Since the 1979 Islamic fundamentalist revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the Middle Eastern country of Iran has been the world’s largest theocracy.


High desert plateau with large salt pans in the east. 

West and north are mountainous. 

Coastal land bordering Caspian Sea is rainy and forested.


Desert climate. 

Hot summers, and bitterly cold winters. 

Area around the Caspian Sea is more temperate.

People & Society:

Many ethnic groups, including Persians, Azaris (ethnically related to Azeris), and Kurds. 

Militant Shi’a Islamism has dominated since the 1979 revolution. 

The mullahs’ belief that adherence to religious values is more important than economic welfare has resulted in declining living standards. 

Female emancipation has been reversed. Student-backed demonstrations favoring greater liberalism have been suppressed.


A leading oil producer: 80% of exports. 

Government restricts contact with the West, blocking acquisition of vital technology. 

High unemployment and inflation. 

Sizable black market.

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