Emigration movements are also part of Iranian history.The Parsis, Persians who followed the Zoroastrian faith, fled to western India after the Arab conquest in AD 936.

However, what makes Iran's migration story unique is that it has experienced simultaneous emigration and immigration to extreme degrees.

In its recent history, Iran has laid claim to producing the highest rates of brain drain in the world while simultaneously topping the list as the world's largest refugee haven, mainly for Afghans and Iraqis.

In the 1977-1978 academic year, about 100,000 Iranians were studying abroad, of whom 36,220 were enrolled in U. institutes of higher learning; the rest were mainly in the United Kingdom, West Germany, France, Austria, and Italy.

In the 1978-1979 academic year, the number of Iranian students enrolled in the United States totaled 45,340, peaking at 51,310 in 1979-1980.

A second phase of emigration took place after the revolution.

Socialist and liberal elements were the first to leave, followed by young men who fled military service and the Iran-Iraq War, followed by young women and families, escaping overly confining gender restrictions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has captured the world's attention.

The hard-liner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the international community's subsequent focus on a nuclear weapons program, combined with the country's involvement in the ongoing crises in the Middle East, have all contributed to keeping Iran firmly in the spotlight.

Although Iran has been seemingly isolated from much of the outside world since the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979, its borders have by no means been closed.