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Countries > Iran Iran Flag

Languages   13 languages are spoken in Iran. We have 740 products available for 11 of those languages.

Capital: Tehran
Population: 68,000,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Iran Map


Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan

Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 53 00 E

Map references: Middle East

total: 1.648 million sq km
land: 1.636 million sq km
water: 12,000 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than Alaska

Land boundaries:
total: 5,440 km
border countries: Afghanistan 936 km, Armenia 35 km, Azerbaijan-proper 432 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 179 km, Iraq 1,458 km, Pakistan 909 km, Turkey 499 km, Turkmenistan 992 km

Coastline: 2,440 km
note: Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: natural prolongation
exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements, or median lines in the Persian Gulf
territorial sea : 12 nm

Climate: mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast

Terrain: rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point : Qolleh-ye Damavand 5,671 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur

Land use:
arable land : 10%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures : 27%
forests and woodland: 7%
other: 55% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 94,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes along the Western border

Environment - current issues: air pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified : Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation


Population: 66,622,704 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.6% (male 10,753,218; female 10,273,015)
15-64 years : 63.7% (male 21,383,542; female 21,096,307)
65 years and over:4.7% (male 1,633,016; female 1,483,606) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.77% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 17.54 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 5.39 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.1 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 28.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.25 years
male:68.87 years
female:71.69 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Iranian(s)
adjective: Iranian

Ethnic groups: Persian 51%, Azerbaijani 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%

Religions: Shi'a Muslim 89%, Sunni Muslim 10%, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i 1%

Languages: Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 72.1%
male: 78.4%
female: 65.8% (1994 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran
conventional short form: Iran
local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
local short form : Iran

Data code: IR

Government type: theocratic republic

National capital: Tehran

Administrative divisions:28 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan); Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi, Azarbayjan-e Sharqi, Bushehr, Chahar Mahall va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kohkiluyeh va Buyer Ahmad, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan

Independence: 1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed)

National holiday: Islamic Republic Day, 1 April (1979)

Constitution: 2-3 December 1979; revised 1989 to expand powers of the presidency and eliminate the prime ministership

Legal system: the Constitution codifies Islamic principles of government

Suffrage: 15 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)
head of government:President (Ali) Mohammad KHATAMI-Ardakani (since 3 August 1997); First Vice President Dr. Mohammad Reza AREF-YAZDI (since 26 August 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval
elections: leader of the Islamic Revolution appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 8 June 2001 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results:(Ali) Mohammad KHATAMI-Ardakani reelected president; percent of vote - (Ali) Mohammad KHATAMI-Ardakani 77%

Legislative branch:unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami (290 seats, note - changed from 270 seats with the 18 February 2000 election; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 18 February-NA April 2000 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: the following organizations appeared to have achieved considerable success at elections to the sixth Majlis in early 2000: Assembly of the Followers of the Imam's Line, Freethinkers' Front, Islamic Iran Participation Front, Moderation and Development Party, Servants of Construction Party, Society of Self-sacrificing Devotees

Political pressure groups and leaders: active student groups include the pro-reform "Organization for Strengthening Unity" and "the Union of Islamic Student Societies'; groups that generally support the Islamic Republic include Ansar-e Hizballah, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, Muslim Students Following the Line of the Imam, and the Islamic Coalition Association; opposition groups include the Liberation Movement of Iran and the Nation of Iran party; armed political groups that have been almost completely repressed by the government include Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), People's Fedayeen, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan; the Society for the Defense of Freedom

International organization participation: CCC, CP, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note - Iran has an Interests Section in the Pakistani Embassy; address: Iranian Interests Section, Pakistani Embassy, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: [1] (202) 965-4990

Diplomatic representation from the US: none; note - protecting power in Iran is Switzerland

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red; the national emblem (a stylized representation of the word Allah) in red is centered in the white band; ALLAH AKBAR (God is Great) in white Arabic script is repeated 11 times along the bottom edge of the green band and 11 times along the top edge of the red band


Economy - overview: Iran's economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures. President KHATAMI has continued to follow the market reform plans of former President RAFSANJANI and has indicated that he will pursue diversification of Iran's oil-reliant economy although he has made little progress toward that goal. The strong oil market in 1996 helped ease financial pressures on Iran and allowed for Tehran's timely debt service payments. Iran's financial situation tightened in 1997 and deteriorated further in 1998 because of lower oil prices. The subsequent rise in oil prices in 1999-2000 afforded Iran fiscal breathing room but does not solve Iran's structural economic problems, including the encouragement of foreign investment

GDP: purchasing power parity - $426 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,400 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20%
industry : 24%
services: 56% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index:13% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 18 million
by occupation:agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (2001 est.)
note: shortage of skilled labor (1998)

Unemployment rate: 14% (1999 est.)

revenues: $24 billion
expenditures: $22 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), metal fabricating, armaments

Industrial production growth rate: 5.5% (2001 nonoil est.)

