Iran Destinations Travel Guide



Flag of Iran

Language: Persian

Currency: Rial (IRR)

Calling Code: 98


Iran, whose official name is the Islamic Republic of Iran (in Persian, جمهوری اسلامی ایران), is a State of the Middle East and Western Asia. From the 1st millennium B.C. until 1935 was known in the West as Persia, although today this name is still valid and accepted along with that of Iran. It borders Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east; Turkmenistan by the northeast; the Caspian Sea to the north; Azerbaijan and Armenia by the northwest; Turkey and Iraq to the west and, finally, to the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south.

It is the eighteenth largest country in the world with 1 648 195 km², Iran has a population of almost 80 million people of various ethnicities. It is a country with significant importance in geopolitics to be between the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Tehran is the capital, as well as being the political, industrial, commercial and cultural center of the country. Iran is a regional power to which its large reserves of hydrocarbons (fourth oil reserves and first gas reserves worldwide) confer a situation of potential power superpower and have been reporting for decades a substantial oil income.

The ethnic diversity of the people of Iran, such as Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, lor, Arabic, Turkmen and Balochi, among others, are part of the Iranian culture and have provided a special attraction to this vast territory. Iran, next to Iraq, is the home of the oldest civilizations. The first known dynasties in western Iran are those of Elam, from 2800 BC. The Medes formed the first empire that encompassed the "Great Iran" in 625 BC. These were succeeded by the Achaemenid Empire, hellenized by the Seleucids after the conquest by Alexander the Great and then recentrated in autochthonous references by the successive empires of the Arsacid and Sassanid births. Muslims conquer it in 651 AD with the result of the diffusion of the Persian language throughout the Iranian Plateau and of different aspects of the Iranian culture throughout the Islamic world.

In 1501 the emergence of the Safavi dynasty produced the replacement of Sunni Islam, until then majority, by Twelver Shiism as the official religion of the kingdom, as well as intense persecution of most Sufi brotherhoods developed after the Mongol invasion of the twelfth century. Under the government of Nader Shah, begun in 1736, Iran reached its greatest territorial extension since the Sassanid era. During the nineteenth century, Iran lost large amounts of territory in the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) to the Russian Empire in the Caucasus.At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 established the first legislative assembly in the country (and of the Asian continent), submitting the monarchical power to a constitution. In 1953, Prime Minister Mosaddeq - who had nationalized oil two years earlier - was overthrown by a coup d'état, orchestrated by the United Kingdom and the United States, which allowed Sha Reza Pahlevi to have greater power over the national government. The monarchy came to an end in 1979, through a popular revolution that led to an Islamic revolution, ending up being led by Shiites, led by Khomeini, which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic on April 1, 1979. 2015 the Joint and Complete Action Plan was signed with the P5 + 1 on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran is a founding member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Organization for Islamic Cooperation and OPEC. The political system of Iran is based on the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of 1979, which regulates the relations between the different organs of government. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader of Iran, although the day-to-day management of the administration is the responsibility of the president. The official religion and language of the country are, respectively, the Twelver Islam and the Persian.


Travel Destination in Iran

Arg-é Bam is a medieval adobe fortress in the Kerman province of Iran.

Chogha Zanbil is a site of a massive ancient Elamite religious buildings.

Persepolis is an Ancient capital of the Persian Empire destroyed by Alexander the Great as a revenge for burning Athens.



The modern name of Iran is "Irɒn" (pers. ايراﻥ‎) through pahl. Erān goes back to Avesta. Airyāna, which is formed from the self-name of the ancient Indo-Iranians - "arya" and is either the adjective "Aryan country" or the genitive "Country of the Aryans" in an expression like Avesta. airyanam dahyunam - "country of the Aryans".

In the era of the Achaemenids (550-327 BC), the ancient Iranian concept of "Aryānam Dahyunam" was transformed into other Persian. "Aryānam Xšaθram" - "The State of the Aryans", which later gave the name to the state of the Arshakids (250 BC - 224 AD) - Aryānšaθr / Aryānšahr. As Richard Fry notes, “With the expansion of the Parthians, the term Aria, or Ariane of Greek sources, seems to have spread so widely that it eventually turned into “Great Aria”, a term equivalent to the name of the “kingdom of the Aryans” - Eranshahr (Eranshahr), as the Sassanids called their vast homeland. Strabo under Ariana (Άριανή) meant the eastern provinces of the Persian kingdom: Gedrosia, Drangiana, Arachosia, Paropamiz, Aria (that is, Areia, ancient Persian Haraiva, now Herat), Parthia and Carmania.

The name of the state of the Sassanids (224-651) is pehl. Erānšahr comes from Avesta. "Airyānam Xšaθram", meaning "Kingdom of the Aryans". The Avestan diphthong "ai" was transformed into the Middle Persian "e". The official title of the Sassanids was: "king of the kings of Eran and Aneran".

The self-name of the Iranians is Irani. Despite the fact that the Iranians have called their country Iran since ancient times, in the rest of the world the ancient Greek name "Persia" remained generally accepted until 1935, when Shah Reza demanded that other powers also call his country Iran.


History of Iran

The history of statehood in Iran is one of the oldest in the world and only according to written sources covers almost 5 thousand years. The first state on its territory - Elam - emerged in Khuzestan in the III millennium BC. The Persian Empire under Darius I of Achaemenides already stretched from Greece and Cyrenaica to the Indus and Tarim rivers. Iran, known as Persia for its long history of writing, has been one of the most influential political, cultural and world centers for more than 2 thousand years. For many centuries, Zoroastrianism has been the dominant religion. By the 16th century, Islam became the state religion of Iran.

The Persian Empire under Darius I stretched from Greece and Libya to the Indus River. Persia was the most populated state in history (50% of the world's population were subjects of the Achaemenids), was one of the strongest and most influential culturally and politically states up to the 17th and 18th centuries, but by the end of the 19th century Persia turned into a semi-colonial state. In 1935, Persia changed the name of the country (in Zoroastrianism, the north of Iran and the south of Afghanistan were called Ariana) to Iran.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, during which the monarchy was overthrown and an Islamic republic was proclaimed.

