IRAN officially the Islamic Republic of Iran formerly known internationally as Persia until 1935, is a country in central Asia, located on the northeastern shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan, and means "Land of the Aryans".
The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km², Iran has a population of over seventy million. It is a country of special geostrategic significance due to its central location in Asia. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea and condominium, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north. Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the sea of Oman, and on the west by Turkey and Iraq. Tehran is the capital, the country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power, and occupies an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas.
Iran is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC. The Medes unified Iran into a kingdom in 625 BC. They were succeeded by three Iranian dynasties, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids, which governed Iran for more than 1000 years. IRAN had been a monarchy ruled by a Shah, or emperor, almost without interruption from 1501 until the 1979 Iranian Revolution, when Iran officially became an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979.
Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shiite Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.
Iran's climate ranges from arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast and the northern forests. On the northern edge of the country (the Caspian coastal plain) temperatures nearly fall below freezing and it remains humid for the rest of the year. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 29 °C (85 °F). Annual precipitation is 680 mm (27 in) in the eastern part of the plain and more than 1,700 mm (67 in) in the western part. To the west, settlements in the Zagros basin experience lower temperatures, severe winters with below zero average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. The eastern and central basins are arid, with less than 200 mm (eight in) of rain, and have occasional deserts. Average summer temperatures exceed 38 °C (100 °F). The coastal plains of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, and very humid and hot summers. The annual precipitation ranges from 135 to 355 mm (five to fourteen inches).
POPULATION OF IRAN
Iran's population was declared 70,049,262 in the 2006 census, with nearly one quarter of its people being 15 years of age or younger. Iran is also ethnically and linguistically diverse, with some cities, such as Tehran, bringing various ethnic groups together. In addition, there are over 4 million Iranian citizens abroad (est.), mostly in North America, Western Europe, Turkey, the Persian Gulf countries and Australia. The population growth rate in Iran was estimated at 1.1% as per the survey referenced above.
The majority of Iranians fall into the 15 – 64 age groups (69%), whilst 26.1% are 0 – 14 years and only 4.9% are 65 years and over. The median age is 24 years for males and 25 years for females. For this reason, the general population of Iran is extremely young, which will provide challenges for the Iranian government to ensure that sufficient jobs are available for this significantly large part of the population who are either currently of working age, or, who will be of working age in the near future. Life expectancy for the Iranian population at birth is approximately 70 years (68 years for Iranian males and 71 years for Iranian females).
The ethnicity of the Iranian population is primarily Persian with over 51%. The second biggest group is Azeri and the remaining portion of the population are either Gilaki (8%), Kurd (7%), Arab (3%) and other (7%). The majority of the Iranian population are Shiite Muslims (89%) whilst 10% are Sunni Muslims and the remaining 1% are Christian, Zorastrian, Baha’I and Jewish.