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History

The documented history of Iran begins with the Achaemenian dynasty dating back about 2500 years ago. A significant era marked by decisive unification of the pars tribes during the reign of Astyages and his grandson, Cyrus, who initially formed an extensive, centralized and mighty empire. Although according to will the "Aryans", inhabitants of the vast Iranian plateau, were not the founders of civilization and followed the Babylonian as well as Egyption examples yet their ingenious Souls enabled them to transform those models, institute the first autonomous nation and establish a well-organized financial system. Ironically, Achaemenian's most remarkable military expedition against the Greeks took place in 480 B.C. resulting in both the Iranian's defeat and Seizure of undisputed power by Alexander.

Darius, another prominent king of the mentioned dynasty, divided his empire into tewenty states or "satrapi" and accordingly appointed powerful rulers for all. He also began building roads to facilitate trade, enhance relations among the states and attain his military goals. "Shahi" or king's Road, extending 2400 kilometers, linked Susa to Mesopotamia (located in present day Iraq) while another major road connected Babylonia to India. Establishment of a tax and wage system for the labour, introduction of a unified measuring system, emergence of private banks, granting of loans for agricultural purposes and coin minting highlight the worthy accomplishments of this particular era.

Appropriately, Roman Ghirshman also has noted that once the use of coins became common overland and over seas trade rapidly extended to distant lands.

The Royal messengers, chapars, would travel the long and vast roads of Achaemenian empire to deliver the Royal decrees or commands to the state rulers as well as military commanders and return with reports on the state of affairs. The messengers would then deliver the communications to the "Chapar House", present day post office, situated along the route and the process would continue until reaching the final destination. The "Silk Road" too was one of the ancient trade routes which led to Kashgar from two opposite directions of north and south. Extending westward to Samarkand, Marv and Balkh in northen region of Iran, passing through Central Asia leading to ancient Greece. This major historical route connecting the west to the east was known as the Great Road of Khorasan or "the Silk Road", as previously mentioned. The pre-Islam civilization of Iran takes pride in such innovations, particularly because the management and maintenance of the "King's Great Road" 25 Centuries ago constituted great honor for Iranians among all nations.

In addition to land routes, various sea routes were also frequented and ships with capacities up to 300 tons treaded those waters. The ship's sailors were mainly Phoenicians or Greeks, the officers were Iranians whereas a 10,000-strong military formed Darius's renowned "Immortal Army". More over, excavation of the Suez Chanal (the chanal dug on the order of Darius and slightly different from the present chanal) exhibited the economic and military merits of yet another chapter of Iranian history.

The "Throne of Jamshid" or Persepolis was chosen as Iran's capital during the rule of Achaemenians. However, the corner-stone of Persepolis was laid during the reign of Darius I - ofter whom each king added more sections to the site. Also the cities of Susa, Babylonia and Ekbatan (today's Hamadan) each inturn served as the nation's capital.

During the rule of Ardeshir, the founder of the Sassanide dynasty, a very powerful centralized government developed and for the first time in Iran the religion of Zoroaster (the Iranian prophet) was declared as the official religion. A faith whose essential pillars are laid upon virtuous thoughts, virtuous words, and virtuous deeds.

The Prophet of Islam, Mohammad (BABUHHP) was born in the city of Mecca during the rule of Anushirvan Sassani, and was chosen as the completion of all prophecy and the last prophet during the reign of Khosrow Parviz (610 A.D.). Weakness of the Sassanide government, oppressions of the Kings, and at the same time Islam's human-rights oriented ideology and it's message of equality and brotherhood of mankind were the imperative factors which led to the victory of Islam's army over the Iranian military might in the course of numerous battles. The Prophet Mohammad migrated to Medina from Mecca (622 A.D). Thus, this particular year was chosen as the base of the Muslims' calendar owing to the indisputable effect of this migration. At that time, Islam spread mainly in the Arabian peninsula, and after the prophet in the Southern parts of Iran, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and all of Egypt as well as northern part of Syria embaraced Islam. In the course of all these victories, call to God's religion with the slogan "the unique Allah is Great" became the infrastructure of the Muslims' new, powerful and popular ideology.

