Thursday, April 05, 2007


Iran, (Persian: ايران‎ , Īrān; pronunciation: [iːˈɾɒn], officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ايران‎ , transliteration: Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Īrān), also known as Persia internationally, is the eighteenth most populated and the world's seventeenth largest country, located at the junction of the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Caucasus Mountains. Its area is approximately the size of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined. Iran borders Armenia, Azerbaijan (including its Nakhichevan exclave) and Turkmenistan to the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. In addition, it borders the Persian Gulf, an important oil-producing area, and the Caspian sea. Shi'a Islam is the official state religion and Persian the official language.

Iran has one of the oldest histories in the world, extending nearly 6,000 years, and throughout history, Iran has been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia. Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC, OPEC, and ECO. Iran occupies an important position on the world economic stage due to its substantial reserves of petroleum and has considerable regional influence in Southwest Asia. Iran is also one of the few states that comprise the Cradle of Humanity. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and literally means "Land of the Aryans."