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Badab-e Surt stepped travertine terraces, Mazandaran, Iran
Panoramic view from Badab-e Surt stepped travertine terraces, the terraces are formed by two mineral hot springs in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran.
Image: M Reza Samaee

Location map of Iran. Where in the world is Iran?
Location map of Iran
(click on the map to enlarge)

Flag of Iran
Flag of Iran

Iran in brief

Destination Iran, a Nations Online Project country profile of the Islamic republic between the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the south. Conventionally, it is the easternmost country in the Middle East.

The land was formerly known as Persia. Iran is bordered by Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

The country also shares maritime borders with Kazakhstan and Russia (in the Caspian Sea), Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Mount Damavand, Elburz mountains, Iran
Mount Damavand in the Elburz mountains is a potentially active stratovolcano and the highest mountain in Iran.
Image: Arad Mojtahedi

With an area of 1,648,195 km², Iran is almost three times the size of France or slightly smaller than Alaska.

Most of the country is situated on the Iranian Plateau (a geological formation in Western and Central Asia), except for the coastal regions at the Caspian Sea and the Khuzestan Province in the southwest at the Persian Gulf. The Zagros Mountains in the west form the largest mountain range in Iran, Iraq, and southeastern Turkey. In Iran's north towers the Elburz or Alborz mountain range that stretches from the border of Azerbaijan along the western and entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea. Mount Damavand, at 5,610 m (18,410 ft), is Iran's highest mountain located in the Elburz mountain range.

Iran has a population of 83 million people (in 2020) [1]. The country's largest city is Tehran, which is the capital and the political and economic center of the republic.
Other major cities are Mashhad, Isfahan, Karaj, Tabriz, Shiraz, Ahvaz, and Qom.
Spoken languages are Persian (Farsi, official), Kurdish, Azeri, Arabic, Baluchi. The official religion is Shia Islam.

The population of Iran is concentrated in the north, northwest, and west. The vast arid areas in the center and east of the country, around the Dasht-e Kavir, the Great Salt Desert, and the stony deserts and dune fields of Dasht-e Lut have a much lower population density.

Islamic Republic of Iran | Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān

Iran is historically known as Persia. The Persian Empire was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world with a series of imperial dynasties. The empire also was frequently invaded, first by Alexander the Great, then by the Parthians, later ruled by the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire.

Iran's hereditary monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled the country in 1979 after decades of corrupt and authoritarian rule, and mounting religious and political unrest. Exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from Paris to lead an Islamic revolution and formed the world's first Islamic republic the same year. An eight-year war with Iraq followed.

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Country Profile

Official Name:
Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
short form: Iran
int'l long form: Islamic Republic of Iran
former: Persia

ISO Country Code: ir, IRN

Local Time = UTC +3.5h
Actual Time: Thu-Apr-18  04:24
Summer UTC +4.5

Country Calling Code: +98

Capital City: Tehran more

Official Sites of Iran

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Iranian National Assembly building in Tehran
Assembly building in Tehran, home to the Iranian Majlis, the Islamic Consultative Assembly.
Image: Islamic Parliament Building

Political System

In 1979, the country, known in the west as Persia, became the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 opposed the western secular policies of the authoritarian Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi was ousted, and since then, the country is run by an authoritarian Islamic theocratic government.
Head of State is the Supreme Leader (Ali Khamenei), who exercises ideological and political control over the state, controls the armed forces, and makes decisions on security, defense, and important foreign policy issues.
Head of Government and head of the executive branch is the President, who is elected by popular vote for four years and can serve no more than two consecutive terms. The president's power is limited by decisions of the Supreme Leader, the influence of Islamic clerics and conservatives in Iran's coercive security apparatus, and the judiciary.


Ali Khamenei
Official website of the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran.

Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Official website of Hassan Rouhani's Office.

The Iranian parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
MOFA of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Diplomatic Missions
Mission of The Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN
Iran's representation to the United Nations.
Iranian Missions Abroad
List of Iranian embassies and consulates

Statistical Centre of Iran (SCI)
The site contains official statistics in fields such as agriculture, population, trade, and economy of Iran.

Islamic Republic Of Iran Meteorological Organization
The weather in Iran.




Maps of Iran

Iran Political Map
Map of Iran (click map to enlarge)
Image: ©


profile Map of Iran
Political Map of Iran.

Google Earth Google Earth Iran
Searchable map and satellite view of Iran.
Google Earth Google Earth Tehran
Searchable map and satellite view of Iran's capital city.

Map of the Arabian Peninsula 
Political Map of the Arabian Peninsula.
profile Map of the Caspian Sea
Political Map of the Caspian Sea region.
Map of the Persian Gulf
Political Map of the Persian Gulf.
profile Map of Countries of Western Asia
Political map of countries of Western Asia and the Middle East.
profile Map of Western Asia
Map of Western Asia and the Middle East region.
profile Map of Asia
Reference Map of Asia.


News of Iran

Iran newspapers

Online News from Iran

According to BBC, all broadcasting from within Iran is controlled by the state and reflects official ideology. There is a wider range of opinions online and in the press.
Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian writer and media analyst, states that the Iranian government has matured in its understanding of how the media works. "They've constantly improved in their understanding of media, and its impact on society, especially since the foreign-based satellite televisions have started - the BBC Persian, and others. They have grown really worried that, if they keep the internal space too closed, and too limited, then people wouldn't watch, or wouldn't read, or wouldn't trust that they see."

News Agencies
Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)
The official news agency of Iran.
Mehr News
Iranian news agency headquartered in Tehran.
Tasnim News Agency
Tasnim News Agency is a private news agency in Iran, launched in 2012.

Iran News (in English)
Iran Daily
Published by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Iran Front Page
IFP News is an English language news website with the latest news and views from Iran.
Tehran Times
Tehran based pro-government English daily newspaper.

Iran News in Persian
Aftab-e Yazd
Tehran based daily reformist newspaper.
Ettelaat International
Iran's oldest daily newspaper.
Jaam-e Jam
Daily news from IRIB, Irans domestic radio and television services.
Kayhan News
Iran's 'most conservative Iranian newspaper.'
Daily news.
Most popular reformist newspaper in Iran

Iranian Fake News
The Iran Project
The site, kind of an Iranian Russia Today, fishes for users' attention with copied "News related to Iran, specially political, military and regional affairs!"

International News Sources
BBC News Country Profile: Iran
With links to Iran related news and background information.
Al-Araby (The New Arab)
Pan-Arab media outlet with Qatari background, headquartered in London.
Al Jazeera Iran News
Iran related news from Al Jazeera.
AP News Iran
Iran news by The Associated Press.
The Guardian News Iran
Iran related news by The Guardian.

Human Rights
Amnesty International: Iran
Amnesty International Reports.
Human Rights Watch: Iran
Background Briefings.

Press freedom
Reporters sans frontières - Iran
Annual report about Press freedom in the country.



Arts & Culture of Iran

Satellite view of the Dasht-e Kavir desert, Iran
This is not a painting of modern Iranian art; it is a satellite view of the Dasht-e Kavir desert in the center of the Iranian plateau.
Image: Axelspace Corporation

Arts & Culture

Interior wall and ceiling of the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque in Isfahan
Interior wall and ceiling of the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque in Isfahan, the former capital of Persia. The dome shows a network of lemon-shaped compartments, which increase in size as they descend from a formalized peacock at the pattern inlaid on plain stucco.
Image: Phillip Maiwald

Miniatures, Carpets, and Calligraphy.
Iran (Persia) is one of the richest sources of fine arts in the world. Persian art includes many traditional disciplines such as architecture, painting, literature, music, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and stonemasonry.

Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization
Iran government organization for cultural heritage, handcrafts and tourism (Persian only).

Carpet Museum of Iran
Fine Persian carpets. Carpet-weaving is an outstanding manifestations of Iranian art and culture.

Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran
Persian/Iranian glassware and ceramic from several centuries.

National Museum of Iran
The largest museum of history and archaeology in the country.

The Art of the Safavids before 1600
The Metropolitan Museum of Art article about art and culture of the the Safavid empire (1501–1722).

Culture of Iran
Site related to Iranian art and culture.

Islamic Arts and Architecture: Iran 
The Islamic Arts and Architecture website shows also examples of Persian art.

Persian art
Wikipedia articles related to the history and the development of Persian art or Iranian art.

Reza Abbasi Museum
Museum of Iranian cultural and art history with a collection of Persian art dating back to the second millennium BC.




Business & Economy of Iran

South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate field facilities, Asaluyeh, Iran
South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate field facilities near Asaluyeh City. South Pars is the largest gas field in the world, located in the Persian Gulf in the territorial waters of Iran; the larger part of the area is situated within the maritime territory of Qatar.
Image: Hamed Malekpour

The Economy of Iran is based on oil, agriculture, construction, trade, and services. The country's economy suffers greatly from US sanctions, which were reintroduced in 2018 after the US unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). High import prices and staggering inflation are further crippling Iran's economy.

Central Bank of Iran
Responsible for Iranian monetary policy.

Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE )
The site provides a market summary, last prices, indices, and listed companies.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines
With information on joint chambers and international affairs.

How To Invest In Iran
Information about Iran and its investment opportunities.

Major Iranian Companies
National Iranian Oil Company
The government-owned national oil and natural gas producer.

National Petrochemical Company
Government-owned NPC is responsible for the development and operation of the country's petrochemical sector.

A state-owned mining company.

Iran Khodro
IKCO is an Iranian automaker headquartered in Tehran; it manufactures vehicles, including Samand, Peugeot, Suzuki, and Renault cars, as well as trucks, minibusses, and buses.

Iranian automaker headquartered in Tehran. Saipa manufactures and sells mainly French, Japanese, and South Korean vehicles under license.

Mobarakeh Steel
Mobarakeh Steel Company is the biggest steel producer in the Middle East and Northern Africa, according to their own statement.


The Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran Aseman Airline
Domestic airline.
Mahan Air
Mahan Air is a privately owned Iranian airline based in Tehran; it serves destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.



Tourism in Iran

Kazem Dashi rock within Lake Urmia, Iran
Kazem Dashi rock within Lake Urmia, an endorheic salt lake in northwestern Iran. The once largest lake in the Middle East had shrunk to 10% of its former size due to persistent general drought in Iran. Since 2019 the lake is slowly filling up again.
Image: Ali Heydari

Destination Iran - Travel and Tour Guides


Discover Iran (Persia): Damavand Mountain (highest point: 5 610 m), Caspian Sea, Lake Urmia, Persepolis, Bam (Arg e Bam), Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz.

Visit Iran
Official travel and tourism information for Iran by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, Iran.

Iran Tourism & Touring Organization
Comprehensive travel and tourism information for Iran.
Portal for Iranian-Persian history and culture.

Images of Iran.

Wikivoyage Logo Wikivoyage: Iran
A Wikivoyage guide to Iran.




UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Arg-e Bam Citadel Before the 2003 earthquake, Bam, Kerman Province, Iran
Arg-e Bam Citadel before the 2003 earthquake.
Image: Aliyeh41

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran
There are 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran and 56 sites on the Tentative List (see the List)

World Heritage Site Bam and its Cultural Landscape
Bam is a city situated in a desert environment on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau in Kerman Province of southeastern Iran. Arg-e Bam was an enormous citadel on the Silk Road; its origins can be traced back to the time of the Achaemenid Empire (6th to 4th centuries BC).
The fortress was the largest adobe building in the world; it was in large parts destroyed by an earthquake on the 26 December 2003. The site was partially reconstructed in the following years.

World Heritage Site Persepolis
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire; it was founded by Darius the Great, the fourth Persian King of the empire. The ruins of Persepolis are located about 60 km northeast of modern-day Shiraz. The palace complex was built on an immense half-natural, half-artificial terrace. The ruins were excavated in the early 1930s.

Gate of All Nations, Persepolis, Iran
Ruins of the Gate of All Nations, Persepolis.
Image: Ahura



Education in Iran

Shiraz University building, Shiraz
Shiraz University.
Image: Ahura21


Amirkabir University of Technology
AUT is a leading public research university, formerly known as the Tehran Polytechnic; it was the first technical university in Iran.