Iran's mighty army was defeated in the "Ghadessieh" (15 A.H.) and "Nahavand" (21 A.H.) battles, and the country gradually came under the influence of Islam.

The expedition of the devastating mogul tribe to Iran began (616 A.H) and the last Persian King of the dynasty, Sultan Jalal-e-din Kharazmshah was overthrown by Gengiz's army and later put to death (628 A.H.). The period of Mogul chieftain's rule in Iran was the most oppressed era the nation had ever seen and the conditions did not change until the founding of the Iranian dynasty, the Safavides, and the rule of Shah Ismeal.

The Mogul were removed from Iran's political scene after about 300 years by the Safavides, and Shah Ismeal was crowned in Tabriz (907 A.H). During the reign of Safavie Dynasty relations between Iran and European and other countries expanded and Iran's powerful centralized government, during Shah Abbas's rule, established political and economic ties with great leaders such as Queen Elizabeth, Philip II the king of Spain, India's Akbar shah and also put an end to the domination of Portuguese in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian culture and art once again flourished during the Safavie rule and architechture, carpet-weaving, miniature painting, gilding and handicraft(s) underwent special development.

After the Safavide, alternately weak and strong governments came to power among which the government of Nader Shah Afshar, Karim Khan Zand, Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, Naser-e-din Shah and Mozafar-e-din Shah are noteworthy. During the rule of Nader Shah, The Russians were expelled from Iran, the booties which the Ottomans had taken from the country were recovered, Kandhar and Delhi became parts of Iran and once again the Iranian territory was expanded and included a vast area of southeast Asia. Oppression and tyranny became prevelant in the course of the Qajar dynasty's rule due to  treason of courtiers and the Kings' powerlessness and inattention to the state of affairs. The unprecedented and historical measures of Mirza Taghi Khan Amir Kabir, Naser-e-din Shah's prime minister, such as dispatching students abroad for higher education, printing of newspaper, compilation of laws, etc. made him an immortal historical personage.

The new era began with the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Khan Mir-Panj, commander of a Kazak battalion, occupied Tehran on 22 Feb. 1920, and five years later crowned himself the King with the support of England. Gradually, he began opposing the Islamic culture and tranditions and his despotic rule lasted for 16 years. In 1941 under pressure by England, he abdicated the throne in favor of his son Mohammad-Reza and was exiled into St.Moritz island and then to Johannesburg in South Africa where he later died.

Mohammad Reza too, fairly followed in the footsteps of his father for 37 years of his reign. Following the events leading to nationalization of oil, he was reinstated subsequent to a coup and while England's position with this rule began to deteriorate, the United States gained more influence and power in the country's political, economic and culture affairs.

As his father, Mohammad-Reza too was strongly against the presence and involvement of clergymen in the socio-political scene. After his forced summary referendum concerning the so-called "Agriculture and land reforms" or the allocation of farmland to farmers, Iran's dependence on imported goods, false employment due to relocation of farmers in cities, and "Consumerism", as opposed to "Production", increased sharply which were strongly opposed by the time's scholors and theologians, particulary the late Imam Khomeini. The opposition of both religious scholars and the people to the government in 1963 as well as army's assault on Qom's theological school (Iran's main center for training theologians) coupled with martydom of a large number of those students and the people, paved the grounds for escalation of religious movement within the country and their determination to take over the political arena, materialization of the idea of "unity of politics and religion" in the form of the Islamic Republic of Iran and uprooting of 2500 years of the Kings' despotic rule in this country.

