Size: Land area of about 1,648,000 square kilometers;
sovereignty claimed over territorial waters up to 12 nautical
Topography: Large Central Plateau surrounded
on three sides by rugged mountain ranges. Highest peak Mount Damavand,
approximately 5,600 meters; Caspian Sea about 27 meters below
Population: Preliminary results of October 1986
census listed total population as 48,181,463, including approximately
2.6 million refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq. Population grew
at rate of 3.6 percent per annum between 1976 and 1986. Government
figures showed 50 percent of population under fifteen years of
age in 1986.
Education: School system consists of five years
of primary (begun at seven years of age), three years of middle
school, and four years of high school education. High school has
three cycles: academic, science and mathematics, and vocational
technical. Government announced 11.5 million students in above
school system in academic year 1986-87; percentage of school age
population in school not published. Postrevolution decrease in
university enrollments, particularly percentage of women students,
which declined from 40 percent in prerevolutionary period to 10
percent in 1984. Number of students abroad also declined.
Health: Iranian Medical Association reported
12,300 doctors in 1986; 38,000 additional doctors needed to provide
population with minimally adequate health care. Most medical personnel
located in large cities. High infant mortality rate. Gastrointestinal,
parasitic, and respiratory diseases other chief causes of mortality.
Languages: Persian official language and native
tongue of over half the population. Spoken as a second language
by majority of the remainder. Other Indo-European languages, such
as Kirmanji (the collective term in Iran for the dialects spoken
by Kurds), as well as Turkic languages and Arabic also important.
Religion: Shia Islam official religion with
at least 90 percent adherence. Also approximately 8 percent Sunni
Muslims and smaller numbers of Bahais, Armenian and Assyrian Christians,
Jews, and Zoroastrians.
Data as of December 1987