Ancient Iran
The settlement of the territory of Iran belongs to ancient times. Iranian peoples become predominant in its territory by the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. Some of the tribes (Persians, Medes, Bactrians, Parthians) settled in the western part of the plateau; Balochi settled in the east and along the coast of the Gulf of Oman.

The first significant Iranian state was the Medes kingdom, founded in the late VIII - early VII century BC, with the capital at Hamadan (Ecbatana). The Medes quickly established control over all of western Iran and partly over eastern. Together with the Babylonians, the Medes defeated the Assyrian Empire, captured northern Mesopotamia and Urartu.

In 553 BC the young Persian king of Anshan and Parsa Cyrus from the Achaemenid clan opposed the Medes. Cyrus captured Ecbatana and declared himself king of Persia and Media. At the same time, the Median king Ishtuwegu was captured, but later released and appointed governor in one of the provinces. Until his death in 529 BC. Cyrus II the Great subjugated the Achaemenid empire all over Western Asia from the Mediterranean and Anatolia to the Syr Darya. Earlier, in 546 BC, Cyrus founded in Fars the capital of his kingdom - Pasargadae, where he was buried. Cyrus's son Cambyses II expanded his father's empire to Egypt and Ethiopia.

After the death of Cambyses and the ensuing internecine strife in his inner circle and rebellions throughout the country, Darius Hystaspes came to power. Darius quickly and harshly brought order to the empire and began new campaigns of conquest, as a result of which the Achaemenid empire expanded to the Balkan Peninsula in the west and to the Indus in the east, becoming the largest and most powerful state that ever existed at that time. Darius also undertook a series of internal reforms. He divided the country into several administrative units - satrapies, while for the first time in history the principle of separation of powers was implemented: the troops did not obey the satraps and at the same time, the military leaders did not have administrative power. In addition, Darius carried out a monetary reform and introduced the golden gift into circulation. This, combined with the construction of a network of paved roads, has contributed to an unprecedented leap in trade relations.

Darius patronized Zoroastrianism and considered the priests to be the core of the Persian statehood. Under him, this first monotheistic religion became a state religion in the empire. At the same time, the Persians were tolerant of the conquered peoples and their beliefs and culture.

The heirs of Darius I began to violate the principles of internal structure introduced by the king, as a result of which the satrapies became more independent. A mutiny broke out in Egypt, riots broke out in Greece and Macedonia. Under these conditions, the Macedonian commander Alexander began a military campaign against the Persians, and by 330 BC defeated the Achaemenid empire.

Parthia and the Sassanids
After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC his empire split into several separate states. Most of the territory of modern Iran went to Seleucia, but the Parthian king Mithridates I soon began campaigns of conquest against the Seleucids and included Persia, as well as Mesopotamia, in his state. In 92 BC between Parthia and Rome, a border was drawn along the Euphrates, but the Romans almost immediately invaded the western Parthian satrapies and were defeated. In a retaliatory campaign, the Parthians captured the entire Levant and Anatolia, but were driven back by the troops of Mark Antony to the Euphrates. Soon after, civil wars broke out in Parthia one after another, caused by the intervention of Rome in the struggle between the Parthian and Greek nobility.


In 224, Ardashir Papakan, the son of the ruler of the small town of Kheir in Pars, defeated the army of the Parthians of Artaban IV and founded the second Persian Empire - Iranshahr ("Kingdom of the Aryans") - with its capital in Firuzabad, becoming the founder of a new dynasty - the Sassanids. The influence of the aristocracy and the Zoroastrian clergy increased, and persecutions against the Gentiles began. An administrative reform has been carried out. The Sassanids continued to fight the Romans and the nomads of Central Asia.

Under Tsar Khosrov I (531-579), active expansion began: in 540 Antioch was captured, in 562 - Egypt. The Byzantine Empire fell into tax dependence on the Persians. The coastal areas of the Arabian Peninsula, including Yemen, were occupied. At the same time, Khosrov defeated the Hephthalite state on the territory of modern Tajikistan. Khosrov's military successes led to a flourishing of trade and culture in Iran.

The grandson of Khosrov I, Khosrov II (590-628) renewed the war with Byzantium, but suffered defeat after defeat. War expenses were covered by exorbitant taxes from merchants and extortions from the poor. As a result, uprisings broke out throughout the country, Khosrov was captured and executed. His grandson, Yazdigird III (632-651), became the last Sassanian king. Despite the end of the war with Byzantium, the collapse of the empire continued. In the south, the Persians faced a new enemy - the Arabs.

Arab conquest
Arab raids on Sassanian Iran began in 632. The Persian army suffered its most crushing defeat at the Battle of Qadisiyah in 637. The Arab conquest of Persia lasted until 652, and it was incorporated into the Umayyad Caliphate. The Arabs spread Islam in Iran, which greatly changed the Persian culture. After the Islamization of Iran, literature, philosophy, art, and medicine developed rapidly in the Caliphate. Persian culture became the basis for the beginning of the golden age of Islam.

In 750, the Persian general Abu Muslim led the Abbasid campaign against the Umayyads to Damascus, and then to the capital of the Caliphate - Baghdad. In gratitude, the new caliph granted the Persian governors a certain autonomy, and also took several Persians as viziers. Nevertheless, in 822, Tahir bin Hussein bin Musab, the governor of Khorasan, proclaimed the independence of the province and declared himself the founder of a new Persian dynasty - the Takhirids. By the beginning of the Samanid rule, Iran had practically restored its independence from the Arabs.

