large craft; other major rivers are the Karkheh and the Sefid Rud.

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Message by Acting Minister of Education

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Distinguished scholars, professors, organizers, honorable participants, dear guests to the 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy and Astrophysics,

It is indeed my great pleasure to witness a lively and dynamic presence of lovers of astronomy in a warm atmosphere of friendship, brotherhood and affection, in which one can feel the scent of venture for knowledge and understanding.

We are privileged to be your host in a great land with an ancient historical and scientific background in terms of astronomy. This country is proud to be the cradle of prominent scientists namely Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tousi, Abdolrahman Soufi-Razi, Qiaseddin Jamshid-Kashani and tens of other renowned figures, each of them is truly the origin of significant developments and breakthroughs in the whole world. We are honored to have such national scientific assets as well as tireless young generation who have guaranteed our remarkable place in scientific developments.

I hope this year competition would create a suitable ground for growth of merits and talents, enhancement of astronomy and international congruity.

To conclude, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all founders and organizers of this scientific forum and such valuable competition and wish you prosperity and success.

Seyed Ramezan Mohsenpour
Acting Minister of Education

See what Former Minister Of Education says

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IOAA 2009 Hosting Institute

Ministry of Education
Young Scholar Club
West Hemat High way,
Sardar Jangal Ave.

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