Electricity - capacity: 25.12 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 120.33 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 111.907 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: wheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviar

total value : $27.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: petroleum 85%, carpets, fruits, nuts, hides, iron, steel
partners: JJapan 20.5%, Italy 7%, UAE 5.9%, France 4.7%, China 4.1% (1999)

total value: $17.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities : machinery, military supplies, metal works, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, technical services, refined oil products
partners: Germany, Japan, Italy, UK, UAE, Russia, France

Debt - external:$7.3 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient : $116.5 million (1995)

Currency: 10 Iranian rials (IR) = 1 toman; note - domestic figures are generally referred to in terms of the toman

Exchange rates: from 1997 to 2001, Iran had a multi-exchange-rate system; one of these rates, the official floating exchange rate, by which most essential goods were imported, averaged 1,750 rials per US dollar; in March 2002, the multi-exchange-rate system was converged into one rate at about 7,900 rials per US dollar

Fiscal year: 21 March - 20 March


Telephones: 6.313 million (1997)

Telephone system: inadequate but currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages, not presently connected
domestic: as a result of heavy investing in the telephone system since 1994, the number of long-distance channels in the microwave radio relay trunk has grown substantially; many villages have been brought into the net; the number of main lines in the urban systems has approximately doubled; and thousands of mobile cellular subscribers are being served; moreover, the technical level of the system has been raised by the installation of thousands of digital switches
international: HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; submarine fiber-optic cable to UAE with access to Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line runs from Azerbaijan through the northern portion of Iran to Turkmenistan with expansion to Georgia and Azerbaijan; satellite earth stations - 9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat; Internet service available but limited to electronic mail to promote Iranian culture

Radio broadcast stations: AM 72, FM 5, shortwave 5 (1998)

Radios: 17 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 28 (plus 450 low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 4.61 million (1997)


total:6,130 km
broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge
standard gauge:6,036 km 1.435-m gauge (187 km electrified)

total : 140,200 km
paved: 49,440 km (including 470 km of expressways)
unpaved:90,760 km (1998 est.)

Waterways: 904 km; the Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use

Pipelines: crude oil 5,900 km; petroleum products 3,900 km; natural gas 4,550 km

Ports and harbors: Abadan (largely destroyed in fighting during 1980-88 war), Ahvaz, Bandar Beheshti, Bandar-e 'Abbas, Bandar-e Anzali, Bandar-e Bushehr, Bandar-e Khomeyni, Bandar-e Mah Shahr, Bandar-e Torkeman, Jazireh-ye Khark, Jazireh-ye Lavan, Jazireh-ye Sirri, Khorramshahr (limited operation since November 1992), Now Shahr

Merchant marine:
total:147 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,136,971 GRT/7,166,703 DWT
ships by type: bulk 48, cargo 36, chemical tanker 4, container 10, liquefied gas 1, multi-functional large-load carrier 6, petroleum tanker 30, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 9, short-sea passenger 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 322 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 118
over 3,047 m: 40
2,438 to 3,047 m:24
1,524 to 2,437 m :24
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m:7 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m:3
1,524 to 2,437 m:13
914 to 1,523 m : 124
under 914 m: 63 (2001)

Heliports: 11 (2001)


Military branches: Islamic Republic of Iran regular forces (includes Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces), Revolutionary Guards (includes Ground, Air, Navy, Qods, and Basij-mobilization-forces), Law Enforcement Forces

Military manpower - military age: 21 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 18,868,571 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 11,192,731 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males :823,041 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $9.7 billion (FY00)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: Iran and Iraq restored diplomatic relations in 1990 but are still trying to work out written agreements settling outstanding disputes from their eight-year war concerning border demarcation, prisoners-of-war, and freedom of navigation and sovereignty over the Shatt al-Arab waterway; Iran occupies two islands in the Persian Gulf claimed by the UAE: Lesser Tunb (called Tunb as Sughra in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Kuchek in Persian by Iran) and Greater Tunb (called Tunb al Kubra in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Bozorg in Persian by Iran); it jointly administers with the UAE an island in the Persian Gulf claimed by the UAE (called Abu Musa in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Abu Musa in Persian by Iran) - over which Iran has taken steps to exert unilateral control since 1992, including access restrictions and a military build-up on the island; the UAE has garnered significant diplomatic support in the region in protesting these Iranian actions; Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of opium poppy for the domestic and international drug trade; net opiate importer but also a key transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin to Europe