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Iran vs. Azerbaijan

Introduction

IranAzerbaijan
BackgroundKnown as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and Shah Mohammad Reza PAHLAVI was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces led by Ayatollah Ruhollah KHOMEINI 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 (AOE) - a popularly elected 86-member body of clerics. US-Iranian relations became strained when a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held embassy personnel hostages until mid-January 1981. The US cut off diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1980. During the period 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. Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world and remains subject to US, UN, and EU economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement in terrorism and concerns over possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad KHATAMI as president in 1997 and a reformist Majles (legislature) in 2000, a campaign to foster political reform in response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated. The movement floundered as conservative politicians, supported by the Supreme Leader, unelected institutions of authority like the Council of Guardians, and the security services reversed and blocked reform measures while increasing security repression.
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. His controversial reelection in June 2009 sparked nationwide protests over allegations of electoral fraud, but the protests were quickly suppressed. Deteriorating economic conditions due primarily to government mismanagement and international sanctions prompted at least two major economically based protests in July and October 2012, but Iran's internal security situation remained stable. President AHMADI-NEJAD's independent streak angered regime establishment figures, including the Supreme Leader, leading to conservative opposition to his agenda for the last year of his presidency, and an alienation of his political supporters. In June 2013 Iranians elected a moderate conservative cleric Dr. Hasan Fereidun RUHANI to the presidency. He is a longtime senior member in the regime, but has made promises of reforming society and Iran's foreign policy. The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and comply with its IAEA obligations and responsibilities, and in July 2015 Iran and the five permanent members, plus Germany (P5+1) signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran held elections in 2016 for the AOE and Majles, resulting in a conservative-controlled AOE and a Majles that many Iranians perceive as more supportive of the RUHANI administration than the previous, conservative-dominated body. Iran will hold presidential elections in May 2017. RUHANI is currently favored to win a second term.
Azerbaijan - a nation with a majority-Turkic and majority-Shia Muslim population - was briefly independent (from 1918 to 1920) following the collapse of the Russian Empire; it was subsequently incorporated into the Soviet Union for seven decades. Azerbaijan has yet to resolve its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily ethnic Armenian-populated region that Moscow recognized in 1923 as an autonomous republic within Soviet Azerbaijan after Armenia and Azerbaijan disputed the territory's status. Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited their dispute over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated militarily after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, ethnic Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven surrounding provinces in the territory of Azerbaijan. The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by the US, France, and Russia, is the framework established to mediate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Corruption in the country is widespread, and the government, which eliminated presidential term limits in a 2009 referendum and approved extending presidential terms from 5 to 7 years in 2016, has been accused of authoritarianism. Although the poverty rate has been reduced and infrastructure investment has increased substantially in recent years due to revenue from oil and gas production, reforms have not adequately addressed weaknesses in most government institutions, particularly in the education and health sectors, as well as the court system.

Geography

IranAzerbaijan
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range
Geographic coordinates32 00 N, 53 00 E
40 30 N, 47 30 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Asia
Areatotal: 1,648,195 sq km
land: 1,531,595 sq km
water: 116,600 sq km
total: 86,600 sq km
land: 82,629 sq km
water: 3,971 sq km
note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991
Area - comparativealmost 2.5 times the size of Texas; slightly smaller than Alaska
about three-quarters the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundariestotal: 5,894 km
border countries (7): Afghanistan 921 km, Armenia 44 km, Azerbaijan 689 km, Iraq 1,599 km, Pakistan 959 km, Turkey 534 km, Turkmenistan 1,148 km
total: 2,468 km
border countries (5): Armenia 996 km, Georgia 428 km, Iran 689 km, Russia 338 km, Turkey 17 km
Coastline2,440 km; note - Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)
0 km (landlocked); note - Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (713 km)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements or median lines in the Persian Gulf
continental shelf: natural prolongation
none (landlocked)
Climatemostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast
dry, semiarid steppe
Terrainrugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland, much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) to the west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,305 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,671 m
mean elevation: 384 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, bauxite
Land useagricultural land: 30.1%
arable land 10.8%; permanent crops 1.2%; permanent pasture 18.1%
forest: 6.8%
other: 63.1% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 57.6%
arable land 22.8%; permanent crops 2.7%; permanent pasture 32.1%
forest: 11.3%
other: 31.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land95,530 sq km (2012)
14,277 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsperiodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes
droughts
Environment - current issuesair pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; urbanization
local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, soil, and water pollution; soil pollution results from oil spills, from the use of DDT pesticide, and from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport
both the main area of the country and the Naxcivan exclave are landlocked
Population distributionpopulation is concentrated in the north, northwest, and west, reflecting the position of the Zagros and Elburz Mountains; the vast dry areas in the center and eastern parts of the country, around the deserts of the Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut, have a much smaller population density
highest population density is found in the far eastern area of the county, in and around Baku; apart from smaller urbanized areas, the rest of the country has a fairly evenly distributed population