With the victory of the Islamic revolution, for the first time ever the people of Iran went to the polls in April 1979 and voted in favour of the establishment of the Islamic republican system with an overwhelming majority of over 98.8 percent. The assembly of experts then embarked upon formulating the Constitutional law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This Constitutional law was ofcourse approved by the vote of the Iranian nation. The significant point, however, was the united presence of the people in the presidential election, elections for the Islamic consultative assembly as well as other relevant elections which took place one after the other in order to determine the major and fundamental organs and institutions of the Islamic system. With the establishment of the Islamic government many conspiracies were hatched by the world imperialism. Fortunately, all of them failed due to the presence of the Iranian people on the scenes. The gravest of such conspiracy, hatched with the main objectives of weakening and paralyzing Iran's economic and political system and the occupation of the fertile land of Khuzistan, was Iraqi regime's invasion of Iran directly provoked by the United States in 1980 -- that was only two years following the victory of the Islamic revolution. The war continued for 8 years and included the most savage bombings and chemical attacks leaving much destruction and damages in 4 border provinces of the country in the South and the West. Hundreds of thousands of the best and most faithful forces were martyred or disabled in the war and millions of people became homeless as a result of the war.

This destructive war came to an end in 1989 due to brave resistance of Iranian people and acceptance of the UN security council resolution 598. Moreover, events such as assassination of the political leaders or state officials, economic sanctions and various plans for isolation of Islamic Republic of Iran were all the cost a nation paid in order to establish its first favorite republic.

On fourth of June 1989 the grand leader and architect of the Islamic revolution, The late Imam Khomeini, passed away and the world lost one of its most revered and distinguished religious and political leaders. Besides his role as a political leader, Imam Khomeini was a prominent instructor of ethics who lived in ultimate continence and chastity.

Following the demise of Imam Khomeini, the assembly of experts chose one of the prominent students of Imam Khomeini, a great combatant who had been imprisoned and send into exile by the regim of the Shah many times, as the leader of the Islamic revolution. This noble personage was none but grand Ayatollah Khamenei who had been elected as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran twice following the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

With his election as the leader of the Islamic revolution, the reconstruction programs began in full might and despite all the bottlenecks that the war had created the construction works maintained their pace in the course of first-five year plan designed by the government of president Hashemi Rafsanjani

The government managed to reconstruct the major portion of the ruins, many factories resumed operations, agriculture flourished, the water supply and sewage networks plus great dams were designed and constructed and finally the rate of illiteracy which acted as a barrier in the way of the country's development, reached its lowest. Despite some economic problems, the Islamic Republic of Iran has managed to adopt an independent political and economic policy and relying on local specialized forces extends international cooperation and enjoys a high level of acceptability worldwide.

Renovation of the Silk Road has been transformed into a regional and global demand during the recent years and now a national will strongly supports this constructive desire in the Islamic Republic as well. Since 1988 UNESCO has also reinforced all the relevant international decisions for restoration of this immense ancient road through holding various conferences in the world's famous cities such as New Delhi, Paris, Tashkent and the last of which was held in the picturesque city of Isfahan in 1995.

On completion, once again, this enormous project would revive the historic role of Iran as the bastion of multinational communication, indispensable for the development of regional commerce and cultural relations. Upon disintegration of the former "Soviet Union" in 1985, the policy of friendship and cooperation with the newly independent and autonomous states (situated in the north of Iran) received immediate attention as one of the utmost and perpetual foreign policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In compliance with the stated policy, therefore numerous multilateral contracts regarding road transportation, economic cooperation and establishment of the sales agencies for Iranian goods were thus signed. Further formation of regional economic organization (ECO) consisting of twelve countries also expedited the implementation of the most strategic railway project in the region, stretching from Eastern China to Europe via Iran's national railway system.

The unique position of this giant commercial highway currently leaves other countries of the world, willing to develop commercial and economic ties with the Central Asian republics, no alternatives but to take full advantages of this vital connective passage -- geographically situated in Iran, China, Russia, Turkey and Afghanistan. Apart from Georgia most of the newly independent states are landlocked countries whose connecting routes with rest of the world, directly or indirectly, could pass through Iran and thus enhancing the Islamic Republic's unique geo-political status world-wide.

