|جمهوری اسلامی ايران|
Dschomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān
|Islamic Republic of Iran|
Motto : استقلال آزادی جمهوری اسلامی
Esteqlāl, Āzādi, Dschomhuri-ye Eslāmi
( Persian for "independence, freedom, Islamic republic")
|State and form of government||Presidential Republic ( Islamic Republic )|
|Head of state||
de jure: Imam Muhammad al-Mahdī
|Head of government||President Ebrahim Raissi|
|population||82.9 million ( 19th ) (2019; estimate)|
|Population density||50 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 1.4% (estimate for 2019)|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.783 ( 70th ) (2019)|
|currency||Rial (IRR, Toman )|
Ey Iran (de facto)
Sorud-e Melli-ye Dschomhuri-ye Eslami-e Iran (de jure)
UTC + 3: 30
UTC + 4: 30 (March to October)
|ISO 3166||IR , IRN, 364|
Iran , also: Iran (with article), Persian ايران, DMG Īrān , [ ʔiːˈɾɒːn ] , full form: Islamic Republic of Iran , before 1935 at the international level ( exonym ) also Persia , is a state in the Middle East . With around 83 million inhabitants (as of 2019) and an area of 1,648,195 square kilometers, Iran is one of the 20 largest and most populous countries in the world . The capital, largest city and economic and cultural center of Iran is Tehran , other megacities are Mashhad , Isfahan , Tabriz , Karaj , Shiraz , Ahvaz and Qom . Iran has referred to itself as the Islamic Republic since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 .
Iran consists largely of high mountains and dry, desert-like basins. Its location between the Caspian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz on the Persian Gulf makes it an area of great geostrategic importance with a long history going back to antiquity .
After between 3200 and 2800 BC. BC that. Reich Elam had formed, the Iranian united Medes the area around 625 v. For the first time to a state that took over the cultural and political leadership in the region. The Achaemenid dynasty founded by Cyrus ruled from southern Iran the largest empire in history to date. It was founded in 330 BC. Destroyed by the troops of Alexander the Great . After Alexander, his successors ( Diadochi ) divided the empire among themselves until they settled in the Iranian area around the middle of the 3rd century BC. Were replaced by the Parthians . This was followed from around AD 224 by the Sassanid Empire , which, alongside the Byzantine Empire, was one of the most powerful states in the world until the 7th century . After the spread of Islamic expansion to Persia, in the course of which Zoroastrianism was replaced by Islam, Persian scholars became bearers of the Golden Age until the Mongol storm in the 13th century threw the country back in its development.
The Safavids unified the country and made the Twelve Shiite creed as the state religion in 1501 . Under founded in 1794 Qajar dynasty, the influence of Persia shrank; Russia and Great Britain forced the Persians to make territorial and economic concessions. In 1906 there was a constitutional revolution , as a result of which Persia received its first parliament and a constitution that provided for the separation of powers . As a form of government, it received the constitutional monarchy. The two monarchs of the Pahlavi dynasty pursued a policy of modernization and secularization , in parallel, the country was in World War I by Russian, British and Turkish troops and occupied during World War II by British and Soviet troops . Thereafter, there was repeated foreign influence such as the establishment of an Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan with Soviet help or a coup d'état organized by the CIA in 1953 . The suppression of the liberal, communist and Islamic opposition led to tensions on a wide scale, culminating in the 1979 revolution and the overthrow of the Shah .
Since then, Iran has been a theocratic republic led by Shiite clergy, at whose head the religious leader concentrates power. It is only checked by the expert council . Regular elections are held, but criticized as undemocratic due to the extensive containment by the rulers, accusations of manipulation and the insignificant position of parliament and the president . The Iranian state controls almost every aspect of daily life for religious and ideological conformity, permeating the lives of all citizens and curtailing individual freedom. There is no comprehensive freedom of the press or freedom of expression in Iran. Since the Islamic Revolution, the good relations with Western states have turned into open hostility, which is firmly anchored in state ideology, especially with regard to the former friends of the USA and Israel . Iran is largely isolated in terms of foreign policy, and at the same time a regional power in the Middle East .
In addition to ethnic Persians, there are numerous other peoples living in Iran who have their own linguistic and cultural identity. The official language is Persian . The largest ethnic groups after the Persians are Azerbaijanis , Kurds, and Lurs . The peoples of Iran have long traditions in handicrafts, architecture, music, calligraphy and poetry; There are numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country .
Thanks to its natural resources, above all the largest natural gas and the fourth largest oil reserves in the world, Iran has a major influence on the world's supply of fossil fuels. Apart from that, the Iranian economy was among other things. Due to the high proportion of inefficient state-owned companies, corruption and the sanctions in the wake of the conflict over the Iranian nuclear program , long in a deep crisis.
From the earliest times the country was referred to by its people as Irān (an abbreviation of the Middle Persian Ērān šahr ). The old Persian form of this name, Aryānam Xšaθra , means "land of the Aryans " (see also Eran (term) ).
The name Persia , which was used in the West into the 21st century, goes back to Pars (or Parsa / Perser; related to " Parsen "), the heartland of the Achaemenids , who lived in the 6th century BC. A first Persian empire created. Called Persis by the Greeks , it essentially referred to the present-day Fars province around Shiraz . The Persian word Fārsī is derived from it /فارسی/ 'Persian' for the Persian language .
In 1935 the Shah Reza Chan made "Iran" the official name.
The geographical term Iran refers to the entire Iranian highlands .
In German , the word occurs both with a certain masculine article (“der Iran”) and without an article. The Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the Philipps University of Marburg recommends the spelling without articles, which is also common in German academic language. The German Foreign Office does not use the article either.
Iran borders on seven states: in the west and northwest on Iraq (border line 1609 kilometers), Turkey (511 kilometers), Azerbaijan (800 kilometers) and Armenia (48 kilometers), in the northeast and east on Turkmenistan (1205 kilometers) as well to the east and southeast to Afghanistan (945 kilometers) and Pakistan (978 kilometers).
The northernmost point of Iran is at 39 ° 47 ′ north latitude and is roughly on the same latitude as Palma (Spain). The southernmost point is at 25 ° north latitude and is about the same latitude as Doha (Qatar). The most westerly point is at 44 ° 02 ′ east longitude and thus about the same length as Baghdad (Iraq). The most easterly point is at 63 ° 20 ′ east longitude and thus roughly the same length as Herat (Afghanistan).
About two thirds of the territory of Iran is taken up by the highlands of Iran , which in turn are divided into a number of different basins. The extension of these basins ranges from a few square kilometers large Bolsonen to the huge basins of the Lut (130,000 km²) and the Great Kawir (200,000 km²). Depending on their tectonic history, the basins are between 200 m and 1500 m above sea level. The basins are separated from each other by thresholds of different heights; some continue in Afghanistan and Pakistan .
