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Fast Facts
Official Name: Islamic Republic of Iran
Population: 75,1 million (UN est., 2010)
Capital: Teheran
Government: Theocratic republic (based on Sharia law)
Leaders: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khamenei (Chief of State), Hassan Rouhani (President)
Religion: Muslim 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%)
Languages: Persian, although there exists large Turkic and Kurdish speaking groups
GDP: $818.7 billion (CIA, 2010 est.)
GDP/Capita: $10,600 (CIA, 2010 est.)
Main exports: Petroleum, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets
Time zone: GMT + 3:30
International dialing code: +98
Currency: 1 Iran Rial (IRR) = USD 8
Country briefing
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The first Persian Empire was established in the 6th century B.C. and became the greatest the world had seen at the time. Iran remains an important regional power and is the largest Middle Eastern state with a Shia majority. Its connections with terrorist networks and an alleged nuclear weapons program have spurred extensive protests both from groups within Iran and abroad. Iran is a staunch supporter of Hizballah, and continues to provide militant groups with weapons and financial support. This has caused frictions with countries such as the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.