Iran is a country located in the Middle East. Below it is the Gulf of Oman and to the west is the Persian Gulf. On the east is Afghanistan and to the north is Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea. The total area of Iran is 632,457 square miles, which is slightly larger than Alaska and about 6 times smaller than
. Iran has about 65,612,000 people which is about 100 people per square mile. That means that the United States has close to 3 times the size in population than Iran. Climate and Geography Iran is split up into three regions of land forms. The first is the coast along the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman which has high temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In the inland part of the plateau in can also hit 120 degrees. In the capital city Tehran, which is located at the edge of the Elburz Mountains, the average temperature is about 36 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in July. In the nearby city of Abadan, which is on the coast of Iran up in the corner of the Persian Gulf, the temperatures are about the same, even though it's right by the Persian Gulf getting the warm air from the the water. The Plateau of Iran is very dry throughout most of it because the annual precipitation is about 1 or 2 inches. On the coast of the Persian Gulf they get 10 inches to 15 inches per year. In the Zagros and Elburz Mountain ranges, the precipitation is about 50 inches annually. Rivers in Iran are low in the summer time because most of them are on flat land. The only rivers that stay high are the ones that run from mountains. Like the Karun River, which flows from the Zagros Mountains into Khorramshahr. It is supposedly the most navigable river in Iran. The highest peak in Iran is Mount Damavand at 18,934 feet, it is part of the Elburz mountain range. The second highest peak is Mount Kalar, which is 14,100 feet high. The Karun river flows southward from beside this mountain. History In 549 B.C. Iran was called Persia and ruled by Cyrus the Great. He united the Medes and Persians to make the country we know of today as Iran. In the process of doing this, he also restored Jerusalem to the Jews and conquered Babylonia. About 200 years later, in 333 B.C., Alexander the Great came in and took over Persia, but a century later the Persians regained Persia from the help of the Pathians. In 226 A.D. the Persians lost and gave over Persia to the Sassanian Persians. Later in the 7th century, Arab people brought over the religion of Islam to Persia, pushing aside their first religion of Zoroastrian. This initially dominant religion still stuck around for hundreds of years despite the Islamic take over. In the eleventh century, Seljuk Turks dominated for a Persia before overrun by Mongols under the rule of Genghis Khan. Then came Tamelane and his Mongol Hordes, and after that the Turkomans took over. The Turkomans were overrun by Ismail I, who said that he was a descent from the great Ali. He became extremely popular and began the Safavid dynasty which lasted from 1502 to 1736 during his rule Shiism became the national religion. In 1736 the Afghans conquered Ali and started the Afshar dynasty followed by the Zand dynasty in 1750. The Zand dynasty ended in 1794 when Agha Muhammad Khan, a ruler who was cruel to the people promoted himself to Shah which is ruler of the country, and began the Qajar dynasty. In 1923, Reza Shah Pahavi came into Iran and pronounced himself prime minister. In 1925, he became elected Shah and ended the Qajar dynasty. Pahavi¹s son took over in the 1940s when World War II started. Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi married and had a son, Prince Reza Pahlavi in 1960. He maintained close alliance with the United States during this time by signing a defense agreement. In 1963, the Shah formed a committee to form a program of modernization through land reform and industrializing Iran. This plan caused corruption in many of the people. The Shah used the army and secret police to control them. Rioting broke out and the Shah fled from the country. From then on the rule of Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini he made Iran an Islamic country. Many people under the old Shah were arrested, tried and executed. In January of 1980, a new man was elected. His name was Bani-Sadr. However just one year later he was dismissed. The man that followed him, Muhammad Ali Rajai was assassinated in 1981 so Hojatolislam Ali Khamenei was elected president in the same year and reelected in 1985. In 1986 the Iran Contra Affair occurred. This was a deal between the U.S. and Iran dealing with arms sales. In 1991, when the Persian Gulf War broking out Iran stayed neutral throughout the entire conflict. Culture About two thirds of the population descended from the Aryan tribes which came to Iran in the seventeenth century from parts of central Asia. The other third of the population is made up of mostly Turks, Arabs and Armenians and Jews. Some of the largest groups that are part of the Aryans are the Persians who are make up 63% of the population. Many Aryans live on the central plateau while the Gilani and Mazanderani who are also part of the Aryan origin live on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Some of the ethnic minorities groups are nomadic, like the Kurds, Baktiari, and Lurs, who live mostly in the Zagros Mountains. The official