Iran facts on every entity in the world

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 concerns over possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. 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, supported by the Supreme Leader, unelected institutions of authority like the Council of Guardians, and the security services reversed and blocked reform measures while increasing security repression.

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. These protests were quickly suppressed, and the political opposition that arose as a consequence of AHMADI-NEJAD's election was repressed. Deteriorating economic conditions due primarily to government mismanagement and international sanctions prompted at least two major economically based protests in July and October 2012, but Iran's internal security situation remained stable. President AHMADI-NEJAD's independent streak angered regime establishment figures, including the Supreme Leader, leading to conservative opposition to his agenda for the last year of his presidency, and an alienation of his political supporters. In June 2013 Iranians elected a moderate conservative cleric, Dr. Hasan Fereidun RUHANI to the presidency. He is a long-time senior member in the regime, but has made promises of reforming society and Iran's foreign policy. 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, and in July 2015 Iran and the five permanent members, plus Germany (P5+1) signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.



Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan

Geographic coordinates

32.00° N, 53.00° E

Area 18/257

total: 1,648,195 sq km

land: 1,531,595 sq km

water: 116,600 sq km

Area - comparative

almost 2.5 times the size of Texas; slightly smaller than Alaska

Land boundaries

total: 5,894 km

border countries (7): Afghanistan 921 km, Armenia 44 km, Azerbaijan 689 km, Iraq 1,599 km, Pakistan 959 km, Turkey 534 km, Turkmenistan 1,148 km


2,440 km; note - Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements or median lines in the Persian Gulf

continental shelf: natural prolongation


mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast


rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m

highest point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,671 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur

Land use

agricultural land: 30.1%

arable land 10.8%; permanent crops 1.2%; permanent pasture 18.1%

forest: 6.8%

other: 63.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

95,530 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

137 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 93.3 cu km/yr (7%/1%/92%)

per capita: 1,306 cu m/yr (2004)

Natural hazards

periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes

Environment - current issues

air pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; urbanization

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note

strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport

People and Society


noun: Iranian(s)

adjective: Iranian

Ethnic groups

Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes


Persian (official), Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other


Muslim (official) 99.4% (Shia 90-95%, Sunni 5-10%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian) 0.3%, unspecified 0.4% (2011 est.)

Population 17/238

81,824,270 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.69% (male 9,937,715/female 9,449,716)

15-24 years: 17.58% (male 7,386,826/female 6,998,188)

25-54 years: 46.87% (male 19,534,794/female 18,817,480)

55-64 years: 6.58% (male 2,650,049/female 2,731,997)

65 years and over: 5.28% (male 1,990,961/female 2,326,544) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 40.2%

youth dependency ratio: 33.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 7.1%

potential support ratio: 14.1% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 28.8 years

male: 28.6 years

female: 29.1 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 101/233

1.2% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 105/224

17.99 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 168/225

5.94 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 114/222

-0.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 73.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.07% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

TEHRAN (capital) 8.432 million; Mashhad 3.014 million; Esfahan 1.88 million; Karaj 1.807 million; Shiraz 1.661 million; Tabriz 1.572 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 137/184

25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 54/224

total: 38.04 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 38.58 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 37.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 149/224

total population: 71.15 years

male: 69.56 years

female: 72.82 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 148/224

1.83 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

77.4% (2010/11)

Health expenditures 86/191

6.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.89 physicians/1,000 population (2005)

Hospital bed density

0.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source


urban: 97.7% of population

rural: 92.1% of population

total: 96.2% of population


urban: 2.3% of population

rural: 7.9% of population

total: 3.8% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 92.8% of population

rural: 82.3% of population

total: 90% of population


urban: 7.2% of population

rural: 17.7% of population

total: 10% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.14% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

74,400 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

4,100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 99/191

24.9% (2014)

Education expenditures 119/173

3.7% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 15 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 44/134

total: 28.7%

male: 25.5%

female: 41.3% (2010 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran

conventional short form: Iran

local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran

local short form: Iran

former: Persia

etymology: name derives from the Avestan term "aryanam" meaning "land of the noble [ones]"

Government type

theocratic republic


name: Tehran

geographic coordinates: 35.42° N, 51.25° E

time difference: UTC+3.5 (8.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins fourth Tuesday in March; ends fourth Thursday in September

Administrative divisions

31 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan); Alborz, Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi (West Azerbaijan), Azarbayjan-e Sharqi (East Azerbaijan), Bushehr, Chahar Mahal va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Jonubi (South Khorasan), Khorasan-e Razavi (Razavi Khorasan), Khorasan-e Shomali (North Khorasan), Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh va Bowyer Ahmad, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan


1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed); notable earlier dates: ca. 550 B.C. (Achaemenid (Persian) Empire established); A.D. 1501 (Iran reunified under the Safavid Dynasty); 12 December 1925 (modern Iran established under the PAHLAVI Dynasty)

National holiday

Republic Day, 1 April (1979)


previous 1906; latest adopted 24 October 1979, effective 3 December 1979; amended 1989 (2015)

Legal system

religious legal system based on secular and Islamic law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Iran

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)

head of government: President Hasan Fereidun RUHANI (since 3 August 2013); First Vice President Eshaq JAHANGIRI (since 5 August 2013)

cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval; the supreme leader has some control over appointments to several ministries

elections/appointments: supreme leader appointed for life by Assembly of Experts; president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term and an additional nonconsecutive term); election last held on 14 June 2013 (next to be held in June 2017)

election results: Hasan Fereidun RUHANI elected president; percent of vote - Hasan Fereidun RUHANI 50.7%, Mohammad Baqer QALIBAF 16.5%, Saeed JALILI 11.4%, Mohsen REZAI 10.6%, Ali Akber VELAYATI 6.2%, other 4.6%

note: 3 oversight bodies are also considered part of the executive branch of government

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e Shura-ye Eslami or Majles (290 seats; members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by two-round vote; members serve 4-year terms); note - all candidates to the Majles must be approved by the Guardian Council, a 12-member group of which 6 are appointed by the supreme leader and 6 are jurists nominated by the judiciary and elected by the Majles

elections: last held in two rounds on 2 March and 4 May 2012; (next to be held on 26 February 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a president and NA judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the head of the Supreme Judicial Council in consultation with judges of the Supreme Court; president appointed for a 5-year term; other judge appointments and tenure NA

subordinate courts: Penal Courts I and II; Islamic Revolutionary Courts; Courts of Peace; Special Clerical Court (functions outside the judicial system and handles cases involving clerics); military courts

Political parties and leaders

note: formal political parties are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and most conservatives still prefer to work through political pressure groups rather than parties

often political parties or coalitions are formed prior to elections and disbanded soon thereafter

a loose pro-reform coalition called the 2nd Khordad Front, which includes political parties as well as less formal groups and organizations, achieved considerable success in elections for the sixth Majles in early 2000

groups in the coalition included the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran), Solidarity Party, Islamic Labor Party, Mardom Salari, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), and Militant Clerics Society (MCS; Ruhaniyun)

the coalition participated in the seventh Majles elections in early 2004 but boycotted them after 80 incumbent reformists were disqualified

following his defeat in the 2005 presidential elections, former MCS Secretary General and sixth Majles Speaker Mehdi KARUBI formed the National Trust Party

a new conservative group, Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Abadgaran), took a leading position in the new Majles after winning a majority of the seats in February 2004

ahead of the 2008 Majles elections, traditional and hardline conservatives attempted to close ranks under the United Front of Principlists and the Broad Popular Coalition of Principlists; several reformist groups, such as the MIRO and the IIPF, also came together as a reformist coalition in advance of the 2008 Majles elections; the IIPF has repeatedly complained that the overwhelming majority of its candidates were unfairly disqualified from the 2008 elections

hardline and traditional conservatives failed to overcome their political differences ahead of the Majles election in 2012, resulting in the formation of two rival conservative blocs: the traditional conservative Unity Front and the hardline conservative Steadfast Front. Both groups are in talks about uniting behind one conservative list ahead of the Majles election in February 2016

Political pressure groups and leaders

groups that support the Islamic Republic: Ansar-e Hizballah

Democracy Party (Hezb-e Mardom Salari)

Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran)

Followers of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent (Rahrovan)

Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader (Peyrovan)

Islamic Iran Freedom Party (Hezb-e Azadegi)

Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh)

Islamic Labor Party (Hezb-e Kar)

Militant Clerics Society or MCS (Ruhaniyun)

Moderation and Development Party (Hezb-e Etedal va Tose-eh)

Nation of Iran Unity Party (Hezb-e Etehad)

National Trust Party (Hezb-e Etemad-e Meli)

Qom Theological Lecturers Association

Reform Front Coordination Council (Shora-ye Hamahangi Eslahat)

Society of Devotees (Isargaran)

Society of Modern Thinking Muslim Women of Iran ( Jamiat-e Zanan-e Noandish)

Steadfastness Front (Paydari)

Tehran Militant Clergy Association or MCA (Ruhaniyat)

Voice of Iranians (Neda)

