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Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and Shah Mohammad Reza PAHLAVI was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts - a popularly elected 86-member body of clerics. US-Iranian relations have been strained since a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981. During 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces... See More



 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


 Total: 1,648,195 sq km
Land: 1,531,595 sq km
Water: 116,600 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller 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


 2,440 km; note - Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km) (Rank: 51)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements or median lines in the Persian Gulf
Continental shelf: natural prolongation


 Mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast


 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: Kuh-e Damavand 5,671 m

Natural Resources:

 Petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur

Land Use:

 Arable land: 9.78%
Permanent crops: 1.29%
Other: 88.93% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 89,930 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 137.5 cu km (1997)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 72.88 cu km/yr (7%/2%/91%)
Per capita: 1,048 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes

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; wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; urbanization

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

Signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - Note:

 Strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport

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 Noun: Iranian(s)
Adjective: Iranian

Ethnic Groups:

 Persian 61%, Azeri 16%, Kurd 10%, Lur 6%, Baloch 2%, Arab 2%, Turkmen and Turkic tribes 2%, other 1% (2008 est.)


 Persian (official) 53%, Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects 18%, Kurdish 10%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 7%, Luri 6%, Balochi 2%, Arabic 2%, other 2% (2008 est.)


 Muslim (official) 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i) 2%


 77,891,220 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 24.1% (male 9,608,342/female 9,128,427)
15-64 years: 70.9% (male 28,083,193/female 27,170,445)
65 years and over: 5% (male 1,844,967/female 2,055,846) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 26.8 years
Male: 26.6 years
Female: 27.1 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.248% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 18.55 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 5.94 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -0.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 71% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

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

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 30 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 42.26 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 42.75 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 41.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 70.06 years
Male: 68.58 years
Female: 71.61 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.88 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 3.9% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.89 physicians/1,000 population (2005)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.38 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 83% of population
Total: 93% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 17% of population
Total: 7% of population (2000)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 86% of population
Rural: 78% of population
Total: 83% of population
Urban: 14% of population
Rural: 22% of population
Total: 17% of population (2000)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.2% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 92,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 6,400 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: intermediate
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
Vectorborne diseases: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever and malaria

Note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds(2009)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 14.2% (2005)

Education Expenditures:

 4.7% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 77%
Male: 83.5%
Female: 70.4% (2002 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 13 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 13 years (2009)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 23%
Male: 20.2%
Female: 34% (2008)

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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
Former: Persia

Government Type:

 Theocratic republic


 Name: Tehran
Geographic coordinates: 35 40 N, 51 25 E
Time difference: UTC+3.5 (8.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins fourth Tuesday in March; ends fourth Thursday in September

Administrative Divisions:

 31 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan); Alborz, Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi (West Azerbaijan), Azarbayjan-e Sharqi (East Azerbaijan), Bushehr, Chahar Mahal va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Jonubi (South Khorasan), Khorasan-e Razavi (Razavi Khorasan), Khorasan-e Shomali (North Khorasan), Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh va Bowyer Ahmad, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan


 1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed); notable earlier dates: ca. 625 B.C. (unification of Iran under the Medes); ca. A.D. 1501 (Iran reunified under the Safavids); 12 December 1925 (modern Iran established under the Pahlavis)

National Holiday:

 Republic Day, 1 April (1979)


 2-3 December 1979; revised 1989

Note: the revision in 1989 expanded powers of the presidency and eliminated the prime ministership

Legal System:

 Religious legal system based on sharia law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)

Head of government: President Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD (since 3 August 2005); First Vice President Mohammad Reza RAHIMI (since 13 September 2009)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval; the Supreme Leader has some control over appointments to the more sensitive ministries

