Country Overview: Iran

Area: 1.648 million sq km (636,296 sq miles)

Population: 70 million (UN estimate for 2000)

Capital City: Tehran (population approx. 12-15 million)

People: The majority are Persian, but there is a significant Azeri minority. Some of the other ethnic groups are Kurds, Arabs, Lurs, Baluchis and Turkmen

Languages: Persian (Farsi) is the national language. Azeri is the next most widely spoken language, in the north west around Tabriz. Other languages are Kurdish (in the west), Arabic, Luri and Baluchi

Religion(s): The official religion is Shi’a Islam. The majority of the population are Muslims, approximately 91% are Shi’a, 8% are Sunni and the rest are Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha’I (FCO)

Shi’a Muslim 89%, Sunni Muslim 10%, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha’i 1% (UN relief web)

Ethnic groups:Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%

Currency: 10 Iranian Rials=1 Toman

Government: Islamic Republic

Head of State: Supreme Leader Ayatollah ‘Ali Khamenei

President: Hojjatoleslam Hajj Sayyed Mohammad Khatami

Foreign Minister: Sayyed Kamal Kharrazi

Suffrage: 15 years; universal

Literacy: 72.1% of the total population (78.4% of males; 65.8% of females)

Sources: FCO; Reliefweb; Ethnologue (correct at October 2003)

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