Demographics

IranAzerbaijan
Population82,801,633 (July 2016 est.)
9,872,765 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 23.65% (male 10,037,814/female 9,546,710)
15-24 years: 16.57% (male 7,041,801/female 6,675,656)
25-54 years: 47.59% (male 20,085,331/female 19,319,933)
55-64 years: 6.79% (male 2,770,618/female 2,855,362)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 2,052,541/female 2,415,867) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 22.82% (male 1,204,976/female 1,047,737)
15-24 years: 15.77% (male 812,537/female 744,538)
25-54 years: 45.28% (male 2,188,683/female 2,281,242)
55-64 years: 9.64% (male 439,566/female 512,118)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 245,144/female 396,224) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 29.4 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 29.7 years (2016 est.)
total: 30.9 years
male: 29.3 years
female: 32.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.18% (2016 est.)
0.92% (2016 est.)
Birth rate17.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
16.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.11 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 37.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 37.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 24.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 71.4 years
male: 69.8 years
female: 73.1 years (2016 est.)
total population: 72.5 years
male: 69.5 years
female: 75.8 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.83 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.9 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.14% (2015 est.)
0.17% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Iranian(s)
adjective: Iranian
noun: Azerbaijani(s)
adjective: Azerbaijani
Ethnic groupsPersian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes
Azerbaijani 91.6%, Lezghin 2%, Russian 1.3%, Armenian 1.3%, Talysh 1.3%, other 2.4%
note: the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region is populated almost entirely by ethnic Armenians (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS73,200 (2015 est.)
10,700 (2015 est.)
ReligionsMuslim (official) 99.4% (Shia 90-95%, Sunni 5-10%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian) 0.3%, unspecified 0.4% (2011 est.)
Muslim 96.9% (predominantly Shia), Christian 3%, other <0.1, unaffiliated <0.1 (2010 est.)
note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower
HIV/AIDS - deaths4,000 (2015 est.)
300 (2015 est.)
LanguagesPersian (official), Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other
Azerbaijani (Azeri) (official) 92.5%, Russian 1.4%, Armenian 1.4%, other 4.7% (2009 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.8%
male: 91.2%
female: 82.5% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.9%
female: 99.8% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2015)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2014)
Education expenditures2.9% of GDP (2015)
2.6% of GDP (2014)
Urbanizationurban population: 73.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.07% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 54.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.56% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 97.7% of population
rural: 92.1% of population
total: 96.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.3% of population
rural: 7.9% of population
total: 3.8% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 94.7% of population
rural: 77.8% of population
total: 87% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5.3% of population
rural: 22.2% of population
total: 13% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 92.8% of population
rural: 82.3% of population
total: 90% of population
unimproved:
urban: 7.2% of population
rural: 17.7% of population
total: 10% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 91.6% of population
rural: 86.6% of population
total: 89.3% of population
unimproved:
urban: 8.4% of population
rural: 13.4% of population
total: 10.7% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationTEHRAN (capital) 8.432 million; Mashhad 3.014 million; Esfahan 1.88 million; Karaj 1.807 million; Shiraz 1.661 million; Tabriz 1.572 million (2015)
BAKU (capital) 2.374 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures6.9% of GDP (2014)
6% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.49 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
3.4 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density0.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
4.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.9% (2014)
22.2% (2014)
Contraceptive prevalence rate77.4% (2010/11)
51.1% (2006)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 40.2
youth dependency ratio: 33.1
elderly dependency ratio: 7.1
potential support ratio: 14.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 38
youth dependency ratio: 30.3
elderly dependency ratio: 7.8
potential support ratio: 12.9 (2015 est.)

