Iran’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 80 million people, making it the 18th most populous country in the world. The majority of Iranians identify as Shia Muslim, with sizeable minorities of Sunnis also present. The Iranian economy is heavily reliant on oil and gas exports, with the sector accounting for roughly one-third of the country’s GDP. Other exports include agricultural products, carpets and textiles. Iran has strong trade ties with its Middle Eastern neighbours, particularly Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Iran is an Islamic republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Hassan Rouhani was the President after winning reelection in 2013. In foreign relations, Iran is a member of both the United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with its Middle Eastern neighbours have been mostly positive but tensions remain between Iran and Saudi Arabia over religious differences. See ehealthfacts for Iran in the year of 2005.
Iran. Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program continued until the deadline set for June 30, which was further postponed at mid-year. But July 14 was announced that an agreement had been reached, after more than ten years of accusations, threats, sanctions and negotiations sometimes. The agreement meant that Iran largely agreed to cut down on its nuclear program and to allow extended UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. The purpose was that Iran would not be able to develop nuclear weapons. In return, most of the harsh trade sanctions against Iran would be abolished and the country would have access to frozen funds and credits abroad. The settlement with the so-called P5 + 1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) was approved by Parliament and by the Security Council in October.
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The settlement led to reduced international isolation and financial relief in Iran, where the sanctions left considerable footprints in everyday life. According to a report by the IAEA Atomic Energy Agency in December, Iran had previously taken limited steps toward building nuclear weapons, but had never gone further than planning and testing some basic components. Most of the work must have been done before 2003.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Tehran is the capital of Iran which is located in Western Asia. Iran strengthened its military presence in Syria during the year, and continued to support the regime there with oil, weapons and money. In the fall, Iran, together with Syria and the Russian Federation and Iraq, established a military liaison center in Baghdad, with the aim of fighting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. Thanks to the nuclear deal, Iran was also able to participate for the first time when international talks were held in Vienna on the Syrian crisis. The traditional rival Saudi Arabia long held back but eventually agreed to let Iran join.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Iran country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
With Saudi Arabia, Iran was considered during the year to fight a war through agents in Yemen, through its support for the Shiite Muslim Huthirbels there. Saudi Arabia led an alliance of states that supported Yemen’s deposed government and from March, the rebels fought through air strikes and eventually ground forces.
The hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia worsened after a severe congestion that occurred in connection with the annual pilgrimage, hajj, to Mecca. According to Iranian data, at least 464 Iranians died in the accident, the highest number for any country, and Khamenei apologized to Saudi Arabia for lack of security.
In two reports, the United Nations Reporter for Iran expressed concern over more and more executions; the number approached 1,000 towards the end of the year. In March, the reporter pointed to a serious deterioration in the human rights situation since President Hassan Rohani took office in 2013, despite appearing reform-friendly. In its October report, however, the reporter saw a slight improvement. UN chief Ban Ki Moon also noted that Rohani’s promises of increased freedom of expression and better respect for human rights had not been fulfilled.
In 1949, a new constitution was drafted which limited the influence of foreign forces. The nationalist and progressive forces strengthened their position in parliament and supported Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in his plan to nationalize the foreign oil company, Anglo Iranian Oil Co. “It is better to be independent and produce only a single tonne of oil annually than to produce 32 million tonnes as slaves of England,” stated Mossadegh. This policy challenged not only the English interests but also the United States who feared the national movement. The major oil companies instead bought the oil from Iran’s neighboring countries, Venezuela and the United States, and organized an effective blockade of oil exports. Only 40 ships defied the 1951-53 blockade. There was little doubt that Mossadegh had the support of the predominant population, but he was overthrown by a military coup in 1953, in which the North American intelligence, the CIA played a crucial role. US influence now became dominant – both politically, economically and militarily. The Shah was endowed with supreme power, and was controlled by the United States. At the same time, the coup involved a nationwide extermination of nationalist and leftist leaders. Thousands of Iranians were sent to prison. Including Mossadegh who was the Shah’s prisoner until his death in 1967.