Iran's strategic significance, both in the region and in international arena, generally revolves around material and spiritual aspects. Moreover, its material dimension is mainly composed of economic, technical, military and geo-political components while the spiritual aspect derives from the great Islamic ideology, a rich common history as well as the existing racial and cultural interconnections with other nations in the region. Since disintegration of the former Soviet Union this emphasis has undoubtedly increased and the political focal point of the relevant policies of the " The Arab Middle East" has also been redirected towards the east and the north, namely the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Central Asia.

As a linking bridge connecting two of the world's most vital energy reservoirs, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, the east and westwards proximity of Iran to eleven countries including the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf has certainly reassured the regional prestige of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Accordingly, restoration of the Silk Road is currently regarded as one of the essential precursors of more fruitful regional and intercontinental cooperations amongst the "ECO" member countries. Also due to inauguration of Mashhad-Tajan railway and the impending completion of Bafagh-Mashhad railway the above mentioned states would both gain easier access to open sea and have an ever increasing chance of an active incorporation in the global economy.

The Central Asian countries, with an old and excessive dependence on the former Soviet Union, still primarily rely upon imports. Yet the necessary efforts are being made to overcome this economic barrier by exploring various new markets. Despite availability of several socio-economic advantages such as abundant manpower and cheap labour, rich natural energy resources as well as the exportation of raw materials, oil, gas and agricultural products, vast majority of these countries crucially lack the existence of modern and well-organized banking, insurance, transportation as well as other essential commercial services. Fortunately, productive technical assistance and multilateral economic cooperations with the republics not only would ensure the important role of Iran as a catalyst of commercial development in the region, but would also lead all the concerned parties to more constructive participation in the world economy.

As the world's greatest Islamic economic organization possessing distinct religious, strategic, historical and socio-economic particularities, undoubtedly, "ECO" presents Iran with an immense security and economic significance and now tehran proudly hosts the headquarter of this organisation. Furthermore, the linkage of Mashhad-Tajan railways would definitely provide "ECO" and the like with an ideal possibility of attaining their long-term comprehensive goals.

Numerous sources have mentioned various routes for the "Silk Road."Some sources consider the city of "Tun Huang" as the origins of the "Silk Road, located in the western most tip of the Wall of China, while others strongly suggest that the starting point of the said road was in the city of "Loyang" on the south-bank of Huang Ho River. Once reaching the vast "Pamir-Plateau" in Afghanistan, a branch of this ancient road passed through Marv, Samarghand and then led towards iran via Neyshabur.

Marv, Samarghand and then led towards Iran via Neyshbur. In its path the "Silk Road" also connected main cities such as Gorgan, Ray, Hamadan and further joined Iraq through Ghasr-e-Shirin and later arrived at its final land destination adjacent to the Mediterranean coast. As its name clearly suggests, the main role of this ancient road was expediting the safe and easy transport of many important goods from China to Venice among which silk was the incomparable merchandise of the time. For eighteen centuries (BC 200-AD 1600) the ancient world's most principal commercial highway, the "Silk Road" 8000 km in lenght, enomously contributed to meaningful intercontinental, traditional, and cultural exchanges which also give a fresh impetus to commercial development in the region

According to Christiansen: "because the ancient Persians exclusively imported huge quantities of silk from China they were thus able to sell their silk-orientated products in various European markets, at their own desired prices. The Turks' efforts to gain permission for the passage of silk across the Iranian territory were all to no avail and a long and persistent conflict between the Byzantine Empire (395-1453 AD) and the Persians, over the transit of Chinese silk, continued throughout the early centuries of the Middle Ages." Later the Roman and the Chinses attempts at establishing a new silk transit route, without involvement of the Persians, also proved fruitless and even enabled the Persian merchants to control the silk trade particularly throughout Indo-China

Once the Europeans gained complete dominance over East India and the Mediterranean sea routes, at the turn of the 15th Century, their respective companies in the orient also turned their immediate attention to these new routes. In addition, a number of crucial events such as rapid decline in silk production within Persian territories, the oscillation of diplomatic ties between the Ottoman Empire (C1300-1918) and the Persians, and the emergence of new rival silk exporters eventually paved the way for the ironic demise of the ancient "Silk Road."

