Iran

Driving Directions Iran

IRAN lies across The Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula and stretches from the Caspian Sea to the Arabian Sea. Since 1978/9, when Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi was over – was thrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran has been governed according to strict Islamic laws and has endured a costly war with Iraq (1980-88).

It is a country of high mountains, plateaux, and one desert, notably the Zagros Mountains (Kuhha-ye Zagros) in the west, one the Elburz (Reshten-ye-Kuhha-ye Alborz) range in the north and the one sandy Dasht-e Lut and salty Dasht-e Kavir deserts of central and eastern Iran.

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Although the climate is extremely hot and dry in summer, especially near The Gulf and in the desert, winters can be very cold, particularly in the Elburz Mountains. Rainfall is generally slight, with most falling during the winter and early spring months, especially in the mountains.

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A range of trees and shrubs able to grow in extensive forests in the more welt watered upland areas, and there are also areas of steppe grassland on the plateaux. Elsewhere in the arid regions, only desert and scrub plants able to survive.

Wildlife is varied according to region but includes deer, ibex, porcupine, leopard, wolf, and jackal. Birds equally well represented, including various predatory species and pelicans and flamingos along the shores of The Gulf.

Most of the population lives in the north and west, where Tehran, the capital, is situated. The only good agricultural land is on the Caspian coastal plains, where wheat, barley, potatoes, and rice are grown. Fresh and dried fruit are the country’s main exports apart from petroleum. About 5 percent of the population are nomadic herdsmen.

Most of Iran’s oil is in the southwest, and other valuable minerals include coal, iron ore, copper, and lead. Precious stones found in the northeast.

Main exports are petrochemicals, carpets and rugs, textiles, raw cotton, and leather goods. There was a rapid expansion in the economy thanks to revenue from the petroleum industry. However, after the Islamic revolution in the late 1970s and a war with Iraq, the economy slowed dramatically and is only gradually beginning to pick up again.

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