Government

IranAzerbaijan
Country name"conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran
conventional short form: Iran
local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
local short form: Iran
former: Persia
etymology: name derives from the Avestan term ""aryanam"" meaning ""Land of the noble [ones]""
"
"conventional long form: Republic of Azerbaijan
conventional short form: Azerbaijan
local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi
local short form: Azarbaycan
former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the name translates as ""Land of Fire"" and refers to naturally occurring surface fires on ancient oil pools or from natural gas discharges
"
Government typetheocratic republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Tehran
geographic coordinates: 35 42 N, 51 25 E
time difference: UTC+3.5 (8.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins fourth Tuesday in March; ends fourth Thursday in September
name: Baku (Baki, Baky)
geographic coordinates: 40 23 N, 49 52 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions31 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan); Alborz, Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi (West Azerbaijan), Azarbayjan-e Sharqi (East Azerbaijan), Bushehr, Chahar Mahal va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Jonubi (South Khorasan), Khorasan-e Razavi (Razavi Khorasan), Khorasan-e Shomali (North Khorasan), Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh va Bowyer Ahmad, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan
66 rayons (rayonlar; rayon - singular), 11 cities (saharlar; sahar - singular);
rayons: Abseron, Agcabadi, Agdam, Agdas, Agstafa, Agsu, Astara, Babak, Balakan, Barda, Beylaqan, Bilasuvar, Cabrayil, Calilabad, Culfa, Daskasan, Fuzuli, Gadabay, Goranboy, Goycay, Goygol, Haciqabul, Imisli, Ismayilli, Kalbacar, Kangarli, Kurdamir, Lacin, Lankaran, Lerik, Masalli, Neftcala, Oguz, Ordubad, Qabala, Qax, Qazax, Qobustan, Quba, Qubadli, Qusar, Saatli, Sabirabad, Sabran, Sadarak, Sahbuz, Saki, Salyan, Samaxi, Samkir, Samux, Sarur, Siyazan, Susa, Tartar, Tovuz, Ucar, Xacmaz, Xizi, Xocali, Xocavand, Yardimli, Yevlax, Zangilan, Zaqatala, Zardab
cities: Baku, Ganca, Lankaran, Mingacevir, Naftalan, Naxcivan (Nakhichevan), Saki, Sirvan, Sumqayit, Xankandi, Yevlax
Independence1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed); notable earlier dates: ca. 550 B.C. (Achaemenid (Persian) Empire established); A.D. 1501 (Iran reunified under the Safavid Dynasty); 1794 (beginning of Qajar Dynasty); 12 December 1925 (modern Iran established under the PAHLAVI Dynasty)
30 August 1991 (declared from the Soviet Union); 18 October 1991 (adopted by the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan)
National holidayRepublic Day, 1 April (1979)
Republic Day (founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan), 28 May (1918)
Constitutionhistory: previous 1906; latest adopted 24 October 1979, effective 3 December 1979
amendments: proposed by the supreme leader – after consultation with the Exigency Council – and submitted as an edict to the “Council for Revision of the Constitution,” a body consisting of various executive, legislative, judicial, and academic leaders and members; passage requires absolute majority vote in a referendum and approval of the supreme leader; articles including Iran’s political system, its religious basis, and its form of government cannot be amended; amended 1989 (2016)
history: several previous; latest adopted 12 November 1995
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by at least 63 members of the National Assembly; passage requires at least 95 votes of Assembly members in two separate readings of the draft amendment six months apart and requires presidential approval after each of the two Assembly votes, followed by presidential signature; constitutional articles on the authority, sovereignty, and unity of the people cannot be amended; amended 2002, 2009, 2016 (2017)
Legal systemreligious legal system based on secular and Islamic law
civil law system
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)
head of government: President Hasan Fereidun RUHANI (since 3 August 2013); First Vice President Eshaq JAHANGIRI (since 5 August 2013)
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval; the supreme leader has some control over appointments to several ministries
elections/appointments: supreme leader appointed for life by Assembly of Experts; president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term and an additional nonconsecutive term); election last held on 19 May 2017 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: Hasan Fereidun RUHANI reelected president; percent of vote - Hasan Fereidun RUHANI Moderation and Development Party) 58.8%, Mohsen REZAI (Conservative) 39.4%, other 1.8%
note: 3 oversight bodies are also considered part of the executive branch of government
chief of state: President Ilham ALIYEV (since 31 October 2003); First Vice President Mehriban ALIYEVA (since February 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister Artur RASIZADE (since 4 November 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub EYYUBOV (since June 2006); note - RASIZADE was previously prime minister from 20 July 1996 to 4 August 2003
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for unlimited terms); election last held on 9 October 2013 (next to be held in October 2018); prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly; note - a constitutional amendment approved in a September 2016 referendum will expand presidential terms from 5 to 7 years when it formally takes effect; a separate constitutional amendment approved in the September 2016 referendum also introduced the post of first vice-president and additional vice-presidents, who are directly appointed by the
