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Iran is a country located in the Middle East. Below it is
the Gulf of Oman and to the west is the Persian Gulf. On
the east is Afghanistan and to the north is Turkmenistan
and the Caspian Sea. The total area of Iran is 632,457
square miles, which is slightly larger than Alaska and
about 6 times smaller than the United States. Iran has
about 65,612,000 people which is about 100 people per
square mile. That means that the United States has close to
3 times the size in population than Iran. Climate and
Iran is split up into three regions of land forms. The
first is the coast along the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman
which has high temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In
the inland part of the plateau in can also hit 120 degrees.
In the capital city Tehran, which is located at the edge of
the Elburz Mountains, the average temperature is about 36
degrees Fahrenheit in January and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in
July. In the nearby city of Abadan, which is on the coast
of Iran up in the corner of the Persian Gulf, the
temperatures are about the same, even though it's right by
the Persian Gulf getting the warm air from the the water.
The Plateau of Iran is very dry throughout most of it
because the annual precipitation is about 1 or 2 inches. On
the coast of the Persian Gulf they get 10 inches to 15
inches per year. In the Zagros and Elburz Mountain ranges,
the precipitation is about 50 inches annually. Rivers in
Iran are low in the summer time because most of them are on
flat land. The only rivers that stay high are the ones that
run from mountains. Like the Karun River, which flows from
the Zagros Mountains into Khorramshahr. It is supposedly
the most navigable river in Iran.
The highest peak in Iran is Mount Damavand at 18,934 feet,
it is part of the Elburz mountain range. The second highest
peak is Mount Kalar, which is 14,100 feet high. The Karun
river flows southward from beside this mountain. History
In 549 B.C. Iran was called Persia and ruled by Cyrus the
Great. He united the Medes and Persians to make the country
we know of today as Iran. In the process of doing this, he
also restored Jerusalem to the Jews and conquered
Babylonia. About 200 years later, in 333 B.C., Alexander
the Great came in and took over Persia, but a century later
the Persians regained Persia from the help of the Pathians.
In 226 A.D. the Persians lost and gave over Persia to the
Sassanian Persians.
Later in the 7th century, Arab people brought over the
religion of Islam to Persia, pushing aside their first
religion of Zoroastrian. This initially dominant religion
still stuck around for hundreds of years despite the
Islamic take over.
In the eleventh century, Seljuk Turks dominated for a
Persia before overrun by Mongols under the rule of Genghis
Khan. Then came Tamelane and his Mongol Hordes, and after
that the Turkomans took over. The Turkomans were overrun by
Ismail I, who said that he was a descent from the great
Ali. He became extremely popular and began the Safavid
dynasty which lasted from 1502 to 1736 during his rule
Shiism became the national religion. In 1736 the Afghans
conquered Ali and started the Afshar dynasty followed by
the Zand dynasty in 1750. The Zand dynasty ended in 1794
when Agha Muhammad Khan, a ruler who was cruel to the
people promoted himself to Shah which is ruler of the
country, and began the Qajar dynasty. In 1923, Reza Shah
Pahavi came into Iran and pronounced himself prime
minister. In 1925, he became elected Shah and ended the
Qajar dynasty. Pahavi¹s son took over in the 1940s when
World War II started.
Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi married and had a son, Prince
Reza Pahlavi in 1960. He maintained close alliance with the
United States during this time by signing a defense
agreement. In 1963, the Shah formed a committee to form a
program of modernization through land reform and
industrializing Iran. This plan caused corruption in many
of the people. The Shah used the army and secret police to
control them. Rioting broke out and the Shah fled from the
country. From then on the rule of Islamic fundamentalist
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini he made
Iran an Islamic country. Many people under the old Shah
were arrested, tried and executed.
In January of 1980, a new man was elected. His name was
Bani-Sadr. However just one year later he was dismissed.
The man that followed him, Muhammad Ali Rajai was
assassinated in 1981 so Hojatolislam Ali Khamenei was
elected president in the same year and reelected in 1985.
In 1986 the Iran Contra Affair occurred. This was a deal
between the U.S. and Iran dealing with arms sales. In 1991,
when the Persian Gulf War broking out Iran stayed neutral
throughout the entire conflict.
