State Flag of Iran (1964-1980)
Coat of Arm
Imperial Coat of Arms of Iran
Iran (orthographic projection)
Capital Tehran
Official Language Persian
Government Constitutional Monarchy
King Reza II
Prime Minister Ebrahim Yazdian
Area 1,648,195 


Population 66,734,197 (2013)
GDP 1.65 Trillion $
GDP Per Capita 24,725 $
HDI 0.890 (Very High)
Gini 38 (Medium)
Currency Iranian Rial
Drives on the Right

Iran, also known as Persia, officially the Imperial State of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, with Kazakhstan and Russia across the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world; with 66.7 million inhabitants. It is the only country that has both a Caspian Sea and Indian Ocean coastline. Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia and the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Proto-Elamite and Elamite kingdom in 3200–2800 BCE. The Iranian Medes unified the country into the first of many empires in 625 BCE, after which it became the dominant cultural and political power in the region. Iran reached the pinnacle of its power during the Achaemenid Empire (First Persian Empire) founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BCE, which at its greatest extent comprised major portions of the ancient world, stretching from parts of the Balkans (Bulgaria-Pannonia) and Thrace-Macedonia in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen. The empire collapsed in 330 BCE following the conquests of Alexander the Great. The area eventually regained influence under the Parthian Empire and rose to prominence once more after the establishment of the Sasanian dynasty (Neo-Persian empire) in 224 CE, under which Iran again became one of the leading powers in the world along with the Byzantine Empire for the next four centuries.

Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism were largely replaced after Rashidun Muslims invaded Persia in 633 CE, and conquered it by 651 CE. Iran thereafter played a vital role in the subsequent Islamic Golden Age, producing numerous influential scientists, scholars, artists, and thinkers. The emergence in 1501 of the Safavid dynasty, which promoted the Twelver school of thought as the official religion, marked one of the most important turning points in Iranian and Muslim history. It also culminated into tensions, which in 1514 led to the Battle of Chaldiran. Starting in 1736 under Nader Shah, Iran would once again reach high prominence, reaching its greatest territorial extent since the Sassanid Empire, and briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire in the world. The Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 established the nation's first parliament, which operated within a constitutional monarchy, But after Reza Shah  coup d'état, Iran became a Theocratic Monarchy.

Tehran is the capital and largest city, serving as the cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional super power and international middle power, exerting big influence in international energy security and the world economy through its large reserves of fossil fuels, which include the largest natural gas supply in the world and the fourth-largest proven petroleum reserves. It hosts Asia's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Iran is a founding member of the UNNAMOIC and OPEC. Iran is a developed country ranked 16th in the Human Development Index, the highest in West Asia. In terms of average wage, it has Asia's 2nd highest income and the world's 11th highest income. Globally, it is one of the highest ranked countries in educationquality of healthcareease of doing business and job security. It is the 2nd best performing country in student skills with 62% of 25–34 year old Iranians holding a tertiary education degree. Iran is the world's 9th largest exporter and the leading exporter of LNG and memory chips, driven by high-tech multinationals such as Sam Service, Samand Motors and Kaman Heavy Industries. A highly advanced information society, Iran has the world's fastest Internet connection speed, ranking Second in e-Government4G LTE penetration and Third in the ICT Development Index and smartphone penetration.



Iran is the eighteenth largest country in the world, with an area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi). Its area roughly equals that of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined, or somewhat more than the US state of Alaska. Iran lies between latitudes 24° and 40° N, and longitudes 44° and 64° E. Its borders are with Azerbaijan (611 km (380 mi)) (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave (179 km (111 mi) )) and Armenia (35 km (22 mi)) to the north-west; the Caspian Sea to the north; Turkmenistan (992 km (616 mi)) to the north-east; Pakistan (909 km (565 mi)) and Afghanistan (936 km (582 mi)) to the east; Turkey (499 km (310 mi)) and Iraq (1,458 km (906 mi)) to the west; and finally the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south.


Damavand Mountain

Iran consists of the Iranian Plateau with the exception of the coasts of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan Province. It is one of the world's most mountainous countries, its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaux from one another. The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros and Alborz Mountains; the last contains Iran's highest point, Mount Damavand at 5,610 m (18,406 ft), which is also the highest mountain on the Eurasian landmass west of the Hindu Kush.

The northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran. The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran's largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes. This is because the mountain ranges are too high for rain clouds to reach these regions.

The only large plains are found along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where Iran borders the mouth of the Arvand river. Smaller, discontinuous plains are found along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.