election results: Ilham ALIYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Ilham ALIYEV (YAP) 84.5%, Jamil HASANLI (National Council of Democratic Forces) 5.5%, other 10%
note: OSCE observers concluded that the election did not meet international standards
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e Shura-ye Eslami or Majles (290 seats; 285 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by two-round vote, and 1 seat each for Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, Armenians in the north of the country, and Armenians in the South; members serve 4-year terms); note - all candidates to the Majles must be approved by the Guardians Council, a 12-member group of which 6 are appointed by the supreme leader and 6 are jurists nominated by the judiciary and elected by the Majles
elections: first round held on 26 February 2016 with second round for 68 remaining seats held on 29 April 2016; (next full Majles election to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by coalition - List of Hope 37.2%, Principlists Grand Coalition 25.9%, People's Voice Coalition 4.5%, joint Hope/People’s Voice 4.1%, joint People’s Voice/Principlist 0.3%, religious minorities 1.7%, independent 26.4%; seats by coalition - List of Hope 108, Principlists Grand Coalition 75, People's Voice Coalition 13, joint Hope/People’s Voice 12, joint People’s Voice/Principlist 1, religious minorities 5, independent 76
description: unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis (125 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 1 November 2015 (next to be held in November 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - YAP 72, CSP 2, Democratic Reforms 1, Social Democratic Party 1, Social Prosperity 1, Unity Party 1, Democratic Enlightenment 1, Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front 1, Motherland 1, Civil Unity 1, Great Undertaking Party 1, National Renaissance Party 1, independent 41
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the president and NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the head of the High Judicial Council (HJC), a 5-member body to include the Supreme Court chief justice, the prosecutor general, and 3 clergy, in consultation with judges of the Supreme Court; president appointed for a 5-year term; other judges appointed by the HJC; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Penal Courts I and II; Islamic Revolutionary Courts; Courts of Peace; Special Clerical Court (functions outside the judicial system and handles cases involving clerics); military courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, vice chairman, and 23 judges in plenum sessions and organized into civil, economic affairs, criminal, and rights violations chambers); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Milli Majlis; judges appointed for 10 years; Constitutional Court chairman and deputy chairman appointed by the president; other court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Milli Majlis to serve single 15-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (replaced the Economic Court in 2002); district and municipal courts;
Political parties and leadersFollowers of Walayat [Ali LARIJANI]
Pervasive Coalition of Reformists: The Second Step [Ali SOUFI, chairman] (includes Council for Coordinating the Reforms Front, National Trust Party, Union of Islamic Iran People Party, Moderation and Development Party)
Principalists Grand Coalition [Alireza ZAKANI] (includes Combatant Clergy Association and Islamic Coalition Party, Society of Devotees and Pathseekers of the Islamic Revolution, Front of Islamic Revolution Stability)
Progress and Justice Population of Islamic Iran [Hssein GHORBANZADEH]
Civil Solidarity Party or CSP [Sabir RUSTAMKHANLI]
Civil Unity Party or CUP [Sabir HAJIYEV]
Democratic Enlightenment [Elshan MUSAYEV]
Democratic Reforms Party [Asim MOLLAZADE]
Great Undertaking [Fazil MUSTAFA]
Musavat [Arif HAJILI]
Popular Front Party [Ali KARIMLI]
Motherland Party or AVP [Fazail AGAMALI]
National Renaissance Party
Social Democratic Party [Ayaz MUTALIBOV]
Social Prosperity Party [Khanhusein KAZIMLI]
Unity Party [Tahir KARIMLI]
Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front Party [Gudrat HASANGULIYEV]
Yeni (New) Azerbaijan Party or YAP [President Ilham ALIYEV]
Political pressure groups and leadersother political groups that support the Islamic Republic: Ansar-e Hizballah
Democracy Party (Hezb-e Mardom Salari)
Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran)
Followers of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent (Rahrovan)
Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader (Peyrovan)
Islamic Iran Freedom Party (Hezb-e Azadegi)
Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh)
Islamic Labor Party (Hezb-e Kar)
Militant Clerics Society or MCS (Ruhaniyun)
Moderation and Development Party (Hezb-e Etedal va Tose-eh)
Nation of Iran Unity Party (Hezb-e Etehad)
National Trust Party (Hezb-e Etemad-e Meli)
Qom Theological Lecturers Association
Reform Front Coordination Council (Shora-ye Hamahangi Eslahat)
Society of Devotees (Isargaran)
Society of Modern Thinking Muslim Women of Iran (Jamiat-e Zanan-e Noandish)
Steadfastness Front (Paydari)
Tehran Militant Clergy Association or MCA (Ruhaniyat)
Voice of Iranians (Neda)
Wayfarers of the Islamic Revolution (Rahpuyan)

