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Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and the shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts. Iranian-US relations have been strained since a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981. During 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces between 1987 and 1988. Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world and remains subject to US economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement. Following the election of the reformist Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad KHATAMI as president in 1997 and similarly a reformist Majles (parliament) in 2000, a campaign to foster political reform in response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated. The movement floundered as conservative politicians prevented reform measures from being enacted, increased repressive measures, and made electoral gains against reformers. Starting with nationwide municipal elections in 2003 and continuing through Majles elections in 2004, conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected government institutions, which culminated with the August 2005 inauguration of an ultra-conservative layman as president.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 65,397,521 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Iranian(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Iranian

Official Language(s): Farsi

Major Languages Spoken: Arabic, Aramaic, Azerbaijani, Farsi, Georgian, Kurdish, Pushtu, Turkish

Map of Iran

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Islamic Republic of Iran

Country Name (short form): Iran

Country Name (local long form): Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran

Country Name (local short form): Iran

Name of Capital: Tehran

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+3.5 (8.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Iran: Turkey, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan

Land Area: 1636000 sq km

Water Area: 12000 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly larger than Alaska

Total Land Boundry: 5,440 km

Coastline: 2,440 km; note - Ira

National Holiday: Republic Day, 1 April (1979)

International Phone Code: 98

Currency Code: Iranian rial (IRR)

Internet Country Code: .ir

US Embassy Location: the American Interests Section is located in the Swiss Embassy compound at Africa Avenu

US Embassy Mailing Address: none


Iran flag

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