Iran: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Iran.



Location--Iran is located in Southwest Asia, stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Arabian Sea. On the west it is bordered by Turkey and Iraq, on the north by the Soviet Union and the Caspian. Afghanistan and Pakistan form its eastern boundaries. The Gulfs of Persia and Oman lie to the south.

How Created--Iran is the historical Persia. Its borders have been determined by centuries of empire building and dissolution. At the end of W.W. II for example, the northwest portion attempted to gain independence when the Azerbaidis and Kurds declared independent republics. But the Iranian Government, with the aid of the Allies (the British and Americans), forced Soviet troops to withdraw from Iran and forcefully suppressed the secessions. A secessionist movement now exists in Baluchistan, in the southeast. Iran keeps its territory by force, as many of the national minorities have little commitment to the Iranian entity.

Size--The total area is 636,296 sq. mi. (1,648,000 sq. km.), slightly larger than Alaska.

Population--34 million: Indo-European, 66%; Turk, 25%; Kurd, 5%; Lur, Semitic Arab and others, 4%. 96.2% Muslim (mostly Shi'a), 0.9% Christian, 0.2% Jewish, 0.1% Zoroastrian, 2.6% other.

Who Rules--The Shah, as an absolute monarch, though he has a powerless National Assembly.

Who REALLY Rules--The Shah and his clique, in close alliance with international capitalist interests and Western Governments, especially the U.S. The Shah's relation to the U.S. is not one of a satellite, but is one of a junior partner. He may have begun in 1953 as very dependent on the U.S., but now it is a question of mutuality of interest.

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