Tehran (Persian: تهران - Tehrān‎) is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.3 million and surpassing 14 million in the wider metropolitan area, Tehran is Iran's largest city and urban area, and the largest city in Western Asia.

In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Tehran was an unimportant village and part of the area of present-day Tehran was occupied by Rey (which in the Avesta occurs in the form of Rhaga, now

Burj Khalifa building

Aryamehr Tower

a part of the city of Tehran, which took over its role after the destruction of Rey by the Mongols in the early 13th century.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Tehran has been the subject of mass migration of people from all over Iran. The city is home to many historic mosques as well as several churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. However, modern structures, notably Azadi Tower and the Aryamehr Tower (which is the tallest building on earth), have come to symbolise the city. Tehran is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area. Throughout Iran's history, the capital has been moved many times, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran. Although a variety of unofficial languages are spoken, roughly 99% of the population understand and speak Persian.

The majority of the inhabitants of the city are Persian speakers (known by the name Pars/Fars), but there are also large populations of Kurds (Kord), Azarbaijanis (Azeri/Tork), Lurs (Lor) and Northern Iranians(Shomali). The majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians.


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Reza Pahlavi II, King of Iran

Iran is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. Reza Pahlavi II is the head of state of Iran. The monarch has "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn". Iran is one of only five countries in the world to have an uncodified constitution. The Constitution of Iran thus consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law", the Iran Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament, and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.


Iran has a parliamentary government based on the Persepolis system that has been emulated around the world: a legacy of the Iranian Empire. The parliament of Iran that meets in the Palace of Baharestan has two houses; an elected House of Commons and an appointed House chosen by King. All bills passed are given Royal Assent before becoming law.

The position of prime minister, the Iran's head of government, belongs to the person most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The prime minister chooses a cabinet and they are formally appointed by the monarch to form His Majesty's Government. By convention, the King respects the prime minister's decisions of government.

The cabinet is traditionally drawn from members of a prime minister's party or coalition and mostly from the House of Commons but always from both legislative houses, the cabinet being responsible to both. Executive power is exercised by the prime minister and cabinet, all of whom are sworn into the Privy Council of the Iran, and become Ministers of the Crown. The current Prime Minister is Ebrahim Yazdian, who has been in office since 11 May 2010. Yazdian is the leader of the Nationalist Front Party and heads a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. For elections to the House of Commons, the Iran is currently divided into 540 constituencies, each electing a single member of parliament (MP) by simple plurality. General elections are called by the monarch when the prime minister so advises. The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 require that a new election must be called no later than five years after the previous general election.

The Iran's three major political parties are the Nationalist Front Party (Tories), the Iran Royal Party and the Liberal Democrats, representing the Iranian traditions of conservatism, socialism, respectively. During the 2010 general election these three parties won 422 out of 540 seats available in the House of Commons. Most of the remaining seats were won by parties that contest elections only in one part of the Iran: the Kurdish National Party (Kurdistan only); Ba'ath Party (Arabs only); and the Alliance Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party and Oghlu (Azerbaijan only). In accordance with party policy, no elected Oghlu members of parliament have ever attended the House of Commons to speak on behalf of their constituents because of the requirement to take an oath of allegiance to the monarch.


See Also: Iranian Royal Armed Force , Kaman Heavy Industries

The Imperial State of Iran has two types of armed forces: the regular forces Iranian Royal ArmyIranian Royal Air Force, Iranian Royal Navy and the Imperial Immortal Guards, totaling about 650,000 active troops. Iran also has around 250,000 Reserve Force totaling around 900,000 trained troops. estimates Iran could mobilize "up to one million men". This would be among the largest troop mobilizations in the world. In 2013, Iran's military spending was 164 Billion $ represented 10% of the GDP, the highest figure of the Persian Gulf nations and 2nd highest in the world.

A formation of Iranian Tomcats in flight

Iranian F-14 in Formation

Since the Iran-Soviet War , to overcome dependence on foreign countries, Iran has developed its own military industry with the help of Simorgh Aviation Company and Kaman Heavy Industries, produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, guided missiles, submarines, military vessels, guided missile destroyer, radar systems, helicopters and fighter planes. In recent years, official announcements have highlighted the development of weapons such as the Fateh-110, Shahab-3 and Abrisham missiles, and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Fajr-3 (MIRV) is currently Iran's most advanced ballistic missile, it is a liquid fuel missile with an undisclosed range which was developed and produced domestically.

See Also

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