language of Iran is Persian because of the previously named country which is today Iran. This Indo-European language is written in Arabic. Although this language is common, it is not like the language that is spoken by the Gilani and Mazandarani. This is similar in ways but different enough to be it's own language. People like the Kurdish, Luri, and Baluchi have their own separate language. About 98% of the population in Iran are Muslims and 93% are Shiites or part of a Shia section of Islam. Shiite Islam is the official religion of Iran, though ethnic parties like the Kurds and Baluchi follow a different sect of Islam. Government Iran's government is theocratic republic. The government was originally a monarchy, which started in 1906 and ended in 1979. In that year an Islamic republic was formed by the religious leader Faqih, who still oversees the government. The chief executive head of state is the president, who is elected by popular vote and serves a four year term. Presently the acting president is Hashemi Rafsanjani and he was elected choose a prime minister who must be approved by the National Parliament and by the Prime Minister's Cabinet. Legislation in Iran is a Parliament, and they are called the Majlis. It consists of 270 members who are popularly voted in for four years. They have the power to dismiss any kind of bill or act with a "No Confidence Vote." In Iran, all citizens over the age of sixteen can vote for electing government officials. Iran is split up into 24 provinces, and each province is divided into 195 counties. In each counties there are 500 districts and within the district there are villages and municipalities. Province and district officials are elected by the national government, while the municipalities appoint their own mayors by popular vote. Iran makes each and every man who is a citizen of Iran give at least two years of Military service to their country. As of the late 1980s, Iran had around 473,000 soldiers in their military. Economy The GNP (gross National product) for Iran in 1991 was $90 billion, which dropped all the way to $71.01 billion. The income per capita in 1991 was around $1,500. Iran's leading resources are drilling for Oil which is a big one for them, a lot of agriculture and some manufacturing of textiles. Agriculture in 1950 was started over with land reform program. They redistributed about 2 million acres of land out to the peasant farmers during this program. In the early 1990s, the amount of wheat produced per year was about 8.2 million metric tons. They also produced 2.5 million metric tons of potatoes, 3.6 million metric tons of barley, 1.4 million metric tons of grapes and 2.1 million metric tons of rice. They also grew sugar beets, sugar cane, corn, citrus fruits, tobacco, tea. Farmers breed livestock like sheep, goats, cattle and asses. The main industry in Iran is Oil, just like most countries in the Middle East. The big oil fields are located at the head of the Persian Gulf in the southwest region. Oil makes most of the money for Iran. The oil industry was been nationalized since 1951 and in 1980 petroleum industry was controlled by the National Ministry of petroleum. From about 1987 to 1989, 828 million barrels of oil were being produced annually. Shipments of petroleum came to a halt in late the 1970s to lower oil prices but the war between Iraq and Iran didn't help so it started up again. The labor distribution is split up into four pieces. 50% government and services, 28% agriculture, 10% mining and manufacturing, and about 12% construction. With , Iran makes a killing off of petroleum exports. As a matter of fact 90% of their export income is from oil. In the late 1980s Iran's gross income from export was 9.4 billion dollars and their annual gross pay for imported goods was 11 billion. Health and Education Education in Iran is poor compared to the United States. The literacy rate is 54% for just adults. School education is generally meant for 6 to 14 year olds, although it is loosely run because of the shortage of teachers and schools. In the late 1980s about 7.4 million children attended primary schools, and around 3.4 million were enrolled into secondary schools. Vocational schools had about 252,000 kids annually. Right now there are about twenty one Universities in Iran. The largest one of them all is in Tehran and was founded in 1934. Health in Iran is free for anybody from the ages of 6 to 11. Health care has improved over the years, but it is still inadequate around rural areas. In all of Iran there was 70,184 hospital beds in 1986. In 1987 there were only 16,918 physicians available to the people. The life expectancy for women is 66 years old and for men 64 years old. Communication and Transportation Transportation between two cities is very easy in Iran. There are trains running in between most major cities, like Tehran and Mashhad and Tabriz. There are highways extending from the border of Afghanistan to the border of Iraq. There are six ports for exporting goods around the sea. Along with that there are two major airports which fly international flights across the world. Altogether there is 139,368 kilometers of road, and 4,601 kilometers of railroad. Current Issue I looked and couldn't find any current issues. The latest big issue was back in 1989 which was the Iran Contra deals. You said yourself that that was to long ago to be used as a current issue.