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About Iran » Iran Geography

Iran is located in southwestern Asia, largely on a high plateau situated between the Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south. Its area is 636,300 square miles (1,648,000 square kilometers). Its neighbors are, on the north, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkmenistan; on the east, Pakistan and Afghanistan; and on the west Turkey and Iraq. Iran's total boundary is 4,770 miles (7,680 kilometers). Approximately 30 percent of this boundary is seacoast. The capital is Tehran (Teheran).

Iran's central plateau is actually a tectonic plate. It forms a basin surrounded by several tall, heavily eroded mountain ranges, principally the Elburz Mountains in the north and the Zagros range in the west and south. Several important volcanoes, including Mount Damavand, the nation's highest peak at approximately 19,000 feet, (5,800 meters) also ring the country.
The arid interior plateau contains two remarkable deserts: the Dasht-e-Kavir (Kavir Desert) and the Dasht-e-Lut (Lut Desert). These two deserts dominate the eastern part of the country, and form part of an arid landscape extending into Central Asia and Pakistan.

General Geography

To have a good understanding of the Iran's geography, you need to look at it from Different perspectives. Iran's geography is a composition of different components.
Some of the items are introduced here.
A look at the Iran's location, area, cities and capital, terrain, climate, population, Ethnic composition, religious groups and linguistic varieties can be helpful in depicting The whole country in a brief way.

Geography of Iran
  • Location
  • Area
  • Cities & Capital
  • Terrain
  • Climate
  • Population
  • Ethnic composition
  • Linguistic varieties
  • Religious Groups
Geography of Iran: Location

Iran is situated in Southwest Asia, the Middle East. It is bordered on the Eastern side of Iraq and Turkey, Western side of Afghanistan and Pakistan and Southern side of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkmenistan.

The largest lake of the world, Caspian Sea is at the North of Iran and the Persian Gulf as well as Oman Sea is at the South of Iran.

Geography of Iran: Area

Iran extends over an area of 1,648,000 sq kilometers, making it the second largest country in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia. The Caspian coastline on the North of Iran is extended as long as 650 kilometers. The Southern coastline of Iran, including The Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, is approximately 1770 kilometers.

Geography of Iran: Cities & Capital

The growth of the population during the recent decades has resulted in growing populations in some cities of Iran. Tehran, the capital of Iran, is inhabited by approximately 14 million people. It also hosts an additional 4 million who commute to the city for work every day.

However, there are some other cities of Iran that are growing into industrial centers of Iran. They consist of Arak, Ahvaz, Esfehan, Kerman, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Mashad.

Geography of Iran: Terrain

There are different geographical areas in Iran with the quality of terrain particular to those areas. Around 1/3 of Iran’s entire territory is arable and only %10.4 is under cultivation. Almost %6 of the total land is used for pasture. Forested areas, which are mainly on the Northern coastal areas of Iran, account for %4.5 of the total territory.

As a Whole, looking at the geography of the world, you will soon find out that Iran is one of the most mountainous countries of the world.

In addition to other local mountain ranges, there are two major mountain ranges in Iran:

  • The Alborz Mountain Range. It is extended from the Northwest to Northeast of Iran with the highest peak of Iran (Damavand, 5671 meters above sea level) near Tehran.
  • The Zagros Mountain Range. It is extended from the Northwest to the Southwest and Southeast of Iran with several peaks higher than 4000 meters above sea level.

The deserts of Iran are mainly situated on the Eastern half of Iran. The two major deserts in Iran are called:

  • Dasht-e-Kavir, which is located in central Iran toward East.
  • Kavir-e-Lut, which is at Southeast of Iran.
Geography of Iran: Climate

There are different climatic districts in Iran. Some of them are so varied that seem to compose a list of all climates you may find at different parts of the world.

The Caspian coastal plain remains humid all year due to the low altitude of nearly close to the sea level.

The high altitude of inhabited areas on the west of Iran creates a cold winter time that is usually below the freezing point.

The central and Eastern Iran goes through seasonally climatic variations. In general, these areas are arid and semi-arid during most parts of the year.

The Southern coastal plains of Iran have mild winters, but very hot and extremely humid summer days. The temperature could exceed 48°C during July in the interior part of Southern Iran.

Geography of Iran: Population

The population of Iran has increased dramatically with the growth rate exceeding 3.1 percent. As a result, today the population of Iran is estimated to be two times more than what it used to be three decades ago, more than 66 million people.

The majority of the population has moved into the cities in search for larger job opportunities.

Geography of Iran: Ethnic Composition

Iranians consist of several ethnic groups who have been living peacefully with each other since the beginning of the central government in Iran, 550 BC, Achaemenians. As a result, they all share the same Iranian identity despite subtle ethnic differences.

Such ethnic composition includes Persians, Azeries, Kurds, Baluchis, Lurs, Turkmans, and Arabs. There are also Jews, Armenians and Assyrians among Iranians. Nomads also form another ethnic entity in Iran each of who belong to one of the above groups.

Geography of Iran: Linguistic varieties

The official language of the people living in Iran is Farsi (Parsi), modern Persian. This is the language of education and administration that everyone is obliged to learn. Of course, different provinces of Iran use their mother tongues in their local TV channels.

The other languages spoken in Iran are Kurdish, Lurish, Baluchis, Taleshi, Gilaki and Mazandarani. The number of dialects is tens of thousands spoken differently from village to village.

Most of the languages spoken in Iran are from Indo-European origin except for Turkic, Arabic, Hebrew, Assyrian and Armenian languages.

Geography of Iran: Religious Groups

Iran has always been a country of rich religious diversity. Several religions have originated from ancient Iran like Mithraism and Zoroastrianism. Some of Iranian nobles during Partisan's Era have disseminated Buddhism in eastern part of the Parthian empire. There had even been some Buddhist temples in some of the Iranian towns and cities.

Today, there are four religions recognized by the government in Iran: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Since 16th century, the Shia branch of Islam turned to be the official denomination of Islam in the country.

Iran Provinces
List of Provinces of Iran

The entire country of Iran has been divided into 30 provinces according to the latest divisions carried out in Iran. Therefore, we have made a list of Iran provinces here for you so that you could see the data concerning provinces of Iran at a glance.

No. Province Capital Area(km²) Population
01 Ardebil Ardebil 17,800 1,257,624
02 Bushehr Bushehr 22,743 816,115
03 Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiary Shahr-e-Kord 16,332 842,002
04 East Azerbaijan Tabriz 45,650 3,500,183
05 Esfehan Esfehan 107,029 4,454,595
06 Fars Shiraz 122,608 4,385,869
07 Gilan Rasht 14,042 2,410,523
08 Golestan Gorgan 20,195 1,637,063
09 Hamedan Hamedan 19,368 1,738,772
10 Hormozgan Bandar Abbas 70,669 1,314,667
11 Ilam Ilam 20,133 545,093
12 Kerman Kerman 180,836 2,432,927
13 Kermanshah Kermanshah 24,998 1,938,060
14 Khuzestan Ahvaz 64,055 4,345,607
15 Kohkiluyeh va Boyer Ahmad Yasuj 15,504 695,099
16 Kurdistan Sanandaj 29,137 1,574,118
17 Lorestan Khorramabad 28,294 1,758,628
18 Markazi Arak 29,130 1,361,394
19 Mazandaran Sari 23,701 2,818,831
20 North Khorasan Bojnourd 28,434 786,918
21 Qazvin Qazvin 15,549 1,166,861
22 Qom Qom 11,526 1,064,456
23 Razavi Khorasan Mashad 144,681 5,202,770
24 Semnan Semnan 97,491 589,512
25 Sistan and Baluchistan Zahedan 181,785 2,290,076
26 South Khorasan Birjand 69,555 510,218
27 Tehran Tehran 18,814 12,150,742
28 West Azarbaijan Orumieh 37,437 2,949,426
29 Yazd Yazd 129,285 958,318
30 Zanjan Zanjan 21,773 970,946
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