55 Interesting Facts About Iran

Last updated on November 14th, 2017

#31. Polo was created in Iran and played as training for the cavalry as early as the 6th century BC. Soccer is the most popular sport and Iran’s national team ranks as the number one team in Asia. Freestyle wrestling is traditionally regarded as Iran’s national sport and Iranians have won many Olympic medals.

#32. Because the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) banned the hijab in 2007, the women’s soccer team from Iran couldn’t play in a qualifier game for the Olympics in 2012.

#33. The first day of spring is a festive day with huge feasts. Mothers eat one hard-boiled egg per child to represent their children. They set the table with seven items that begin with the letter “s” in their native Farsi.

#34. Because the Iranian hospitality or civility practice of T’aarof, which is quite different in terms of anything Westerners are used to, can be a source for awkward situations in a social setting, it is important for visitors to learn something about it before traveling to Iran. For example, because Iranians pretend they don’t want payment for their wares, you always have to insist on paying in restaurants, for taxi rides, and in shops.

#35. Once you are accustomed to it, you will find the Iranian people to be quite friendly, warm and generous to a fault.

Map of Iran

Iran on map with neighboring countries
Iran on map with neighboring countries

People

#36. Almost 70 percent of the population of Iran is under 30 years of age.

#37. Short term marriages are available in Iran. They are called Sigheh and may last from several hours to several years. They were instituted to serve the function of dating and solve the problem of protecting women for marriage if practicing pre-marital sex. Loss of virginity otherwise makes a woman practically unmarriageable.

#38. Education has always been important in the Persian culture and it is important in Iran. Many people have PhDs. Around 70 percent of science and engineering students are women. It is believed the lack of available entertainment and censorship of the Internet leaves education as the mind’s only outlet.

#39. Iranian girls use a lot of makeup and everyone pays a lot of attention to noses. In fact, nose operations are quite common.

#40. Iran is home to many nomadic people groups, although no one knows exactly how many are roaming the country. The last census taken of nomadic peoples was 30 years ago and at that time they numbered over 1 million.

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Facts about economy

#41. The unemployment rate of women is nearly double that of Iranian men.

#42. The U. N. sanctions against Iran, although recently lifted, have deeply affected its economy over the last decade or more.

#43. Despite the official ban on alcohol, smuggled alcohol is an industry that brings in around $700 million annually. There is also a huge domestic bootleg industry. Drinking has become such a problem that in 2015 the political system opened 150 treatment centers for addressing the growing problem.

#44. Economically unemployment, inflation, and shortages in housing are keeping people from marrying until they can get enough money to afford it. To assist and fight this trend, a $720 million fund has been created to provide marriage loans to help people marry sooner.

#45. The unemployment rate of women is nearly double that of Iranian men.

Interesting, weird, unique and intriguing facts about Iran

#46. Even though homosexual sex carries the potential of being punishable by death in Iran, sex change operations are legal and often state-funded. Iran is second only to Thailand as the sex change capital of the world.

#47. The Persian cat is from ancient Persia and is one of the world’s oldest breeds. They came from the high plateaus where their long fluffy fur protected them from the cold. They were brought to Europe by Italian traders in the 17th century where they quickly became an exotic status symbol.

#48. Iran has an acute problem with air pollution and water pollution in its towns and cities.

#49. One of the tribes of the Medes in 6th century BC Iran was the Magi, who were Zoroastrian priests. The most famous of them were the three Magi who visited the Christ child in the nativity story. Marco Polo claimed he visited their graves in what today is Tehran.

#50. Also buried in Iran are Queen Esther and Daniel, also from stories in the Bible.

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#51. Iran is the only country that has both an Indian Ocean coastline and a Caspian Sea one as well.

#52. For 30 years the largest airport in Iran had a Star of David embedded in its roofed undiscovered. Then it was spotted by Goggle Earth.

#53. The Hashishin was an elite group of killers in the 11th and 12th centuries that believed killing their enemies’ prominent members was better than going to war where thousands would be killed. They killed only their targets and no innocent bystanders. The term “assassin” in English came to refer to a person who only committed high profile killings.

#54. The Treasury of National Jewels in Tehran houses some of the most extravagant, expensive and unique pieces of jewelry in the world. A complete appraisal of the value of all the collection has never been completed due to the rarity of so many of the gemstones.

#55. Though the Internet is censored in Iran, the youth of the country have found a way to blog away anyway. There are more than 700,000 Persian blogs with most of them based in Iran and that makes Persian the second most popular language in the international blogosphere.

Iran facts – country at a glance

Capital CityTehran
Largest CityTehran
Total area1,648,195 sq km
Population82,021,564 (July 2017 est.)
Official LanguagePersian
BordersIraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
CurrencyRial (﷼) (IRR)
ReligionIslam and others
Life expectancy71.4 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Literacy rate86.8%
DemonymIranian,
Persian (historically)
Climatemostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast
Terrainrugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur
Agricultural land30.1%
Government typetheocratic republic
Supreme leaderAli Khamenei
PresidentHassan Rouhani
Birth rate17.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratio1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
National symbollion
National colorsgreen, white, red
National anthem"Soroud-e Melli-ye Jomhouri-ye Eslami-ye Iran" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
National holidayRepublic Day, 1 April (1979)
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, gas, fertilizers, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and nonferrous metal fabrication, armaments
Exports$87.52 billion (2016 est.)
petroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, ore
Imports$62.12 billion (2016 est.)
industrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services
GDP - per capita (PPP)$18,100 (2016 est.)
Time ZoneUTC + 03:30
Internet country code.ir
Calling Code+98
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedSeptember 8, 2017