It is sad to begin the introduction of Iran with the word "unfortunately': but unfortunately, few people in the West have much real knowledge about this beautiful country. Moreover, many fall under the spell of extensive anti-Iranian propaganda, spurred by the events which are occuring in Iran today. The tourism business in Iran is still in its early stages, but this too has its positive sides. For example, the relatively small number of tourists to Iran allows the visitor to wander around the world-famous sites in comparative privacy, almost as if enjoying a personal and exclusive tour.
Iran is an incredible place to visit. If for no other reason than its continuous history of some 7,000 years (a distinction few countries can claim), it would be well worth seeing for its diversity of landscapes, monuments, customs, and lifestyles that make Iran attractive in an) season. About one million historical site exist in I ran, according to the statistics of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. It is obvious that even the most interesting of these can be visited only by making numerous trips to the country. These trips are all the more pleasant because visitors to Iran never leave it without memories of its wonder-fully hospitable people. Visit Iran, to get a first -hand experience of this fascinating, welcoming country. Visit it now.
canventional longform, Islamic Republic of Iran
Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran conventional short form: Iran
The name "Iran" comes from the Old Persian word meaning "the land of the Aryans". Iran has been the name of this country at least since the Sasanid period. However, until 1935, the English-speaking world knew this country as Persia, a legacy of the Greeks who named the region after its most important province, Pars (present-day Fars).
Flag Description: Iran's flag is composed of three equal horizontal bands of green, 'white, and red (from top to bottom). Centered in the white band is the red emblem - a stylized representation of the word Allah in the shape of a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom. The words Allah Akbar, meaning "God is Great" are repeated 11 times along each of the inner edges of the green and red bands in white letters in angular Kufic script.
Area:total: 1,648 million sq. km land: 1,636 million sq. km water: 12,000 sq. km
Comparative: the size of the United
Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland all combined
Total: 5,440 km
Coastline: 2,440 km
Climate: mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along the Caspian coast
Terrain: rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts and mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
Lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m highest point: Damavand Peak,
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
Population: 85,397,521 (July 2007 est.)
population growth rate: 0.663% (2007 est.)
Gender ratio: 1.024
males/female (2007 est.)
Ethnic groups: Persian 51 %, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazanderani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lor 2%, Baluch 2%, Turkman 2%, other 1 % Languages: Persian and dialects 58%, Turkish and dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Lori 2%, Baluchi 1%, Arabic 1 %, other 3%
Religions: Shiite Muslim 89%, Sunnite Muslim 10%, Christian, Zoroastrian, Jewish, and other 1%
Administrative division: 30 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan)
Government type: Islamic Republic
Constitution: 2-3 December 1979; revised 1989 to expand powers of the Presidency and eliminate the Prime Ministry
Legal system: The Constitution codifies Islamic principles of government. Suffrage: 15 years of age, universal
chief of state: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei (since 4 June, 1989)
head of government: President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (since 3 August, 2005) cabinet: Leader of the Islamic Revolution is appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts. Council of Ministers selected b)' the President with legislative approval elections. President is elected by popular vote for a four-year term. Last elections were held on 24 June, 2005.
Legislative branch: unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami (290 seats; changed from 270 seats with the 18 February, 2000 election); members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms.
Military branches: Islamic Republic of Iran regular forces (includes Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force and Air Defense Command), Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (Sepah) (includes Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Qods [special operations], and Basij [Popular Mobilization Army) forces)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court
Economy: a mixture of state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures major industries: oil, gas, agriculture, carpets industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, texThes, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), metal fabricating, armaments agriculture - products: wheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, fruits, nuts, cotton, dairy products, wool, caviar exports - commodities: oil and oil products 85%, carpets, fruits and nuts, iron and steel, chemicals GDP: purchasing power parity - $599.2 billion (2006 est.) annual growth: 4.3% (2006 est.) inflation rate: 17.3% for consumer prices (2006 est.)
currency: Iranian rials (IR)