Note: also considered part of the Executive branch of government are three oversight bodies: 1) Assembly of Experts (Majles-Khebregan), a popularly elected body charged with determining the succession of the Supreme Leader, reviewing his performance, and deposing him if deemed necessary; 2) Expediency Council or the Council for the Discernment of Expediency (Majma-e-Tashkhis-e-Maslahat-e-Nezam) exerts supervisory authority over the executive, judicial, and legislative branches and resolves legislative issues on which the Majles and the Council of Guardians disagree and since 1989 has been used to advise national religious leaders on matters of national policy; in 2005 the Council's powers were expanded to act as a supervisory body for the government; 3) Council of Guardians of the Constitution or Council of Guardians or Guardians Council (Shora-ye Negban-e Qanon-e Asassi) determines whether proposed legislation is both constitutional and faithful to Islamic law, vets candidates in popular elections for suitability, and supervises national elections

Elections: Supreme Leader appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term and third nonconsecutive term); election last held on 12 June 2009 (next presidential election slated for June 2013)

Election results: Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD reelected president; percent of vote - Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD 62.6%, Mir-Hosein MUSAVI-Khamenei 33.8%, other 3.6%; voter turnout 85% (according to official figures published by the government)

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami or Majles (290 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Elections: last held on 14 March 2008 with a runoff held on 25 April 2008 (next to be held in March 2012)

Election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - conservatives/Islamists 167, reformers 39, independents 74, religious minorities 5, other 5

Judicial Branch:

 The Supreme Court (Qeveh Qazaieh) and the four-member High Council of the Judiciary have a single head and overlapping responsibilities; together they supervise the enforcement of all laws and establish judicial and legal policies; lower courts include a special clerical court, a revolutionary court, and a special administrative court

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Formal political parties are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and most conservatives still prefer to work through political pressure groups rather than parties; often political parties or coalitions are formed prior to elections and disbanded soon thereafter; a loose pro-reform coalition called the 2nd Khordad Front, which includes political parties as well as less formal groups and organizations, achieved considerable success in elections for the sixth Majles in early 2000; groups in the coalition included the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran), Solidarity Party, Islamic Labor Party, Mardom Salari, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), and Militant Clerics Society (Ruhaniyun); the coalition participated in the seventh Majles elections in early 2004; following his defeat in the 2005 presidential elections, former MCS Secretary General and sixth Majles Speaker Mehdi KARUBI formed the National Trust Party; a new conservative group, Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Abadgaran), took a leading position in the new Majles after winning a majority of the seats in February 2004; following the 2004 Majles elections, traditional and hardline conservatives have attempted to close ranks under the United Front of Principalists and the Broad Popular Coalition of Principalists; several reformist groups, such as the Mujahadin of the Islamic Revolution, came together as a reformist coalition in advance of the 2008 Majles elections; the IIPF has repeatedly complained that the overwhelming majority of its candidates have been unfairly disqualified from the 2008 elections

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Groups that generally support the Islamic Republic: Ansar-e Hizballah-Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh); Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader; Islamic Engineers Society; Tehran Militant Clergy Association (Ruhaniyat); active pro-reform student group: Office of Strengthening Unity (OSU); opposition groups: Baluchistan People's Party (BPP); Freedom Movement of Iran; Green Path movement [Mehdi KARUBI, Mir-Hosein MUSAVI]; Marz-e Por Gohar; National Front; and various ethnic and Monarchist organizations; armed political groups that have been repressed by the government: Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI); Jundallah; Komala; Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO); People's Fedayeen; People's Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK)

International Organization Participation:


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; FAX [1] (202) 965-1073

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 None; note - the US Interests Section is located in the Embassy of Switzerland No. 39 Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th), Pasdaran Ave., Tehran, Iran; telephone [98] 21 2254 2178/2256 5273; FAX [98] 21 2258 0432

Flag Description:

 Three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red; the national emblem (a stylized representation of the word Allah in the shape of a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom) 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; green is the color of Islam and also represents growth, white symbolizes honesty and peace, red stands for bravery and martyrdom

National Symbols:


National Anthem:

 Name: "Soroud-e Melli-e Jomhouri-e Eslami-e Iran" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
Lyrics/music: multiple authors/Hassan RIAHI

