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Middle East: Iran

History and Culture

Encyclopedia Iranica

Dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The academicreference work will eventually cover all aspects of Iranian history and culture as well as all Iranian languages and literatures, facilitating the whole range of Iranian studies research from archeology to political sciences.

Foreign Relations

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A republic in SW Asia, between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf: consists chiefly of a high central desert plateau almost completely surrounded by mountains, a semitropical fertile region along the Caspian coast, and a hot and dry area beside the Persian Gulf. Oil is the most important export. Official language: Farsi (Persian). Official religion: Muslim majority. Currency: rial. Capital: Tehran. Population: 61,531,000 (1998 est.). Area: 1,647,050 sq. km (635, 932 sq. miles). Former name (until 1935): Persia. Official name: Islamic Republic of Iran. See also Persian Empire.

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