Share of global reserves: 11.4%
Share of global production (2003): 5.1%
Share of petroleum sector in the economy: oil and gas constitute 82% of Iran's exports.
Population: 69 million
Population growth rate: 1.07% (2004 est.)
GDP per capita: $7,000 (2004 est.)
Government type: theocratic republic
Religions: Shi'a Muslim 89%, Sunni Muslim 10%
Freedom House Ranking: not free
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has been ruled by a repressive religious regime which adheres to outdated social customs. The nation is currently divided between the conservatives who control the military and most government institutions and the moderates who enjoy broad public support. The tension between the conservatives and the moderates is gradually strengthening.
November 2002: A hard-line court sentenced reformist academic Hashem Aghajari to death. Students demonstrations throughout the country.
June 2003: Student demonstrations started in Tehran and spread across the country. The protesters demanded the resignation of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Iranian authorities jailed 4,000 people while foreign media sources reported on student disappearances and the arrests of intellectuals who spoke out against the regime.
Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to
death by police interrogators.
Japan's struggle to secure future oil supply (relationship with Iran)
U.S. Dept. of Energy country analysis brief
CIA World Factbook
Library of Congress
CFR: Iran and terror