Note: adopted 1990

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Economy - Overview:

 Iran's economy is marked by an inefficient state sector, reliance on the oil sector, which provides the majority of government revenues, and statist policies, which create major distortions throughout the system. Private sector activity is typically limited to small-scale workshops, farming, and services. Price controls, subsidies, and other rigidities weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth. Significant informal market activity flourishes. The legislature in late 2009 passed President Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD's bill to reduce subsidies, particularly on food and energy. The bill would phase out subsidies - which benefit Iran's upper and middle classes the most - over three to five years and replace them with cash payments to Iran's lower classes. However, the start of the program was delayed repeatedly throughout 2010 over fears of public reaction to higher prices. This is the most extensive economic reform since the government implemented gasoline rationing in 2007. The recovery of world oil prices in the last year increased Iran's oil export revenue by at least $10 billion over 2009, easing some of the financial impact of the newest round of international sanctions. Although inflation has fallen substantially since the mid-2000s, Iran continues to suffer from double-digit unemployment and underemployment. Underemployment among Iran's educated youth has convinced many to seek jobs overseas, resulting in a significant "brain drain."

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $818.7 billion (2010 est.)
$810.3 billion (2009 est.)
$809.8 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $357.2 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 1% (2010 est.)
0.1% (2009 est.)
1% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $10,600 (2010 est.)
$10,700 (2009 est.)
$10,800 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 10.9%
Industry: 41.2%
Services: 47.9% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 25.7 million

Note: shortage of skilled labor (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 25%
Industry: 31%
Services: 45% (June 2007)

Unemployment Rate:

 13.2% (2010 est.)
12.9% (2008 est.)

Note: data are according to the Iranian Government

Population Below Poverty Line:

 18% (2007 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.6%
Highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 44.5 (2006)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 914,268 (Afghanistan); 54,024 (Iraq) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 27.5% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $111.5 billion
Expenditures: $89.98 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 31.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 6% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 16.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
18.5% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 10.1% (2010 est.)
13.5% (2009 est.)

Note: official Iranian estimate

Central Bank Discount Rate:


Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 12.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
12% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $44.79 billion (31 December 2008)
$46.13 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $72.33 billion (31 December 2008)
$68.71 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $50.15 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$48.16 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $166.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$147.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $135 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$121.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $86.62 billion (31 December 2010)
$63.3 billion (31 December 2009)
$49.04 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

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


 Petroleum, petrochemicals, fertilizers, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and non-ferrous metal fabrication, armaments

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 -1.1% excluding oil (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 212.8 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 97.1%
Hydro: 2.9%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 206.7 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 6.15 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 2.06 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 4.252 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 1.845 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 2.523 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 297,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 137 billion bbl based on Iranian claims

Note: Iran has about 10% of world reserves (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 138.5 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 137.5 billion cu m

Note: excludes injection and flaring (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 7.87 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 6.9 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 29.61 trillion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $15.42 billion (2010 est.)
$17.81 billion (2009 est.)


 $84.92 billion (2010 est.)
$84.72 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Petroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets

Exports - Partners:

 China 16.2%, India 12.6%, Japan 9.9%, Turkey 6.8%, South Korea 5.7%, Italy 5.3% (2010)


 $58.97 billion (2010 est.)
$58.97 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Industrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services

Imports - Partners:

 China 17.4%, UAE 16.7%, Germany 7.6%, South Korea 6.3%, Russia 5.7%, Turkey 4.8%, Italy 4.2% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $75.06 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$81.31 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $14.34 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$13.43 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $2.075 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.825 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $16.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$15.13 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Iran Rial to Any Currency

Iranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -
10,308.2 (2010)
9,864.3 (2009)
9,142.8 (2008)
9,407.5 (2007)
9,227.1 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 26.849 million (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 67.5 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: 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: the addition of new fiber cables and modern switching and exchange systems installed by Iran's state-owned telecom company have improved and expanded the fixed-line network greatly; fixed-line availability has more than doubled to nearly 26 million lines since 2000; additionally, mobile-cellular service has increased dramatically serving more than 50 million subscribers in 2009; combined fixed and mobile-cellular subscribership now exceeds 100 per 100 persons

