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Iran vs. Iraq

Introduction

IranIraq
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.
"Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by the United Kingdom during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A ""republic"" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was SADDAM Husayn from 1979 to 2003. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. US forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate through 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to train and mentor Iraqi security forces.
In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century. Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011. In January 2009 and April 2013, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kirkuk Governorate. Iraq held a national legislative election in March 2010 - choosing 325 legislators in an expanded COR - and, after nine months of deadlock, the COR approved the new government in December 2010. In April 2014, Iraq held a national legislative election and expanded the COR to 328 legislators. Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI dropped his bid for a third term in office, enabling new Prime Minister Haydar al-ABADI, a Shia Muslim from Baghdad, to win legislative approval of his new cabinet in September 2014. Since 2014, Iraq has been engaged in a military campaign against ISIS to recapture territory lost in the western and northern portion of the country.
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Geography

IranIraq
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates32 00 N, 53 00 E
33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Middle East
Areatotal: 1,648,195 sq km
land: 1,531,595 sq km
water: 116,600 sq km
total: 438,317 sq km
land: 437,367 sq km
water: 950 sq km
Area - comparativealmost 2.5 times the size of Texas; slightly smaller than Alaska
slightly more than three times the size of New York state
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: 3,809 km
border countries (6): Iran 1,599 km, Jordan 179 km, Kuwait 254 km, Saudi Arabia 811 km, Syria 599 km, Turkey 367 km
Coastline2,440 km; note - Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)
58 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
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climatemostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast
mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
Terrainrugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,305 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,671 m
"mean elevation: 312 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Cheekha Dar (Kurdish for ""Black Tent"") 3,611 m
"
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
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: 18.1%
arable land 8.4%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 9.2%
forest: 1.9%
other: 80% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land95,530 sq km (2012)
35,250 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsperiodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes
dust storms; sandstorms; floods
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
government water control projects drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Marsh Arabs, who inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; development of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey; air and water pollution; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification
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: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - notestrategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
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
population is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited

Demographics

IranIraq
Population82,801,633 (July 2016 est.)
38,146,025 (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: 39.88% (male 7,766,832/female 7,445,633)
15-24 years: 19.07% (male 3,703,302/female 3,572,702)
25-54 years: 33.7% (male 6,499,345/female 6,354,506)
55-64 years: 3.96% (male 720,976/female 790,301)
65 years and over: 3.39% (male 574,521/female 717,907) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 29.4 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 29.7 years (2016 est.)
total: 19.9 years
male: 19.6 years
female: 20.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.18% (2016 est.)
2.87% (2016 est.)
Birth rate17.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
30.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
3.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
1.5 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: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 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: 37.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 34.2 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: 74.9 years
male: 72.6 years
female: 77.2 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.83 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.06 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.14% (2015 est.)
NA
Nationalitynoun: Iranian(s)
adjective: Iranian
noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi
Ethnic groupsPersian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes
Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkmen, Assyrian, Shabak, Yazidi, other 5%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS73,200 (2015 est.)
NA
ReligionsMuslim (official) 99.4% (Shia 90-95%, Sunni 5-10%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian) 0.3%, unspecified 0.4% (2011 est.)
Muslim (official) 99% (Shia 55-60%, Sunni 40%), Christian <.1%, Yazidi <.1%, Sabean Mandaean <.1%, Baha'i <.1%, Zoroastrian <.1%, Hindu <0.1%, Buddhist <0.1%, Jewish <0.1%, folk religion <0.1, unafilliated 0.1%, other <0.1%
note: while there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the SADDAM Husayn regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths4,000 (2015 est.)
NA
LanguagesPersian (official), Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other
Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect), Syriac (Neo-Aramaic), and Armenian are official in areas where native speakers of these languages constitute a majority of the population)
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: 79.7%
male: 85.7%
female: 73.7% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (2016)
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2016)
Education expenditures2.9% of GDP (2015)
NA
Urbanizationurban population: 73.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.07% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 69.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.01% 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: 93.8% of population
rural: 70.1% of population
total: 86.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 6.1% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 14.6% 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: 86.4% of population
rural: 83.8% of population
total: 85.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13.6% of population
rural: 16.2% of population
total: 14.4% 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)
BAGHDAD (capital) 6.643 million; Mosul 1.694 million; Erbil 1.166 million; Basra 1.019 million; As Sulaymaniyah 1.004 million; Najaf 889,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
50 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures6.9% of GDP (2014)
5.5% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.49 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
0.85 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density0.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
1.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.9% (2014)
21.2% (2014)
Contraceptive prevalence rate77.4% (2010/11)
52.5% (2011)
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: 78.7
youth dependency ratio: 73.2
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5
potential support ratio: 18.3 (2015 est.)