The highlands are bordered in the west, southwest and south by the mountains of Zagros and Kuhrud . These mighty fold mountains consist of several mountain ranges running side by side in a northwest-southeast direction, between which there are steep valleys. Its highest peaks are the Zard Kuh (4571 m) and the Kuh-e-Dinar (4432 m). The Zagros has a maximum width of 250 km and a length of 1800 km ( including the Makran chains ) and is one of the largest closed mountain ranges in the world. The north of Iran is characterized by several mountains. In the northwest, the Armenian-Azerbaijani mountain node dominates with the large basin of Lake Urmi . This is followed by the 1200 km long Elburs - Kopet-Dag system , which extends from the Talysh Mountains to the Turkmen border . Here is the highest mountain in the Middle East at 5670 m, the dormant, glacier-covered volcano Damavand , as well as the 4840 m high Alam-Kuh . The Kopet-Dag is a mighty fold mountain range on the border to today's Turkmenistan . The almost 6000 m difference in altitude from the Caspian Sea to Damavand, only 60 km away, are among the steepest climbs in the world.
There are only a few lowland countries in Iran. On the southern shore of the Caspian Sea there is a 600 km long, only a few kilometers wide coastal lowland. The Turkmen steppe connects to the east and the Mugan steppe to the west . In the southwest, a small part of the Mesopotamian lowlands belongs to Iran, from there a narrow, flat, barren coastline runs along the Persian Gulf.
Geology and soils
Iran is located on the Alpidian mountain belt , which includes the Zagros Mountains. The Iranian highlands, on the other hand, consist of a Precambrian shield, which is considered an extension of the Arabian shield. From the point of view of plate tectonics , the area of what is now Iran was once part of Gondwanaland , which moved to its current position in the late Cretaceous period . The collision with the Arabian plate led to strong volcanic and seismic activity, which resulted in ore formation . This explains why the mountains of Iran sometimes have strong characteristics of the Precambrian mountains, and why there are no mountains that were formed between the Precambrian and Triassic . The sediments in central Iran are on average 3000 to 4000 meters thick, of terrestrial origin and homogeneous. These sediments are partly stored directly on the Precambrian rock, partly on land areas eroded in the Triassic.
The ongoing mountain formation means that earthquakes frequently occur in Iran . Especially the 1600 km long and 250 km wide Zagros fault line is extremely seismically active. On average, stronger earthquakes occur here once a year, but they usually do not assume catastrophic proportions. The areas frequently affected by strong earthquakes lie along the so-called "Iranian Crescent", a region along the country's northern and eastern borders, from western Azerbaijan to Makran . There are numerous smaller faults and faults here, some of which are geologically young and are characterized by irregular quakes. Periods with a high number of quakes alternate with long periods of rest. The already difficult prediction of earthquakes is therefore not possible.
The region around Tabriz is considered to be the most endangered area of the country , where there have already been several particularly severe earthquakes, the last time in 2012 . There are signs that the quake activity alternates between the northwest and the east and that the northwest is currently in a phase of relative calm, whereas the quake activity in the east is peaking. The last devastating earthquakes with thousands of deaths occurred in Tabas (1978), Rascht (1990) and Bam (2003).
Gravel and stone deserts with sterile desert soils , sand dunes and saline soils dominate the highlands of Iran . In the end basins there are mostly salt or gypsum crusts, and there are extensive Serir or Hammada surfaces, where the fine material is blown out due to the absence of vegetation. The humus content of these soils is usually less than 0.5%.
Between the mountain ranges, several types of soil unite to form catenas , the valley floors mostly have filler material from alluvial soils and brown steppe soils, which means they can be used for agriculture. Alluvial soils, brown forest and steppe soils, regosols and lithosols dominate the Caspian lowlands ; loess soils occur in the Turkmen steppe .
In the north, Iran is bordered by the Caspian Sea, the largest lake in the world and also an end sea, over a length of 756 kilometers . In the south and southwest, the country has a coastline of 2045 kilometers to the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf , separated from each other by the Strait of Hormuz . In this strait near Bandar Abbas , which is important for the transport of crude oil, the island of Qeschm and the eponymous small island of Hormuz are located near the Iranian coast . The distance from the Iranian mainland to the Arabian Peninsula ( Oman and United Arab Emirates ) is barely 50 kilometers here.
There are around 1,300 short, mostly straight rivers that drain the northern flanks of the Talysh and Elburs mountains and flow into the Caspian Sea. The largest are Sefid Rud , Chalus , Gorgan and Atrak . The main rivers that flow from the Zagros towards the Persian Gulf are Karun , Karche , Dez and Schatt al-Arab . They have the most water in spring and can cause devastating flooding in their lower reaches. The water flow is lowest in summer, only a tenth of that in spring.
Two thirds of the territory is not drained towards a sea. In the arid basins of the Iranian highlands, there is hardly a river that carries water all year round, like the Zayandeh Rud . After rainfall, the water flows through rivers or streams out of the mountains and there mostly seeps into gravel fields, more rarely it flows into lakes, which are then often salty. Such lakes include Lake Urmia , the Hamun Lake , the Bakhtegan Lake and Maharlu Lake .
The gravel, limestone and sandstone layers in the subsoil often contain groundwater. That is why there are numerous springs in the mountainous parts of the country, some of them artesian springs . People have been making themselves since 800 BC. The groundwater can be used by means of qanats . In the past, all human settlements in the arid area were supplied with water using qanats. Wells and dams have been built more and more since the 1950s, with the sinking of the lake and groundwater levels, the depletion of water supplies and the sedimentation of reservoirs being the main problems for the water supply of the future. The main focus of environmentalists is the strongly salty Lake Urmia , which is sometimes used as a habitat for pelicans and flamingos, but is threatened by increasing dehydration. The Iranian government has therefore released $ 900 million for the rescue of the lake.
The winter climate in Iran is influenced by the interaction of cold air currents from Central Asia and Siberia on the one hand and warm, humid Mediterranean air masses on the other. In summer there is a constant northeasterly trade wind blowing from the dry and hot Central Asia. Due to these weather conditions and the geographical conditions of the country, the climate is regionally very different.
The mountain regions of northern and western Iran receive a relatively large amount of precipitation due to wet western currents in late autumn and winter, especially on the western slopes of the Zagros . With increasing height, the humidity increases here . The altitude and the relative distance from the sea cause very cold winters and great summer heat. The highlands of Iran lie in the rain shadow of the mountains, so it is everywhere dry to arid with low humidity and large fluctuations in annual rainfall. The annual mean temperatures are significantly higher than in the mountain regions, but they also have a large amplitude: extreme heat in summer, where values above 45 ° C are not uncommon, are sometimes offset by severe frosts in winter. There is never any frost along the Gulf Coast and in Khuzestan . The winters are mild, the summers are very hot and often humid, the humidity is very high all year round, but rainfall is extremely rare. The climate of the Caspian coastal lowlands is fundamentally different from the rest of the country. The winds blowing from the northeast are charged with moisture over the Caspian Sea, accumulate on the mountain ranges and rain down there. Thus, this region is humid all year round with sometimes very high humidity. The climate is mild in winter and warm in summer, the extreme temperatures are significantly reduced compared to the highlands.
The meteorological peculiarities include the consistently north- westerly wind of the 120 days between May and September , which is extremely unfavorable for people and vegetation in the east and south-east of Iran due to its high dust content. In the highlands, where local air pressure differences can be significant due to the lack of vegetation, dust turbulences can be observed regularly .
Isfahan's climate diagram (1961–1990)
Climate diagram by Bandar Abbas (1961–1990)
Climate diagram of Tabriz (1961–1990)
Climate diagram by Ramsar (1961–1990)
There were urban settlements in what is now Iran as far back as ancient times . Of many of the early cities, such as Susa , Bischapur or the residential cities of Pasargadae and Persepolis , only ruins have survived, others have disappeared without a trace. It is typical for Iran that the cities outside the regions with sufficient rainfall emerged along the trade routes, for example along the line Zanjan - Qazvin - Tehran - Semnan - Dāmghān - Maschhad - Herat , or Yazd - Kerman . The urban development trend was least pronounced in the south and south-east of the country. When choosing a location, the proximity to water sources that could be made usable with the help of qanats was always decisive. The Iranians almost never built in places that would have been easy to defend. The typical Persian city in Islamic times had the bazaar and the Friday mosque as the center, so there were caravanserais and the residential areas; all of this was enclosed by city walls and fortified gates.
Urbanization began to accelerate in Tehran as early as the 19th century and in the rest of the country in the 1920s, with Tehran and the cities around Tehran experiencing the greatest growth. The city walls were moved or torn down, wide streets and new residential areas were built. Due to the central requirement of these redesigns, the Iranian cities received a relatively uniform cityscape. The new quarters and the newly built infrastructure generally followed Western concepts of urban planning and architecture. The contrast between rich and poor was now also reflected in the cityscape, which had not previously been a feature of Persian cities. Until the 1970s, the historic city centers deteriorated, only the high income from oil production and the increased awareness of the importance of the architectural cultural heritage led to renovation programs from 1973 onwards. Cities continued to grow after the Islamic Revolution, but this trend has recently weakened.
The census of 2011 showed that eight in Iran megacities are: Tehran (8,154,051 inhabitants), Mashhad (2,766,258), Isfahan (1756126) Karaj (1614626), Tabriz (1494998) , Shiraz (1,460,665), Ahwaz (1,112,021) and Qom (1,074,036). Other major cities can be found in the list of major cities in Iran .
Flora and vegetation
Iran's natural vegetation has been largely destroyed by human use for centuries. It can be divided into four zones depending on geographical factors. The deserts and semi-deserts, where the soil is not entirely sterile, have a vegetation that usually covers less than a third of the soil. It consists of wormwood bushes , Rheum ribes , various Astragalus species, Dorema Ammoniacum , the coveted food plant Prosopis Farcta and the wood Zygophyllum atriplicoides . Due to overgrazing, grasses are rarely found, the natural flora includes feather grasses and stipagrostis species.
In the dry forests of the country, which cover the Zagros and other mountains, there are various oaks , maples , hornbeams , cold-resistant junipers , ash trees , paliurus , oleanders and myrtles ; under the bushes dominate pomegranate shrubs , hawthorn , cotoneaster , Prunus types, and rose plants . With increasing drought, particularly on the slopes in the highlands of Iran, the dry forests are very clear mountain almond - pistachio over -Baumfluren where also particularly adapted to drought Watkins - Acacia - and succulent species occur. For Balochistan which is dwarf fan palm typical; the soil in the dry forests is covered by tragacanth and wormwood plants.
The only wet forests in Iran can be found between the Elburs Mountains and the Caspian Sea; biogeographically they are referred to as the Hyrcanic Forest or the Caspian Forest. They are extremely species-rich and tend to be impenetrable because of their climbing plants. The flora of these forests includes trees such as the chestnut-leaved oak , the iron tree , elm , beech , maple , boxwood or blackberry ; many of the species are endemic to the region ; the primeval forests of the oriental beech have only survived in this extent in the far east of the beech area. Cypress forests can also be found in special locations . The Hyrcanic Forests are a hotspot in the context of the CBD process ( Convention on Biological Diversity ). The Parrotia project of Iran, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the Michael Succow Foundation should lead to the recognition of the Hyrcanic forests as a world natural heritage by UNESCO and to a sustainable protection and use concept.
Special forms of vegetation can be found in the end basins, for example, where halophytic marsh and marsh plants thrive. Gallery forests made up of willows and poplars can sometimes be found along the rivers . In the sand dunes there are stocks of Saxaul , Calligonum species and tamarisk plants .
The fauna in Iran is very diverse and reflects the different vegetation zones and the geographic location of the country. The large animal fauna includes steppe and semi-desert inhabitants such as gazelles and half donkeys as well as wild sheep and wild goats as typical mountain animals , but also porcupines . Red deer are found in the forests of the country . Some brown bears , cheetahs , lynxes and leopards still live in remote areas, while the Caspian tiger and the Persian lion have been exterminated in Iran. Hyenas , jackals and foxes take on an important natural hygienic function. On the south coast of the Caspian Sea there are lagoons with a very high variety of bird species, in the interior there are pheasants , partridges and steppe grouse , which are also hunted. Iranian birds of prey include golden eagles , hawks , bearded vultures and lammergeier vultures . The only bird species endemic to Iran is the Plesky Jay . The fishery on the coast of the Caspian Sea is of great economic importance. The sturgeon is mainly fished for the production of caviar , and mullets and whitefish are also caught. Trout is also fished in the cold mountain streams of Albors and Zagros. An amazing phenomenon is the natural occurrence of small fish in the qanats of the desert areas.
Iran has several protected areas, such as the Arasbaran Conservation Area , Touran Conservation Area , Golestan National Park, and Kawir National Park . A population of Mesopotamian fallow deer , which had become extinct in the wild, was settled on an island in Lake Urmia .
The accelerated industrialization of Iran has led to extensive air pollution in Tehran and other major cities. Another consequence is the enormous increase in energy consumption. Iran is one of the most energy-intensive countries in the world. This is due, on the one hand, to the lack of advanced infrastructures and government subsidies for energy sources, and, on the other hand, to the inefficient consumer behavior of the population.
As the Iranian Ministry of Health announced in 2010, air pollution is now so severe that the proportion of people who go to hospital emergency rooms with severe breathing difficulties has increased by 19%. In the first nine months of 2010, at least 3,600 people died in Tehran alone as a result of air pollution.
The then Health Minister Marsieh Wahid Dastjscherdi also reported that the Iranian government had no other solutions than the closure of organizations and schools to address the environmental problems of the large cities in today's Iran. Unlike the Ministry of Health, the Iranian government appears to have fewer concerns. This continuously promotes car sales, also because of its own shares in the automotive industry, with over 3.5 million vehicles now dominating the streets in Tehran alone.
