The idea of an "Iranian" empire or kingdom in a political sense is a purely Sasanian one.It was the result of a convergence of interests between the new dynasty and the Zoroastrian clergy, as we can deduce from the available evidence.The Shah lost much of his claim to western Afghanistan following the Anglo-Iranian war of 1856-1857.Only in 1970 did a UN sponsored consultation end Iranian claims to suzerainty over the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain.The "Ajam" and "Huwala" are ethnic communities of Bahrain of Persian origin.
At its height, Iranian rulers controlled Iraq, Afghanistan, Western Pakistan, much of Central Asia, and the Caucasus.
, Sarzamin-e Pārs), is a term used to refer to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that has significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various Iranian (Persian) empires (such as those of the Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sassanians, Samanids, Safavids, and Afsharids and the Qajar Empire), having considerable aspects of Persian culture due to extensive contact with the various Empires based in Persia (e.g., those regions and peoples in the North Caucasus that were not under direct Iranian rule), or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranic peoples who patronize their respective cultures (as it goes for the western parts of South Asia, Bahrain and China).
It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains.
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire wrested from Tehran's control what is today Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan, and part of Georgia.
Iranian elementary school texts teach about the Iranian roots not only of cities like Baku, but also cities further north like Derbent in southern Russia.
In centuries past, Iranian rule once stretched westward into modern Iraq and beyond.