Government

IranIraq
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 Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local long form: Jumhuriyat al-Iraq/Komar-i Eraq
local short form: Al Iraq/Eraq
etymology: the name probably derives from ""Uruk"" (Biblical ""Erech""), the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River
"
Government typetheocratic republic
federal parliamentary 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: Baghdad
geographic coordinates: 33 20 N, 44 24 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 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
18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah (Arabic); parezgakan, singular - parezga (Kurdish)) and 1 region*; Al Anbar; Al Basrah; Al Muthanna; Al Qadisiyah (Ad Diwaniyah); An Najaf; Arbil (Erbil) (Arabic), Hewler (Kurdish); As Sulaymaniyah (Arabic), Slemani (Kurdish); Babil; Baghdad; Dahuk (Arabic), Dihok (Kurdish); Dhi Qar; Diyala; Karbala'; Kirkuk; Kurdistan Regional Government*; Maysan; Ninawa; Salah ad Din; Wasit
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)
3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration); note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government
National holidayRepublic Day, 1 April (1979)
Independence Day, 3 October (1932); Republic Day, 14 July (1958)
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 by referendum 15 October 2005
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and the Council of Minsters collectively, or by one-fifth of the Council of Representatives members; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote by the Council of Representatives, approval by referendum, and ratification by the president; passage of amendments to articles on citizen rights and liberties requires a two-thirds majority vote of Council of Representatives members after two successive electoral terms, approval in a referendum, and ratification by the president (2016)
Legal systemreligious legal system based on secular and Islamic law
mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law
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 Fuad MASUM (since 24 July 2014); Vice Presidents Ayad ALLAWI (since 9 September 2014), Nuri al-MALIKI (since 8 September 2014), Usama al-NUJAYFI (since 9 September 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Haydar al-ABADI (since 8 September 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, approved by Council of Representatives
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Council of Representatives (COR) to serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 30 April 2014 (next to be held in April 2018); prime minister nominated by the majority COR bloc and submission of COR minister nominees for full COR approval; disapproval requires designation of a new prime minister candidate
election results: Fuad MASUM elected president; Council of Representatives vote - Fuad MASUM (PUK) 211, Barham SALIH (PUK) 17; Haydar al-ABADI (Da'wa Party) approved as prime minister
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 Council of Representatives or Majlis an-Nuwwab al-Iraqiyy (328 seats; 320 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 8 seats reserved for minorities; members serve 4-year terms); note - Iraq's constitution calls for the establishment of an upper house, the Federation Council, but it has not been instituted
elections: last held on 30 April 2014 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by coalition/party – State of Law Coalition 95, Ahrar Bloc/Sadrist Trend 34, ISCI/Muwatin 30, KDP 25, United for Reform Coalition/Muttahidun 23, PUK 21, Nationalism Coalition/Wataniyah 19, other Sunni coalitions/parties 15, Al-Arabiyah Coalition 10, Goran 9, other Shia parties/coalitions 9, Fadilah 6, National Reform Trend 6, Iraq Coalition 5, KIU 4, other 17
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): Federal Supreme Court or FSC (consists of 9 judges); note - court jurisdiction limited to constitutional issues and disputes between regions or governorates and the central government; Court of Cassation (consists of a court president, 5 vice-presidents, and at least 24 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Supreme Court and Court of Cassation judges selected by the president of the republic from nominees selected by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a 25-member committee of judicial officials that manage the judiciary and prosecutors; FSC members appointed for life; Court of Cassation judges appointed by the SJC and confirmed by the Council of Representatives to serve until retirement nominally at age 63
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (governorate level); civil courts including first instance, personal status, labor, and customs; criminal courts including felony, misdemeanor, investigative, major crimes, juvenile and traffic; religious 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]
Al-Arabiyah Coalition [Salih al-MUTLAQ]
Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]
Da`wa Party [Vice President Nuri al-MALIKI]
Da`wa Tanzim [Hashim al-MUSAWI]
Fadilah Party [Muhammad al-YAQUBI]
Goran Party [Nawshirwan MUSTAFA]
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI/Muwatin Coalition [Ammar al-HAKIM]
Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masud BARZANI]
Nationalism Coalition/Wataniyah [Vice President Ayad ALLAWI]
National Reform Trend [Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI]
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [former President Jalal TALABANI]
Sadrist Trend or Ahrar Bloc [Muqtada al-SADR]
State of Law Coalition [Vice President Nuri al MALIKI]
United for Reform Coalition/Muttahidun Lil Islah [Vice President Usama al-NUJAYFI]
note: numerous smaller local, tribal, and minority parties
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
Sunni militias; Shia militias, some associated with political parties
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)
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, 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 Farid YASIN (since 18 January 2017)
chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 742-1600
FAX: [1] (202) 333-1129
consulate(s) general: Detroit, 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 Douglas A. SILLIMAN (since 1 September 2016)
embassy: Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad
mailing address: APO AE 09316
telephone: 0760-030-3000
FAX: NA
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 red (top), white, and black; the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning ""God is great"") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); the Council of Representatives approved this flag in 2008 as a compromise temporary replacement for the Ba'thist SADDAM-era flag
note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two stars but no script; Yemen, which has a plain white band; and that of Egypt, which has a golden Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band
"
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: ""Mawtini"" (My Homeland)
lyrics/music: Ibrahim TOUQAN/Mohammad FLAYFEL
note: adopted 2004; following the ouster of SADDAM Husayn, Iraq adopted ""Mawtini,"" a popular folk song throughout the Arab world; also serves as an unofficial anthem of the Palestinian people
"
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
golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black
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: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Iraq
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

