Iran vs. Iraq


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 - 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. These protests were quickly suppressed, and the political opposition that arouse as a consequence of AHMADI-NEJAD's election was repressed. 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 long-time 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, but in November 2013 the five permanent members, plus Germany, (P5+1) signed a joint plan with Iran to provide the country with incremental relief from international pressure for positive steps toward transparency of their nuclear program.Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain 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. 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. In January 2009 and April 2013, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three governorates 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. Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011.


LocationMiddle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and PakistanMiddle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates32 00 N, 53 00 E33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map referencesMiddle EastMiddle 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 two and a half times the size of Teas; slightly smaller than Alaskaslightly more than three times the size of New York state
Land boundariestotal: 5,894 km
border countries: 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: 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 coastmostly 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 coastsmostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremeslowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,671 m
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, sulfurpetroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land usearable land: 10.05%
permanent crops: 1.08%
other: 88.86% (2011)
arable land: 9.19%
permanent crops: 0.48%
other: 90.33% (2011)
Irrigated land87,000 sq km (2009)35,250 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsperiodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakesdust 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; urbanizationgovernment water control projects have 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 transportstrategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
Total renewable water resources137 cu km (2011)89.86 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 93.3 cu km/yr (7%/1%/92%)
per capita: 1,306 cu m/yr (2004)
total: 66 cu km/yr (7%/15%/79%)
per capita: 2,616 cu m/yr (2000)


Population80,840,713 (July 2014 est.)32,585,692 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 23.7% (male 9,834,866/female 9,350,017)
15-24 years: 18.7% (male 7,757,256/female 7,341,309)
25-54 years: 46.1% (male 18,955,874/female 18,289,849)
55-64 years: 6.3% (male 2,519,630/female 2,603,458)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 1,941,692/female 2,246,762) (2014 est.)
0-14 years: 36.7% (male 6,093,069/female 5,878,590)
15-24 years: 19.6% (male 3,237,212/female 3,142,202)
25-54 years: 36.3% (male 6,032,379/female 5,785,967)
55-64 years: 4.2% (male 652,973/female 713,662)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 487,841/female 561,797) (2014 est.)
Median agetotal: 28.3 years
male: 28 years
female: 28.6 years (2014 est.)
total: 21.5 years
male: 21.4 years
female: 21.6 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate1.22% (2014 est.)2.23% (2014 est.)
Birth rate18.23 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)26.85 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate5.94 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)4.57 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate-0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 39 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 39.53 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
total: 37.53 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 41.57 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 33.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 70.89 years
male: 69.32 years
female: 72.53 years (2014 est.)
total population: 71.42 years
male: 69.93 years
female: 72.99 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate1.85 children born/woman (2014 est.)3.41 children born/woman (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.2% (2012 est.)less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Iranian(s)
adjective: Iranian
noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi
Ethnic groupsPersian 61%, Azeri 16%, Kurd 10%, Lur 6%, Baloch 2%, Arab 2%, Turkmen and Turkic tribes 2%, other 1%Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS70,900 (2012 est.)fewer than 500 (2003 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 (official) 99% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian 0.8%, Hindu <.1, Buddhist <.1, Jewish <.1, folk religion <.1, unafilliated .1, other <.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 HUSSEIN regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths4,600 (2012 est.)NA
LanguagesPersian (official) 53%, Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects 18%, Kurdish 10%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 7%, Luri 6%, Balochi 2%, Arabic 2%, other 2%Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect) and Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic) are official in areas where they constitute a majority of the population), Armenian
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85%
male: 89.3%
female: 80.7% (2008 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.5%
male: 86%
female: 71.2% (2011 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2012)
total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 9 years (2004)
Education expenditures3.7% of GDP (2012)NA
Urbanizationurban population: 69.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.25% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 66.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 3.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 97.7% of population
rural: 91.7% of population
total: 95.9% of population
urban: 2.3% of population
rural: 8.3% of population
total: 4.1% of population (2012 est.)
urban: 93.9% of population
rural: 68.5% of population
total: 85.4% of population
urban: 6.1% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 14.6% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 92.8% of population
rural: 81.6% of population
total: 89.4% of population
urban: 7.2% of population
rural: 18.4% of population
total: 10.6% of population (2012 est.)
urban: 86.2% of population
rural: 81.8% of population
total: 84.7% of population
urban: 13.8% of population
rural: 18.2% of population
total: 15.3% of population (2012 est.)
Major cities - populationTEHRAN (capital) 7.304 million; Mashhad 2.713 million; Esfahan 1.781 million; Karaj 1.635 million; Tabriz 1.509 million; Shiraz 1.321 million (2011)BAGHDAD (capital) 6.036 million; Mosul 1.494 million; Erbil 1.039 million; Basra 942,000; As Sulaymaniyah 867,000; Najaf 779,000 (2011)
Maternal mortality rate21 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)63 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight4.6% (2004)7.1% (2006)
Health expenditures6% of GDP (2011)8.3% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density0.89 physicians/1,000 population (2005)0.61 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density1.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate19.4% (2008)27% (2008)
Contraceptive prevalence rate73.3% (2002)51.2% (2011)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 41.5 %
youth dependency ratio: 33.9 %
elderly dependency ratio: 7.6 %
potential support ratio: 13.1 (2014 est.)
total dependency ratio: 74.9 %
youth dependency ratio: 69.3 %
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5 %
potential support ratio: 18.1 (2014 est.)


Country nameconventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran
conventional short form: Iran
local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
local short form: Iran
former: Persia
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
Government typetheocratic republicparliamentary democracy
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, Zanjan18 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: 16 January 1979 (Shah Reza PAHLAVI flees Iran to escape popular political revolt against his rule); 12 December 1925 (modern Iran established under the PAHLAVI Dynasty); 1905-1907 (constitutional revolution resulting in establishment of a parliament); A.D. 1501 (Iran reunified under the Safavid 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)Republic Day, July 14 (1958); note - the Government of Iraq has yet to declare an official national holiday but still observes Republic Day
Constitutionprevious 1906; latest adopted 24 October 1979, effective 3 December 1979; amended 1989 (2013)several previous; latest adopted by referendum 15 October 2005 (2013)
Legal systemreligious legal system based on secular and Islamic lawmixed legal system of civil and Islamic law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal18 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 the more sensitive ministries
note: also considered part of the Executive branch of government are three oversight bodies: 1) Council of Guardians of the Constitution or Council of Guardians or Guardians Council (Shora-ye Negban-e Qanon-e Asasi) determines whether proposed legislation is both constitutional and faithful to Islamic law, vets candidates in popular elections for suitability, and supervises national elections; 2) Assembly of Experts (Majles-e Khoebregan), an elected consultative body of senior clerics constitutionally mandated to select, appoint, supervise, and dismiss the Supreme Leader; 3) Expediency Council or the Council for the Discernment of Expediency (Majma-ye- Tashkhis-e -Maslahat-e- Nezam) resolves legislative issues when the Majles and the Council of Guardians disagree and since 1989 has been used to advise national religious leaders on matters of national policy; in 2005 the Council's powers were expanded to act as a supervisory body for the government
elections: supreme leader appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term and additional nonconsecutive term); election last held on 14 June 2013 (next presidential election to be held in June 2017)
election results: Hasan Fereidun RUHANI elected president; percent of vote - Hasan Fereidun RUHANI 50.7%, Mohammad Baqer QALIBAF 16.5%, Saeed JALILI 11.4%, Mohsen REZAI 10.6%, Ali Akber VELAYATI 6.2%, other 4.6%
chief of state: President Jalal TALABANI (since 6 April 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI (since 20 May 2006)
cabinet: The Council of Ministers consists of the prime minister and cabinet ministers the prime minister proposes; approved by an absolute majority vote by the Council of Representatives
elections: president elected by Council of Representatives (parliament) to serve a four-year term (eligible for a second term); presidential election in parliament last held on 11 November 2010 (next to be held on 30 April 2014)
election results: President Jalal TALABANI reelected on 11 November 2010; Council of Representatives vote count on second ballot - 195 votes; Nuri al-MALIKI reelected prime minister
Legislative branchunicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e Shura-ye Eslami or Majles (290 seats; members elected by popular vote from single and multimember districts to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 March 2012 (first round); second round held on 4 May 2012; (next election to be held in 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
unicameral Council of Representatives (325 seats consisting of 317 members elected by an optional open-list and representing a specific governorate, proportional representation system 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
elections: last held on 7 March 2010 (next to be held on 30 April 2014 for an enlarged 328-seat parliament)
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by coalition - Iraqi National Movement 25.9%, State of Law coalition 25.8%, Iraqi National Alliance 19.4%, Kurdistan Alliance 15.3%, Goran (Change) List 4.4%, Tawafuq Front 2.7%, Iraqi Unity Alliance 2.9%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 2.3%, Kurdistan Islamic Group 1.4%; seats by coalition - NA
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a president and NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the head of the Supreme Judicial Council in consultation with judges of the Supreme Court; president appointed for a 5-year term; other judge appointments and 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); 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 appointed by the Higher Juridical Council, a 26-member independent committee of judicial officials; FSC members appointed for life ; Court of Cassation judges appointed for 1-year probationary period and upon satisfactory performance may be confirmed for permanent tenure until retirement at age 63
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (governorate level); courts of first instance; personal status, labor, criminal, juvenile, and religious courts
Political parties and leadersnote: formal political parties are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and most conservatives still prefer to work through political pressure groups rather than parties; often political parties or coalitions are formed prior to elections and disbanded soon thereafter; a loose pro-reform coalition called the 2nd Khordad Front, which includes political parties as well as less formal groups and organizations, achieved considerable success in elections for the sixth Majles in early 2000; groups in the coalition included the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran), Solidarity Party, Islamic Labor Party, Mardom Salari, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), and Militant Clerics Society (MCS; Ruhaniyun); the coalition participated in the seventh Majles elections in early 2004 but boycotted them after 80 incumbent reformists were disqualified; following his defeat in the 2005 presidential elections, former MCS Secretary General and sixth Majles Speaker Mehdi KARUBI formed the National Trust Party; a new conservative group, Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Abadgaran), took a leading position in the new Majles after winning a majority of the seats in February 2004; ahead of the 2008 Majles elections, traditional and hardline conservatives attempted to close ranks under the United Front of Principlists and the Broad Popular Coalition of Principlists; several reformist groups, such as the MIRO and the IIPF, also came together as a reformist coalition in advance of the 2008 Majles elections; the IIPF has repeatedly complained that the overwhelming majority of its candidates were unfairly disqualified from the 2008 electionsBadr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]
Da'wa Party (Islamic) [Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI]
Da'wa Tanzim [Hashim al-MUSAWI branch]
Da-wa Tanzim [Abd al-Karim al-ANZI branch]
Fadilah Party [Hasan al-SHAMMARI and Ammar TUAMA]
Goran (Change) List (also known as the Movement for Change) [Nushirwan MUSTAFA]
Iraqi Covenant Gathering [Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-SAMARRAI]
Iraqi Constitutional Party [Jawad al-BULANI]
Iraqi Front for National Dialogue [Deputy Prime Minister Salih al-MUTLAQ]
Iraqi Islamic Party or IIP [Usama al-TIKRITI]
Iraqi Justice and Reform Movement [Shaykh Abdallah al-YAWR]
Iraqi National Accord or INA [Ayad ALLAWI]
Iraqi National Alliance [Ibrahim al-JAFARI]
Iraqi National Congress or INC [Ahmad CHALABI]
Iraqi National Movement (see Iraqi National Accord)
Iraqi Unity Alliance [Nauaf Saud ZAID]
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI [Ammar al-HAKIM]
Kurdistan Alliance
Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Kurdistan Regional Government President Masud BARZANI]
Kurdistan Islamic Group (also called Islamic Group of Kurdistan) [Ali BAPIR]
Kurdistan Islamic Union [ Mohammed FARAI]
Future National Gathering [Finance Minister Rafi al-ISSAWI]
National Iraqiyun Gathering [Usama al-NUJAYFI]
National Movement for Reform and Development [Jamal al-KARBULI]
National Reform Trend (part of the National Iraqi Alliance) [former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI]
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [President Jalal TALABANI]
Sadrist Trend [Muqtada al-SADR]
Sahawa al-Iraq [Ahmad al-RISHAWI]
State of Law Coalition [Nouri al-MALIKI]
United Coalition [Usama al-NUJAYFI]
note: numerous smaller local, tribal, and minority parties
Political pressure groups and leadersgroups that generally support the Islamic Republic:
Ansar-e Hizballah
Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader
Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh)
Islamic Engineers Society
Tehran Militant Clergy Association (MCA; Ruhaniyat)

active pro-reform student group:
Office of Strengthening Unity (OSU)

opposition groups:
Freedom Movement of Iran
Green Path movement [Mehdi KARUBI, Mir-Hosein MUSAVI]
Marz-e Por Gohar
National Front
various ethnic and monarchist organizations

armed political groups repressed by the government:
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI)
Harekat-e Ansar-e Iran (splinter faction of Jundallah)
Jaysh l-Adl (formerly known as Jundallah)
Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO)
People's Fedayeen
People's Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK)
Sunni militias
Shia militias, some associated with political parties
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) 965-1073chief of mission: Ambassador Luqman Abd al-Rahim FAYLI (since 31 May 2013)
chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 742-1600
FAX: [1] (202) 333-1129
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
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 0432chief of mission: Ambassador Robert Stephen BEECROFT (since 9 October 2012)
embassy: Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad
mailing address: APO AE 09316
telephone: 0760-030-3000
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 martyrdomthree 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'athist 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 gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band
National anthemname: "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 ousting of Saddam HUSSEIN, Iraq adopted "Mawtini," a popular folk song throughout the Arab world, which 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 ICCthas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


Economy - overviewIran's economy is marked by statist policies, an inefficient state sector, and reliance on oil, a major source of government revenues. Price controls, subsidies, and other distortions weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth. Private sector activity is typically limited to small-scale workshops, farming, some manufacturing, and services. Significant informal market activity flourishes and corruption is widespread. New fiscal and monetary constraints on Tehran, following the expansion of international sanctions in 2012 against Iran's Central Bank and oil exports, significantly reduced Iran's oil revenue, forced government spending cuts, and fueled a 60% currency depreciation. Economic growth turned negative in 2012 and 2013, for the first time in two decades. Iran continues to suffer from double-digit unemployment and underemployment. Lack of job opportunities has convinced many educated Iranian youth to seek jobs overseas, resulting in a significant "brain drain." However, the election of President Hasan RUHANI in June 2013 brought about widespread expectations of economic improvements and greater international engagement among the Iranian public, and early in Ruhani's term the country saw a strengthened national currency and a historic boost to market values at the Tehran Stock Exchange.An improving security environment and foreign investment are helping to spur economic activity, particularly in the energy, construction, and retail sectors. Broader economic development, long-term fiscal health, and sustained improvements in the overall standard of living still depend on the central government passing major policy reforms. 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. Iraq in 2012 boosted oil exports to a 30-year high of 2.6 million barrels per day, a significant increase from Iraq's average of 2.2 million in 2011. Government revenues increased as global oil prices remained persistently high for much of 2012. 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. The Iraqi Kurdistan Region's (IKR) autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) passed its own oil law in 2007, and has directly signed about 50 contracts to develop IKR energy reserves. The federal government has disputed the legal authority of the KRG to conclude most of these contracts, some of which are also in areas with unresolved administrative boundaries in dispute between the federal and regional government. 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, which may have been harmed by the November 2012 standoff between Baghdad and Erbil and the removal of the Central Bank Governor in October 2012. 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. Iraq is considering a package of laws to establish a modern legal framework for the oil sector and a mechanism to equitably divide oil revenues within the nation, although these reforms are still under contentious and sporadic negotiation. 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 the regions. 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 as security improved. 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)$987.1 billion (2013 est.)
$1.002 trillion (2012 est.)
$1.021 trillion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
$249.4 billion (2013 est.)
$239.3 billion (2012 est.)
$220.7 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate-1.5% (2013 est.)
-1.9% (2012 est.)
3% (2011 est.)
4.2% (2013 est.)
8.4% (2012 est.)
8.6% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$12,800 (2013 est.)
$13,200 (2012 est.)
$13,600 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
$7,100 (2013 est.)
$7,100 (2012 est.)
$6,800 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 10.6%
industry: 44.9%
services: 44.5% (2013 est.)
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 64.6%
services: 32.1% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line18.7% (2007 est.)25% (2008 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)42.3% (2013 est.)
30.5% (2012 est.)
note: official Iranian estimate
2% (2013 est.)
6.1% (2012 est.)
Labor force27.72 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2013 est.)
8.9 million (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 16.9%
industry: 34.4%
services: 48.7% (2012 est.)
agriculture: 21.6%
industry: 18.7%
services: 59.8% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate16% (2013 est.)
15.5% (2012 est.)
note: data are according to the Iranian Government
16% (2012 est.)
15% (2010 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $47.84 billion
expenditures: $66.38 billion (2013 est.)
revenues: $99.52 billion
expenditures: $97.42 billion (2013 est.)
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, fertilizers, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and non-ferrous metal fabrication, armamentspetroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
Industrial production growth rate-5.2% (2013 est.)6.9% (2013 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, sugarcane, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviarwheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
Exports$61.22 billion (2013 est.)
$67.04 billion (2012 est.)
$91.99 billion (2013 est.)
$94.21 billion (2012 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpetscrude oil 84%, crude materials excluding fuels, food and live animals
Exports - partnersChina 22.1%, India 11.9%, Turkey 10.6%, South Korea 7.6%, Japan 7.1% (2012)US 21.1%, India 20.2%, China 13.6%, South Korea 11%, Canada 4.7%, Italy 4.4%, Spain 4.2% (2012)
Imports$64.42 billion (2013 est.)
$70.03 billion (2012 est.)
$66.61 billion (2013 est.)
$50.16 billion (2012 est.)
Imports - commoditiesindustrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical servicesfood, medicine, manufactures
Imports - partnersUAE 33.2%, China 13.8%, Turkey 11.8%, South Korea 7.4% (2012)Turkey 27.5%, Syria 16.2%, China 12.5%, US 5.2%, South Korea 4.7% (2012)
Debt - external$15.64 billion (2013 est.)
$17.25 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$59.49 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$60.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Exchange ratesIranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -
18,517.2 (2013 est.)
12,175.5 (2012 est.)
10,254.18 (2010 est.)
9,864.3 (2009)
9,142.8 (2008)
note: Iran devalued its currency in July 2013
Iraqi dinars (IQD) per US dollar -
1,166 (2013 est.)
1,166.17 (2012 est.)
1,170 (2010 est.)
1,170 (2009)
1,176 (2008)
Fiscal year21 March - 20 Marchcalendar year
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$68.06 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$74.06 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$71.24 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$70.33 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Current Account Balance-$8.659 billion (2013 est.)
-$9.333 billion (2012 est.)
$12.85 billion (2013 est.)
$29.54 billion (2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$411.9 billion (2013 est.)$221.8 billion (2013 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2013 est.)
$140.8 billion (31 December 2012)
$107.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$4 billion (9 December 2011)
$2.6 billion (31 July 2010)
$2 billion (31 July 2009 est.)
Central bank discount rateNA%6% (December 2012)
6% (December 2011)
Commercial bank prime lending rate12% (2013 est.)
11% (31 December 2012 est.)
6% (31 December 2013 est.)
6% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$42.32 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$77.74 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$-3.902 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$-3.981 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money$26.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$42.91 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$62.33 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$54.68 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money$65.02 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$104.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$74.81 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$64.74 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues11.6% of GDP (2013 est.)44.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-4.5% of GDP (2013 est.)0.9% of GDP (2013 est.)


Electricity - production239.7 billion kWh (2011 est.)62.3 billion kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - consumption199.8 billion kWh (2011 est.)53.41 billion kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - exports6.707 billion kWh (2010 est.)0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports3.015 billion kWh (2010 est.)9.802 billion kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production3.594 million bbl/day (2012 est.)2.979 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - imports15,600 bbl/day (2010 est.)0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports2.445 million bbl/day (2011 est.)2.39 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves154.6 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)141.4 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves33.61 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)3.158 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Natural gas - production162.6 billion cu m (2012 est.)880 million cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - consumption144.6 billion cu m (2010 est.)1.3 billion cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports9.05 billion cu m (2011 est.)0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - imports10.59 billion cu m (2011 est.)0 cu m (2011 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity62.09 million kW (2010 est.)11.2 million kW (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1.718 million bbl/day (2011 est.)492,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption1.709 million bbl/day (2012 est.)818,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports330,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)3,832 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports180,400 bbl/day (2010 est.)172,600 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy624.9 million Mt (2011 est.)139.4 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use28.76 million (2012)1.87 million (2012)
Telephones - mobile cellular58.16 million (2012)26.76 million (2012)
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: the addition of new fiber cables and modern switching and exchange systems installed by Iran's state-owned telecom company have improved and expanded the fixed-line network greatly; fixed-line availability has more than doubled to more than 27 million lines since 2000; additionally, mobile-cellular service has increased dramatically serving roughly 56 million subscribers in 2011; combined fixed and mobile-cellular subscribership now exceeds 100 per 100 persons
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) (2011)
general assessment: the 2003 liberation of Iraq severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq including international connections; widespread government efforts to rebuild domestic and international communications through fiber optic links are in progress; the mobile cellular market has expanded rapidly to some 27 million subscribers by the end of 2012
domestic: repairs to switches and lines destroyed during 2003 continue; additional switching capacity is improving access; 3 GSM operators since 2007 have expanded beyond their regional roots and offer near country-wide access to second-generation services; third-generation mobile services are not available nationwide; wireless local loop is available in some metropolitan areas and additional licenses have been issued with the hope of overcoming the lack of fixed-line infrastructure
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 (2011)
Internet country code.ir.iq
Internet users8.214 million (2009)325,900 (2009)
Internet hosts197,804 (2012)26 (2012)
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 Public Broadcasting Service; 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 (2007)


Railwaystotal: 8,442 km
broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge
standard gauge: 8,348 km 1.435-m gauge (148 km electrified) (2008)
total: 2,370 km
standard gauge: 2,370 km 1.435-m gauge (2012)
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
river port(s): Bandar Emam Khomeyni (Shatt al-Arab)
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 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, Quds Force (special operations); Law Enforcement Forces (2011)Counterterrorism Service Forces: Counterterrorism Command; Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF); Ministry of Defense Forces: Iraqi Army (includes Army Aviation Directorate, former National Guard Iraqi Intervention Forces, and Strategic Infrastructure Battalions), Iraqi Navy (former Iraqi Coastal Defense Force, includes Iraq Marine Force), Iraqi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Iraqiya) (2011)
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)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 23,619,215
females age 16-49: 22,628,341 (2010 est.)
males age 16-49: 7,767,329
females age 16-49: 7,461,766 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 20,149,222
females age 16-49: 19,417,275 (2010 est.)
males age 16-49: 6,591,185
females age 16-49: 6,421,717 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 715,111
female: 677,372 (2010 est.)
male: 332,194
female: 322,010 (2010 est.)

Transnational Issues

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 resurveyIraq'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): 43,268 (Iraq) (2013); 2.4 million (1 million registered, 1.4 million undocumented) (Afghanistan) (2014)refugees (country of origin): 15,496 (Turkey); 9,992 (West Bank and Gaza Strip); 7,992 (Iran) (2013); 225,475 (Syria) (2014)
IDPs: 1.545 million (since 2006 from ethno-sectarian violence) (2014)
stateless persons: 120,000 (2012); note - in the 1970s and 1980s under SADDAM Husayn's administration, 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, who were also persecuted under the SADDAM Husayn regime, still remain stateless in Iraq

Source: CIA Factbook