The Iranian nuclear program is also causing serious problems in the areas surrounding the nuclear facilities, including water sources, flora and fauna. In addition, the regional location of several nuclear facilities is very worrying. The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant , which was launched in November 2010, is located for example in a seismically particularly threatened area. This was built exactly on the intersection of three plates (Arab, African and Eurasian). Experts argue that an earthquake on and in the building could cause damage equivalent to the extent of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster . The Kuwaiti geologist Jazem al-Awadi has warned that the radiating leaks would pose a serious threat to the Gulf region, particularly Kuwait, which is only 276 km from the Bushehr facility .
Iran sent a delegation led by then President Ahmadineschād to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 . Iran's participation in the summit, however, faced criticism that Iran does not want to deal with its environmental problems.
Due to the sanctions against the country, the ideologized goal of self-sufficiency is adhered to. Most of the available water in dry land is used in inefficient arable farming. Awareness of the catastrophic effects of river diversions began to rise and activists were allowed to criticize the government on television in 2017. On the other hand, there is a lobby of construction companies that build such works. Kaveh Madani , deputy head of the Iranian environmental department for a few months from September 2017 to January 2018, coined the term “Iranian water bankruptcy”.
Iran today has a population roughly equivalent to that of Germany, but which is spread over four and a half times as large a territory. The average population density is thus 46 inhabitants / km². However, the distribution of the population is very uneven. The areas that are preferred in terms of their environmental conditions have a very high population density, for example the provinces on the Caspian Sea (provinces Gilan and Mazandaran with 177 and 129 inhabitants / km²) or along the Alborz ( provinces Tehran and Alborz with 890 and 471 inhabitants / km²). In contrast, the areas dominated by deserts are extremely sparsely populated or not populated at all: in Semnan , South Khorasan and Yazd only 6, 7 and 8 people live on one square kilometer, respectively.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Iran had fewer than 12 million inhabitants, 25 to 30% of whom were nomadic and only 15% in cities. By 1976 the population had grown to 33.7 million people. The last census in 2016 finally showed almost 80 million people. The urban population had risen to about a third by 1956 and to just under half of the total population by 1976; In 2011, 70% of all Iranians lived in cities.
The significant increase in life expectancy is primarily responsible for the strong growth in the population: at the beginning of the 20th century, people lived on average just under 30 years old and child mortality was around 50%. In 2015, however, the average life expectancy was 76.2 years for women and 74.0 years for men. At the same time, fertility remained at a very high level for a long time: in 1956 with an average of 7.9 children per woman, and in 1986 with 6.39 children per woman. It has fallen sharply since then and in 2008 was only 1.81 children per woman. In 2018 the fertility was 2.1 and thus roughly at the conservation level. The world average in 2018 was 2.42. Only in Japan after World War II can a more rapid decline in fertility be observed. As a result, natural population growth has slowed, from 2010 to 2013 it was 1.1% per year. This population development results in an on average still very young but steadily aging Iranian population. While the average age of Iranians in 1976 was 22.4 years, it was 29.86 years in 2011, increasing by around two years every decade. Three quarters of Iranians are under 40 and 55% of Iranians are under 30.
During the same period, the number of households rose disproportionately, so that the average size of an Iranian household fell from 5 people in 1976 to only 3.5 people in 2011.
It is estimated that around four million people of Iranian descent live outside of Iran today; in 2010, about 1.3 million Iranian nationals, about 1.7% of the population, lived outside the country. The most important destination countries for Iranian emigrants include the USA, Canada, the northern EU states, Israel and the rich countries bordering the Persian Gulf such as Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Since there are many well-educated young people among the emigrants, the losses caused by emigration for the Iranian economy seem massive: around 50 billion US dollars are supposed to be lost through the brain drain every year . The funds flowing back into Iran from exile each year add up to around 1.1 billion US dollars. The Iranian diaspora, which is connected to its homeland, is also an important part of the opinion-forming of the Iranian population via Persian-language radio and television stations as well as blogs.
Iran is also a destination for immigration. The 2011 census showed that almost 1.7 million foreigners lived in Iran, almost half of whom came as refugees. The majority of the foreigners (1.45 million) came from Afghanistan. Afghans have been migrating to Iran for many decades, on the one hand as labor migrants, but increasingly as refugees since the Soviet invasion and the subsequent wars. Since many Afghans speak a variant of Persian and also have a very similar cultural and religious background, it is relatively easy for them to integrate in Iran and to impersonate Persians in censuses; the number of Afghans could thus be significantly higher. Nonetheless, Afghans in Iran are also exposed to discrimination. In addition to the Afghans, around 50,000 Iraqis and 17,000 Pakistanis live in Iran; other countries of origin of immigrants are Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Turkmenistan.
The mediating position of Iran between Central Asia, Asia Minor, Arabia and the Indian subcontinent has resulted in a high degree of ethnic diversity. Indo-European groups probably immigrated from the north into the Iranian highlands and reached the Zagros at the beginning of the first millennium BC. The Medes were the first Iranian people who could establish a stable empire on Iranian territory. After the Arab conquest of Iran, Arabs settled all over the country and mingled with the local population; many Iranian families can prove their Arab origin by their names. In the 11th century, Turkish tribes began to immigrate to what is now Iran in ever new waves. With their nomadic way of life, they shaped large areas of Iran up to the beginning of the 20th century; in the end they settled mainly in the north-west of the country, where the climate is most suitable for nomadic cattle breeding.
The peoples of Indo-European origin dominate the country numerically today. Between 60 and 65% of the population are Persians ; the Iranian highlands are almost exclusively inhabited by Persians. To the west of the Persian settlement area live Kurds, who make up 7 to 10% of the total population, speak a language related to Persian and mostly follow Sunni Islam, and the predominantly Shiite Lurs (6% of the population of Iran). The Baluchi , who are also Sunni and make up 2% of the population, live in eastern Iran . Smaller Indo-European peoples are z. B. the Bakhtiars .
The Turkic-speaking peoples mainly include the mostly Shiite Azerbaijanis ( Azeri ), who make up 17 to 21% of the population of Iran and live in the north-west of the country. The mostly Sunni Turkmens inhabit the northern steppe areas, and there are also numerous islands of Turkish ethnic groups scattered all over the country, to which the Kashgai belong.
The Arabs of Iran live in the southwest on the border with Iraq; they make up about 2 to 3% of the total population. There are also a large number of very small ethnic groups living in Iran, some of which settled in Iran before the arrival of the Persians (like the Assyrians ) or came into the country in several waves, some centuries ago (like the Armenians ).
The available figures on the ethnic composition of the Iranian population vary greatly because the Iranian state does not determine and publish any data. Last but not least, mixed marriages, which are now normal, lead to a certain blurring of ethnic boundaries. It can be assumed that the linguistic assignment to the original ethnic groups is not always possible, since large parts of the minorities are now mainly linguistically assimilated to the Persian majority culture.
