Explore Iran in Asia

Iran
Country Guide

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Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service suggests to reconsider your need to travel to this country. Take this advice seriously - check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Iran with its capital Tehran is located in Asia (Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman). It covers some 1,648,001 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Alaska) with 65,875,000 citizens. Persian and Kurdish are the the languages spoken by people in Iran. Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Armenia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey are bordering countries.

Iran is a large country between the Middle East and Central Asia, between the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea. Though the northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran. The eastern parts consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran's largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes.

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Pictures from the Iranian capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Tehran is like. We have selected more pictures from Tehran on our dedicated gallery page.

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Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Iran Tourism

The topography features rugged, mountainous rim with high, central basin with deserts, mountains and small, discontinuous plains along both coasts. The average density of population is about 40 per km². The climate in Iran can be described as mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast. Potential natural disasters are periodic droughts, floods or dust storms, sandstorms or earthquakes.

To reach someone in Iran dial +98 prior to a number. There are 25,804,000 installed telephones. And there are 52,555,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".ir". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 230V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Iranian Facts page.

Description of the flag of Iran

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 administrative regions of Iran

Historical background information

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 led by Ayatollah Ruhollah KHOMEINI 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 became strained when a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held embassy personnel hostages until mid-January 1981. The US cut off diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1980. During the period 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. Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world and remains subject to US, UN, and EU economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement in terrorism and its nuclear weapons ambitions. Following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad KHATAMI as president in 1997 and a reformist Majles (legislature) in 2000, a campaign to foster political reform in response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated. The movement floundered as conservative politicians, through control of unelected institutions, prevented reform measures from being enacted and increased repressive measures. Starting with nationwide municipal elections in 2003 and continuing through Majles elections in 2004, conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected government institutions, which culminated with the August 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD as president. His controversial reelection in June 2009 sparked nationwide protests over allegations of electoral fraud. The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and comply with its IAEA obligations and responsibilities. In mid-February 2011, opposition activists conducted the largest antiregime rallies since December 2009, spurred by the success of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Protester turnout probably was at most tens of thousands and security forces were deployed to disperse protesters. Additional protests in March 2011 failed to elicit significant participation largely because of the robust security response, although discontent still smolders. Deteriorating economic conditions due primarily to government mismanagement and international sanctions prompted at least two major economically based protests in July and October 2012.

Learn more on our Iranian Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.