Turkic and Mongol conquests
Despite the adoption of Islam by Persian society, Arabization in Iran was not successful. The planting of Arab culture met with resistance from the Persians and became the impetus for the struggle for independence from the Arabs. The revival of the Persian language and literature, which peaked in the 9th-10th centuries, played an important role in restoring the national identity of the Persians. In this regard, Ferdowsi's epic “Shahnameh”, written entirely in Farsi, gained fame.

In 962, the Turkic commander Alp-Tegin opposed the Samanids and founded the Turkic state of the Gaznevids with the capital in Ghazni (Afghanistan). Under the Ghaznavids, the cultural flourishing of Persia continued. Their followers, the Seljuks, moved the capital to Isfahan.

In 1220, the north-east of Iran, which was part of the Turkic Khorezm kingdom, was attacked by the troops of Genghis Khan. The entire Khorasan, as well as the territories of the eastern provinces of modern Iran, were subjected to devastation. About half of the population was killed by the Mongols. The conquest of Iran was completed by the grandson of Genghis Khan Hulagu. In the state he founded, his descendants, the Ilkhans, ruled until the middle of the XIV century.

The great Turkic ruler and commander Emir Timur is more popular in the west as Tamerlane established his control over Iran. Tamerlane brought thousands of skilled craftsmen from Iran to his capital Samarkand, who built masterpieces of world architecture in Samarkand. For example, Tabriz craftsmen built the Gur Emir mausoleum in Samarkand. During the reign of the youngest son of Timur Shahrukh, science and culture flourished in Iran. It continued during the reign of Timurid Sultan Hussein Baykara.

The centralization of the Iranian state resumed with the coming to power of the Qizilbash dynasty of the Safavids, who put an end to the rule of the descendants of the Mongol conquerors.

Dynasties (1501-1979)

Shiite Islam was adopted in Iran as the state religion under Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty. After the victory over Alvand Khan, the ruler of the Turkic state of Ak-Koyunlu, near Sharur (in Nakhichevan), Ismail victoriously entered Tabriz, where in July 1501 he proclaimed himself the shah of Azerbaijan. Ismail soon subjugated the whole of Iran - and in May 1502 he crowned himself Shahinshah of Iran. The city of Tabriz became the capital of the Safavid state; later the capital was moved to Qazvin, and from there to Isfahan. The Safavid empire reached its highest peak under Abbas I, defeating the Ottoman Empire and annexing the territories of modern Iraq, Afghanistan, part of Pakistan, the territory of Azerbaijan, parts of Armenia and Georgia, as well as the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Thus, the possessions of Iran stretched from the Tigris to the Indus.

The conquered territories brought wealth and prosperity to Iran. The flourishing of culture began. Iran became a centralized state, the modernization of the armed forces was carried out. However, after the death of Abbas the Great, the empire fell into decay. Mismanagement led to the loss of Kandahar and Baghdad. In 1722, the Ghilzai Afghans raided Iran, taking Isfahan on the move, and elevated Mahmud Khan to the throne. Then Nadir Shah, the commander of the last ruler of the Safavids, Takhmasp II, killed him along with his son and established the rule of the Afsharids in Iran.

First of all, Nadir Shah changed the state religion to Sunni, and then defeated Afghanistan and returned Kandahar to Persia. Retreating Afghan troops fled to India. Nadir Shah called on the Indian Mogul, Mohammed Shah, not to accept them, but he did not agree, then the Shah invaded India. In 1739, the troops of Nadir Shah entered Delhi, but soon an uprising broke out there. The Persians staged a real massacre in the city, and then returned to Iran, completely plundering the country. In 1740, Nadir Shah made a campaign to Turkestan, as a result of which the borders of Iran advanced to the Amu Darya. In the Caucasus, the Persians reached Dagestan. In 1747, Nadir Shah was killed.

In 1750, power passed to the Zend dynasty, headed by Karim Khan. Karim Khan became the first Persian in 700 years to become the head of state. He moved the capital to Shiraz. The period of his reign is characterized by almost no wars and cultural flourishing. Zend's rule lasted only three generations, and in 1781 passed to the Qajar dynasty. The founder of the dynasty, eunuch Aga-Mohammed Khan, perpetrated reprisals against the Zend and the descendants of the Afsharid. Having strengthened the power of the Qajars in Iran, Mohammed Khan made a campaign against Georgia, defeating Tbilisi and destroying more than 20 thousand residents of the city. The second campaign against Georgia in 1797 did not take place, since the shah was killed by his own servants (a Georgian and a Kurd) in Karabakh. Shortly before his death, Mohammed Khan moved the capital of Iran to Tehran.

As a result of a series of unsuccessful wars with the Russian Empire, Persia under the Qajars lost the territory now occupied by Azerbaijan and Armenia. Corruption flourished, control over the outskirts of the country was lost. After lengthy protests in 1906, a Constitutional Revolution took place in the country, as a result of which Iran became a constitutional monarchy. In the summer of 1918, British troops occupy all of Iran. On August 9, 1919, the Anglo-Iranian agreement was signed, establishing full British control over the country's economy and army. In 1920, the Gilan Soviet Republic was proclaimed in the Ostan of Gilan, which will exist until September 1921. On February 21, 1921, Reza Khan Pahlavi overthrew Ahmed Shah and in 1925 was declared the new Shah. On February 26, 1921, the RSFSR signed a new treaty with Iran, recognizing the full independence of Iran.

Pahlavi introduced the term "shahinshah" ("king of kings") into circulation. Starting from the Persian New Year, that is, from March 22, 1935, the name of the state was officially changed from Persia to Iran. Large-scale industrialization of Iran began, the infrastructure was completely modernized. During the Second World War, the shahinshah refused Britain and the Soviet Union their request to deploy their troops in Iran. Then the allies invaded Iran, overthrew the Shah and took control of the railways and oil fields. In 1942, Iran's sovereignty was restored, power passed to the Shah's son, Mohammed. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union, fearing possible aggression from Turkey, kept its troops in northern Iran until May 1946.