Wayfarers of the Islamic Revolution (Rahpuyan)

armed political groups repressed by the government

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan or KDPI

Harekat-e Ansar-e Iran (splinter faction of Jundallah)

Jaysh l-Adl (formerly known as Jundallah)


Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization or MEK (MKO)

People's Fedayeen

People's Free Life Party of Kurdistan or PJAK

International organization participation


Flag description

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 symbol(s)

lion; national colors: green, white, red

National anthem

name: "Soroud-e Melli-ye Jomhouri-ye Eslami-ye Iran" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran)

lyrics/music: multiple authors/Hassan RIAHI

note: adopted 1990


Economy - overview

Iran's economy is marked by statist policies, inefficiencies, and reliance on oil and gas exports, but Iran also possesses significant agricultural, industrial, and service sectors. The Iranian government directly owns and operates hundreds of state-owned enterprises and indirectly controls many companies affiliated with the country's security forces. Distortions - including inflation, price controls, subsidies, and a banking system holding billions of dollars of non-performing loans - weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth.

Private sector activity includes small-scale workshops, farming, some manufacturing, and services, in addition to medium-scale construction, cement production, mining, and metalworking. Significant informal market activity flourishes and corruption is widespread.

Fiscal and monetary constraints, following the expansion of international sanctions in 2012 on Iran's Central Bank and oil exports, significantly reduced Iran's oil revenue, forced government spending cuts, and sparked a sharp currency depreciation. Iran’s economy contracted for the first time in two decades during both 2012 and 2013, but growth resumed in 2014. Iran continues to suffer from high unemployment and underemployment. Lack of job opportunities has prompted many educated Iranian youth to seek employment overseas, resulting in a significant "brain drain."

In June 2013, the election of President Hasan RUHANI generated widespread public expectations of economic improvement and greater international engagement. Almost two years into his term, RUHANI has achieved some success, including reining in inflation and, in July of 2015, securing the promise of sanctions relief for Iran by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the P5+1. The JCPOA, which severely limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for unfreezing Iranian assets and reopening Iran to international trade, should bolster foreign direct investment, increase trade, and stimulate growth. In spite of RUHANI’s efforts, Iran’s growth was tepid in 2015, and significant economic improvement resulting from sanctions relief will take months or years to materialize.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 20/230

$1.382 trillion (2015 est.)

$1.37 trillion (2014 est.)

$1.313 trillion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$396.9 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 189/225

0.8% (2015 est.)

4.3% (2014 est.)

-1.9% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 95/230

$17,800 (2015 est.)

$17,600 (2014 est.)

$16,900 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 12/179

31.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

34.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

39.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.1%

government consumption: 10.9%

investment in fixed capital: 27.4%

investment in inventories: 6.6%

exports of goods and services: 22.8%

imports of goods and services: -20.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.3%

industry: 38.4%

services: 52.3% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products

wheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, sugarcane, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviar


petroleum, petrochemicals, gas, fertilizers, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and nonferrous metal fabrication, armaments

Industrial production growth rate 89/202

2.9% (2015 est.)

Labor force 22/233

29.07 million

note: shortage of skilled labor (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 16.3%

industry: 35.1%

services: 48.6% (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate 118/207

10.5% (2015 est.)

10.3% (2014 est.)

note: data are according to the Iranian Government

Population below poverty line

18.7% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 46/144

44.5 (2006)


revenues: $56.11 billion

expenditures: $70.12 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 201/219

14.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 134/220

-3.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 161/176

13.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

10.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

note: includes publicly guaranteed debt

Fiscal year

21 March - 20 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 215/226

15.3% (2015 est.)

17.2% (2014 est.)

note: official Iranian estimate

Central bank discount rate


Commercial bank prime lending rate 57/184

13% (31 December 2015 est.)

14% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 54/192

$41.55 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$42.59 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 35/193

$282.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$273.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 64/191

$45.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$44.83 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 37/121

$172 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$140.8 billion (31 December 2012)

$107.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Current account balance 33/197

$1.624 billion (2015 est.)

$15.94 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 39/224

$78.99 billion (2015 est.)

$86.47 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, ore

Exports - partners

China 29%, India 11.9%, Turkey 10.4%, Japan 6.5%, South Korea 4.8% (2014)

Imports 40/223

$70.63 billion (2015 est.)

$52.07 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

industrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services

Imports - partners

UAE 30.6%, China 25.5%, Algeria 8.3%, India 4.6%, South Korea 4.4%, Turkey 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 25/170

$93.95 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$109 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 119/206

$6.922 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$7.646 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 62/120

$44.64 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$42.47 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 69/105

$4.67 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.33 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Iranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -

28,944 (2015 est.)