armed political groups repressed by the government:
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan or KDPI
Harekat-e Ansar-e Iran (splinter faction of Jundallah)
Jaysh l-Adl (formerly known as Jundallah)
Komala
Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization or MEK (MKO)
People's Fedayeen
People's Free Life Party of Kurdistan or PJAK
D18 [Ruslan IZZETLI]]
Ireli Youth Movement [MirHasan SEYIDOV]
National Council of Democratic Forces [Jamil HASANLI]
N!DA Youth Movement [Turgut GAMBAR, Ulvi HASANLI]
Republican Alternative or REAL [Ilgar MAMMADOV (in prison since 2013)]
International organization participationCICA, CP, D-8, ECO, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, SAARC (observer), SCO (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
ADB, BSEC, CD, CE, CICA, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, EITI (compliant country), FAO, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the USnone; note - Iran has an Interests Section in the Pakistani Embassy; address: Iranian Interests Section, Pakistani Embassy, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: [1] (202) 965-4990; FAX [1] (202) 965-1073
chief of mission: Ambassador Elin SULEYMANOV (since 5 December 2011)
chancery: 2741 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 337-3500
FAX: [1] (202) 337-5911
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the USnone; note - the US Interests Section is located in the Embassy of Switzerland No. 39 Shahid Mousavi (Golestan 5th), Pasdaran Ave., Tehran, Iran; telephone [98] 21 2254 2178/2256 5273; FAX [98] 21 2258 0432
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert CEKUTA (since 16 February 2015)
embassy: 111 Azadlig Prospekti, Baku AZ1007
mailing address: American Embassy Baku, US Department of State, 7050 Baku Place, Washington, DC 20521-7050
telephone: [994] (12) 488-3300
FAX: [994] (12) 488-3330
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red; the national emblem (a stylized representation of the word Allah in the shape of a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom) in red is centered in the white band; ALLAH AKBAR (God is Great) in white Arabic script is repeated 11 times along the bottom edge of the green band and 11 times along the top edge of the red band; green is the color of Islam and also represents growth, white symbolizes honesty and peace, red stands for bravery and martyrdom
three equal horizontal bands of sky blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in the red band; the blue band recalls Azerbaijan's Turkic heritage, red stands for modernization and progress, and green refers to Islam; the crescent moon and star are a Turkic insignia; the eight star points represent the eight Turkic peoples of the world
National anthem"name: ""Soroud-e Melli-ye Jomhouri-ye Eslami-ye Iran"" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
lyrics/music: multiple authors/Hassan RIAHI
note: adopted 1990
"
"name: ""Azerbaijan Marsi"" (March of Azerbaijan)
lyrics/music: Ahmed JAVAD/Uzeyir HAJIBEYOV
note: adopted 1992; although originally written in 1919 during a brief period of independence, ""Azerbaijan Marsi"" did not become the official anthem until after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)lion; national colors: green, white, red
flames of fire; national colors: blue, red, green
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Iran
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

IranAzerbaijan
Economy - overview"Iran's economy is marked by statist policies, inefficiencies, and reliance on oil and gas exports, but Iran also possesses significant agricultural, industrial, and service sectors. The Iranian government directly owns and operates hundreds of state-owned enterprises and indirectly controls many companies affiliated with the country's security forces. Distortions - including inflation, price controls, subsidies, and a banking system holding billions of dollars of non-performing loans - weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth.

Private sector activity includes small-scale workshops, farming, some manufacturing, and services, in addition to medium-scale construction, cement production, mining, and metalworking. Significant informal market activity flourishes and corruption is widespread.

Fiscal and monetary constraints, following the expansion of international sanctions in 2012 on Iran's Central Bank and oil exports, significantly reduced Iran's oil revenue, forced government spending cuts, and sparked a sharp currency depreciation. Iran’s economy contracted for the first time in two decades during both 2012 and 2013, but growth resumed in 2014. Iran's stock market plunged between 2013 and 2015. Iran continues to suffer from high unemployment and underemployment. Lack of job opportunities has prompted many educated Iranian youth to seek employment overseas, resulting in a significant ""brain drain.""

In June 2013, the election of President Hasan RUHANI generated widespread public expectations of economic improvement and greater international engagement. Almost three years into his term, RUHANI has achieved some success, including reining in inflation and, in July of 2015, securing the promise of sanctions relief for Iran by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the P5+1. The JCPOA, which severely limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for unfreezing Iranian assets and reopening Iran to international trade, should bolster foreign direct investment, increase trade, and stimulate growth.
"
Prior to the decline in the global oil prices since 2014, Azerbaijan's high economic growth was attributable to rising energy exports, and some non-export sectors also featured double-digit growth. Oil exports through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, the Baku-Novorossiysk, and the Baku-Supsa pipelines remain the main economic driver, but efforts to boost Azerbaijan's gas production are underway. The expected completion of the geopolitically important Southern Gas Corridor between Azerbaijan and Europe will open up another source of revenue from gas exports. Declining oil prices caused a 3.8 % contraction in GDP in 2016, reinforced by a sharp reduction in the construction sector. The economic decline has been accompanied by higher inflation and a weakened banking sector in the aftermath of the two sharp currency devaluations in 2015.

Azerbaijan has made limited progress with market-based economic reforms. Pervasive public and private sector corruption and structural economic inefficiencies remain a drag on long-term growth, particularly in non-energy sectors, but the government has made efforts to combat corruption, particularly in customs and with the “ASAN” one-stop window concept for government services. Several other obstacles impede Azerbaijan's economic progress, including the need for more foreign investment in the non-energy sector and the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. While trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics remains important, Azerbaijan has expanded trade with Turkey and Europe and is seeking new markets for non-oil/gas exports, mainly from the agricultural sector, for example with Gulf Cooperation Council member countries, the United States, and others.

Long-term prospects depend on world oil prices, Azerbaijan's ability to implement export routes for its growing gas production, and its ability to improve the business environment and diversify the economy. In late 2016, the President approved a strategic roadmap that identified key non-energy segments of the economy for development, such as agriculture, logistics, and tourism.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.459 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.397 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.391 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$165.5 billion (2016 est.)
$172 billion (2015 est.)
$170.1 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate4.5% (2016 est.)
0.4% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2014 est.)
-3.8% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
2.8% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$18,100 (2016 est.)
$17,600 (2015 est.)
$17,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$17,700 (2016 est.)
$18,300 (2015 est.)
$18,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 9.1%
industry: 39.9%
services: 51% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 7.2%
industry: 49.6%
services: 43.3% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line18.7% (2007 est.)
4.9% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 27.4% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)8% (2016 est.)
13.7% (2015 est.)
note: official Iranian estimate
12.4% (2016 est.)
3.7% (2015 est.)
Labor force29.75 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2016 est.)
4.961 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 16.3%
industry: 35.1%
services: 48.6% (2013 est.)
agriculture: 37%
industry: 14.3%
services: 48.9% (2015)
Unemployment rate10.7% (2016 est.)
10.5% (2015 est.)
note: data are according to the Iranian Government
5% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2015 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index44.5 (2006)
33.7 (2008)
36.5 (2001)
Budgetrevenues: $65.87 billion
expenditures: $72.29 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $10.54 billion
expenditures: $11.59 billion (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, gas, fertilizers, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and nonferrous metal fabrication, armaments
petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore; cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles
Industrial production growth rate4.5% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, sugarcane, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviar
fruit, vegetables, grain, rice, grapes, tea, cotton, tobacco; cattle, pigs, sheep, goats
Exports$87.52 billion (2016 est.)
$64.6 billion (2015 est.)
$12.48 billion (2016 est.)
$15.59 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, ore
oil and gas roughly 90%, machinery, foodstuffs, cotton
Exports - partnersChina 22.4%, India 8.7%, Turkey 8.5%, Japan 4.5% (2015)
Italy 19.7%, Germany 10.7%, France 7.5%, Israel 7%, Czech Republic 4.8%, Indonesia 4.2% (2015)
Imports$62.12 billion (2016 est.)
$52.42 billion (2015 est.)
$8.532 billion (2016 est.)
$9.774 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesindustrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, metals, chemicals
Imports - partnersUAE 39.5%, China 22.3%, South Korea 4.7%, Turkey 4.6% (2015)
Russia 15.6%, Turkey 12.7%, US 9.2%, Germany 7.5%, Italy 6.4%, Japan 6.1%, UK 6%, China 5.6% (2015)
Debt - external$7.116 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.348 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$12.65 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.28 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesIranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -
30,462.1 (2016 est.)
29,011.5 (2015 est.)
29,011.5 (2014 est.)
25,912 (2013 est.)
12,176 (2012 est.)
Azerbaijani manats (AZN) per US dollar -
1.526 (2016 est.)
1.0246 (2015 est.)
1.0246 (2014 est.)
0.7844 (2013 est.)
0.79 (2012 est.)
Fiscal year21 March - 20 March
calendar year
Public debt11.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
11.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: includes publicly guaranteed debt
20.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
19.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$135.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$110 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.453 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.91 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$23.57 billion (2016 est.)
$9.019 billion (2015 est.)
-$1.42 billion (2016 est.)
-$222 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$412.3 billion (2016 est.)
$37.58 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$46.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$43.05 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$72.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$66.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$4.656 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.097 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$16.28 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$14.48 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$89.43 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$116.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$345.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rateNA%
15% (10 March 2017)
15% (14 September 2016)
note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key policy rate for the National Bank of Azerbaijan
Commercial bank prime lending rate13% (31 December 2016 est.)
14.2% (31 December 2015 est.)
12.2% (31 December 2016 est.)
13.86% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$54.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$47.04 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$11.23 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$15.63 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$40.23 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$38.44 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.194 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.612 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$363.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$307.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$21.32 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$21.57 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues16% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
-3.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 24.8%
male: 21%
female: 42.8% (2014 est.)
total: 13.8%
male: 12%
female: 15.6% (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 50.8%
government consumption: 10%
investment in fixed capital: 27.1%
investment in inventories: 6.1%
exports of goods and services: 23.2%
imports of goods and services: -17.2% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 56.2%
government consumption: 13.9%
investment in fixed capital: 27.3%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 47.5%
imports of goods and services: -44.9% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving33% of GDP (2016 est.)
31.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
34.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
30.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
31.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
36.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