Different languages are spoken in the multi-ethnic state of Iran. The official language is Persian . It belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and therefore has no common roots with Arabic , although Persian has taken up numerous loanwords from Arabic and is written with an alphabet derived from Arabic . Persian is spoken as a first language by only more than half of Iranians; Almost all residents of the Iranian plateau speak Persian. In 2000, 85% of Iranians mastered Persian as their mother tongue or second language , another 5% could understand it, and only 10% did not speak it at all. In the 1930s, each ethnic group could only speak its own language; Recruits drafted into the military therefore had to learn Persian for six months.
The part of the population whose mother tongue is not Persian is divided into several language groups that live mainly in the periphery, along the borders. Minority languages include those that are related to Persian such as Kurdish , Mazandaran , Gilaki , Pashtun , Lurian , Bakhtiarian , Baluch and Talish ; Overall, around 70% of Iranians speak an Indo-Iranian language . Turkic languages are spoken by around 18 to 27% of Iranians, depending on the source, mainly in the north-west and north-east of the country; this includes Azerbaijani , but also Turkmen , Kashgaish , Khorasan Turkish and Afsharic . The Arabic language is spoken by around 2% of the population in Iran. As the language of the Koran , however, it is learned by all children in school. Since multilingualism is a matter of course for Iranians nowadays, there are very divergent numbers for the exact distribution of the speakers across the many different languages. The Persian dialects spoken in Iran include the Bandari and the Sistani as well as the Chuzi (in the province of Fars ). Also dardische dialects as Kohestani are spoken.
The Iranian constitution defines the Persian language as the sole official and educational language. However, it is allowed to teach the minority languages alongside Persian in schools. English is the second foreign language in schools after Arabic.
Despite modernization and 50 years of secularization under the Pahlavi, Iran is today a state in which religion pervades almost every aspect of social life. The 2011 census found that 99.4% of Iran's citizens are Muslim. It is estimated that 89% to 95% of Iranians belong to the state religion of the Twelve Shia and the remaining 4% to 10% to Sunni Islam . A study by the GAMAAN institute in 2020 came to a significantly different result. According to this, 32% of the Iranian population describe themselves as Shiites, 9% as atheists, 8% as Zoroastrians, 7% as spiritual, 6% as agnostics and 5% as Sunnis. Smaller proportions describe themselves as Sufis, humanists, Christians , Bahais and Jews , 22% do not identify with any of these world views.
The belief in Shi'aism is one of the characteristics that most distinguish Iran from its neighbors. The basic contents such as the belief in a single, almighty and eternal God as well as in Mohammed as the last of the prophets that God sent to the people to convey his message, are identical for Shiites and Sunnis. The fundamental difference between these two currents of Islam lies in the question of who is authorized to lead the Islamic community. The Shiites only recognize the direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad as legitimate leaders and refer to them as imams . A total of twelve imams lived. The central belief of the Twelve Shi'ahs is the secretive twelfth imam who would one day come back to earth, spread Islam all over the world and usher in an era that precedes the end of the world. The Imams and their descendants are very venerated by the Shiites. Shrines were built around the graves of these people and their relatives , of which there are more than a thousand in Iran. The more important of these shrines, such as the Imam Reza Shrine or the Shrine of Fatima Masuma , are destinations for pilgrimages; a practice that is rejected by the Sunnis. Another peculiarity of the Shiite creed is the Taghiyeh permission to hide one's beliefs and neglect religious duties if the believer would otherwise be in danger. The Sunni creed is particularly widespread among ethnic groups who live in the border areas with neighboring countries, such as the Kurds , Turkmens or Baluch . The Shiite leadership does not regard the Iranian Sunnis as a minority, but as Muslims who have recognized the Shiites' claim to leadership. As a result, only Shiite-run mosques are available in predominantly Shiite areas.
Religious minorities in Iran today comprise only very small groups, but they are of great importance from a historical and cultural point of view. The oldest known Iranian religion is Zoroastrianism . It was made between 1200 and 700 BC. Donated by Zarathustra ; Variants of Zoroastrianism were considered the state religion under the Sassanids and Parthians . Above all, monotheism , which was innovative for the time, and religious dualism (heaven and hell, God and devil ) influenced religions that emerged later. Some Iranian festivals that are still celebrated today contain Zoroastrian elements, sometimes in a syncretic form. The constitution recognizes the Zoroastrians as a religious minority; in the 2011 census, more than 25,000 people identified themselves as Zoroastrians. Their centers are in Yazd and Kerman , where holy flames still burn in the fire temples .
Jews have lived in modern-day Iran since ancient times; conversely, Iran has an important place in Jewish history because King Cyrus II made it possible for Jewish parts of the population to return from exile in Babylon . Over time, the Jews were so assimilated that they differ from other Iranians only in their religion. The Jewish community , which had around 80,000 members before 1979, has shrunk sharply to around 20,000 members since the Islamic Revolution. This is mainly due to the anti-Zionist policies of the Iranian government, through which Iranian Jews are easily suspected of being Israeli spies.
The Christianity in Iran also has a long history; before the Islamization of Iran, many Nestorians immigrated to what is now Iran. Today around 60,000 Assyrian Christians live in Iran and the descendants of the approximately 300,000 Armenian Christians who were brought into the country under the Safavids ; its center is still in Isfahan to this day . There are also Roman Catholic , Anglican, Protestant and other Christian communities and churches .
Articles 13 and 14 of the Iranian Constitution recognize Christianity, Judaism and Zoroasterism as religious minorities. They stipulate that the Iranian state must treat them fairly and protect their practice of belief, rites and ceremonies. The religious minorities elect their own deputies in parliamentary elections, for whom a minimum number of parliamentary seats are reserved. However, these religious communities are not allowed to engage in activities against Islam or the Islamic Republic. For example, they must observe the dress code in public and are not allowed to recruit members from among Muslims . Muslims in Iran face the death penalty for apostasy . In practice, all members of religious minorities are exposed to a subtle form of discrimination, such as job choice in the state-dominated economy, inheritance law or witness statements. They are also closed to higher offices such as ministers, state secretaries, judges or teachers in regular schools.
As the largest non-Muslim religion in Iran, the true Bahá'í Faith . It emerged from Shiite Islam in the middle of the 19th century, when a benefactor (the Bab ) described himself first as the gateway to the twelfth Imam and later as the twelfth Imam himself, and with several followers such as Qurrat al-Ain developed and developed an active missionary activity declared the Islamic laws abolished. Bahāʾullāh later formed the now internationally represented Bahaitum from Babism . This religion has been regarded as heresy since its inception and has been fought accordingly in many Islamic countries. The persecution intensified in Iran after the Islamic revolution again. Baha'i is officially banned in Iran, so its approximately 300,000 followers practice their religion underground, because professing Baha'i are excluded from higher education or work for the state; they also risk arrest and execution.
In his book The Islamic State , Ruhollah Khomeini formulated the improvement of the living conditions of the poor population and the elimination of social inequality as goals of an Islamic social order:
“Nobody cares about the poor and barefooted […] Islam solves the problem of poverty. This problem is at the top of his program […]. According to the principles of Islam, the life of the poor and the helpless must first be improved. "
93% of the Iranian population have received direct payments of US $ 40 per month since the subsidy reforms cut direct subsidies for staple foods and fuel. Apart from the support programs of the religious foundations, the state has 28 organizations for social assistance, social security and aid programs. The basis is the social security law. The Social Security Organization, which is subordinate to the Ministry, offers social insurance in the form of unemployment benefits, pensions, maternity benefits, sick pay and health services (2nd health provider in the country, for pensioners, unemployed, social insured persons). In 2011 the World Bank certified that the IRI had a relatively high social indicator compared to regional standards, due to the efforts of the government to increase access to education and health care. The current five-year plan continues to focus on social policy.
Despite these efforts, major problems with poverty persist. According to an official statistical survey, between 44.5 and 55% of the urban population lived below the poverty line in 2011. The scientists also criticized manipulation in the publication of poverty statistics. According to official statistics, there are 2.5 million street children in Iran who have only recently come into the focus of government welfare organizations.
Iran is home to the second largest refugee population in the world (mostly from Afghanistan). The UNHCR works with state welfare organizations and the Imam Khomeini Aid Committee to help refugees who do not benefit from other state social benefits.
In the last 30 years the level of education of the Iranian population has improved significantly, despite the turmoil the education system was exposed to in the years after the Islamic Revolution. In the country, the mean school attendance for over 25s increased from 4.2 years in 1990 to 8.5 years in 2015. The current educational expectation is already 14.8 years. Women were able to participate more than men in the improvements. Specifically, in the 2006 census, the illiteracy rate of all citizens over the age of 6 was 14%, while in 1976 just under half of men and only a third of women could read and write. The share of illiterate people in the rural population has fallen from 75% (1976) to 22% (2006).
The proportion of boys in elementary and secondary schools is only slightly higher than that of girls; in higher education, young women made up around 60% of students in 2006. There is therefore no longer any gender-specific gap with regard to education among the young income groups. In the natural sciences and mathematics in particular, the proportion of women among students in Iran is very high in an international comparison. In 2012, the Ahmadinejah government introduced quotas of a maximum of 50% women or less for some subjects. The United Nations criticized this practice, which led to a decrease in the proportion of women from 62% in 2007–2008 to 48.2% in 2012–2013. These provisions have been repealed by the Rouhani government. In 2015, the proportion of women studying science or mathematics in Iran was 65%, while it is much lower in Europe.
The education system of Iran today consists of several levels:
- a non-compulsory one-year preschool for all children aged five and over
- the five-year primary school for all children aged six and over
- this is followed by a three-year middle school, in which the further educational path of the student is determined; after her compulsory schooling ends.
- the secondary school, which lasts three years, is usually not free and is divided into several specializations
- higher education at universities, teacher training institutes and technical colleges, of which there are state and private institutions. The prerequisite for access to higher education is the completion of secondary school, participation in a one-year preparatory course and passing the nationwide university entrance exam.
In addition to the state schools, numerous mosques are affiliated with religious schools. The generous budgets that the government allocates to religious schools are blamed for the lack of money in the state schools and the associated low quality of teaching and the low salaries of teachers. According to Salehi-Isfahani, Iran's education system is also focused on the acquisition of diplomas and not on teaching productive skills. This and the rigid labor market cause high macroeconomic inefficiencies, and not least, the high unemployment among young people is attributed to this.
Iran is a country where extramarital intercourse ( zinā ) can be punished with the death penalty, and where conservative moral standards are very important, knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases , HIV or contraception, if at all, only becomes apparent after marriage conveyed. Because of this, knowledge of the ways in which sexually transmitted diseases are spread is extremely poor. In 1997 the Iranian government still denied the existence of an HIV problem in the country. For 2004 the number of HIV-positive Iranians was estimated at 10,000 to 61,000, for 2014 at 51,000 to 110,000 people. The lack of knowledge about contraceptives, their high price and their lack of acceptance among the population lead to a high number of unauthorized or unwanted pregnancies that are terminated in illegal clinics . Even more frequently, the women affected use dangerous substances from animal breeding to terminate their pregnancy and cause serious damage to their health.
The use of mind-altering substances has a long history in Iran. 400 years ago attempts were made to limit drug use; At the beginning of the 20th century, opium was deeply interwoven with the Iranian economy and society. It was the most profitable agricultural product and was widely consumed in the face of wars, famine and the lack of medical care. According to one estimate, around 10 percent of Tehran's population were addicted to opium in 1914. The modernizers of the Pahlavi dynasty identified drug use as one of the obstacles to the development of Iran into a strong state; In 1955 the production and use of opium were banned. However, this measure did not solve the problem; an infrastructure for the treatment of drug addicts was slowly emerging. After the Islamic Revolution, these institutions were abolished. Attempts were now made to deal with the drug problem by enforcing religious and moral behavior. Drug offenses were and are punished severely under criminal law; The Iranian Narcotics Act prescribes the death penalty for numerous offenses. The majority of those executed in recent years have been convicted of drug offenses. These measures have not been fruitful, so that measures of a worldly nature have been initiated. Since then, facilities for treating drug addicts have been permitted again and are being promoted. Attempts are also made to educate the population about the dangers of drug use. Iran had the fourth highest drug death rate in the world in 2011. According to drug control and health authorities, over 2.2 million Iranians are addicted to illegal drugs, 1.3 million of whom are in treatment programs. In particular, crystal meth is (as of 2015) in particular demand. Students use it in exams; Workers who can only keep themselves afloat with several jobs use it as a pick-me-up.
- Development of life expectancy over time
Traditional Iranian society is strictly patriarchal ; At the beginning of the 20th century, almost exclusively men could be seen in the Iranian cityscape, women usually stayed at home. The degree to which women were tied to the house differed from ethnic group to ethnic group in the past: under the Lurs men had absolute power over women, while the Kashgai women had a relatively high degree of freedom. In the 1920s, only a few girls were able to attend school; Only the Pahlavi government encouraged parents to send their daughters to school as part of the country's modernization efforts in the 1930s. In 1936 the veil was banned. Although the ban could never be fully enforced, it has resulted in women from conservative sections of the population being pushed even more out of public life and in some cases not leaving the house at all. As modernization progressed, women found more and more jobs outside the home, especially as state employees. In the 1960s, the situation of women was further improved as part of the white revolution : they were given the right to vote in 1963 , abortion was allowed and secular courts were made competent for divorce issues.
After the Islamic Revolution, these reforms were reversed. Since then, Articles 20 and 21 of the Constitution of Iran have stipulated that men and women have equal rights, taking into account Islamic principles . While the husband is responsible for feeding the family, the wife has to do the housework and is obliged to be obedient to her husband. Husbands have “the right” to the sexual availability of their wives and may enforce this with violence. General domestic violence by the husband against the wife is also largely permitted. Women are also only allowed to work, travel, visit their own parents, have a passport or get divorced with the consent of the man. Beatings or sexual violence by the man are expressly not grounds for divorce, but conversely, the man can expel his wife at any time. In court, statements made by a woman are only half as effective as those made by a man, and only half of the blood money is due for the injury or death of a woman under the so-called “right of retribution” . Iranian law provides for the death penalty for sexual intercourse outside of marriage, which puts victims of rape in a particularly precarious position. Men are allowed polygamy and temporary marriage ; the legal minimum age for girls is 13 years. These rules partly contradict the socially recognized values in today's Iran, so clergymen also live in monogamy .
Despite all this, it was no longer possible to ban women from the public after the Islamic revolution, because they had supported the Islamic revolution and were needed as workers in the Iran-Iraq war . A side effect of the strict public customs of the Islamic Republic is that conservative parents no longer have any reason to deny their daughters school and study. The level of education of Iranian women is therefore higher today than ever before, so that women in Iran can be found in almost all professions up to and including car racing ( Laleh Sadigh ) and higher education at universities. Secularly oriented women let their future husbands sign marriage contracts that give them all those rights that the law denies them. With the help of lawyers, they can enforce divorces by soliciting the dowry . A religious debate about equality for women has started since graduates from Islamic universities have also been practicing Koranic exegesis . Although Iranian criminal law threatens a violation of the obligation to wear a hijab with imprisonment, women defy Islamic dress codes by repeatedly testing the limits of what is permitted.
Ancient and Middle Ages
The present-day national territory of Iran includes the historical heartland of ancient Persia, which historically extended over a significantly larger area at times. Up until the 20th century, Iran was referred to as Persia in official international parlance around the world. Its geographical location between the Caucasus in the north, the Arabian Peninsula in the south, India and China in the east and Mesopotamia and Syria in the west made the country the scene of an eventful history.
In the Persian metropolitan area, Iran's history leads from the kingdom of the Elamites and the Medes to the Persian Empire of the Achaemenids ( Cyrus II the Great to Darius III ) and via Alexander the Great and the Diadochian Empire of the Seleucids to the Parthians and Sassanids .
Spread of Islam
The wars with Byzantium had weakened the Sassanid state militarily and financially to such an extent that internal unrest and vulnerability to external enemies were the result. The empire fell victim to an incursion by the nomadic inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, of whom there had already been very many before ( Islamic expansion ): In 637 the Persians lost the battle of Kadesia , shortly afterwards the capital Ctesiphon was lost. The Arabs, united and motivated by the new religion of Islam, conquered the entire Sassanid Empire in a short time, and the slow process of Islamization of Iran began . Although non-Muslims were allowed to practice their religion, they had to pay a tax and observe numerous prohibitions; there were still large Zoroastrian communities in the 13th century . Unprepared to rule such a large empire, the Arabs adopted the Sassanid government structures. In contrast to other areas conquered by the Arabs, the Persians succeeded in largely preserving their culture, making Persian one of the languages of Islam alongside Arabic, and making a decisive contribution to the development of Islam in cultural, political and intellectual areas.
Despite the important role the Iranians played in Islamic culture, they were initially disadvantaged as mawālī or even dhimmi . The fourth caliph Ali , who advocated the abolition of this disadvantage, therefore had a particularly large number of supporters among the Iranians. This was an important factor in the dispute over the legitimacy of the Islamic community's claim to leadership and its subsequent break-up into Sunni and Shi'aism . When the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown in 750 and the subsequent establishment of the Abbasid caliph dynasty in Baghdad, which was strongly based on the Sassanid model , Iranian rebels under General Abu Muslim played a decisive role in the fighting. After the power of the caliphs eroded in favor of the Turkish-born military, several regional dynasties actually ruled the country in the 9th and 10th centuries, including the Tahirids , the Saffarids and the Bujids , who acted as the protective power of the Abbassid caliph from 945. Among the Samanids , whose capital was in Bukhara , numerous Sassanid works were translated into Arabic, which accelerated the adoption of Iranian ideas into Islam. Under the Samanids, Islam also broke away from its Arab origins and began to become a cosmopolitan religion.
Turkish and Mongolian invasions
As early as the 9th and 10th centuries , Mamluks , known as Mamluks , were incorporated into the armies from the Turkic peoples of Central Asia . Beginning in the 11th century, nomads of the Turkic peoples immigrated and settled on the territory of today's Iran. They built short-lived empires based on the Iranian-Samanid model on their military base, and had themselves confirmed as Sunnis by the Abbassid caliph in Baghdad. These ruling houses include the Ghaznavids and the Seljuks . They promoted art, culture, medicine and science: the works of the great poets Omar Chayyām , Rumi and Ferdosi fall into this era. After the Seljuq dynasty had passed its zenith, the country split again into several local empires; there was severe internal Shiite fighting between the Ismailis and the Twelve Shiites .
In 1219 the Mongols invaded Iran under Genghis Khan , in whose army numerous Turks fought. The Mongols destroyed and plundered the Iranian cities, the population shrank dramatically, arable land and irrigation systems deteriorated and the central powers dissolved. From 1256 to 1335 Iran was part of the Ilkhan Empire . After the murder of the last Ilkhan, local empires were able to form again. A short time later, however, the Iranian highlands were again overrun from Central Asia, this time by the troops of Timur , who founded the Timurid dynasty in 1381, which ruled until 1507. Some areas never recovered from the devastation of the Mongol storm. The turmoil of the Mongolian and Timurid rule contributed to the emergence of popular Islam and the dervish culture.
After an interlude of the Turkmen tribes Qara Qoyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu , who were able to rule the entire Iranian territory for a time, the Safavids succeeded in reestablishing a stable state. They had their origins in a Turkmen dervish order, which had achieved great wealth and organized its followers militarily ( Kizilbasch ). In 1501 they introduced the Twelve Shia as the state religion; it has represented a unifying bond in the Iranian multi-ethnic state at least since the end of the Safavid period. The Safavid Empire was in constant conflict with the Ottoman Empire , which was at the zenith of its power in the 16th century. Today's Iraq, with its shrines that are sacred to the Shiites, left Iranian territory forever in the course of this conflict. During this time, diplomatic contacts with European countries and the beginning of sea trade with Europe in the Persian Gulf were intensified. The Safavids reached the height of power under Shah Abbas I , who replaced the Kizilbash associated with their respective tribe with an army loyal only to the Shah and made the city of Isfahan his splendid residence. Contributing to the downfall of the Safavids was the fact that the army devoured large resources, that Abbas I's successors were largely incapable and that the Sunni minority was persecuted. The Shiite scholars gained significantly in power under the declining Safavids and began to play an opposition role to the monarchy.
During the rule of the Safavids, the number of nomads increased further, so that the pressure on the settled peasants increased and the nomads armed themselves. This military power remained an important factor into the 20th century. The Safavid dynasty was eventually overthrown by an Afghan invasion. However, the Afghans were driven out by a nomad leader who was crowned Nadir Shah in 1736 , made extensive conquests, but was murdered in 1747. While southern Iran experienced calm and prosperity beneath the Zand , chaos reigned in the north.