Fortunately, from now on, all the countries in the region will not only celebrate the 24th of Ordibehesht as the inauguration day of Mashad-Tajan rail ways, but also would acclaim this historic occasion as the anniversary of the revival of the " Ancient Silk Road." The following is an excerpt from the opening speech by the former Iranian president Mr. Rafsanjani: "The occurrence of great events during the early years of the last decade of the 20th Century as well as the emergence of new conditions in the region have led the Islamic Republic of Iran to play its key and proper role, in this decisive era, by renovating the Silk Road as the region's most vital connecting bridge which would further link the countries of the north with those in the Orient -- via the Islamic Republic of Iran... ."

 

Map


 
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: ALLAHO 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, totally 22 times to show 22nd of Bahman, the day of victory of the Islamic Revolution.
 
National Anthem


 
Language

Modern Persian is the official language of Iran. An ancient literary language, Persian was written in the Pahlavi script before the Arab conquest in the 7th century. A new form written in the Arabic script developed during the 9th and 10th centuries; this is the basis of the Modern Persian language used today. As recently as 1950 there were several distinct dialects of spoken Persian, but due to the spread of public education and broadcast media, a standard spoken form, with minor regional accents, has evolved. Important languages of minority groups that have their own publications and broadcast programs include Azeri (a Turkic language of the Altaic family), Kurdish, Arabic, and Armenian.
 
Religion

Jafari Shiite of Islam has been the official religion of Iran since the 16th century. An estimated 93 percent of all Iranians follow Shia Islam, and nearly all are members of the Jafari group. Since Jafaries believe there are 12 legitimate successors, or imams, to  Prophet Mohammad, they are often called Twelvers (Asna Ashari). The small remaining part of the population belongs to other Islamic denominations, primarily Sunni Islam. Iran also has small communities of Armenian and Assyrian Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians.
 
Weather

 Iran's varied landscape produces several different climates. On the northern edge of the country, the Caspian coastal plain, with an average elevation at or below sea level, remains humid all year. Winter temperatures rarely fall below freezing, and maximum summer temperatures rarely exceed 29 C (85 F). Annual precipitation averages 650 mm (26 in) in the eastern part of the plain (Mazandaran Province) and more than 1,900 mm (75 in) in the western part (Gilan Province).

At higher elevations to the west, settlements in the Zagros Mountain basins experience lower temperatures. These areas are subject to severe winters, with average daily temperatures below freezing, and warm summers, averaging 25 C (77 F) in the northwest and 33 C (91 F) in the central and southern Zagros. Annual precipitation, including snowfall, averages more than 280 mm (11 in) at higher elevations. Most precipitation falls between October and April.

The central plateau region also experiences regional variations. In Tehran, located at an elevation of 1,200 m (3,900 ft) on the northern edge of the plateau, the temperature averages 2 C (36 F) in January and 29 C (85 F) in July. The city receives an average of 230 mm (9 in) of precipitation annually. The arid basins of central and eastern Iran generally receive less than 200 mm (8 in) of precipitation per year. Yazd, for example, averages less than 70 mm (3 in) of precipitation. Its winters are cool, but temperatures almost never fall below freezing; summers are very hot, averaging 38 C (100 F) for most of July and August.

The coastal plains along the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, with average January temperatures ranging from 7 C to 18 C (45 F to 64 F) in Khuzestan Province; average temperatures are even higher in Bandar-e 'Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz. Summers are very humid and hot, with temperatures exceeding 48 C (119 F) during July in the interior areas. Annual precipitation ranges from 145 mm to 355 mm (6 to 14 in) in this region.
 
