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Official Name Islamic Republic of Iran
Capital Teheran
Population 71.4 million
Area 1.64 million sq km or 0.63 million sq mi
Currency Rial ($1=1,750)
Religion Islam
Literacy 79%
Languages Persian (Farsi), Turk, Kurdish, Arabic
Major Cities Teheran, Esfahan, Mashad
Climate Varied climate
Weather Iran weather is Continental type

Formerly known as Persia, Iran lies between Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf and is one of the biggest oil-producing regions in West Asia.

Physical Map of Iran
Iran is surrounded by mountains, out of which the Zagros mountains runs across the country for more than 1,600 km from northwest to southeast and covers almost the entire portion of western Iran. Many peaks of the Zagros exceed 12,000 ft in elevation; the highest is Zard Kuh which rises to 14,918 ft. Nearly all of Iran's numerous rivers are relatively short, shallow streams unsuitable for navigation. The country's only navigable river, the Karun, flows through the city of Ahvaz in the southwest. Most rivers rise in the mountainous regions and drain into the interior basins.

Location of Iran
Along the north, Iran is bound by Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan; on the west by Iraq and Turkey; on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; and on the south by the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf.

Iran's population is made up of numerous ethnic groups, the Persian being the largest. Persians had migrated to Iran from Central Asia in the beginning of 7th century BC. They include such groups as the Gilaki, who live in Gilan Province, and the Mazandarani, who live in Mazandaran Province. Accounting for about 60 percent of the total population, Persians live in cities throughout the country, as well as in the villages of central and eastern Iran. The official language of Iran is Modern Persian.

Flag of Iran
The flag of Iran has three equal horizontal bands of green at the top, then white, and then red. The national emblem (a stylized representation of the word Allah in the shape of a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom) in red is placed in the center of 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.

Climate of Iran
Owing to its varied landscape, Iran's climate is also subjected to various variations. While the Caspian coastal plain on the northern edge of the country remains humid through out the year due to an average elevation at or below sea level, the higher elevations areas towards the west experience lower temperatures. Winter temperatures rarely fall below zero degrees, and maximum summer temperatures rarely exceed 29ºC. Annual rainfall averages 650 mm in the eastern part of the plain (Mazandaran Province) and more than 1,900 mm in the western part (Gilan Province).

Flora And Fauna of Iran
uprooted and replaced by cultivated crops or pastures. Natural forests consisting of beech, oak, other deciduous trees, and conifers grow in parts of the Elburz Mountains. Wild fruit trees, including almond, pear, pomegranate, and walnut, grow in both the Elburz and Zagros mountains. Tamarisk and other salt-tolerant bushes grow along the margins of the Dasht-e Kavir. of native mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. Many species of mammals like wolves, foxes, bears, mountain goats, red mountain sheep, rabbits, and gerbils continue to inhabit the country. Apart from this, many endangered species like the Caspian tigers, Caspian seals, desert onagers, three species of deer, gazelles, and lynx survive in Iran. Coming to birds,

Arts, Culture and Music of Iran
Iran's rich musical tradition is marked by unique vocal styles and rich solo instrumental performance. After he revolution in 1979 there has been a major revival of interest in Iranian traditional and folk music.

Traditional musical instruments include the kamanche or spiked fiddle; the santur, a stringed instrument similar to the hammer dulcimer; the setar, which resembles a lute; and the tar, an ancestor of the guitar. Many Iranian musicians have acquired international reputations as virtuoso performers of these instruments.

Economy of Iran
Initially, agriculture used to form the backbone of Iran's economy but now it has taken a back seat, giving way to the manufacturing industry. Factory manufacturing in Iran has experienced periods of both rapid growth and stagnation. Trade and commerce activities grew with the urbanization of the country. The mining sector, which produces oil, has also grown rapidly since the country nationalized its oil fields in the 1950s. In the late 1970s, the Iranian economy looked poised to grow to a level on par with the world's developed countries, but the dream was shattered by the 1979 revolution and the subsequent eight-year war with Iraq. These periods led to an economic stagnation but the country began to recover slowly. In 2001 the GDP was estimated at $114 billion, or $1,770 per capita, in which the service sector contributed the largest percentage of the GDP, followed by industry (mining and manufacturing) and then agriculture. About 45 percent of the government's budget came from oil and natural gas revenues, and 31 percent came from taxes and fees.