Persia was a way for the west to connect to the Indian Subcontinent. During the 19th century it was controlled by Russians in the North and the British in the South.
Persia was never colonized by the European powers, but did suffer greatly. They lost some territory and were first controlled by the Russians and then the British during WW1. Still though, they were not declared colonized.
Reza Shah made Iranian nationalism centered around secular Idolatry. This was around the year 1906 and he started to integrate some European laws which replaced the old islamic ones. He wanted to end the strong Islamic influence on Persia.
I am the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei since 1989 to current.
Since WW1, Iran has gone under lots of change. Its original name, Persia, was officially replaced by Iran in 1935. In 1963 the Shah started the White Revolution with the intent to modernize and westernize Iran. In 1978, the Shah was exiled from Iran.
In 1995 the US imposed sanctions on Iran, saying that Iran was sponsoring terrorist groups. Iran denied the accusation, but still took a major blow to the economy during the oil embargo.
Iran’s government is very like those of Western countries, but it much more complex. The highest-ranking official is the Supreme Leaders, who's power is shared by about 2000 other government officials. Next is the president who is only in charge of the country's economics. They also have a Parliament, Assembly of Experts, Council of Guardians, Expediency Council, Judiciary, and National Security and Intelligence Council. With all these different levels of the Government and the power spread among so many people, it is very hard for the Government to get anything major accomplished.