People

The population of Iran was estimated at 65,865,302 in 2000. This figure is more than double the 1975 population of 33,379,000. Between 1956 and 1986 Iran's population grew at a rate of more than 3 percent per year. The growth rate began to decline in the mid-1980s after the government initiated a major population control program. By 2000 the growth rate had declined to 1 percent per year, with a birth rate of 20 per 1,000 persons and a death rate of 5 per 1,000. In 1998, 44 percent of the population was under the age of 15, 53 percent of the population being between 15 and 64, and only 4 percent  65 or older.

Overall population density in 2000 was 40 persons per sq km (104 per sq mi). Northern and western Iran are more densely populated than the arid eastern half of the country, where population density in the extensive desert regions is only 1 percent of the national average. In 1998, 61 percent of the population lived in urban areas. About 99 percent of rural Iranians resided in villages. Only 240,000 were nomads (people without permanent residences who migrate seasonally), a fraction of the 2 million nomads counted in 1966.

Tehran, the country's capital and largest city, serves as the main administrative, commercial, educational, financial, industrial, and publishing center. Iran's other major cities include Mashhad, a manufacturing and commercial center in the northeast and the site of the country's most important religious shrine; Esfahan, a manufacturing center for central Iran with several architecturally significant public buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries; Tabriz, the main industrial and commercial center of the northwest; Shiraz, a manufacturing center in the south near the ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis; and Ahvaz, the principal commercial and manufacturing center in the southwestern oil region.


Ethnic Groups
Iran's population is made up of numerous ethnic groups. Persians migrated to the region from Central Asia beginning in the 7th century BC and established the first Persian empire in 550 BC. They are the largest ethnic group, and include such groups as the Gilaki, who live in Gilan Province, and the Mazandarani, who live in Mazandaran Province. Accounting for about 60 percent of the total population, Persians live in cities throughout the country, as well as in the villages of central and eastern Iran. Two groups closely related to the Persians both ethnically and linguistically are the Kurds and the Lurs. The Kurds, who make up about 7 percent of the population, reside primarily in the Zagros Mountains near the borders with Iraq and Turkey. The Lurs account for 2 percent of the population; they inhabit the central Zagros region. Turkic tribes began migrating into northwestern Iran in the 11th century, gradually changing the ethnic composition of the region so that by the late 20th century East Azerbaijan Province was more than 90 percent Turkish. Since the early 1900s, Azeris (a Turkic group) have been migrating to most large cities in Iran, especially Tehran. Azeris and other Turkic peoples together account for about 25 percent of Iran's inhabitants. The remainder of the population comprises small communities of Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Baluchis, Georgians, Pashtuns, and others.

 

Other Facts

Islamic Republic of Iran

Map & Geography

Location: 32 00 N. 53 00 E -- Middle East. Iran is situated in south-western Asia and borders three CIS states (the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan), as well as the Caspian Sea to the north, Turkey and Iraq to the west, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south and Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east.

Area

Total area: 1.648 million sq. km
Land area: 1.636 million sq. km
 

Land boundaries

Border countries:
Afghanistan 936 km, Armenia 35 km,
Azerbaijan-proper 432 km,
Azerbaijan-Nakhichevan enclave 179 km,
Iraq 1,458 km,
Pakistan 909 km,
Turkey 499 km,
Turkmenistan 992 km.
Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)
Coastline: 2,440 km
Total: 5,440 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

Iran's climate is mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along the Caspian coast
Terrain: Rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts,
Mountains: Small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
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: 8 percent
Permanent crops: 0 percent
Meadows and pastures: 27 percent
Forest and woodland: 11 percent
Other: 54 percent
Irrigated land: 57,500 sq. km (1989 est.)
 

Environment

International agreements: Party to Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands; Biodiversity, Climate Change, Decertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

People

Population: 60.1 million, including 36.8 million in urban areas and 23.3 million in rural areas (1996 estimate)
Population density: 38 persons per square kilometer (1998)
Active population: 17.3 million (1998 estimate)
Employed population: 15 million (1998 estimate)

Age structure

0-14 years: 45 percent (male 15,166,131; female 14,289,283)
15-64 years: 52 percent (male 17,326,388; female 16,731,470)
65 years and over: 3 percent (male 1,327,718; female 1,253,274) (July 1996 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.21 percent (1996 est.)
Birth rate: 19.5 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)
Death rate: 6.5 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)
Refugees and Immigrants: 1,963,780 (1999)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/ female
15-64 years: 1.104 male(s)/ female
All ages: 1.05 male(s)/ female (1996 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 52.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1996 est.)
 

