Across its history, Iran has continuously pursued modernisation whilst looking to maintain its spiritual integrity. It has had a Muslim majority population for centuries and so the culture is deeply characterised by its strong Islamic influence. The Iranian people have a record of practising quite a progressive form of Shi’a Islam. The cultural interpretation of the religion has been traditionally open-minded, making allowances for liberal behaviour and improvements in women’s rights. People generally had more the freedom of choice and expression over, for example, whether they wished to pray or wear a ‘hijab’. However, in 1979, the Islamic Revolution overthrew the secular monarchy and the Islamic Republic was subsequently established.