Middle East / Africa

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Summary | Profile

Country profile: Iran

Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan
Climate: mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast
Terrain: rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
Size: 2 sq. km total (Land area: 2 sq. km  Water area: 12000 sq.km)
Population: 65,875,223 (July 2008 est.)
Languages: Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%
Government: theocratic republic
Capital city: Tehran
Legal system: based on Sharia law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: Iranian rial (IRR)

Country profile

Iran is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and ranks amongst the world’s top three holders of proven oil and natural gas reserves. Iran is OPEC’s second-largest exporter after Saudi Arabia, and is the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil globally after Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Norway.

Natural gas accounts for half of Iran’s total domestic energy consumption, while the remaining half is predominately oil consumption. The continued exploration and production of the offshore South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf is a key part of in Iran’s energy sector development plan.Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and the shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts. US-Iranian relations have been strained since a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981.

During 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces between 1987 and 1988. Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world and remains subject to US and UN economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement in terrorism and conventional weapons proliferation. Following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad KHATAMI as president in 1997 and similarly a reformer Majles (parliament) in 2000, a campaign to foster political reform in response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated. The movement floundered as conservative politicians, through the control of unelected institutions, prevented reform measures from being enacted and increased repressive measures.

Starting with nationwide municipal elections in 2003 and continuing through Majles elections in 2004, conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected government institutions, which culminated with the August 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD as president. In December 2006 and March 2007, the international community passed resolutions 1737 and 1747 respectively after Iran failed to comply with UN demands to halt the enrichment of uranium or to agree to full IAEA oversight of its nuclear program. In October 2007, Iranian entities were also subject to US sanctions under EO 13382 designations for proliferation activities and EO 13224 designations for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.


Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Production: 4 million bbl/day (2006 est.) 101 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Consumption: 1 million bbl/day (2006 est.) 98 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Exports: 2 million bbl/day (2006 est.) 4 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Imports: 153,600 bbl/day (2004 est.) 5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Reserves: 138 billion bbl based on Iranian claims (2007 est.) 26 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Major fields:

Iran - recent news

21 Feb 22
Wildcat Petroleum appoints Iran-focused Upstream Oil and Gas Consultancy
Wildcat Petroleum, a company targeting investment opportunities in business and assets within the upstream sector of the petroleum industry, has announced the appointment of TBP-GEO as petroleum consultants to assist WCAT in securing oil production contracts in Iran if sanctions against Iran are eased by the USA, the United Kingdom and others.
18 May 21
Iran: NIOC awards USD1.78 billion Farzad gas field development project to Petropars
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has signed a contract worth $1.78 billion with Petropars Group for the development of Farzad B gas field in the Persian Gulf.
23 Feb 21
Iran: Iran to start oil production at Khesht field
The CEO of the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company said plans were under way to start crude oil production at the Khesht oil field in the first half of the next Iranian calendar year which starts on March 21, 2021.
19 Jul 20
Iran: NIOC awards Yaran field development to Persia Oil and Gas
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has signed a contract with Persia Oil and Gas Industry Development Company (POGIDC) for the development of Yaran joint oil field.
26 Jan 20
Iran’s Petropars developing South Pars gas field after withdrawal of foreign companies
Iran’s Petropars will develop phase 11 of South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, after the withdrawal of French oil major Total and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Iran’s oil minister was quoted as saying.

Iran - more news

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