International: country code - 98; 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; HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; satellite earth stations - 13 (9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat) (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State-run broadcast media with no private, independent broadcasters; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the state-run TV broadcaster, operates 5 nationwide channels, a news channel, about 30 provincial channels, and several international channels; about 20 foreign Persian-language TV stations broadcasting on satellite TV are capable of being seen in Iran; satellite dishes are illegal and, while their use had been tolerated, authorities began confiscating satellite dishes following the unrest stemming from the 2009 presidential election; IRIB operates 8 nationwide radio networks, a number of provincial stations, and an external service; most major international broadcasters transmit to Iran (2009)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 72, FM 10, shortwave 21 (2010)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 29 (plus 450 repeaters) (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 119,947 (2010)

Internet Users:

 8.214 million (2009)

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 319 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 133
Over 3,047 m: 42
2,438 to 3,047 m: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 34
Under 914 m: 6 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 186
Over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 142
Under 914 m: 33 (2010)


 19 (2010)


 Condensate 7 km; condensate/gas 12 km; gas 20,155 km; liquid petroleum gas 570 km; oil 7,123 km; refined products 7,937 km (2010)


 Total: 8,442 km
Broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge
Standard gauge: 8,348 km 1.435-m gauge (148 km electrified) (2008)


 Total: 172,927 km
Paved: 125,908 km (includes 1,429 km of expressways)
Unpaved: 47,019 km (2006)


 850 km (on Karun River; some navigation on Lake Urmia) (2009)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 74
By type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 40, chemical tanker 5, container 9, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 2
Foreign-owned: 1 (UAE 1)
Registered in other countries: 78 (Barbados 4, Bolivia 1, Cyprus 10, Hong Kong 1, Malta 56, Panama 5, Ukraine 1) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Assaluyeh, Bandar Abbas, Bandar-e-Eman Khomeyni

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Military Branches:

 Islamic Republic of Iran Regular Forces (Artesh): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force (IRIAF), Khatemolanbia Air Defense Headquarters; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, IRGC): Ground Resistance Forces, Navy, Aerospace Force, Qods Force (special operations); Law Enforcement Forces (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 19 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 17 years of age for Law Enforcement Forces; 15 years of age for Basij Forces (Popular Mobilization Army); conscript military service obligation - 18 months; women exempt from military service (2008)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 23,619,215
Females age 16-49: 22,628,341 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 20,149,222
Females age 16-49: 19,417,275 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 715,111
Female: 677,372 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 2.5% of GDP (2006)

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Disputes - International:

 Iran protests Afghanistan's limiting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which are occupied by Iran; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the lake; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey

Illicit Drugs:

 Despite substantial interdiction efforts and considerable control measures along the border with Afghanistan, Iran remains one of the primary transshipment routes for Southwest Asian heroin to Europe; suffers one of the highest opiate addiction rates in the world, and has an increasing problem with synthetic drugs; lacks anti-money laundering laws; has reached out to neighboring countries to share counter-drug intelligence

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude; Iranian women are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced prostitution and for forced marriages to settle debts; Iranian and Afghan children living in Iran are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced marriages, commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude as beggars or laborers to pay debts, provide income, or support drug addiction of their families; press reports indicate that criminal organizations play a significant role in human trafficking to and from Iran, in connection with smuggling of migrants, drugs, and arms; Iranian women and children are also subjected to sex trafficking in Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom

Tier rating: Tier 3 - Iran did not report any law enforcement efforts to punish trafficking offenders and continues to lack any semblance of victim protection measures; victims of trafficking are, by government policy, detained and deported if foreign, or simply jailed or turned away if Iranian; lack of access to Iran by US Government officials impedes the collection of information on the country's human trafficking problem and the government's efforts to curb it (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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