Iran Overview

Iran Overview

Iran, on the border between the Middle East and Asia, is 1,648,195 km² and around four and a half times the size of Germany. Its western neighbors are Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and to the east the country borders with Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the north and south, the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf border the territory of the Islamic Republic.

History & State

Iran looks back on 2500 years of civilization history, some of the first advanced civilizations of mankind developed here. But Iran has also entered uncharted territory in state policy in the more recent past. On April 1, 1979 just two months after the Shah of Iran left the country, the Islamic Republic was proclaimed by referendum, the world’s first of its kind.

Economy & Development

Between the postulate of an “Islamic economic order” and the desire for modern technology, curbed by international sanctions but in possession of huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Islamic Republic has tried in recent years to build a modern economy to get out of its dependence on oil and gas to solve.

Society & culture

According to ehistorylib, Iranian society is a society in upheaval, torn between traditional Islamic values and the desire for change. Thus, Iran, of whose residents around 70% are under 30 years old, offers the visitor a wide variety of social realities, some of which are very different.

Iran stretches between the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf in the south. With an area of 1,648,195 km², the country is around four and a half times the size of Germany. Its western neighbor is Iraq (1609 km shared border), Turkey (511 km), Azerbaijan (759 km) and Armenia (48 km) are in the northwest. In the northeast, Iran borders with Turkmenistan (1205 km), in the east with Afghanistan (945 km) and Pakistan (978 km). Some islands in the Persian Gulf also belong to the Iranian national territory: Qeschm, Kish, Kharg, Farsi, Abu Musaas well as large and small Tonb. However, ownership of the last three is disputed between Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

The image of Iranian society has changed significantly in the 20th century. Since the reforms of Reza Shah, the founder of the last Iranian royal family, there are hardly any relevant nomadic parts of Iranian society today, with a few exceptions in the mountain regions in the southwest. In addition, in the 1960’s, due to the onset of industrialization, increased rural exodus began, which in the final analysis continues to this day. Today around 70% of Iranians live in cities, which means that some of them have grown explosively and will probably continue to grow. In addition to the capital Tehran, which – depending on whether you include the suburbs – has between seven and 14 million residents, Iran also has Mashhad, Esfahan, Tabriz, Karaj, Shiraz and Ahvaz six more cities with a population of over a million. These were and are often not able to cope with the influx, and there is often a lack of adequate infrastructure. The only exception are the wide city highways, which the son of Reza Shah, Mohammad Reza Shah, let pull through the cities like a chessboard as a sign of the modernization of the country. These were renewed and expanded again in the 1990’s.

Since large parts of the central highlands in particular are hardly habitable, the majority of the population is concentrated in the metropolitan areas on the fringes thereof. The smaller Iranian cities are also growing rapidly and the area under cultivation for agricultural products, which is already limited due to the climate and the nature of the soil, continues to decline.

Iran has a comparatively well-developed road and rail network. 125 908 km of the 172,927 km long road network are paved. There is also an 8442 km long rail network that connects almost all major cities. After all, Iran has around 850 km of waterways, mainly on the Karun and Urmia Lakes in the west of the country, which today, however, have lost a large part of its former area due to the change in the mini-climate and the increasing congestion of its tributaries.

A few years ago, the Imam Khomeini Airport south of Tehran was opened and is by far the largest in the country. Although other large cities also have international airports, most international air traffic continues to flow through Tehran. As more and more Iranian cities have national airports, the number of private airlines for domestic flights has risen sharply in recent years. The international connections are still under the monopoly of the state airline Iran Air.

The main modes of transport in cities are buses and taxis. Only Tehran and Esfahan have an underground network. The Tehran Metro faces enormous geographical obstacles, mainly because of the great height differences within the urban area, but its expansion, which is carried out with enormous technical and financial effort, is still progressing from year to year.

The country’s main ports are in Bandar-e Anzali on the Caspian Sea and Assaluyeh, Bandar-e Imam Khomeini and Bandar-e Abbas on the Persian Gulf.

Iran Rice fields on the coasts of the Caspian Sea

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