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Key Figures | Reference Map | General Information | Demography | Geography | Political Background | Economy | Disaster and response preparedness measures | Humanitarian response operations | History of Disasters | Sources

Key Figures  
Total population : 81.7 Million (2018)
Area : 1,648,195 km²
Major languages : Persian (53%), Azerbaijani and other Turkic dialects (18%), Kurdish (10%)
Number of provinces : 31 provinces
GDP : $418.9 billion USD
GDP per capita : 5,219 USD
Average life expectancy : 75.5 years
Human Development Index : Index - 0.774, Rank - 69
Literacy rate : 84.7% (as of 2014)
Currency : Riyal


Iran Interactive Humanitarian Map


General information
Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE. It was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history. The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, which was succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians (61%), Azeris (16%), Kurds (10%), and Lurs (6%). Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have strongly criticized Iran's women's rights record.

Iran’s population witnessed a rapid increase in the latter half of the 20th century, reaching a population of 81 million by 2017 (not including Afghans). Iran has experienced a so-called post-revolutionary “youth bulge” in the last decade with approximately 50% of the population currently under 30 years of age (people between the ages of 15 – 29 comprise one-third of the population). However, recent years have seen a decrease in Iran’s birth rate with population growth decreasing to 1.2% between 2011 and 2016. Studies project a continued growth slowdown until stabilization above 100 million by 2050. The country is simultaneously experiencing an ageing population. Additionally, Iran is home to one of the largest refugee populations in the world, hosting more than one million refugees – primarily from Afghanistan (95%). Apart from its migration trends, Iran also demonstrates one of the sharpest urban growth rates in the world, with approximately 73.4% of the population residing in urban areas.

Iran is situated in Western Asia. It borders the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the south and Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan in the north. Iran is a rugged country comprised of plateaus and mountains, dominated specifically by the Zagros Mountains alongside its western borders and the Alborz Mountains in the north. The central and eastern region of the country consists of several closed basins that are collectively known as the Central Plateau.

Political background
The 1979 Revolution in Iran led to the establishment of an Islamic Republic. The post-Revolution political system in Iran consists of elements of a parliamentary democracy that is examined and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic ‘Supreme Leader’ who exercises ultimate authority. The Supreme Leader - currently Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - exerts ideological and political control over the country, commands the armed forces, oversees the judicial system and enforces policies related to Iran’s security, defence and foreign policy. The Head of the Government or executive branch is the President - currently Hassan Rouhani - who is elected by popular vote for four years. Iran has two other power branches, Legislative and Judiciary. Head of Judiciary is appointed by Leader.

The economy of Iran is a mixed and transition economy with a large public sector. Some 60 percent of the economy is centrally planned. It is dominated by oil and gas production, although over 40 industries are directly involved in the Tehran Stock Exchange, one of the best performing exchanges in the world over the past decade. With 10 percent of the world's proven oil reserves and 15 percent of its gas reserves, Iran is considered an "energy superpower". Iran has fifth highest total estimated value of natural resources, valued at US$27.3 trillion in 2016.It is the world's eighteenth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP) and twenty-seventh by nominal gross domestic product. The country is a member of Next Eleven because of its high development potential. A unique feature of Iran's economy is the presence of large religious foundations called Bonyad, whose combined budgets represent more than 30 percent of central government spending. Price controls and subsidies, particularly on food and energy, burden the economy. Contraband, administrative controls, widespread corruption, and other restrictive factors undermine private sector-led growth. The legislature in late 2009 passed the subsidy reform plan. This is the most extensive economic reform since the government implemented gasoline rationing in 2007. Most of the country's exports are oil and gas, accounting for a majority of government revenue in 2010. In 2012, oil exports contributed to about 80% of Iranian public revenue. Iran ranked first in scientific growth in the world in 2011 and has one of the fastest rates of development in telecommunication globally.

