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Iran vs. Afghanistan

Introduction

IranAfghanistan
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.
Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 communist countercoup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-communist mujahidin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Usama BIN LADIN.
A UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan, and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was reelected in August 2009 for a second term. The 2014 presidential election was the country's first to include a runoff, which featured the top two vote-getters from the first round, Abdullah ABDULLAH and Ashraf GHANI. Throughout the summer of 2014, their campaigns disputed the results and traded accusations of fraud, leading to a US-led diplomatic intervention that included a full vote audit as well as political negotiations between the two camps. In September 2014, GHANI and ABDULLAH agreed to form the Government of National Unity, with GHANI inaugurated as president and ABDULLAH elevated to the newly-created position of chief executive officer. The day after the inauguration, the GHANI administration signed the US-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement, which provide the legal basis for the post-2014 international military presence in Afghanistan.
Despite gains toward building a stable central government, the Taliban remains a serious challenge for the Afghan Government in almost every province. The Taliban still considers itself the rightful government of Afghanistan, and it remains a capable and confident insurgent force despite its last two spiritual leaders being killed; it continues to declare that it will pursue a peace deal with Kabul only after foreign military forces depart.

Geography

IranAfghanistan
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan
Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran
Geographic coordinates32 00 N, 53 00 E
33 00 N, 65 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Asia
Areatotal: 1,648,195 sq km
land: 1,531,595 sq km
water: 116,600 sq km
total: 652,230 sq km
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativealmost 2.5 times the size of Texas; slightly smaller than Alaska
almost six times the size of Virginia; slightly smaller than Texas
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: 5,987 km
border countries (6): China 91 km, Iran 921 km, Pakistan 2,670 km, Tajikistan 1,357 km, Turkmenistan 804 km, Uzbekistan 144 km
Coastline2,440 km; note - Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements or median lines in the Persian Gulf
continental shelf: natural prolongation
none (landlocked)
Climatemostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast
arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
Terrainrugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,305 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,625 m
mean elevation: 1,884 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Noshak 7,492 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones, arable land
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: 58.07%
arable land 20.5%; permanent crops 0.37%; permanent pasture 79%
forest: 2.07%
other: 39.86% (2014 est.)
Irrigated land95,530 sq km (2012)
32,080 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsperiodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes
damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
Environment - current issuesair pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; urbanization
limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
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, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - notestrategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport
landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)
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 lower population density
populations tend to cluster in the foothills and periphery of the rugged Hindu Kush range; smaller groups are found in many of the country's interior valleys; in general, the east is more densely settled while the south is sparsely populated

Demographics

IranAfghanistan
Population82,021,564 (July 2017 est.)
34,124,811 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 24.19% (male 10,154,424/female 9,690,512)
15-24 years: 14.69% (male 6,174,435/female 5,878,475)
25-54 years: 48.57% (male 20,316,773/female 19,522,673)
55-64 years: 7.22% (male 2,920,111/female 2,999,525)
65 years and over: 5.32% (male 2,026,594/female 2,338,042) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 40.92% (male 7,093,980/female 6,869,737)
15-24 years: 22.22% (male 3,859,696/female 3,723,679)
25-54 years: 30.35% (male 5,273,969/female 5,082,972)
55-64 years: 3.92% (male 659,635/female 678,942)
65 years and over: 2.59% (male 407,437/female 474,764) (2017 est.)
Median agetotal: 30.3 years
male: 30 years
female: 30.5 years (2017 est.)
total: 18.8 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 18.9 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate1.24% (2017 est.)
2.36% (2017 est.)
Birth rate17.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
37.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
13.4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
-0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 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: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 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.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 15.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
total: 110.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 118 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 102.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 74 years
male: 72.7 years
female: 75.5 years (2017 est.)
total population: 51.7 years
male: 50.3 years
female: 53.2 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate1.97 children born/woman (2017 est.)
5.12 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.1% (2016 est.)
<.1% (2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Iranian(s)
adjective: Iranian
noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
Ethnic groupsPersian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes
Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, other (includes smaller numbers of Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, Pashai, and Kyrghyz)
note: current statistical data on the sensitive subject of ethnicity in Afghanistan are not available, and ethnicity data from small samples of respondents to opinion polls are not a reliable alternative; Afghanistan's 2004 constitution recognizes 14 ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, and Pashai (2015)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS66,000 (2016 est.)
7,500 (2016 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 99.7% (Sunni 84.7 - 89.7%, Shia 10 - 15%), other 0.3% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths4,000 (2016 est.)
<500 (2016 est.)
LanguagesPersian (official), Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other
Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 80% (Dari functions as the lingua franca), Pashto (official) 47%, Uzbek 11%, English 5%, Turkmen 2%, Urdu 2%, Pashayi 1%, Nuristani 1%, Arabic 1%, Balochi, Shughni, Pamiri, Hindi, Russian, German, French <.5% each, don't know/refused <1%
note 1: data represent most widely spoken languages; shares sum to more than 100% because there is much bilingualism in the country and because respondents were allowed to select more than one language
note 2: the Turkic languages Uzbek and Turkmen, as well as Balochi, Pashayi, Nuristani, and Pamiri are the third official languages in areas where the majority speaks them (2017 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.8%
male: 91.2%
female: 82.5% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38.2%
male: 52%
female: 24.2% (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
vectorborne disease: malaria (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2015)
total: 11 years
male: 13 years
female: 8 years (2014)
Education expenditures2.9% of GDP (2015)
3.4% of GDP (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 74.4% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 27.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 3.77% annual rate of change (2015-20 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: 78.2% of population
rural: 47% of population
total: 55.3% of population
unimproved:
urban: 21.8% of population
rural: 53% of population
total: 44.7% 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: 45.1% of population
rural: 27% of population
total: 31.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 54.9% of population
rural: 73% of population
total: 68.1% 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)
KABUL (capital) 4.635 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
396 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight4.1% (2011)
25% (2013)
Health expenditures6.9% of GDP (2014)
8.2% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.49 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
0.3 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density0.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
0.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate25.8% (2016)
5.5% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate77.4% (2010/11)
22.5% (2015/16)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 40.2
youth dependency ratio: 33.1
elderly dependency ratio: 7.1
potential support ratio: 14.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 88.8
youth dependency ratio: 84.1
elderly dependency ratio: 4.7
potential support ratio: 21.2 (2015 est.)

Government

IranAfghanistan
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: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan
local short form: Afghanistan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
etymology: the name ""Afghan"" originally referred to the Pashtun people (today it is understood to include all the country's ethnic groups), while the suffix ""-stan"" means ""place of"" or ""country""; so Afghanistan literally means the ""Land of the Afghans""
"
Government typetheocratic republic
presidential Islamic 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 Wednesday in March; ends fourth Friday in September
name: Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 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
34 provinces (welayat, singular - welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul
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)
19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
National holidayRepublic Day, 1 April (1979)
Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
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 drafted 14 December 2003 - 4 January 2004, signed 16 January 2004, ratified 26 January 2004
amendments: proposed by a commission formed by presidential decree followed by the convention of a Grand Council (Loya Jirga) decreed by the president; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Loya Jirga membership and endorsement by the president (2017)
Legal systemreligious legal system based on secular and Islamic law
mixed legal system of civil, customary, 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) 50.7%, Mohammad Bagher GHALIBAF (PJP) 16.6%, Mohsen REZAI (Resistance Front of Islamic Iran) 10.6%, Saeed JALILI (Front of Islamic Revolutionary Stability 11.4% other 10.7%
note: 3 oversight bodies are also considered part of the executive branch of government
chief of state: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai (since 29 September 2014); CEO Abdullah ABDULLAH, Dr. (since 29 September 2014); First Vice President Abdul Rashid DOSTAM (since 29 September 2014); Second Vice President Sarwar DANESH (since 29 September 2014); First Deputy CEO Khyal Mohammad KHAN; Second Deputy CEO Mohammad MOHAQQEQ; note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai (since 29 September 2014); CEO Abdullah ABDULLAH, Dr. (since 29 September 2014); First Vice President Abdul Rashid DOSTAM (since 29 September 2014); Second Vice President Sarwar DANESH (since 29 September 2014); First Deputy CEO Khyal Mohammad KHAN; Second Deputy CEO Mohammad MOHAQQEQ
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 27 ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held in 2 rounds on 5 April and 14 June 2014 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Ashraf GHANI elected president in the second round; percent of vote in first round - Abdullah ABDULLAH (National Coalition of Afghanistan) 45%, Ashraf GHANI (independent) 31.6%, Zalmai RASSOUL 11.4%, other 12%; percent of vote in second round - Ashraf GHANI 56.4%, Abdullah ABDULLAH 43.6%
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 2-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 and 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: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (102 seats; 34 members indirectly elected by district councils to serve 3-year terms, 34 indirectly elected by provincial councils to serve 4-year terms, and 34 nominated by the president of which 17 must be women, 2 must represent the disabled, and 2 must be Kuchi nomads; members serve 5-year terms) and the Wolesi Jirga or House of People (249 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
note: the constitution allows the government to convene a constitutional Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it can amend the provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; it consists of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils; no constitutional Loya Jirga has ever been held, and district councils have never been elected; the president appointed 34 members of the Meshrano Jirga that the district councils should have indirectly elected
elections: Meshrano Jirga - last held 10 January 2015 (next to be held in 2018); Wolesi Jirga - last held on 18 September 2010 (next originally scheduled on 15 October 2016 but postponed to 7 July 2018)
election results: Meshrano Jirga - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Meshrano Jirga - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party - NA
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the president and NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the head of the High Judicial Council (HJC), a 5-member body to include the Supreme Court chief justice, the prosecutor general, and 3 clergy, in consultation with judges of the Supreme Court; president appointed for a 5-year term; other judges appointed by the HJC; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Penal Courts I and II; Islamic Revolutionary Courts; Courts of Peace; Special Clerical Court (functions outside the judicial system and handles cases involving clerics); military courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court or Stera Mahkama (consists of the supreme court chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions or dewans)
judge selection and term of office: court chief and justices appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices serve single 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles
Political parties and leadersFollowers of Walayat [Ali LARIJANI]
Front of Islamic Revolutionary Stability [Morteza AGHA-TEHRANI, general secretary]
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)
Principlists 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 or PJP [Hossein GHORBANZADEH, General Secretary]
Resistance Front of Islamic Iran [Yadollah HABIBI, general secretary]
note - the Ministry of Justice licensed 57 political parties as of September 2016
Political pressure groups and leaderspolitical 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
religious groups, tribal leaders, ethnically based groups, Taliban
International organization participationCICA, CP, D-8, ECO, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, SAARC (observer), SCO (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
ADB, CICA, CP, ECO, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNAMA, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 Hamdullah MOHIB (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6410
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6488
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC
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 (vacant); Special Charge d'Affaires Hugo LLORENS (since December 2016)
embassy: Bibi Mahru, Kabul
mailing address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO, AE 09806
telephone: [00 93] 0700 108 001
FAX: [00 93] 0700 108 564
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 vertical bands of black (hoist side), red, and green, with the national emblem in white centered on the red band and slightly overlapping the other 2 bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence from the UK); this central image is circled by a border consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada (Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning ""God is great""), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan; black signifies the past, red is for the blood shed for independence, and green can represent either hope for the future, agricultural prosperity, or Islam
note: Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag in the 20th century - 19 by one count - than any other country; the colors black, red, and green appeared on most of them
"
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: ""Milli Surood"" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Abdul Bari JAHANI/Babrak WASA
note: adopted 2006; the 2004 constitution of the post-Taliban government mandated that a new national anthem should be written containing the phrase ""Allahu Akbar"" (God is Greatest) and mentioning the names of Afghanistan's ethnic groups
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)lion; national colors: green, white, red
lion; national colors: red, green, 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 have been born in - and continuously lived in - Afghanistan
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

IranAfghanistan
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 the period 2012 to 2015, but strong growth resumed in 2016. 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. 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.
"
Afghanistan is gradually recovering from decades of conflict. Before 2014, the economy had sustained nearly a decade of strong growth, largely because of international assistance. Since 2014, however, the economy has slowed, in large part because of the withdrawal of nearly 100,000 foreign troops that had artificially inflated the country’s economic growth. Despite improvements in life expectancy, incomes, and literacy since 2001, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Corruption, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government's difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan's living standards are among the lowest in the world.

The international community remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $83 billion at ten donors' conferences between 2003 and 2016. In October 2016, the donors at the Brussels conference pledged an additional $3.8 billion in development aid annually from 2017 to 2020. Despite this help, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.

In 2017 Afghanistan's growth rate was only marginally above that of the 2014-2016 average. The drawdown of international security forces that started in 2012 has negatively affected economic growth, as a substantial portion of commerce, especially in the services sector, has catered to the ongoing international troop presence in the country. Afghan President Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai is dedicated to instituting economic reforms to include improving revenue collection and fighting corruption. However, the reforms will take time to implement and Afghanistan will remain dependent on international donor support over the next several years.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.631 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.576 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.401 trillion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$69.51 billion (2017 est.)
$67.81 billion (2016 est.)
$66.25 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate3.5% (2017 est.)
12.5% (2016 est.)
-1.6% (2015 est.)
2.5% (2017 est.)
2.4% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$20,000 (2017 est.)
$19,600 (2016 est.)
$17,600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$1,900 (2017 est.)
$2,000 (2016 est.)
$2,100 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 9.8%
industry: 35.9%
services: 54.3% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 22%
industry: 22%
services: 56%
note: data exclude opium production (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line18.7% (2007 est.)
35.8% (2011 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)
lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 24% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)10.5% (2017 est.)
9% (2016 est.)
note: official Iranian estimate
6% (2017 est.)
4.4% (2016 est.)
Labor force30.5 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2017 est.)
7.983 million (2013 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 16.3%
industry: 35.1%
services: 48.6% (2013 est.)
agriculture: 78.6%
industry: 5.7%
services: 15.7% (FY08/09 est.)
Unemployment rate12.4% (2017 est.)
12.5% (2016 est.)
note: data are Iranian government numbers
35% (2008 est.)
40% (2005 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $77.22 billion
expenditures: $86.26 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: $1.992 billion
expenditures: $6.636 billion (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, gas, fertilizer, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and nonferrous metal fabrication, armaments
small-scale production of bricks, textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
Industrial production growth rate7.1% (2017 est.)
2.4% (2014 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, sugarcane, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviar
opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins, poppies
Exports$91.99 billion (2017 est.)
$83.98 billion (2016 est.)
$619.2 million (2016 est.)
$580 million (2015 est.)
note: not including illicit exports or reexports
Exports - commoditiespetroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, ore
opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
Exports - partnersChina 30.1%, India 16.7%, South Korea 9.7%, Turkey 9.5%, Japan 6.8% (2016)
Pakistan 46.3%, India 37.6% (2016)
Imports$70.53 billion (2017 est.)
$63.14 billion (2016 est.)
$6.16 billion (2016 est.)
$7.034 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesindustrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services
machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Imports - partnersUAE 27.4%, China 13.2%, Turkey 7.8%, South Korea 4.3%, Germany 4% (2016)
Iran 19.3%, Pakistan 18.3%, China 16.7%, Kazakhstan 9.5%, Uzbekistan 6.1%, Turkmenistan 5.4%, Malaysia 4% (2016)
Debt - external$10.56 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$8.196 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.28 billion (FY10/11)
$2.7 billion (FY08/09)
Exchange ratesIranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -
32,769.7 (2017 est.)
30,914.9 (2016 est.)
30,914.9 (2015 est.)
29,011.5 (2014 est.)
25,912 (2013 est.)
afghanis (AFA) per US dollar -
67.87 (2016 est.)
67.87 (2016 est.)
67.87 (2015)
61.14 (2014 est.)
57.25 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year21 March - 20 March
21 December - 20 December
Public debt14.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: includes publicly guaranteed debt
8.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
9.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$132.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$133.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.477 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.232 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$21.6 billion (2017 est.)
$16.39 billion (2016 est.)
$999 million (2017 est.)
$1.372 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$427.7 billion (2016 est.)
$21.06 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$89.43 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$116.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$345.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$NA
Commercial bank prime lending rate13% (31 December 2017 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
15% (31 December 2016 est.)
15% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$366.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$315.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$-240.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$-240.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$51.61 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$47.59 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.644 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.192 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of broad money$436.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$366 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.945 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.544 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues18.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
9.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
-22.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 50.2%
government consumption: 13.3%
investment in fixed capital: 21.3%
investment in inventories: 14.1%
exports of goods and services: 22.5%
imports of goods and services: -21.3% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 108.6%
government consumption: 12.8%
investment in fixed capital: 18.2%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 6.6%
imports of goods and services: -46.2% (2014 est.)
Gross national saving41.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
37.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
22.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
25.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
21.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

IranAfghanistan
Electricity - production265.1 billion kWh (2015 est.)
1.034 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption220.9 billion kWh (2015 est.)
4.741 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports6.822 billion kWh (2015 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports4.148 billion kWh (2015 est.)
3.779 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production4.068 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports33,710 bbl/day (2014 est.)
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - exports1.342 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - proved reserves158.4 billion bbl (1 January 2017 es)
0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves33.5 trillion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
49.55 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - production184.8 billion cu m (2015 est.)
189 million cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - consumption186 billion cu m (2015 est.)
816 million cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports8.38 billion cu m (2015 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports9.55 billion cu m (2015 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity72.94 million kW (2015 est.)
599,100 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels83.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
44.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants13.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
55.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels1.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1.801 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption1.922 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
130,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports272,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports47,750 bbl/day (2014 est.)
127,200 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy650.4 million Mt (2014 est.)
7.4 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: 18,999,254
electrification - total population: 43%
electrification - urban areas: 83%
electrification - rural areas: 32% (2012)

Telecommunications

IranAfghanistan
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 30,818,011
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 114,192
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 74.219 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2016 est.)
total: 21,602,982
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 65 (July 2016 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: limited fixed-line telephone service; an increasing number of Afghans utilize mobile-cellular phone networks
domestic: aided by the presence of multiple providers, mobile-cellular telephone service continues to improve rapidly; the Afghan Ministry of Communications and Information claims that more than 90 percent of the population live in areas with access to mobile-cellular services
international: country code - 93; multiple VSAT's provide international and domestic voice and data connectivity (2016)
Internet country code.ir
.af
Internet userstotal: 36.07 million
percent of population: 44.1% (July 2016 est.)
total: 3,531,770
percent of population: 10.6% (July 2016 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)
state-owned broadcaster, Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), operates a series of radio and television stations in Kabul and the provinces; an estimated 150 private radio stations, 50 TV stations, and about a dozen international broadcasters are available (2007)

Transportation

IranAfghanistan
Roadwaystotal: 198,866 km
paved: 160,366 km (includes 1,948 km of expressways)
unpaved: 38,500 km (2010)
total: 42,150 km
paved: 12,350 km
unpaved: 29,800 km (2006)
Waterways850 km (on Karun River; some navigation on Lake Urmia) (2012)
1,200 km; (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2011)
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 466 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): Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
Airports319 (2013)
43 (2016)
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 (2017)
total: 25
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2017)
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: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2016)
Heliports26 (2013)
9 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 15
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 228
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 15,003,958
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 107,184,869 mt-km (2015)
number of registered air carriers: 4
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 20
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,929,907
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 33,102,038 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixEP (2016)
YA (2016)

Military

IranAfghanistan
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)
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF): Afghan National Army (includes Afghan Air Force), Afghan National Police, Afghan Local Police (2016)
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 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2016)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP2.69% of GDP (2015)
2.33% of GDP (2014)
2.35% of GDP (2013)
2.81% of GDP (2012)
2.41% of GDP (2011)
0.89% of GDP (2016)
0.99% of GDP (2015)
1.33% of GDP (2014)
1.06% of GDP (2013)
1.14% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

IranAfghanistan
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
Afghan, Coalition, and Pakistan military meet periodically to clarify the alignment of the boundary on the ground and on maps and since 2014 have met to discuss collaboration on the Taliban insurgency and counterterrorism efforts; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey; Iran protests Afghanistan's restricting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Pakistan has sent troops across and built fences along some remote tribal areas of its treaty-defined Durand Line border with Afghanistan which serve as bases for foreign terrorists and other illegal activities; Russia remains concerned about the smuggling of poppy derivatives from Afghanistan through Central Asian countries
Illicit drugsdespite substantial interdiction efforts and considerable control measures along the border with Afghanistan, Iran remains one of the primary transshipment routes for Southwest Asian heroin to Europe; suffers one of the highest opiate addiction rates in the world, and has an increasing problem with synthetic drugs; regularly enforces the death penalty for drug offences; lacks anti-money laundering laws; has reached out to neighboring countries to share counter-drug intelligence
world's largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 10 percent, to 201,000 hectares in 2016, while eradication declined significantly; the 2016 crop yielded an estimated 4,800 mt of raw opium, a 43% increase over 2015; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; a 2015 national drug use survey found that roughly 11% of the population tested positive for one or more illicit drugs; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; illicit cultivation of cannabis and regional source of hashish
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): 59,737 (Pakistan) (2016)
IDPs: 1.553 million (mostly Pashtuns and Kuchis displaced in the south and west due to natural disasters and political instability) (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook