Conventional long from: Islamic Republic of Iran
Local long from: Jomhuri ye Eslamiye Iran
Conventional short from: Iran
The name of 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).
Iran’s flag is made 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 shape of a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom. The words “Allah Akbar”, meaning “God is great” are repeated 11 times along each of the green and red bands in white letters in Arabic script.
Total: 1,648,195 sq. km (633,491 sq. mile)
Land: 1,636,100 sq. km (628,878 sq. mile)
Water: 12,095 sq. km (4,612 sq. mile)
Area – comparative: Iran is the size of United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland all combined
Total: 5440 km (3,373 mile)
Coastline: 2,440 km (1,513 mile)
Climate: mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along 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 (-92 ft)
Highest point: Damavand peak 5,671 m (18,600 ft)
Petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
Persian 51%, Azari 24%, Gilaki and Mazanderani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkman 2%, Other 1%
Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkish and Turkish dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 26%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Other 3%
Religions: Shiite Muslim 89%, Sunnite Muslim 10%, Christian, Zoroastrian, Jewish, and other 1%
Government type: Islamic Republic
Independence: 1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed)
Spiritual Leader: Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
President: Mahmud Ahmadinezhad (85% election, 41 million)