25,912.3 (2014 est.)

25,912 (2013 est.)

12,176 (2012 est.)

10,616 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 17/220

239.2 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 21/219

195.3 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 19/218

11.03 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 45/219

3.897 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 15/214

78.3 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 86/214

85.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 33/214

1.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 110/214

12.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 97/212

0.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 5/214

3.614 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 11/214

1.322 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 63/214

28,140 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 4/215

157.8 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 12/214

1.823 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 13/212

1.885 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 26/214

271,800 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 117/213

18,150 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 3/216

172.6 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 5/215

170.2 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 22/215

9.584 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 31/214

6.886 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 1/212

34.02 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 9/212

650.4 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 10/219

total subscriptions: 30.59 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 22/217

total: 68.9 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 85 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages not presently connected

domestic: the addition of new fiber cables and modern switching and exchange systems installed by Iran's state-owned telecom company have improved and expanded the fixed-line network greatly; fixed line availability has more than doubled to more than 27 million lines since 2000; additionally, mobile-cellular service has increased dramatically serving roughly 56 million subscribers in 2011; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership now exceeds 100 per 100 persons

international: country code - 98; submarine fiber-optic cable to UAE with access to Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line runs from Azerbaijan through the northern portion of Iran to Turkmenistan with expansion to Georgia and Azerbaijan; HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; satellite earth stations - 13 (9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat) (2011)

Broadcast media

state-run broadcast media with no private, independent broadcasters; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the state-run TV broadcaster, operates 5 nationwide channels, a news channel, about 30 provincial channels, and several international channels; about 20 foreign Persian-language TV stations broadcasting on satellite TV are capable of being seen in Iran; satellite dishes are illegal and, while their use had been tolerated, authorities began confiscating satellite dishes following the unrest stemming from the 2009 presidential election; IRIB operates 8 nationwide radio networks, a number of provincial stations, and an external service; most major international broadcasters transmit to Iran (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 72, FM 10, shortwave 21 (2010)

Television broadcast stations

29 (plus 450 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 72/232

197,804 (2012)

Internet users 26/217

total: 22.9 million

percent of population: 28.3% (2014 est.)


Airports 22/236

319 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 140

over 3,047 m: 42

2,438 to 3,047 m: 29

1,524 to 2,437 m: 26

914 to 1,523 m: 36

under 914 m: 7 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 179

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9

914 to 1,523 m: 135

under 914 m: 32 (2013)


26 (2013)


condensate 7 km; condensate/gas 973 km; gas 20,794 km; liquid petroleum gas 570 km; oil 8,625 km; refined products 7,937 km (2013)

Railways 24/136

total: 8,483.5 km

broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge

standard gauge: 8,389.5 km 1.435-m gauge (189.5 km electrified) (2014)

Roadways 26/223

total: 198,866 km

paved: 160,366 km (includes 1,948 km of expressways)

unpaved: 38,500 km (2010)

Waterways 69/107

850 km (on Karun River; some navigation on Lake Urmia) (2012)

Merchant marine 60/156

total: 76

by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 51, chemical tanker 3, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 2

foreign-owned: 2 (UAE 2)

registered in other countries: 71 (Barbados 5, Cyprus 10, Hong Kong 3, Malta 48, Panama 5) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Bandar-e Asaluyeh, Bandar Abbas, Bandar Emam

container port(s) (TEUs): Bandar Abbas (2,752,460)

Military and Security

Military branches

Islamic Republic of Iran Regular Forces (Artesh): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force (IRIAF), Khatemolanbia Air Defense Headquarters; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, IRGC): Ground Resistance Forces, Navy, Aerospace Force, Qods Force (special operations); Law Enforcement Forces (2015)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 17 years of age for Law Enforcement Forces; 15 years of age for Basij Forces (Popular Mobilization Army); conscript military service obligation is 18 months; women exempt from military service (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Iran protests Afghanistan's limiting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which are occupied by Iran; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 2.4 million (1 million registered, 1.4 million undocumented) (Afghanistan); 32,000 (Iraq) (2014)

Illicit drugs

despite substantial interdiction efforts and considerable control measures along the border with Afghanistan, Iran remains one of the primary transshipment routes for Southwest Asian heroin to Europe; suffers one of the highest opiate addiction rates in the world, and has an increasing problem with synthetic drugs; regularly enforces the death penalty for drug offences; lacks anti-money laundering laws; has reached out to neighboring countries to share counter-drug intelligence