Iran, which is also called Persia, is a country in Western Asia. Iran is the world's 18th most populous country with approx 82 million inhabitants. Its geographical area is 1,648,195 square km and is the second largest country in the Middle East while the 17th largest in the world. the border of Iran touches in northwest with Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, in the north with the Caspian Sea, in the northeast with Turkmenistan, in the east with Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the south with the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and in the west with Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, gives it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital of Iran and it is the economic center of Iran also. This is the largest and most populous city in Western Asia with more than 8.8 million residents in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area.
Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE.
Iran's political system has elements of a presidential democracy with a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader".
Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, and its large reserves of fossil fuels including the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves, exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy. The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.
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