After the war, Mohammed Reza pursued a policy of active Westernization and de-Islamization, which did not always find understanding among the people. In 1951, Mohammed Mossadegh became the Chairman of the Iranian Government, who was actively involved in reforming, seeking to revise the agreements on the distribution of profits of British Petroleum. The nationalization of the Iranian oil industry took place. However, in the United States, immediately and with the active participation of the British special services, a coup plan was developed, carried out in August 1953 by the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, Carmit Roosevelt. Mossadegh was removed from his post and imprisoned. Three years later, he was released and placed under house arrest, where he remained until his death in 1967.

In 1957, the SAVAK secret police was founded.

In 1963, Ayatollah Khomeini was expelled from the country as a result of a series of radical reforms ("White Revolution"). The transformations and de-Islamization led to active anti-government propaganda. In 1965, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Mansour was fatally wounded by members of the Fedayane Islam group. In 1973, in the course of the policy of strengthening the power of the Shah, all political parties and associations were banned, in 1975 the Rastakhiz party was established within the framework of the one-party system. By the end of the 1970s, Iran was engulfed in massive protests that resulted in the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime and the final abolition of the monarchy. In 1979, an Islamic revolution took place in the country and an Islamic republic was founded.

Islamic republic
The Islamic revolution in Iran was the transition from the Shah's monarchical Pahlavi regime to an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and the founder of the new order. The beginning of the revolution is considered to be the massive anti-Shah protests in January 1978, suppressed by government forces. In January 1979, after the country was paralyzed by constant strikes and rallies, Pahlavi and his family left Iran, and on February 1, Khomeini, who was in exile in France, arrived in Tehran. The Ayatollah was greeted by millions of jubilant Iranians. On April 1, 1979, after a popular referendum, Iran was officially proclaimed an Islamic republic. On December 3 of the same year, a new constitution was adopted.

The internal political consequences of the revolution were manifested in the establishment of a theocratic regime of the Muslim clergy in the country, an increase in the role of Islam in absolutely all spheres of life. There have been dramatic changes in foreign policy. Iran's relations with the United States have become extremely strained. Diplomatic relations were severed on November 4, 1979, when the US embassy was seized in Tehran and the diplomats were held hostage for 444 days. The invaders (students, among whom, according to some sources, may have been the later president of Iran, then an officer of the IRGC special forces and an activist of the youth organization "Rallying Unity" - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) claimed that they were pursuing CIA agents who were planning to overthrow the revolutionary government. They also demanded the extradition of the fleeing shah. Only in 1981, with the mediation of Algeria, the crisis was resolved and the hostages were released to their homeland.

Iran-Iraq War
Meanwhile, the President of neighboring Iraq, Saddam Hussein, has decided to take advantage of the internal instability in Iran and its strained relations with Western countries. Iran has been (not for the first time) territorial claims for areas along the Persian Gulf to the east of the Shatt al-Arab. In particular, Hussein demanded the transfer to Iraq of western Khuzestan, where the majority of the population were Arabs and there were huge oil reserves. These demands were ignored by Iran, and Hussein began preparations for a large-scale war. On September 22, 1980, the Iraqi army crossed the Shatt al-Arab and invaded Khuzestan, which came as a complete surprise to the Iranian leadership.

Although Saddam Hussein achieved considerable success in the first months of the war, the Iraqi army's offensive was soon halted, Iranian troops launched a counteroffensive and by mid-1982 drove the Iraqis out of the country. Khomeini decided not to stop the war, planning to "export" the revolution to Iraq. This plan relied primarily on the Shiite majority of eastern Iraq. Now the Iranian army has invaded Iraq with the intention of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. However, in subsequent years, Iran's military successes were insignificant, and in 1988 the Iraqi army launched a counteroffensive and liberated all the territories occupied by Iran. After that, a peace agreement was signed. The Iranian-Iraqi border has remained unchanged.


During the war, Iraq enjoyed the political, financial and military support of most Arab countries, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States and its allies. Iran was supported in one way or another by China, the USA, Israel and some other countries. During the hostilities, the Iraqi army has repeatedly used chemical weapons, including against peaceful Iranians. More than 100,000 people in Iran may have died from toxic chemicals. Iran's total losses in the eight-year war exceed 500,000.

In 1997, Mohammed Khatami was elected president of Iran, proclaiming the beginning of a policy of tolerant attitude to culture and the establishment of closer ties with Western countries. In the late 90s, European states began to restore economic ties with Iran, interrupted by the revolution. Nevertheless, the United States remained unchanged in its position. The American leadership has charged Iran with sponsoring terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. Later, US President George W. Bush assigned Iran the label of an "Axis of Evil" country.

On June 20, 2019, the IRGC air force shot down an American unmanned vehicle near the Strait of Hormuz. According to IRNA, the US RQ-4 Global Hawk drone violated Iranian airspace and was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the province of Hormozgan. According to the US version, the MQ-4C Triton drone flew in international airspace and did not violate Iran's borders. The United States planned to retaliate against three military targets in Iran, however, according to Donald Trump, he canceled this decision 10 minutes before the attack.



State structure

According to the constitution adopted in 1979, Iran is an Islamic republic. As of 2019, Iran is one of the few existing theocracies in the world.

The head of state is the Supreme Leader. It determines the general policy of the country. Rahbar - Supreme Commander of the Iranian Armed Forces, head of military intelligence. The supreme leader appoints people to key positions in the state: the presidents of the courts, the head of the police and the commanders of all branches of the armed forces, as well as six of the twelve members of the Council of Guardians of the Constitution. The Supreme Leader is elected by the Council of Experts and is accountable to it.

The second most important official in Iran is the President. The President is the guarantor of the constitution and the head of the executive branch. Decisions on key issues are made only after the approval of the Chief Executive. The President appoints the members of the Council of Ministers and coordinates the work of the government. Ten vice presidents and 21 government ministers are approved for office by parliament. Although the president appoints the ministers of defense and intelligence, nominations must be approved in advance by the Supreme Leader. The president is elected by direct popular vote for a four-year term. Presidential candidates must be pre-approved by the Guardian Council.

Legislative power is represented by a unicameral parliament - the Majlis (pers. مجلس شورای اسلام - "Islamic Advisory Council"). The upper chamber was disbanded after the revolution in 1979. The Majlis consists of 290 members elected by popular vote for a four-year term. Parliament is responsible for drafting laws, ratifying international treaties and budgeting. All candidates for deputies of the Mejlis are also approved by the Council of Guardians.

The Council of Guardians of the Constitution consists of 12 members, 6 of whom are appointed by the Supreme Leader. The remaining 6 members are appointed by Parliament on the proposal of the Chairman of the Supreme Court. The Guardian Council approves candidates for key positions, including candidates for president, members of the government and parliament. The main duty of the Council is to check bills for compliance with Islamic law. If there are disagreements with the Shariah, the bill is sent for revision. In addition, the Council has the right to veto any decision of the Majlis.

The Council of Expediency resolves disputes arising between the Majlis and the Council of Guardians. The Expediency Council is also an advisory body under the Supreme Leader. The Council's chairman, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is Rahbar's personal adviser.

The Council of Experts is made up of 86 members of the Islamic clergy and meets for a week each year. The Council of Experts elects the Supreme Leader and has the right to remove him from office at any time (although there has never been such a precedent: the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is only the second in the history of the country, while the first, Khomeini, died while still in office). Council meetings are closed. Council members are elected by popular vote for an eight-year term.

Local governments are present in all cities and villages of Iran and are elected by popular vote for a four-year term. City (village) councils elect the mayor, monitor the work of the bureaucracy, are responsible for the development of education, medicine, housing and communal services and other domestic issues. The first local council elections were held in 1999. Since the activities of the councils are exclusively administrative and executive in nature, candidates for council members do not need to be approved by the Council of Experts.

The judiciary consists of the People's Court, dealing with civil and criminal cases, and the Revolutionary Court, which has jurisdiction over specific crimes, including those against the state. The verdict of the Revolutionary Court is not subject to appeal. In addition, there is a Special Spiritual Court. Decisions of this court are also not subject to appeal; it operates separately from the general judicial system. The highest instance of the Spiritual Court is Rahbar. He also appoints the chairmen of the People's and Revolutionary Courts.



Human rights

The laws of the Islamic Republic are based on Islamic law. The state apparatus is closely intertwined with the Islamic clergy. In this regard, there are restrictions on human rights, primarily related to religion. In particular, in the system of government there is a special body - the Council of Guardians of the Constitution, whose activities prohibit non-Muslims from holding the highest government posts, and members of parliament from drawing up bills that contradict Sharia. According to the Constitution (Article 13), in addition to Islam, only three religions are recognized: Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, believers of all other religions (Buddhists, Baha'is, etc.) are considered "unprotected infidels", they cannot be represented in parliament and do not have practically any legal rights.

Sexual minorities are also subject to persecution. Homosexual contact is a criminal offense punishable up to the death penalty. Cases of execution of minors are not uncommon: the case of two 16-year-old teenagers Mahmud Asgari and Ayaz Marchoni, who were accused of raping a minor and publicly hanged in the city square in the presence of a huge crowd of onlookers, received the widest publicity (they were also accused of drinking alcoholic beverages, disturbing public order and theft in the central square in Mashhad). The execution took place two weeks after the victory of the extremely conservative politician Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections.

One of the opposition leaders (Mehdi Karubi) accused the Iranian authorities of using torture against political prisoners. An article posted on his party's website mentions cases of brutal rape of prisoners.

Iran ranks second in the world (after China) in terms of the number of executions. In 2006, at least 215 people were executed in the country, including seven minors, in violation of the international convention on children's rights. According to statistics from the human rights group Amnesty International, more than 200 people were executed in Iran in 2007 for serious crimes.

There are some restrictions on freedom of the press: after the conservative wing came to power, most of the pro-reformist newspapers were closed. Broadcasting of Western music is prohibited. Restrictions apply not only to print media and television. The Internet is also censored. The activities of providers, including commercial ones, are controlled by the Ministry of Information. All newly registered websites in the .ir domain are subject to verification, and there is automatic e-mail filtering. Pornographic and anti-Islamic sites are prohibited. The websites of opposition organizations are mainly located on foreign servers.

Human rights organizations are also being persecuted in Iran. For example, the case of the seizure by the authorities of this country of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Order of the Legion of Honor from the well-known Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, as well as the closure of her Center for the Protection of Human Rights, received a wide international resonance.


Foreign policy

Until 1979, Iran was generally a pro-Western state. The Islamic Revolution of 1979, which took place on a wave of anti-Americanism, radically changed the country's foreign policy. The victory of the Islamic Revolution was marked by an international hostage-taking scandal at the American embassy in Tehran. This crisis led to a deterioration in relations with all Western countries, and also served as a pretext for breaking off diplomatic relations with the United States, which have not been restored to this day.

The revolution coincided in time with the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, which had an extremely negative impact on relations with the USSR. Iran maintained diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, but the proposals of the Soviet leadership to hold a bilateral meeting were ignored. It is also known that in 1988 Ayatollah sent a telegram to Gorbachev, in which he suggested that he build an Islamic republic in the USSR.

The revolution spoiled relations not only with the West, but also with the Arab world. In 1980, Iraq invaded the oil-rich Khuzestan, starting the Iran-Iraq War. Having knocked out Iraqi troops from Iran, the country's leadership planned to "export" the Islamic revolution to Iraq with the help of a counteroffensive. However, due to the rapid exhaustion of troops and the use of chemical weapons by the Iraqi army, these plans were not successful. Meanwhile, Iranian-American relations were further complicated after an American missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf shot down an Iranian passenger plane.

After the end of the Iran-Iraq war and with the death of Khomeini, Iran's relations with Europe began to gradually improve, which was largely facilitated by Rafsanjani's pragmatic policy. New relations were built with the independent republics of the collapsed USSR. In particular, Iran denounced Chechen separatism, thereby providing tacit support to Russia in this matter. Today, Iran is taking part in the reconstruction of the Chechen economy. Largely thanks to the diplomatic efforts of Iran, Russia was able to partially restore the lost influence in the Middle East and Central Asia. Russia agreed to continue the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, begun under Pahlavi.

However, Iran's relationship with the United States is still tense. This was largely facilitated by the victory of the ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections in Iran in 2005. His harsh statements about Israel spoiled relations with this state as well. The US and Israel accuse Iran of sponsoring terrorist organizations (in the US, Israel and the EU, Hezbollah, in particular, is considered a terrorist organization) and developing nuclear weapons. According to unconfirmed reports, the United States is preparing a missile attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran has diplomatic missions in most countries of the world. At the same time, like many other Islamic states, Iran does not recognize Israel. In the official statements of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Israel is referred to as the "Zionist regime". There are no diplomatic relations with the US either. Iran is a member of the UN (since 1945), OIC, OPEC, SAARC, and is also an observer at the SCO.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Russia since January 2009, Reza Sajjadi, has been writing a blog about Iran in Russian.

In 2012, Iran becomes the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, becoming in August for 3 years the country-chairman of this movement, which is the second largest international structure after the UN.

Territorial disputes
There are territorial disputes between Iran and the United Arab Emirates over three islands in the Strait of Hormuz that control the entrance to the Persian Gulf. In the late 1940s, the sheikhs of the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which were under the British protectorate, alternately owned the islands. In 1971, after the withdrawal of Great Britain from the region, the islands were supposed to go to the UAE, which included both of these emirates, but they were captured by the Shah's Iran. The islands still contain a significant military contingent.

There are also claims on the territory of Azerbaijan and Afghanistan and part of the territory of Pakistan.



Iran is located in southwestern Asia. In terms of area (1648 thousand km²), the country ranks seventeenth in the world. Iran borders with Azerbaijan (the length of the border is 611 km (with the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic - 179 km) and Armenia (36 km) in the northwest, with Turkmenistan (992 km) in the northeast, with Pakistan (909 km) and Afghanistan (936 km) in the east, with Turkey (499 km) and Iraq (1458 km) in the west.In the north it is washed by the Caspian Sea, in the south by the Persian and Oman gulfs of the Arabian Sea.

Most of the territory of Iran is located on the Iranian plateau, with the exception of the coast of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan. Iran is generally a mountainous country. Dozens of mountain ranges and ranges separate river basins and plateaus from each other. The most populated western part of the country is also the most mountainous, where the Caucasus Mountains and Elburz are located. The highest point of Iran, Damavend Peak (5604 m), is located in the Elburz chain. The east of Iran is mainly covered with saline deserts and semi-deserts, including the largest - Deshte-Kevir and Deshte-Lut. The dominance of deserts in this region is explained by the impossibility of penetrating moist air masses from the Arabian and Mediterranean seas because of the mountains. With the exception of a few oases, these deserts are practically uninhabited.
Large plains are found only in the north of Iran along the coast of the Caspian Sea, as well as in the southwest - at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab River along the coast of the Persian Gulf. Smaller plains are found along the southeastern coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman.



The climate of Iran varies from arid, characteristic of the predominant territory of the country, to subtropical along the coast of the Caspian Sea and in the northern forest regions. There, temperatures rarely drop below 0°C in winter and rarely exceed 29°C in summer. The average annual rainfall is 1700 mm in the west of the Caspian region and 680 mm in its east.

In the west of Iran, in the Zagros Mountains, the temperature is almost always below 0 ° C in winter, heavy snowfalls and strong winds are characteristic. In the central and eastern regions of the country, the climate is arid, with an average annual rainfall of less than 200 mm and average summer temperatures above 38 °C. On the plains along the shores of the Persian and Oman Gulfs, winters are mostly mild, while summers are hot and humid. The average annual rainfall is 135-355 mm. Thunderstorms are frequent in spring with heavy rains and hail.


Administrative divisions of Iran

The main administrative unit of Iran are ostans (Pers. استان‎ - ostān; pl. - استانﻫﺎ - ostānhā), which are divided into shahrestans (Pers. شهرستان‎), and those in turn - into bakhshi (Pers. بخش‎). Ostan's largest city is most often its capital (Persian مرکز‎ - markaz). Each stop is controlled by a governor (ostandar - استاندار). Iran is divided into 31 stops.

Until 1950, Iran was divided into only 12 stops: Ardalyan, Azerbaijan, Balochistan, Fars, Gilan, Araki-Ajam, Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kerman, Larestan, Lorestan and Mazandaran. In 1950, their number decreased to 10, and then increased to 28 between 1960 and 1981. In 2004, Khorasan was divided into 3 separate stops, and Tehran in 2010 into 2 separate stops.

In the 1950s-1990s, the country experienced a population explosion. The population has doubled since 1979, reaching 70,495,782 in 2006 and 75,149,669 in 2011. However, in the 1990s, the birth rate declined markedly and has now fallen below the simple replacement of generations. The total fertility rate is 1.87 (2.15 is necessary for the reproduction of generations). Over 61% of the population is under 30 (May 2009). The literacy rate is 84%, urbanization - 71%.

Thanks to the improvement in the state of medical and other infrastructure in rural areas after the Islamic Revolution, the overall mortality rate was able to drop sharply in a very short time - from 13 ‰ in 1978 to 7 ‰ in 1990 and 5 ‰ in 2014, and child mortality ( up to 5 years) - from 12.7% to 5.8% and 1.6%. Maternal mortality from 1990 to 2014 rapidly decreased - from 123 to 25 per 100 thousand live births, or 5 times.