Health

Children mortality under 5 years rates (per 1000): 37.3 (1997)
Life expectancy: 69.5 (1997)
Doctors (per 100,000): 107.9 (1997)
Aids Rate (per 100,000): 0.30 (1997)
 

Religions

Shia Muslim 93 percent,
Sunni Muslim 6 percent,
Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian 1 percent.

Languages: Persian

Literacy:
(6-14 years): 94.55 percent (Sept. 1997)
(15 and over):72.91 percent (Sept. 1997)
Urban areas: 96.88 percent
Rural areas: 91.37 percent
Male: 81.9 percent (nationwide) (1997)
Female: 67.0 percent (nationwide) (1997)
 

Government

Name of country : Islamic Republic of Iran (Jomhuriy-e Islamiy-e Iran)
Capital: Tehran
Administrative divisions:
28 provinces (ostanha, singular: ostan);
Ardebil, Azarbaijan-e Gharbi, Azarbaijan-e Sharqi,
Boushehr, Chahar Mahal va Bakhtiari, Fars, Golestan,
Gilan, Hamedan, Hormozgan,
Isfahan, Ilam, Kerman,
Kermanshahan, Khorassan, Khouzestan,
Kohkilouyeh va Buyer Ahmad, Kurdestan, Lorestan,
Markazi (Central), Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom,
Semnan, Sistan va Balouchestan, Tehran, Yazd.
 

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 premiership Parliament (Majlis-e Shora-ye-Islami) and the Council of Guardians of the Constitution. Under the provisions of the Constitution all legislations must first be approved by the Majlis and then be ratified by the Council of Guardians. They are signed into laws by the president. Two more legislative bodies were created in 1988 by (the late IRI leader) Imam Khomeini. They were the Expediency Discernment Council (EDC) and the Council of Policy Making for Reconstruction.
Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis-e Shora-ye-Islami): Elections last held 18 February 2000

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

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

Economy

Average GDP Growth Rate: 3.8 percent (1995-1998)
GDP (current prices): 327,596 billion rials (1998)
Per Capita Income (current prices): 4,375 thousand rials (1998)
Gross National Savings /GNP: 26.1 percent (1998)
Net External Assets of the Banking System: 676 billion rials (Sep. 1999)
Banking System Facilities: 228,480 billion rials (Sep. 1999)
Liquidity (M2): 183,247 billion rials (Sep. 1999)
Trade Balance: 2,465 million dollars (Apr. - Sep. 1999)
Motor vehicles (cars) production: 206,000 set (1998)
Steel production: 6,000,000 ton (1998)
Oil export (barrel per day): 2,333,000 (1998)
 

Quantitative Targets in Second Five Year Development Plan (SFYDP) (1995-1999)

  Average growth rate (percent)
Real GDP growth 5.1
Oil 1.6
Agriculture 4.3
Industry and mining 5.9
Services 3.1
Real gross domestic investment 6.2
Real private consumption 4.0
Real government consumption expenditure -0.9
Rate of inflation 12.4
Liquidity 12.5
Imports 4.3
Oil exports 3.4
Non-oil exports 8.4

Inflation rate (annual average): 26.9 percent (1995-1998)
Exports: $13,118 billion (1998)
Commodities: petroleum 75.73 percent
Carpets, Fruits, Nuts, Hides, Iron, Steel Imports (fob): $14,286 million (1998)
Fiscal year: 21 March - 20 March

Electricity:
Capacity: 26,600,000 kw
Production: 97,862 billion kwh (1998)
consumption per capita: 1604 kwh (1998)

