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Geography >> Middle East >> Iran History and Timeline


Capital: Tehran

Population: 78,868,711

The Geography of Iran

Borders: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Caspian Sea (Russia and Kazakhstan), Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman

Country of Iran Map
Total Size: 1,648,000 square km

Size Comparison: slightly larger than Alaska

Geographical Coordinates: 32 00 N, 53 00 E

World Region or Continent: Middle East

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

Geographical Low Point: Caspian Sea -28 m

Geographical High Point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,671 m

Climate: mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast

Major Cities: TEHRAN (capital) 7.19 million; Mashhad 2.592 million; Esfahan 1.704 million; Karaj 1.531 million; Tabriz 1.459 million (2009)

Major Landforms: Alborz Mountains, Zagros Mountains, Lut Desert, Kavir Desert, Mount Damavand, Khuzestan Plain, Caspian Plain

Major Bodies of Water: Lake Urmia (salt lake), Karun River, Karkheh River, Zayandeh River, Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea

Famous Places: Persepolis (capital of the Persian Empire), Milad Tower in Tehran, Golestan Palace, Azadi Tower, Mosque of the Shah, Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Tomb of Imam Reza, Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Lake Urmia, Vank Cathedral

Economy of Iran

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

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

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

Major Exports: petroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets

Major Imports: industrial raw materials and intermediate goods, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services, military supplies

Currency: Iranian rial (IRR)

National GDP: $990,800,000,000

Government of Iran

Type of Government: theocratic republic

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

Iranian Provinces
(click to see larger view)
Divisions: Iran is divided into 31 provinces. The largest by population are Tehran, Razavi Khorasan, and Isfahan. The largest by area are Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, and Razavi Khorasan. See the map to the right to see the location and name of each province.

National Anthem or Song: Soroud-e Melli-ye Jomhouri-ye Eslami-ye Iran (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran)

National Symbols:
Country of Iran Flag
Description of flag: The flag of Iran was adopted on July 29, 1980. It is called the Three Colour Flag or the Holy Flag. It has three horizontal stripes of green (top), white (middle), and red (bottom). In the center of the flag is the national emblem in red. Along the edge of the red and green stripes the words "God is Great" is written 22 times. Green stands for happiness, unity, vitality, and the Persian language. White represents peace. Red represents martyrdom.

National Holiday: Republic Day, 1 April (1979)

Other Holidays: Nowruz, Khomeini's death, Victory of the Iranian Revolution, Islamic Republic Day, Birth of Muhammad, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Eid al-Ghadeer, Martyrdom of Fatima, Nature Day

The People of Iran

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

Nationality: Iranian(s)

Religions: Shi'a Muslim 89%, Sunni Muslim 9%, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i 2%

Origin of the name Iran: The word "Iran" comes from an early Iranian word "Aryana" which means "Land of the Aryans." For many years, up until the mid-1900s, Iran was called Persia and the name Persia is still sometimes used to refer to the land of Iran.

Azadi Tower
Famous People:

Geography >> Middle East >> Iran History and Timeline

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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