Disaster and response preparedness measures
Most UN agencies and partners operating in Iran have a development rather than humanitarian focus, with limited capacity in terms of disaster response. Consequently, the primary actors in managing the response to natural disasters (earthquakes, floods) are the Military (Regular Army and IRGC through Passive Defence Organisation- PDO), Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) and Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organisation (TDMMO). Part of UN agencies’ operations include supporting these national disaster management authorities and strengthening resilience to deal with these disasters. In Iran, the rapid light USAR teams are part of the IRCS. EMTs are under the management of MoH. Iran is not yet a member of INSARAG and has not joined the UNDAC mechanism. Nevertheless, Iran has attended international INSARAG simulation exercises (SIMEX) to increase familiarity with and encourage joining the mechanisms. Iran UN has a Disaster Management Team under RC to coordinate preparedness and resilience efforts based on ERP and UNDAF. UN has implemented the emergency response plan (ERP) process in Iran and have developed a contingency plan for major earthquake in an urban area, mainly for Tehran. OCHA has a Plan of Action with Iran till end 2019, which was renewed on 2017, mainly focusing on increasing Iran’s response capacity.

Humanitarian response operations
A major humanitarian response operation involved dealing with the aftermath of the Kermanshah earthquake in November 2017. The operation resulted in widespread inter-agency collaboration between UN agencies, IRCS, and NGOs to deliver relief and assistance to the most affected areas. The IRCS devised a Joint Operational Plan to aid the victims of the earthquake and as the lead in the rescue operations, the IRCS deployed massive resources. The UN missions expressed their readiness to join the IRCS in its commitment to helping the earthquake victims through a number of projects and the provision of aid in the form of shelters and psychological support. Following the earthquake, the Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) initiative was held at the Mehrabad Airport with OCHA/UNDP facilitation in 2017 to ensure that airports are prepared for future natural disasters. Iran via the IRCS has delivered humanitarian support and relief to Rohingya refugees hosted in Bangladesh who have fled persecution and suppression in their native country of Myanmar. In September 2017, the IRCS dispatched its first humanitarian consignment which included relief supplies such as tents, blankets, water, food, medical and healthcare equipment etc. for Rohingya Muslims residing in Bangladeshi camps. Additionally, the IRCS built a 20-bed field hospital equipped with medical services, nursing care, nutrition, psychological support etc. to provide healthcare facilities to both Rohingyas and Bangladeshi residents. The IRCS has delivered a total of three humanitarian consignments to Bangladesh so far. Iran via the IRCS has also been providing humanitarian assistance to the war-ridden countries of Yemen and Syria. They have continuously delivered pharmaceutical aid, food aid and trained man-power to the countries with their attention particularly directed towards the Yemeni civilians who are on the brink of famine following the Saudi-led coalition blockade.

History of disasters
Iran is now ranked among the 10 most disaster-prone countries in the world. Iran’s topography, geography and climate coupled with vulnerabilities such as infrastructural fragility, uncontrolled urbanization and challenging social and economic conditions makes it particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, and major storms. With the majority of Iranians living in densely populated urban environments, cities such as Tehran are particularly vulnerable to these disasters. Water scarcity and severe droughts due to climate change and water mismanagement also pose serious threats to Iran and represent the onset of a major natural disaster, now combined with sandstorms on eastern parts of the country. Floods and Storms: Floods, Sandstorms (and even Snowstorms in northern parts) are now major problems in East and South-East Iran, mainly due to the destruction of Iraqi marshlands and palms, and drought and water mismanagement on the Iranian side. Inadequate urban planning, artificial change of water ways, and climate change could also be attributed to some of the flooding. Earthquakes: Iran is one of the most seismically-active countries in the world with three active faults. At least 126,000 people have died due to 65 earthquakes of magnitudes between 6.0 - 7.0 since 1900. Although historical data suggests that the frequency of major earthquakes is every 2-3 years, the rate has sharply increased over the past few years. List of major deadly earthquakes in the last 50 years: 1968 Dasht-e Bayaz and Ferdows Earthquakes 1972 Qir Earthquake 1978 Tabas Earthquake 1981 Sirch Earthquake 1990 Gilan and Zanjan Earthquake 2003 Bam Earthquake 2017 Kermanshah Earthquake

Central Intelligence Agency Factbook, Wikipedia, The World Bank, World Population Review, United Nations Development Program, United Nations Development Programme