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Study in Iran - About Iran




General Information
Area: 1,648,000 sq km (636,296 sq miles)

Population: 62,746,000 (1999)

Capital: Tehran

Ethnicity/Race: Persian 51%, Azerbaijani 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%

Language: Persian (Farsi) is the most widely spoken language. Arabic is spoken in Khuzestan in the southwest, and Turkish in the northwest around Tabriz. English, French and (to a lesser extent) German are spoken by many businessmen and officials.

Map of Iran
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Currency: Iranian Rial (IR) = 100 dinars. Notes are in denominations of IR10,000, 5000, 2000 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of IR250, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.

Religion: Predominantly Islamic; mostly Shiite, with a minority of Sunnis. The 1976 census recorded 300,000 Christians, 80,000 Jews and 30,000 Zoroastrians.

Time: GMT + 3.5 (GMT + 4.5 from 20 March to 21 September).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the round two-pin type.


Geography: Iran is located in the Middle East, bounded to the north by Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea, the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and the west by Iraq and Turkey. The centre and east of the country are largely barren undulating desert, punctured by qanats (irrigation canals) and green oases, but there are mountainous regions in the west along the Turkish and Iraqi borders and in the north where the Elburz Mountains rise steeply from a fertile belt around the Caspian Sea.

Climate: Dry and hot in summer, harsh in winter. Low annual rainfall.


Government Structure: IIran is a theocratic Islamic republic governed under the constitution of 1979, which codified Islamic principles of government. The constitution was revised in 1989, expanding presidential powers and eliminating the position of prime minister. The president, who is popularly elected for a four-year term, serves as the head of government. The supreme leader, who effectively serves as the chief of state, is appointed for life by an Islamic religious advisory board that works in close conjunction with the government. The legislative branch consists of the 270-seat Islamic consultative assembly, whose members are elected by popular vote. Although Iran has no legal political parties, there are at least three important political groups, as well as a number of pressure groups, some of which have been suppressed by the government.

Head of State:

Head of Government:

Heritage and Culture

Heritage and Traditions of Iran: An Iranian wedding custom began when the country was still called Persia. The groom would purchase the ceremonial wedding dress for his bride-to-be. This gown consisted of ten feet of sheeting that he would wrap around his intended wife.

During wedding ceremony, it is an Iranian custom for a happily married woman to hold a translucent shawl over the couple's heads.

After the newlyweds have exchanged their wedding vows, crumbs from two decorated sugar cones are shaved over their heads for good luck.

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Telephone: IDD service available. Country code: 98. Outgoing international code: 00. Telephone booths are yellow

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network. Main network operators include Payam Kish (website: and TCI (website:

Fax: Facilities are available at main post offices. There are three charge bands. There are also fax facilities at the major hotels

Internet: ISPs include Tehran Web (website: and Pishgaman Kavir Yazd (website: There are Internet cafes in Teheran and other cities.

Post: Airmail to Western Europe can take at least two weeks. There are ten main Post offices in Tehran. Post boxes are yellow. Stamps can be bought at some cigarette kiosks. Post office hours: Generally Sat-Thurs 0730-1500, but some main post offices stay open until 2100.

Press: The main English-language papers are the Tehran Times, Kayhan International and Iran News.

Radio Stations: AM 72, FM 5, shortwave 5 (1998).

Television: 28 (plus 450 low-power repeaters) (1997).


Sources: Islamic Republic of Iran

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