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Iran vs. Iraq

Geography

IranIraq
Location
Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates
32 00 N, 53 00 E
33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map references
Middle East
Middle East
Area
total: 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 - comparative
almost 2.5 times the size of Texas; slightly smaller than Alaska
slightly more than three times the size of New York state
Land boundaries
total: 5,894 km
border countries (7): Afghanistan 921 km, Armenia 44 km, Azerbaijan 689 km, Iraq 1599 km, Pakistan 959 km, Turkey 534 km, Turkmenistan 1148 km
total: 3,809 km
border countries (6): Iran 1599 km, Jordan 179 km, Kuwait 254 km, Saudi Arabia 811 km, Syria 599 km, Turkey 367 km
Coastline
2,440 km - note: Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)
58 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements or median lines in the Persian Gulf
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: natural prolongation
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate
mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast
mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
Terrain
rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 1,305 m
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Kuh-e Damavand 5,625 m
mean elevation: 312 m
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Cheekha Dar (Kurdish for "Black Tent") 3,611 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land use
agricultural land: 30.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 10.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 18.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 6.8% (2011 est.)
other: 63.1% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 18.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 8.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.5% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 9.2% (2011 est.)
forest: 1.9% (2011 est.)
other: 80% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
95,530 sq km (2012)
35,250 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards
periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes
dust storms; sandstorms; floods
Environment - current issues
air pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; urbanization
government water control projects drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Marsh Arabs, who inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification; military and industrial infrastructure has released heavy metals and other hazardous substances into the air, soil, and groundwater; major sources of environmental damage are effluents from oil refineries, factory and sewage discharges into rivers, fertilizer and chemical contamination of the soil, and industrial air pollution in urban areas
Environment - international agreements
party 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, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note
strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
Population distribution
population 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
population is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger urban agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited

Source: CIA Factbook