About two thirds of the population descended from the Aryan
tribes which came to Iran in the seventeenth century from
parts of central Asia. The other third of the population is
made up of mostly Turks, Arabs and Armenians and Jews. Some
of the largest groups that are part of the Aryans are the
Persians who are make up 63% of the population. Many Aryans
live on the central plateau while the Gilani and
Mazanderani who are also part of the Aryan origin live on
the coast of the Persian Gulf. Some of the ethnic
minorities groups are nomadic, like the Kurds, Baktiari,
and Lurs, who live mostly in the Zagros Mountains. The
official language of Iran is Persian because of the
previously named country which is today Iran. This
Indo-European language is written in Arabic. Although this
language is common, it is not like the language that is
spoken by the Gilani and Mazandarani. This is similar in
ways but different enough to be it's own language. People
like the Kurdish, Luri, and Baluchi have their own separate
About 98% of the population in Iran are Muslims and 93% are
Shiites or part of a Shia section of Islam. Shiite Islam is
the official religion of Iran, though ethnic parties like
the Kurds and Baluchi follow a different sect of Islam.
Iran's government is theocratic republic. The government
was originally a monarchy, which started in 1906 and ended
in 1979. In that year an Islamic republic was formed by the
religious leader Faqih, who still oversees the government.
The chief executive head of state is the president, who is
elected by popular vote and serves a four year term.
Presently the acting president is Hashemi Rafsanjani and he
was elected choose a prime minister who must be approved by
the National Parliament and by the Prime Minister's Cabinet.
Legislation in Iran is a Parliament, and they are called
the Majlis. It consists of 270 members who are popularly
voted in for four years. They have the power to dismiss any
kind of bill or act with a "No Confidence Vote." In Iran,
all citizens over the age of sixteen can vote for electing
government officials.
Iran is split up into 24 provinces, and each province is
divided into 195 counties. In each counties there are 500
districts and within the district there are villages and
municipalities. Province and district officials are elected
by the national government, while the municipalities
appoint their own mayors by popular vote. Iran makes each
and every man who is a citizen of Iran give at least two
years of Military service to their country. As of the late
1980s, Iran had around 473,000 soldiers in their military.
The GNP (gross National product) for Iran in 1991 was $90
billion, which dropped all the way to $71.01 billion. The
income per capita in 1991 was around $1,500. Iran's leading
resources are drilling for Oil which is a big one for them,
a lot of agriculture and some manufacturing of textiles.
Agriculture in 1950 was started over with land reform
program. They redistributed about 2 million acres of land
out to the peasant farmers during this program. In the
early 1990s, the amount of wheat produced per year was
about 8.2 million metric tons. They also produced 2.5
million metric tons of potatoes, 3.6 million metric tons of
barley, 1.4 million metric tons of grapes and 2.1 million
metric tons of rice. They also grew sugar beets, sugar
cane, corn, citrus fruits, tobacco, tea. Farmers breed
livestock like sheep, goats, cattle and asses.
The main industry in Iran is Oil, just like most countries
in the Middle East. The big oil fields are located at the
head of the Persian Gulf in the southwest region. Oil makes
most of the money for Iran. The oil industry was been
nationalized since 1951 and in 1980 petroleum industry was
controlled by the National Ministry of petroleum. From
about 1987 to 1989, 828 million barrels of oil were being
produced annually. Shipments of petroleum came to a halt in
late the 1970s to lower oil prices but the war between Iraq
and Iran didn't help so it started up again. The labor
distribution is split up into four pieces. 50% government
and services, 28% agriculture, 10% mining and
manufacturing, and about 12% construction.
With foreign trade, Iran makes a killing off of petroleum
exports. As a matter of fact 90% of their export income is
from oil. In the late 1980s Iran's gross income from export
was 9.4 billion dollars and their annual gross pay for
imported goods was 11 billion.
Health and Education
Education in Iran is poor compared to the United States.
The literacy rate is 54% for just adults. School education
is generally meant for 6 to 14 year olds, although it is
loosely run because of the shortage of teachers and
schools. In the late 1980s about 7.4 million children
attended primary schools, and around 3.4 million were
enrolled into secondary schools. Vocational schools had
about 252,000 kids annually. Right now there are about
twenty one Universities in Iran. The largest one of them
all is in Tehran and was founded in 1934. Health in Iran is
free for anybody from the ages of 6 to 11.
Health care has improved over the years, but it is still
inadequate around rural areas. In all of Iran there was
70,184 hospital beds in 1986. In 1987 there were only
16,918 physicians available to the people. The life
expectancy for women is 66 years old and for men 64 years
Communication and Transportation
Transportation between two cities is very easy in Iran.
There are trains running in between most major cities, like
Tehran and Mashhad and Tabriz. There are highways extending
from the border of Afghanistan to the border of Iraq. There
are six ports for exporting goods around the sea. Along
with that there are two major airports which fly
international flights across the world. Altogether there is
139,368 kilometers of road, and 4,601 kilometers of
railroad. Current Issue
I looked and couldn't find any current issues. The latest
big issue was back in 1989 which was the Iran Contra deals.
You said yourself that that was to long ago to be used as a
current issue. 


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