Area: 1,648,000 km2 (world rank: 17)
Population density: 49 per km2 (as of 2017, world rank: 18)
Capital: Tehran (Tehran)
Official languages: Persian (Farsi)
Gross domestic product: 439.5 billion US $; Real growth: 4.3%
Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 5400 US$
Currency: 1 Rial (Rl.) = 100 Dinars
67, 14195 Berlin
Telephone 030 843530,
Fax 030 84353133
Head of State: Sayed Ali Khamenei, Head of State and Government: Hassan RohaniEschagh Dschahangiri, Exterior: Mohammad Dschawad Zarif
National Day: 11.2. (Day of the 1979 Revolution)
State and form of government
Constitution of 1979
State religion: Islam
Parliament: Assembly of the Islamic Council (Majlis) with 290 members (5 reserved for religious minorities), election every 4 years; Expert council with 86 elected clergy; Election every 8 years; this appoints the head of state and the revolutionary leader for life
arbitration council with 20-30 members (appointed by the revolutionary leader)
Guardian Council as a control body for the conformity of laws with Islamic law (Sharia) with 12 members (6 each appointed by Parliament and Head of State)
Direct election of the Head of State and Government every 4 years (one re-election)
Right to vote from 18 years
Population: Iranians, last census 2016 (preliminary): 79,926,270 residents
51% Persians, 24% Azerbaijanis, 8% Gilaki and Mazandarani, 7% Kurds, 3% Arabs, 2% Turkmen, 2% Lurs, 2% Baluch, Armenians and other
Cities (with population)
(As of 2016) Tehran (Tehran) 8,693,706 inh., Mashhad 3,001,184, Esfahan (Isfahan) 1,961,260, Karaj 1,592,492, Shiraz 1,565,572, Tabriz (Tabriz) 1,558,693, Qom 1,201,158, Ahvaz 1,184,788, Bakhtaran (Kermanshah) 946,651, Orumiyeh 736,224, Rasht 679,995, Zahedan 587,730, Hamadan 554,406, Kerman 537,718, Yazd 529,673, Ardabil 529,374,
99% Kurds, Kurds, Kurds, Azerbaijani, Azerbaijani, 90% Shiites: Arabs; 9% Sunnis: partly Kurds, Turkmens, Baluch); Minorities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Mandaeans and adherents of the Baha’i religion (status: 2006)
Languages: 50% Persian; other languages: Luri (with Bakhtiari), Kurdish, Baluchi; Turkic languages: Azerbaijani, Turkmen; Arabic, Armenian
Workers by economic sector: Agriculture 17%, industry 31%, business 51% (2017)
Unemployment (in% of all labor force): 2017: 12.5% (official)
Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 9.9%
Foreign trade: Import: 63.1 billion US $ (2017); Export: 84.0 billion US $ (2017)
- COUNTRYAAH: See current national flag of Iran. Download high definition image, and learn flag meanings as well as the history of Iran flags.
Resa Shah Pahlevi
The history of the modern state of Iran begins in the 1920s when army officer Resa Khan was elected “Shah” (king) in 1925 and adopted the name Resa Shah Pahlevi. He renamed the country of Persia to Iran and tried after the turmoil of the First World War to expand the country to a modern state free of foreign control. In 1941, due to his rapprochement with Nazi Germany, he was forced to abdicate by British and Soviet occupation forces. His successor was his son Mohammed Resa Pahlevi.
Mohammed Resa Pahlevi
At the beginning of the 50 years, the Shah had to leave the country because of a strong anti-Western, especially anti-British, movement under Prime Minister Mossadegh on the oil issue. It was only when he fell that the Shah returned in 1953. In 1961, a large number of social and economic reforms based on Western models were carried out (the so-called “White Revolution”), which triggered great unrest in the country. The measures included land reform, the formation of agricultural cooperatives, the expansion of health care, the granting of political rights for women and others. Protests and rallies, which were partially suppressed by the regime through gun violence, increased over the next few years.
In terms of foreign policy, the Shah also oriented himself to the west and concluded agreements (eg 1959 with the USA) or intensified his economic and political relations with Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany. Opposition to westernization and modernization of Iran grew in the country. The Shi’a clergy denounced the neglect of Islamic values. The Shah regime suppressed these movements with the help of the state secret service SAVAK and numerous arrests. (Amnesty International estimated the number of political prisoners in Iran between 25,000 and 100,000 in 1977.)
Declaration of the Islamic Republic
The protests and strikes peaked between August 1978 and February 1979. The Shah was forced to leave the country and revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had fueled the uprisings from his exile in Paris, announced the Islamic Republic of Iran. After the Shah regime, the country was now redesigned according to the principles of Islamic fundamentalism.
Relations with the western countries, which feared the Islamic revolution would spread, deteriorated. When the United States granted entry to the Shah for medical treatment, Islamic students occupied the American embassy in Tehran and took the embassy members hostage. They demanded that the Shah be extradited in exchange for the hostages. The United States then cut diplomatic ties with Iran and imposed economic sanctions. Other western countries also moved away from Iran in the course of the 1980s. The death penalty imposed by Ayatollah Khomeini on the British writer Salman Rushdie in 1989 met with outrage in the West because he allegedly insulted Islam with a novel (“The Satanic Verses”).
Domestically, the fundamentalist regime tried, with the help of numerous arrests and executions, to suppress any opposition to the radical course. In 1980, a border dispute in the area of Shatt el Arab led to war with neighboring Iraq. The eight-year war led to severe losses on both sides and an enormous weakening of the economy. After Khomeini’s death in 1989, former President Khamenei became the nation’s new leader. The new President Rafsandjani tried a cautious rapprochement with the West. In 1997 Muhammad Chatami won the presidential election with 70% of the vote. According to AbbreviationFinder, this election of a politician who was considered a reformer came as an unpleasant surprise to Iran’s religious conservative leadership. Chatami advocates a social opening of Iran, which runs counter to the interests of the conservative forces. This conflict continues because Chatami reformers won another clear victory in the February 2000 elections and Chatami was confirmed in office in the 2001 presidential election.
Before the 2004 general election, the twelve-member Guardian Council, made up of Islamic legal scholars and lawyers, excluded several thousand candidates from the elections. The reformers under Chatami were particularly affected. As expected, the conservative MPs won the majority in the general election; a realignment of politics (strengthening Islam, enforcement of “belief and morals”) was the result and the liberal reform attempts under Chatami were over. This picture was repeated in the 2008 parliamentary elections (exclusion of reform-oriented candidates, election victory of the conservatives).
The ultra-conservative Mayor of Tehran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surprisingly won in the 2005 presidential election. On the one hand, he provoked through his pronounced anti-Israeli attitude and the denial of the Holocaust. Second, he left the international community in the dark about important features of his nuclear program; there are still legitimate doubts as to whether uranium enrichment in the country should actually only serve peaceful purposes. The United Nations Security Council has issued economic sanctions against Iran in several resolutions since 2006. Ahmadinejad was also criticized for his behavior in the conflict over the nuclear program in Iran itself.The government’s economic policies and difficulties in fighting inflation have also sparked domestic debate and criticism from Parliament and the media.
Ahmadinejad was not allowed to run in the presidential elections in June 2013 and the moderate cleric Hassan Rohani prevailed. The effects of international sanctions on the economy are becoming increasingly noticeable.