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

Economic aid:
Recipient: ODA, $40 million (1993)
Currency: 10 Iranian rials (IR) = 1 toman; domestic figures are generally referred to in terms of the toman

Transportation

Railways:
Total: 7,199 km
Free ways: total: 713 km (1997)
Highways: Total: 165,724 km (1997)
Paved: 94,162 km (1997)
Unpaved: 71,562 km (1997)

Waterways: 904 km; the Arvand River (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: Abadan (largely destroyed in fighting during the 1980-88 war with Iraq), Ahwaz, Boushehr, Bandar-e Abbas, Bandar-e Anzali, Bandar-e Boushehr, Bandar-e Khomeini, Bandar-e Mahshahr, Bandar-e Torkeman, Jazireh-ye Kharg, Jazireh-ye Lavan, Jazireh-ye Sirri, Khorramshahr (limited operation since November 1992), Now Shahr

Merchant marine

Total: 130 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,791,892 GRT/4,891,615 DWT
Ships by type: Bulk 47, cargo 41, chemical tanker 5, combination bulk 2, liquefied gas tanker 1, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 19, refrigerated cargo 3, roll-on/roll-off cargo 9, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 1 (1995 est.)

Airports:

Total: 41 (1998)
 

Communications

Telephones: 8.150 million (Dec. 1999)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 77, FM 6 (1996)
Radios (per 1000 families): 720 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 32 (1996)
Color T.V. receiver (per 1000 families): 399 (1998)
Black and white T.V. receiver (per 100 inhabitants): 40 (1998)
News Paper circulation (per 100 inhabitants): 40 (1999)

Defense

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),

 

Education

Public primary education was introduced in Iran after the country's first constitution was drafted in 1906. Predominantly an urban system, it expanded only gradually and did not include secondary education until 1925. At the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution, only 60 percent of Iranian children of primary school age, and less than 50 percent of those of secondary school age, were enrolled in public schools; overall adult literacy was only 48 percent. Since 1979 the government has given a high priority to education, with programs focusing on adult literacy, new school construction, and expansion of public colleges and other institutes of higher education. By 2000 literacy for all Iranians aged 15 and older had reached 76.9 percent. The literacy rate was higher for males (83.7 percent) than for females (70 percent); the rate was also higher in cities than in rural areas.

Both the public education system and an expanding private school system consist of a five-year primary school cycle, a three-year middle school cycle, and a four-year high school cycle. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 11. All villages now have at least a primary school, and 89.6 percent of primary school-aged children were enrolled in school in 1996. Dropout rates begin during middle school and increase significantly during high school. In 1996 only 74.2 percent of secondary school-aged children were enrolled in secondary school. Dropout rates are significantly higher in rural areas, where there is a shortage of high schools within easy commuting distance.

Iran has more than 30 tuition-free public universities and many other institutes of higher learning. These include medical universities and specialized colleges providing instruction in teacher training, agriculture, and other subjects. In all, only 17 percent of Iranians of relevant age were enrolled in institutions of higher learning in 1996. Tehran serves as a center for higher education, with more than 15 universities and numerous colleges and institutes. Other important universities are located in Hamedan, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz. In addition to the public system, Iran has a private system of higher education that consists of theological colleges and the Islamic Free University, which has been developing campuses in cities throughout the country since its establishment in the late 1980s.

 

Mass Media

Radio and TV
Iranian Radio and TV

Persian Newspapers
Persian Newspapers

IRNA Persian Headlines
Persian Headlines

Iran Review
Iran Review Bulletin

English Newspapers
English Newspapers

IRNA English Headlines
English Headlines

 

Reference Links

http://www.president.ir/  
http://www.mfa.gov.ir/ Foreign Ministry
http://www.dre-mfa.gov.ir/ Research & Education Ministry
http://www.majlis.ir/ Parliament
http://www.farhang.gov.ir/ Cultural
http://www.iccim.org/ Chamber of Commerce
http://www.iran-export.com/ Export

 

 

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