Iran: Facts and figures

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The Islamic Republic

of Iran:

Population: 56 million

Land area: 634,000 sq miles (UK: 95,000 sq miles)

Capital: Tehran

Population: 6 million

Per capita GDP: pounds 1,050.

In the UK: pounds 10,500

Main exports: Oil. Iran produces 5.3 per cent of the world's oil. Also exports gas, petrochemicals, steel and copper

Main imports: Technological products, industrial equipment.

Government: Supreme Leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a religious leader with wide powers of patronage, and legitimacy built in to the constitution. President Mohammed Khatami, elected 1997 is a "mild reformer".

Religion: 99 per cent Muslim. (93 per cent Shia, 6 per cent Sunni)

Official language: Farsi

Life expectancy: 65 male, 66 female

Literacy: 54 per cent