The number of Iranians abroad exceeds 4 million. Most of them emigrated to Australia, North America and Europe after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In addition, as of 1996, more than a million refugees lived in Iran itself, mainly from Afghanistan and Waziristan.

The Iranian constitution guarantees every citizen, regardless of nationality and religion, social protection: pension, unemployment benefit, disability, medical insurance. Education and medical services are free. The average annual per capita income is $2,700 (2006). About 18% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Iran is a multi-ethnic state. There is no official information about the ethnic composition of the population. According to the CIA's World Book of Facts, the following people live in the country: Persians (61%), Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Lurs (6%), Arabs (2%), Baluchis (2%), Turkmens and Turkic tribes (2%).



Most Iranians are Muslims. 85% of the population are Shia Muslims (state religion). Along with Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain, Iran is one of the states where Shiites make up more than half of the population, however, the doctrine of the country - "Wilayat Faqih" - according to the majority of Shiites, has no connection with Shiism. Qom is the most important religious center of Shiism with many Shiite seminaries and universities, and the tomb of Imam Reza is located in Mashhad.

Sunni Muslims make up about 9% of the population. Christians make up about 4%.

And the other 2% belong to the Baha'is, Mandaeans, Hindus, Yezidis, Zoroastrians, Jews. The last two, and Christianity, are officially recognized and protected by the constitution. Seats in the Majlis are reserved for representatives of these religions, while even Sunnis do not have such a privilege. At the same time, the Bahá'ís (the largest religious minority) are being persecuted. The state system of Iran, based on religion, implies the truncation of certain rights and freedoms.

According to the results of the study of the international charitable Christian organization "Open Doors" for 2014, Iran ranks 9th in the list of countries where the rights of Christians are most often oppressed.



Advantages: second place in the world in terms of oil production among OPEC countries; Since 2000, oil prices have been growing on the world market (until 2015, when there was a sharp decline, to 35 Usd). Potential for related industrial sectors and for increased production of traditional export commodities such as carpets, pistachios and caviar.

Weaknesses: Sanctions imposed on Iran since 1979 limit contact with Iran and access to technology. High unemployment (12%) and inflation (in 2004 - 11.3%; in 2008 - 28.2%).

It should be noted that in 2009 inflation fell sharply and in October amounted to 16.7%.

Iran is the largest economy in the Middle East, second only to China, Japan, India, Turkey, Indonesia and South Korea in terms of GDP in Asia.

Iran is an industrial country with a developed oil industry. There are oil refineries and petrochemical enterprises. Extraction of oil, coal, gas, copper, iron, manganese and lead-zinc ores. Mechanical engineering and metalworking, as well as the food and textile industries are widely represented. Handicraft production of carpets and hardware is developed. Among the most important agricultural crops are wheat, barley, rice, legumes, cotton, sugar beets, sugar cane, tobacco, tea, nuts, pistachios. Animal husbandry is based on the breeding of sheep, goats, camels, and cattle. 7.5 million hectares of land are irrigated.

45% of budget revenues come from oil and gas exports, 31% from taxes and fees. In 2007, GDP was $852 billion. GDP growth amounted to 5%, in 2008 growth of 7% is predicted. Inflation is 15.8%.

Exports in 2017 91.99 billion dollars: oil (up to 60% of the value), chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, metal ores.

The main buyers in 2017 are China 27.5%, India 15.1%, South Korea 11.4%, Turkey 11.1%, Italy 5.7%, Japan 5.3%.

Imports in 2017: industrial goods, machinery and equipment, food and other consumer goods, metallurgy products, weapons. The total cost is estimated at $132.6 billion.

The main suppliers in 2017 are the UAE - 29.8%, China - 12.7%, Turkey - 4.4%, South Korea - 4%, Germany - 4%.

Iran is a key member of the Economic Cooperation Organization, which includes the countries of Southwest Asia as well as the Central Asian republics of the former USSR. Iran is actively developing economic ties with the countries of the region and aims to form a free trade area similar to the EU. Free commercial and industrial zones are being developed in Chabahar and on the island of Kish.

According to the Al-Arabiya TV channel, the Islamic Republic is now in the deepest crisis since its formation 32 years ago. Tehran is unable to cope with the economic challenges facing the country. The reason for this was the failed economic policy of President Ahmadinejad and the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the world community.



Iran has 16% of the world's natural gas reserves. The main deposits are located on the shelf of the Persian Gulf and in the north-east of the country.

By 2010, it is planned to increase gas production in Iran to 290 billion cubic meters per year. At the same time, full-scale gas exports should be launched. In 2005, Iran supplied annually 7 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey. A gas pipeline is currently under construction from the South Pars field to a natural gas liquefaction plant on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf. The construction of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is being discussed. In 2005, the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline was opened.

To expand gas exports, an attempt may be made to restore the IGAT gas pipeline network, including IGAT-1 with a capacity of 9.6 billion cubic meters per year, built in 1970 to supply gas to Armenia and Azerbaijan, and IGAT-2 with a capacity of 27 billion cubic meters per year , the construction of which was not completed due to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Both pipelines require reconstruction. Their reopening may allow Iran to supply gas through Ukraine to the EU. As an alternative, the expansion of the existing gas pipeline from Iran to Turkey to Greece is being considered.

The largest importer of Iranian gas is Turkey. In 2017, the volume of deliveries amounted to 8.9 billion cubic meters.

In 2005, Iran had 132 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (about 10% of the world's reserves). Iran produces 4.2 million barrels per day, of which about 2.7 million barrels are exported. Iran was the fourth oil exporter in the world (second in OPEC), as well as the largest supplier of oil to China.

According to the Iranian constitution, it is prohibited to sell shares of national oil companies to foreign companies or grant them concessions to extract oil. The development of oil fields is carried out by the state-owned Iranian National Oil Company (INOC). Since the late 1990s, however, foreign investors have entered the oil industry (French Total and Elf Aquitaine, Malaysian Petronas, Italian Eni, China National Oil Company, and Belarusian Belneftekhim), who, under compensation contracts, receive part of the oil produced, and upon expiration of the contract, the deposits are transferred under the control of INNK.

Despite its colossal hydrocarbon reserves, Iran is experiencing a shortage of electricity. Electricity imports exceed exports by 500 million kilowatt-hours. The national program developed in this regard implies reaching by 2010 the level of 53,000 megawatts of installed capacity. The program provides for the development of hydroelectric power and nuclear power. The first Iranian nuclear power plant was built in Bushehr with the assistance of Russia.

On July 14, 2015, Iran and a group of six countries (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, France, Great Britain, China, Russia + Germany) signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The treaty removed from Iran previously imposed economic and financial sanctions by the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union in exchange for Tehran's restriction of its nuclear activities. The document entered into force on January 16, 2016. On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPO) concluded between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in 2015, and which provides for Tehran to take a number of steps to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. After unilaterally withdrawing from the FDP, Trump announced a phased resumption of sanctions that were already in place, but they were lifted in 2015. The US President demanded that companies from third countries doing business with Iran complete all their business with Iranian partners within 60 days. This deadline expired on August 6, 2018.

The main consumers of Iranian oil in 2017 were Europe (35.5%) and the Asia-Pacific region (64.5%).



Iran's tourism industry was severely affected by the Iran-Iraq war, but is currently being revived. In 2003, 300,000 tourist visas were issued, most to pilgrims from neighboring Islamic states heading to Mashhad and Qom. In 2004, 1.7 million foreign tourists visited Iran. If for Muslims, probably, the main interest is sacred places, then Europeans are mainly interested in archaeological excavations and ancient monuments. In 2004, tourism industry revenues exceeded $2 billion. The development of tourism is strongly hindered by the imperfection of infrastructure.

In terms of budget revenues from tourism, Iran is ranked 68th. 1.8% of the population are employed in the tourism business. According to forecasts, this sector of the economy is one of the most promising in the country; it is expected to increase by 10% in the coming years.

In addition, Iran considers such a promising area of ​​the tourism industry as medical tourism. WHO calculations show that due to the high quality of medical services and low treatment costs, combined with a good medical infrastructure, Iran becomes one of the best options for medical tourism. Today, many cities in Iran present their services to medical tourists. One such city is Shiraz in the southern province of Fars. Several thousand patients from different countries come here every year for treatment. The organization and control of all services related to medical tourism in the city is under the responsibility of the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences.



In Iran, right-hand traffic operates (the steering wheel is on the left).

Iran has a developed transport infrastructure. The total length of motor roads is 178,000 km, of which 2/3 are paved. There are 30 private cars per 1,000 people. The length of railways is 8400 km (2005). Rail links are available with Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. The construction of the Khorramshahr-Basra branch (Iraq) is underway. Track width - 1435 mm. The largest port is Bandar Abbas on the shores of the Persian Gulf, on the shores of the Caspian Sea - Anzali. There are 321 airports in Iran, 129 have paved runways. Subways are under construction in six major cities. The length of pipelines is 34 thousand km; 17,000 of them are gas pipelines, 16,000 are oil pipelines, and 1,000 are for the distillation of liquefied gas and gas condensate.


Mass media

Newspapers: "Keyhan", "Ettelaat".

Television and radio broadcasting: "Press TV", "Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran"

News agencies: IRNA (IRNA), ISNA (ISNA), FARS


Armed forces

The Iranian Armed Forces consist of two main components: the Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Both components are directly subordinated to the Supreme Leader. In addition, there are law enforcement forces (internal and border troops, police). In total, about one and a half million people serve in the armed forces. The reserve is 350 thousand. In Iran, there is also a paramilitary organization within the framework of the IRGC - Basij, where 90,000 volunteers and 11 million reservists, including women, are on permanent duty. Thus, the total number of armed forces, taking into account the reserve in Iran, exceeds 12 million people.

Iran's combat capability is a closely guarded secret. In recent years, the production of ballistic missiles has been launched, including Shahab-3, the Dastan tank, and the modernized T-72 tank. And if Iran used to spend 3.3% of GDP on the military budget, which was much less compared to other countries in the Middle East, especially Israel, then recently the cost of weapons in Iran has grown dramatically, in addition, Iran has a satellite in space.

Military-technical cooperation with China
Tehran's cooperation with Beijing in the military sphere is perhaps even closer than with Moscow: in 1987-2002, the PRC supplied arms and military equipment to Iran worth $4.4 billion. The PRC supplied fighter jets, anti-ship missiles, military transport aircraft, artillery pieces, medium tanks, and a number of technologies.


Space achievements

By launching the Omid (Hope) satellite on February 2, 2009 using its own Safir-2 launch vehicle from the Semnan Cosmodrome, Iran became the tenth space power on the second attempt.

In early February 2010, the Iranian media reported that Iran had sent a capsule with living organisms into space on a launch vehicle of its own production, Kavoshgar-3.

Also, on February 3, 2012, Iran successfully launched a new satellite, Navid (Novelty), into orbit. One of his tasks is to photograph the surface of the Earth.

Iran made its first launch of a spacecraft with a monkey on board in January 2013. The Pioneer apparatus with a monkey on board was launched into an orbit at a height of 120 km. According to Iranian television, the device returned to Earth without damage. The "capsule of life" was delivered into space by an Iranian-made carrier rocket "Kavoshgar-5".

Earlier, the head of the Iranian space department, Hamid Fazeli, explained that the launch of a monkey into space is a preparatory part of the project, which provides for the flight of a person into space. Iran plans to carry out a manned space flight in the next 5-8 years. In February 2010, the Kavoshgar-3 launch vehicle delivered mice, turtles and worms into space for scientific research. The next launch took place in 2011.

Iran has its own space agency.