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Area: 1.6 million sq. km. (636,294 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Alaska.
Cities: Capital--Tehran. Other cities--Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Shiraz.
Terrain: Desert and mountains.
Climate: Semiarid; subtropical along the Caspian coast.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Iranian(s).
Population (2005 est.): 69 million.
Population growth rate (2005): 0.86%.
Ethnic groups: Persians 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%.
Religions: Shi'a Muslim 89%; Sunni Muslim 9%; Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i 2%.
Languages: Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%.
Education: Literacy (total population age 15 and over who can read and write, 2004)--79.4%.
Health (2005 est.): Infant mortality rate--41.58 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth (2005)--total population: 69.96.
Work force (2001): Agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% est. There is a shortage of skilled labor.

Type: Islamic republic.
Constitution: Ratified December 1979, revised 1989.
Branches: Executive--"Leader of the Islamic Revolution" (head of state), president, and Council of Ministers. Legislative--290-member Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majles). Judicial--Supreme Court.
Political parties: The following organizations appeared to have achieved considerable success at elections to the sixth Majles in early 2000: Assembly of the Followers of the Imam's Line, Freethinkers' Front Islamic Iran Participation Front, Moderation and Development Party, Servants of Construction Party, and Society of Self-sacrificing Devotees. At elections to the seventh Majles in February 2004, a new apparently conservative group, the Builders of Islamic Iran, won a majority of the seats.
Administrative subdivisions: 30 provinces.
Suffrage: Universal at 15.

GDP (2004 est.): $477.8 billion.
GDP real growth rate (2004 est.): 6.3%.
GDP composition by sector (2004): Agriculture 19%, industry 26%, services 55%.
Per capita income (est. 2004): $7,700.
Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, and some mineral deposits.
Agriculture: Principal products--wheat, rice, other grains, sugarbeets, fruits, nuts, cotton, dairy products, wool, caviar; not self-sufficient in food.
Industry: Types--petroleum, petrochemicals, textiles, cement and building materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), metal fabricating (steel and copper), armaments.
Trade (2004): Exports--$38.79 billion: petroleum 80%, carpets, fruits, nuts. Imports--$31.3 billion: food, machinery, and semifinished goods. Major markets/suppliers--Germany, Japan, France, China.

Adapted from material published in the CIA World Factbook.
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