IranAzerbaijan
Electricity - production258 billion kWh (2014 est.)
24.69 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption218 billion kWh (2014 est.)
17.62 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports9.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
265 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports3.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
107.5 million kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production3.3 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
842,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports87,440 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports1.042 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
720,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves157.8 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
7 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves34.02 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
2.55 trillion cu m (1 January 2016)
Natural gas - production174.5 billion cu m (2014 est.)
29.37 billion cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - consumption170.2 billion cu m (2014 est.)
11.23 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports9.86 billion cu m (2014 est.)
8.145 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports6.886 billion cu m (2014 est.)
450 million cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity77 million kW (2014 est.)
7.4 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels85.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
85% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants12.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
14.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels1.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1.93 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
139,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption1.952 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
104,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports240,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)
37,330 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports12,630 bbl/day (2013 est.)
2,249 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy650.4 million Mt (2014 est.)
35 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 1,100,000
electrification - total population: 98.6%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 95% (2013)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

IranAzerbaijan
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 30,418,973
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 1,796,027
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 74.219 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2015 est.)
total: 10.697 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages not presently connected
domestic: heavy investment by Iran's state-owned telecom company has greatly improved and expanded both the fixed-line and mobile cellular networks; a huge percentage of the cell phones in the market have been smuggled into the country
international: country code - 98; submarine fiber-optic cable to UAE with access to Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line runs from Azerbaijan through the northern portion of Iran to Turkmenistan with expansion to Georgia and Azerbaijan; HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; satellite earth stations - 13 (9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat) (2015)
general assessment: requires considerable expansion and modernization; fixed-line telephone and a broad range of other telecom services are controlled by a state-owned telecommunications monopoly and growth has been stagnant; more competition exists in the mobile-cellular market with three providers in 2017
domestic: teledensity of 18 fixed lines per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity has increased to 109 telephones per 100 persons; satellite service connects Baku to a modern switch in its exclave of Naxcivan (Nakhchivan)
international: country code - 994; the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic link transits Azerbaijan providing international connectivity to neighboring countries; the old Soviet system of cable and microwave is still serviceable; satellite earth stations - 2 (2017)
Internet country code.ir
.az
Internet userstotal: 36.07 million
percent of population: 44.1% (July 2015 est.)
total: 7.531 million
percent of population: 77% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate-run broadcast media with no private, independent broadcasters; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the state-run TV broadcaster, operates 5 nationwide channels, a news channel, about 30 provincial channels, and several international channels; about 20 foreign Persian-language TV stations broadcasting on satellite TV are capable of being seen in Iran; satellite dishes are illegal and, while their use had been tolerated, authorities began confiscating satellite dishes following the unrest stemming from the 2009 presidential election; IRIB operates 8 nationwide radio networks, a number of provincial stations, and an external service; most major international broadcasters transmit to Iran (2009)
3 state-run and 1 public TV channels; 4 domestic commercial TV stations and about 15 regional TV stations; cable TV services are available in Baku; 1 state-run and 1 public radio network operating; a small number of private commercial radio stations broadcasting; local FM relays of Baku commercial stations are available in many localities; local relays of several international broadcasters had been available until late 2008 when their broadcasts were banned from FM frequencies (2010)

Transportation

IranAzerbaijan
Railwaystotal: 8,483.5 km
broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge
standard gauge: 8,389.5 km 1.435-m gauge (189.5 km electrified) (2014)
total: 2,944.3 km
broad gauge: 2,944.3 km 1.520-m gauge (approx. 1,767 km electrified) (2017)
Roadwaystotal: 198,866 km
paved: 160,366 km (includes 1,948 km of expressways)
unpaved: 38,500 km (2010)
total: 52,942 km
paved: 26,789 km
unpaved: 26,153 km (2006)
Pipelinescondensate 7 km; condensate/gas 973 km; gas 20,794 km; liquid petroleum gas 570 km; oil 8,625 km; refined products 7,937 km (2013)
condensate 89 km; gas 3,890 km; oil 2,446 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Bandar-e Asaluyeh, Bandar Abbas, Bandar Emam
container port(s) (TEUs): Bandar Abbas (2,752,460)
major seaport(s): Baku (Baki) located on the Caspian Sea
Merchant marinetotal: 76
by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 51, chemical tanker 3, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 2 (UAE 2)
registered in other countries: 71 (Barbados 5, Cyprus 10, Hong Kong 3, Malta 48, Panama 5) (2010)
total: 104
by type: tankers 34, universal dry-cargo 20, ferries 13, roll on/roll off 2, auxillary ships 35
foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 2 (Malta 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2017)
Airports319 (2013)
37 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 140
over 3,047 m: 42
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 36
under 914 m: 7 (2013)
total: 30
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 179
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 135
under 914 m: 32 (2013)
total: 7
under 914 m: 7 (2013)
Heliports26 (2013)
1 (2012)

Military

IranAzerbaijan
Military branchesIslamic Republic of Iran Regular Forces (Artesh): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force (IRIAF), Khatemolanbia Air Defense Headquarters; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, IRGC): Ground Resistance Forces, Navy, Aerospace Force, Qods Force (special operations); Law Enforcement Forces (2015)
Army, Navy, Air, and Air Defense Forces (2010)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 17 years of age for Law Enforcement Forces; 15 years of age for Basij Forces (Popular Mobilization Army); conscript military service obligation is 18 months; women exempt from military service (2012)
18-35 years of age for compulsory military service; service obligation 18 months or 12 months for university graduates; 17 years of age for voluntary service; 17 year olds are considered to be on active service at cadet military schools (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP2.33% of GDP (2014)
2.34% of GDP (2013)
2.81% of GDP (2012)
2.41% of GDP (2011)
5.61% of GDP (2015)
4.56% of GDP (2014)
4.58% of GDP (2013)
4.72% of GDP (2012)
4.67% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

IranAzerbaijan
Disputes - internationalIran protests Afghanistan's limiting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which are occupied by Iran; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified the Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea; the dispute over the break-away Nagorno-Karabakh region and the Armenian military occupation of surrounding lands in Azerbaijan remains the primary focus of regional instability; residents have evacuated the former Soviet-era small ethnic enclaves in Armenia and Azerbaijan; local border forces struggle to control the illegal transit of goods and people across the porous, undemarcated Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian borders; bilateral talks continue with Turkmenistan on dividing the seabed and contested oilfields in the middle of the Caspian
Illicit drugsdespite substantial interdiction efforts and considerable control measures along the border with Afghanistan, Iran remains one of the primary transshipment routes for Southwest Asian heroin to Europe; suffers one of the highest opiate addiction rates in the world, and has an increasing problem with synthetic drugs; regularly enforces the death penalty for drug offences; lacks anti-money laundering laws; has reached out to neighboring countries to share counter-drug intelligence
limited illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; small government eradication program; transit point for Southwest Asian opiates bound for Russia and to a lesser extent the rest of Europe
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 2.5 - 3.0 (1 million registered, 1.5 - 2.0 million undocumented) (Afghanistan); 28,268 (Iraq) (2016)
IDPs: 582,000 (conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh; IDPs are mainly ethnic Azerbaijanis but also include ethnic Kurds, Russians, and Turks predominantly from occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh; includes IDPs' descendants, returned IDPs, and people living in insecure areas and excludes people displaced by natural disasters; around half the IDPs live in the capital Baku) (2016)
stateless persons: 3,585 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook