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The Persian Empire is any of a series of imperial dynasties centered in Persia (now Iran) with boundaries that fluctuated around that core, extending far into regions that would later become Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan. The first of these was established by Cyrus The Great over 2,500 years ago, in 550 BC, but the existence of dynastic rule centered in the region was absent after a series of foreign invasions, starting by Arab conquest of Persia and later Mongol Invasion, for an 850 year period from 651 AD until 1501 AD. The main religion was Zoroastrianism, founded by Zarathushtra or so called by the Medes Zoroaster. The elite guard of the Persian Empire was known as The Immortals. Dynasties that have been counted as instances of the Persian Empire include: Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC), also called “First Persian Empire” Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD, also called “Arsacid Empire” Sasanian Empire (224–651 AD), also called “Neo-Persian Empire” and “Second Persian Empire” History of Iran under: Safavid dynasty (1501–1736 AD) Afsharid dynasty (1736–1796 AD) Zand dynasty (1750–1794 AD) Qajar dynasty (1785–1925 AD) Pahlavi dynasty (1925–1979 AD)