Shahid Beheshti University
One of the most renowned and prestigious universities in Iran is located in Tehran.

Sharif University of Technology
SUT is a public research university in Tehran and considered to be the country's leading institution for engineering and physical science.

Shiraz University
Shiraz University is among the top three research universities in the country.

University of Tehran
Iran's second oldest modern university, and one of the most prestigious universities in the Middle East, is located in Tehran.


Environment & Nature

Amir Kabir dam reservoir, Karaj dam on the Karaj River in the Central Alborz mountain range of Iran
Amir Kabir dam reservoir, the dam is also known as Karaj dam, a dam on the Karaj River in the Central Alborz mountain range in northern Iran.
Image: ninara

Department of Environment
Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE).

Geological Survey of Iran (GSI)
Organization for the geological study and the exploration of the mineral resources of Iran.

Earth Watchers Center
EWC is a non-profit environmental organization in Iran.

Green Party of Iran Environment
The site includes articles about Iran's drought, air and water pollution, agriculture, flora, and fauna.

International Institute of Khazar Sea Studies
Studying political, economical, social, cultural, environmental issues of Caspian sea.


Iran History

Ruins of Rayen Castle in Kerman, Iran
Medieval Rayen Castle (4th-century CE) in Kerman. Ruins of the adobe brick citadel and mountains in Kerman Province in southeastern Iran.
Image: ninara

Encyclopædia Iranica
The Encyclopædia Iranica is a comprehensive research tool dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Another Encyclopædia Iranica by The Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation.

Iran History
Historical Periods and Events, a comprehensive site for Iranian-Persian history by

The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)
Site about art, archaeology, culture, history, and languages of the area known as the "Greater Iran."

Virtual reconstruction of Persepolis, the ancient capital of the Persian Empire.

Iran Modern History Timeline
Timeline of the history of Iran since 1921.

Wikipedia W History of Iran
Wikipedia's main page about Iran's history, it is part of a series on the History of Iran.

Encyclopædia Britannica Iran | History, Culture, People, Facts, & Map | Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica article about Iran's history.



Additional Information

Selected country profiles of Iran published by international organizations.


Amnesty International: Iran
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization focused on human rights.

BBC Country Profile: Iran
Country profiles by the British public service broadcaster.

BTI Transformation Index
Iran Country Report 2020 by Bertelsmann Stiftung.

FAO: Iran
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a UN agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.

Freedom House: Iran
The U.S. government-funded non-profit organization whose goal is to promote liberal democracies worldwide.

GlobalEDGE: Iran
Iran economic ranking by the Global business knowledge portal.

The Heritage Foundation: Iran
The Heritage Foundation index of Economic Freedom.

Human Rights Watch: Iran
HRW conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

OEC: Iran
The Observatory of Economic Complexity provides the latest international trade data.

Reporters Without Borders: Iran
RSF (Reporters sans frontières) is an international NGO that defends and promotes media freedom.

Wikipedia: Iran
Wikipedia's Iran page in many languages.

The CIA World Factbook -- Iran
The CIA World Factbook intelligence on Iran.


Other countries and territories in the Middle East
Bahrain | Cyprus | Egypt | Gaza Strip | Iraq | Israel | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Oman | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Turkey | United Arab Emirates | West Bank | Yemen

Major Cities in the Middle East
Abu Dhabi, Aden, Alexandria, Amman, Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Kuwait (City), Luxor, Manama, Mecca, Muscat, Nazareth, Nicosia, Port Said, Riyadh, Sana'a, Sharm El Sheikh, Suez, Tehran, Tel Aviv

Other Countries in South Central Asia:
AfghanistanBangladesh | Bhutan | India | Kazakhstan | Kyrgyzstan | Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka | Tajikistan | Turkmenistan | Uzbekistan

Major Cities in South Central Asia
Ashgabat, Astana, Bishkek, Chandigarh, Chennai, Colombo, Dhaka, Dushanbe, New Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Lahore, Male, Mumbai, Tashkent, Thimphu