IranIraq
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.
"
Iraq's GDP grew by more than 10% in 2016, the best performance in the past decade, because of rising oil prices, which are a significant driver of Iraqi GDP. During 2016, security and financial stability throughout Iraq began to improve as Iraqi Security Forces made gains against the ongoing insurgency and oil prices slowly rose. The Iraqi Government entered into a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in July 2016, which helped stabilize its finances by encouraging improved fiscal management, needed economic reform, and expenditure reduction. Iraq passed its first SBA review in December 2016, and additional progress on the program is critical to its long-term fiscal health. Diversification efforts – a key component to Iraq’s long-term economic development – require a strengthened investment climate to bolster private-sector engagement. Sustained improvements in the overall standard of living depend heavily on global oil prices, the central government passing major policy reforms, and progress in the conflict with ISIL.

Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides more than 90% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings. Oil exports in 2016 averaged 3.3 million barrels per day from southern Iraq, up from 2015. Moreover, the slow recovery of global oil prices improved export revenues throughout 2016, although monthly revenue remained below 2015 levels. Iraq's contracts with major oil companies have the potential to further expand oil exports and revenues, but Iraq will need to make significant upgrades to its oil processing, pipeline, and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their economic potential.

Iraqi oil exports from northern fields are hampered by fundamental disagreements between the Iraqi Government and autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq’s Kurdistan region (IKR) on the roles of federal and regional authorities in the development and export of natural resources. In 2007, the KRG passed an oil law to develop IKR oil and gas reserves independent of the federal government. The KRG has signed about 50 contracts with foreign energy companies to develop its reserves, some of which lie in territories whose status is in dispute between Baghdad and Erbil. Some of the companies have left or returned blocks, citing lack of commercial prospects. In 2014, the KRG began exporting its oil unilaterally through its own pipeline to Turkey, which Baghdad claims is illegal. In the absence of a national hydrocarbons law, the two sides have entered into four provisional oil- and revenue-sharing deals since 2009, all of which collapsed. In September 2016, the two sides began implementing a fifth ad hoc agreement to split oil exports from Baghdad-controlled fields in Kirkuk.

Iraq is making slow progress enacting laws and developing the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and political reforms are still needed to assuage investors' concerns regarding the uncertain business climate. The Government of Iraq is eager to attract additional foreign direct investment, but it faces a number of obstacles, including a tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal stability. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, insufficient essential services, skilled labor shortages, and antiquated commercial laws stifle investment and continue to constrain growth of private, nonoil sectors. Under the Iraqi constitution, some competencies relevant to the overall investment climate are either shared by the federal government and the regions or are devolved entirely to local governments. Investment in the IKR operates within the framework of the Kurdistan Region Investment Law (Law 4 of 2006) and the Kurdistan Board of Investment, which is designed to provide incentives to help economic development in areas under the authority of the KRG.

Inflation has remained under control since 2006. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard-pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into an improved standard of living for the Iraqi populace. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country despite a bloated public sector. Encouraging private enterprise through deregulation would make it easier for Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Rooting out corruption and implementing reforms - such as restructuring banks and developing the private sector - would be important steps in this direction.
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
$596.7 billion (2016 est.)
$541 billion (2015 est.)
$554.1 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate4.5% (2016 est.)
0.4% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2014 est.)
10.3% (2016 est.)
-2.4% (2015 est.)
-0.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$18,100 (2016 est.)
$17,600 (2015 est.)
$17,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$16,500 (2016 est.)
$15,400 (2015 est.)
$16,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 9.1%
industry: 39.9%
services: 51% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 5.7%
industry: 45.1%
services: 49.3% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line18.7% (2007 est.)
23% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)
lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 25.7% (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)8% (2016 est.)
13.7% (2015 est.)
note: official Iranian estimate
2.4% (2016 est.)
1.4% (2015 est.)
Labor force29.75 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2016 est.)
8.9 million (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 16.3%
industry: 35.1%
services: 48.6% (2013 est.)
agriculture: 21.6%
industry: 18.7%
services: 59.8% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate10.7% (2016 est.)
10.5% (2015 est.)
note: data are according to the Iranian Government
16% (2012 est.)
15% (2010 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $65.87 billion
expenditures: $72.29 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $52.43 billion
expenditures: $77.87 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, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
Industrial production growth rate4.5% (2016 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, sugarcane, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviar
wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
Exports$87.52 billion (2016 est.)
$64.6 billion (2015 est.)
$44.67 billion (2016 est.)
$54.67 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, ore
crude oil 99%, crude materials excluding fuels, food, live animals
Exports - partnersChina 22.4%, India 8.7%, Turkey 8.5%, Japan 4.5% (2015)
China 22.8%, India 20.4%, South Korea 11.3%, US 7.8%, Italy 6.7%, Greece 6.1% (2015)
Imports$62.12 billion (2016 est.)
$52.42 billion (2015 est.)
$43.27 billion (2016 est.)
$43.84 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesindustrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services
food, medicine, manufactures
Imports - partnersUAE 39.5%, China 22.3%, South Korea 4.7%, Turkey 4.6% (2015)
Turkey 20.3%, Syria 19.2%, China 18.8%, US 4.7%, Russia 4.3% (2015)
Debt - external$7.116 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.348 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$68.01 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$60.28 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.)
Iraqi dinars (IQD) per US dollar -
1,179.3 (2016 est.)
1,167.63 (2015 est.)
1,167.63 (2014 est.)
1,213.72 (2013 est.)
1,166.17 (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
79% of GDP (2016 est.)
63.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$135.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$110 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$44.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$54.06 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$23.57 billion (2016 est.)
$9.019 billion (2015 est.)
-$12.2 billion (2016 est.)
-$11.63 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$412.3 billion (2016 est.)
$173 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$46.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$43.05 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$26.63 billion (2015 est.)
$23.16 billion (2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$4.656 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.097 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.109 billion (2015 est.)
$1.956 billion (2014 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.)
$4 billion (9 December 2011)
$2.6 billion (31 July 2010)
$2 billion (31 July 2009 est.)
Central bank discount rateNA%
6% (2016)
6% (2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate13% (31 December 2016 est.)
14.2% (31 December 2015 est.)
4.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
6% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$54.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$47.04 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.191 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.773 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$40.23 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$38.44 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$54.53 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$55.36 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$363.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$307.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$74.61 billion (30 August 2016 est.)
$80.83 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues16% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
-14.7% of GDP (2016 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: 50.4%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 23.5%
investment in inventories: -4.5%
exports of goods and services: 39.7%
imports of goods and services: -27.9% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving33% of GDP (2016 est.)
31.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
34.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
10.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
18.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
28.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

IranIraq
Electricity - production258 billion kWh (2014 est.)
84 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption218 billion kWh (2014 est.)
66 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports9.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports3.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
12 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production3.3 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
4.59 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports87,440 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports1.042 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
3.301 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves157.8 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
143 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves34.02 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
3.158 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production174.5 billion cu m (2014 est.)
905 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption170.2 billion cu m (2014 est.)
905 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports9.86 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports6.886 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity77 million kW (2014 est.)
28 million kW (2017 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels85.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
87.3% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants12.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
6.2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels1.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1.93 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
599,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption1.952 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
807,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports240,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)
10,240 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports12,630 bbl/day (2013 est.)
256,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy650.4 million Mt (2014 est.)
137 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)
population without electricity: 600,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99.6%
electrification - rural areas: 95.4% (2013)

Telecommunications

IranIraq
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 30,418,973
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 1.997 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 74.219 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2015 est.)
total: 33.559 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (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: the 2003 liberation of Iraq severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq; widespread government efforts to rebuild domestic and international communications have slowed due to the ongoing conflict with ISIS/ISIL
domestic: the mobile cellular market continues to expand (cell phones were banned prior to 2003 under the SADDAM regime); 3G services offered by three major mobile operators in 2015; ongoing conflict has destroyed infrastructure in areas
international: country code - 964; satellite earth stations - 4 (2 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region, and 1 Arabsat (inoperative)); local microwave radio relay connects border regions to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey; international terrestrial fiber-optic connections have been established with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan, and Iran; links to the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the Gulf Bridge International (GBI) submarine fiber-optic cables have been established (2017)
Internet country code.ir
.iq
Internet userstotal: 36.07 million
percent of population: 44.1% (July 2015 est.)
total: 6.381 million
percent of population: 17.2% (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)
the number of private radio and TV stations has increased rapidly since 2003; government-owned TV and radio stations are operated by the publicly funded Iraqi Media Network; private broadcast media are mostly linked to political, ethnic, or religious groups; satellite TV is available to an estimated 70% of viewers and many of the broadcasters are based abroad; transmissions of multiple international radio broadcasters are accessible (2015)

Transportation

IranIraq
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: 2,272 km
standard gauge: 2,272 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 198,866 km
paved: 160,366 km (includes 1,948 km of expressways)
unpaved: 38,500 km (2010)
total: 59,623 km
paved: 59,623 km (includes Kurdistan Region) (2012)
Waterways850 km (on Karun River; some navigation on Lake Urmia) (2012)
5,279 km (the Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are the principal waterways) (2012)
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)
gas 2,455 km; liquid petroleum gas 913 km; oil 5,432 km; refined products 1,637 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Bandar-e Asaluyeh, Bandar Abbas, Bandar Emam
container port(s) (TEUs): Bandar Abbas (2,752,460)
river port(s): Al Basrah (Shatt al-'Arab); Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr (Khawr az Zubayr waterway)
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: 2
by type: petroleum tanker 2
registered in other countries: 2 (Marshall Islands 2) (2010)
Airports319 (2013)
102 (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: 72
over 3,047 m: 20
2,438 to 3,047 m: 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (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: 30
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
Heliports26 (2013)
16 (2013)

Military

IranIraq
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)
Ministry of Defense: Iraqi Army (includes Army Aviation Directorate), Iraqi Navy, Iraqi Air Force; Counterterrorism Service (2015)
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)
18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2013)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP2.33% of GDP (2014)
2.34% of GDP (2013)
2.81% of GDP (2012)
2.41% of GDP (2011)
7.28% of GDP (2015)
4.16% of GDP (2014)
3.37% of GDP (2013)
2.78% of GDP (2012)
3.18% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

IranIraq
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
Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Turkey has expressed concern over the autonomous status of Kurds in Iraq
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)
refugees (country of origin): 15,692 (Turkey); 7,703 (West Bank and Gaza Strip); 7,545 (Iran) (2016); 242,558 (Syria) (2017)
IDPs: 3,974,162 (since 2006 due to ethno-sectarian violence; includes 3,020,034 displaced in central and northern Iraq since January 2014) (2017)
stateless persons: 48,200 (2016); note - in the 1970s and 1980s under SADDAM Husayn's regime, thousands of Iraq's Faili Kurds, followers of Shia Islam, were stripped of their Iraqi citizenship, had their property seized by the government, and many were deported; some Faili Kurds had their citizenship reinstated under the 2006 Iraqi Nationality Law, but others lack the documentation to prove their Iraqi origins; some Palestinian refugees persecuted by the SADDAM regime remain stateless
note: estimate revised to reflect the reduction of statelessness in line with Law 26 of 2006, which allows stateless persons to apply for nationality in certain circumstances; more accurate studies of statelessness in Iraq are pending (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook