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Following Timur's death, two independent and rival states emerged: Kara Koyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu.The Shirvanshahs returned, maintaining a high degree of autonomy as local rulers and vassals from 861, for numerous centuries to come.In 1501, the Safavid dynasty of Iran subdued the Shirvanshahs, and gained its possessions.In the course of the next century, the Safavids converted the formerly Sunni population to Shia Islam, The Safavids allowed the Shirvanshahs to remain in power, under Safavid suzerainty, until 1538, when Safavid king Tahmasp I (r.In the Avesta's Frawardin Yasht ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene." The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo.Over the span of millennia, the name evolved to Āturpātākān (Middle Persian), then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān (New Persian) and present-day Azerbaijan.It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
The local dynasty of the Shirvanshahs became a vassal state of Timur's Empire, and assisted him in his war with the ruler of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh.Iran's official protest, after adoption of the name of Azerbaijan in 1918: "Naming the recently-created state of Caucasus "Azerbaijan", which was created in the aftermath of your (Ottomans) peace with Russia, while there is a province in Iran with the same name, surprised us.The embassy [of Iran] thinks a reconsideration is necessary." When the republic dissolved in May 1918, the leading Musavat party declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), adopting the name of "Azerbaijan" for the new republic; a name that prior to the proclamation of the ADR was solely used to refer to the adjacent northwestern region of contemporary Iran.Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1992), the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (Pf P) program.It is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) the Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist.