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Iran, located in West Asia, is a culturally diverse country with a rich history. It has been a crossroads of civilizations for millennia, and has influenced and has been influenced as well, by many cultures and peoples. Iran is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, dating back to the 6th century BCE, it has been host to some of the most powerful empires in the history.
Iran’s population of about 88 million, speak various languages, practice different religions, and are ethnically varied. The official language of Iran is Persian, which belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and has a rich literary tradition. Azeri and other Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic are spoken in various parts of the country. The majority of Iranians are Muslims, mostly Shia, but there are also minorities of christian, zoroastrian, jewish, and other persuasions. The main ethnicities of Iran are Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen, among others.
The varied geography of Iran offers diverse landscapes of natural beauty: high mountain ranges of Alborz and Zagros and their forest steppes, vast deserts and dunes of the central plateau, lush forests bordering the coastline of the Caspian Sea, lakes and lagoons, waterfalls and rivers, caves and canyons. and the warm waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Iran also enjoys a rich biodiversity with more than 500 species of birds, 160 species of mammals, and 8000 species of plants. Thus Iran offers many natural and cultural attractions to the visitors: the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the magnificent mosques of Isfahan, the colorful bazaars of Shiraz, alongside the ski resorts of Dizin, and the hot springs of Sarein.
With a GDP of more than 400 billion dollars, Iran’s economy is multifaceted and comprised of many different sectors including oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, services, and tourism. With a young and educated population Iran is striving for higher achievements in such fields as nuclear energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, aerospace and medicine. Iranian artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, performers have created a rich cultural scene and their creations have found audience all over the world.