Iran General Information
Area: 1,648,043 sq km (636,313 sq miles).
Population: 66,479,838 (official estimate 2003).
Population Density: 40.3 per sq km.
Capital: Tehran. Population: 7,038,000 (UN estimate,
including suburbs, 2001).
GEOGRAPHY: Iran is located in the Middle East, bordered
to the north by Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea, the east by Afghanistan
and Pakistan, the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and
the west by Iraq and Turkey. The centre and east of the country are largely
barren undulating desert, punctured by qanats (irrigation canals) and
green oases, but there are mountainous regions in the west along the Turkish
and Iraqi borders and in the north where the Elburz Mountains rise steeply
from a fertile belt around the Caspian Sea.
Government: Islamic Republic since 1979. Head of State:
Supreme Leader (Rahbar-e Moazam) Seyyed Ali Khameni since 1989. Head of
Government: President Mohammad Khatami since 2001.
Language: Persian (Farsi) is the most widely spoken
language. Arabic is spoken in Khuzestan in the southwest, and Turkish
in the northwest around Tabriz. English, French and (to a lesser extent)
German are spoken by many businesspeople and officials.
Religion: Predominantly Islamic; mostly Shi’ite,
with a minority of Sunnis. The 1976 census recorded 300,000 Christians,
80,000 Jews and 30,000 Zoroastrians.
Time: GMT + 3.5 (GMT + 4.5 from 20 March to 21 September).
Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the round
Telephone: IDD service available. Country code: 98.
Outgoing international code: 00. Telephone booths are yellow.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network. Main network operators
include MTCE (website: www.mtce.ir), TCI and TKC (website: www.tkckish.com).
Fax/telegram: Facilities are available at main post
offices. There are three charge bands. There are also fax facilities at
the major hotels.
Internet: ISPs include Pishgaman Kavir Yazd and Tehran
Web (website: www.mz3.com). There are Internet cafes in Tehran and other
Post: Airmail to Western Europe can take at least two
weeks. There are 10 main post offices in Tehran. Post boxes are yellow.
Stamps can be bought at some cigarette kiosks. Post office hours: Generally
Sat-Thurs 0730-1500, but some main post offices stay open until 2100.
Press: The main English-language papers are the Iran
News, Kayhan International and Tehran Times.
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice)
and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time
to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.
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