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Major cities
Teheran 7,500,000
Mashhad 2,100,000
Esfahan 1,400,000
Tabriz 1,300,000
Shiraz 1,100,000
Karaj 1,000,000
List of Cites and Towns


Islamic Republic of Iran
Persianjumhuriyya ‘islamiyya ‘īrān

Independent republic in Asia with 72.4 million inhabitants (2009 estimate), covering a total area of 1,648,000 kmē and divided into 28 provinces. The capital of Iran is Teheran, situated in the north-central part of the country.

Iran has democratic structures, but the politics of the country is rigidly controlled by the religious elite. Hence, the functions of a head of state are divided between the president and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Wali Faqih). The religious leader is Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been president since 2005.

The national holiday is April 1, 1979, in remembrance of the proclamation of the Islamic republic.
Political situation

Provinces

Geography

Life
Iran does not perform too well on the Human Development Index where it comes in as no. 88 of the 182 states that are ranked in the world. On a scale with 1 as maximum, Iran gains 0.782 points.

Iran’s GDP per capita is quite high at $12,800 (2008). Still, unemployment is quite high, at 13% and as many as 18% are below the poverty line.
Economy

Iran’s population growth rate is as low as 0.89%, indicating stability and fair control. Iran has a well-developed health care system, and life expectancy is almost 71 years.
Health

Iran is among the countries putting the most effort into building a high-quality education system. The neglect of the past and the efforts of the present stand in contrast; Iran both has a high illiteracy rate and one of the highest student percentages in the MENA.
Education

Iran is inhabited by a great number of ethnic groups, of which Persians and Azerbaijanis represent the largest.
Peoples

Similar to the situation of ethnic groups, there are also a great number of languages spoken in Iran, but many are related. Persian is the largest language, and together with at least 17 other languages, it forms the group of Iranian languages, spoken by more than 70% of the total population. The other large group is Turkic languages, and a small minority speak Arabic.
Languages

The situation of religions is less diversified, yet Iran is the home of 7 religions, of which Islam, mainly in its Shi’i form, dominates. Ahl-e Haqq, Alevism, Christianity, and Baha’i have together more than 4 million adherents, whereas the indigenous religion of Iran, Zoroastrianism now only count a modest 60,000 followers in Iran.
Religions

Iran is one of a growing number of MENA countries with fertility rates below 2.1 per woman. Today the population growth of Iran is low, and several indicators suggest that the population figures will stabilize within a short time, and perhaps even begin to fall later this century.
Demographics

The history of Iran is a proud one, Iranians have formed several empires and are one of the main cultural peoples of the Middle East. Iran is to a great degree synonymous with Persia.
History

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