The trunk of the Qajar was originally settled by Abbas I to border security purposes. They conquered Northern Iran, overthrew the Zand and in 1796 crowned Agha Mohamed as Shah; In contrast to their predecessor dynasty, however, the Qajars did not achieve religious legitimation of their power. They also missed the goal of expanding their empire to the borders of the Safavid Empire. The conflict with Russia and Great Britain began at the beginning of the Qajar era. By 1828 the Caucasus was lost to Russia and Russia was given a say in the Iranian succession to the throne. Great Britain achieved that large areas of eastern Iran became part of Afghanistan . In view of this threat situation, first attempts were made to reform the Iranian state and its military (defensive modernization) . These initiatives, which went back to ministers or princes, were unsuccessful due to a lack of money and opposition from conservative dignitaries or the Shah himself. After all, with Dar al-Fonun, the first higher educational institution was founded and textbooks were translated.
The Constitutional Revolution
The fact that the Shah's government was barely able to collect taxes opened the door for European states to exert economic influence. This was done primarily through the award of concessions, which foreigners left parts of the economy in return for paying small taxes, such as the establishment of the telegraph network, fishing rights, the operation of banks or oil explorations from the 1860s onwards . The climax of this development was reached with the tobacco monopoly for a British consortium, which led to a complete boycott of tobacco and the withdrawal of the concession - the first successful movement of traders, clergy and intellectuals against the rulers. In this environment, the clergy were able to distinguish themselves as defenders of national interests and, under the influence of intellectuals such as Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, developed a militant Islam. When the Shah wanted to make further concessions to Russia in view of the bankruptcy of the country in 1905, months of unrest and a constitutional revolution ensued, as a result of which Iran received its first parliament . It passed the first constitution on August 5, 1906 , which was extensively expanded in 1907. It provided for popular sovereignty , basic rights and a separation of powers based on the Western model, but also the compatibility of all laws with Sharia law and a supervisory body made up of five clergymen. This constitution remained in force on paper until 1979. Thus, the constitutional revolution ended the absolute monarchy in Iran.
The new form of government, the constitutional monarchy , initially only lasted 15 years, it tended more and more to chaos and disintegration and, overall, brought neither stability nor progress to the country. As early as 1908, Mohammed Ali Shah staged a coup and had parliament shot at; numerous MPs were arrested and some were executed. The year-long civil war led to Mohammad Ali's resignation. The successor to the throne was Ahmad Shah , who was initially represented by a regent . Russia and Great Britain had divided the country into zones of influence and forced the Shah to dismiss the American expert Morgan Shuster, who was employed to solve the chronic financial crisis . During the First World War , fierce battles between Russia, Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire were fought on Iranian territory, despite the declaration of neutrality. After the October Revolution, the Russian army withdrew. British plans to turn Iran into a British protectorate , however, failed. Towards the end of the Qajar dynasty, the power of the Shah was limited to the capital. The armed forces consisted only of a Cossack brigade , commanded by Russian officers, a paramilitary gendarmerie, and lightly armed nomad fighters. The state had no organization to enforce its power and was dependent on large landowners, tribal leaders and clergy. Between 1917 and 1921, two million people, a quarter of the rural population, died in Iran as a result of war and subsequent epidemics and famine.
Against the backdrop of the threat of state collapse , the Cossack brigade under Reza Khan launched a coup and forced Prime Minister Sepahdar to resign. Reza Khan was first commander-in-chief of the Cossack Brigade, then Minister of War under Seyyed Zia al Din Tabatabai and later Ahmad Qavām as Prime Minister. In this function he reformed the Iranian military and violently took action against several movements with tendencies towards secession, such as in Tabriz , Mashhad , the Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran of Mirza Kuchak Khan , the Bakhtiars and Kashgai . Strengthened by these successes, Reza Khan became Prime Minister in 1923. Efforts to make a republic with Reza Khan as the first president in analogy to the proclamation of the Turkish republic from Iran failed because of the resistance of the clergy. Finally, at the end of 1925, parliament deposed the last Qajar Shah and declared Reza Khan to be Reza Shah Pahlavi. He crowned himself in April 1926.
Reza Shah was a staunch leader and the first in a long time to tackle real reform. A modern education system was introduced and the judicial system was reformed. The jurisdiction of foreign powers over their citizens in Iran has been abolished. A state tea and sugar monopoly was created; with the proceeds from it the Trans-Iranian Railway was built; roads and other railway lines also emerged. The foreign banks were nationalized and new banks were founded. The situation of women has improved; Western clothing was prescribed for all men, with the exception of the clergy, and women were forbidden to wear the veil. In 1925, general conscription was introduced and sometimes enforced by force, thus, against the resistance of the clergy and landowners, all young men in the country were torn from their traditional careers and went through a nationalist-secular training. The law on identity and personal status obliged all Iranians to use a surname, to be registered with the newly created registration authorities and to carry an identity card with them; the Qajar titles were deleted without replacement. These two measures created the basis for the implementation of a central state at the expense of the local rulers. Reza Shah also began the policy of turning to pre-Islamic Iran, using the crown , cloak and banner based on the old Iranian model, introducing the Iranian calendar and demanding from abroad from 1935 - not entirely uninfluenced by National Socialist Germany , with which the Shah maintained good relations to name the country of Iran ("Land of the Aryans") and no longer Persia . Reza Shah, however, ruled dictatorially and only kept parliament to give his rule the appearance of legitimacy and constitutionality. He personally appropriated huge estates, arranged for the bloody sedentarism of the nomads, eliminated critics and, in the later course of his rule, also comrades-in-arms.
Although Reza Shah owed his rise largely to British influence, he did everything in his power to curtail Britain's influence on events in Iran. His attempt to position the USA as a counterweight to Great Britain and the Soviet Union failed. Germany, ruled by the National Socialists at the time, gladly took on this role and subsequently became Iran's most important partner. After the outbreak of World War II, Great Britain demanded entry into the war on the side of the Allies and the expulsion of the numerous German advisors, which Reza Shah only agreed to after a long period of hesitation. The Iranian government declared Iran neutral and demanded that Great Britain and the Soviet Union respect this decision. In order to secure access to the oil reserves and the supply of military material to the Soviet Union via the Trans-Iranian Railway, British and Soviet troops marched into Iran on August 25, 1941 without a declaration of war (see: Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran ). The resistance of the Iranian army collapsed after 48 hours. Reza Shah was forced to abdicate. There was no public outcry; his then 22-year-old son succeeded him on the throne.
The decade that immediately followed these events is known in Iran as the Constitutional Rebirth . Freedom of expression, freedom of the press and pluralism prevailed like never before in this country. Two important developments occurred during this period. Contrary to its promises, the Soviet Union had left its troops in northwestern Iran and supported the pro-communist governments in Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan during the Iran crisis . Only after American pressure did the Soviet Union agree to withdraw and the Iranian army was able to smash the two secessionist states. The second development was the nationalization of the oil industry, which has been called for since 1941 and passed by parliament in 1951. The British government, which needed the revenues of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company , subsequently organized a boycott of Iranian oil, which led to the Abadan crisis and brought the Iranian state to the brink of bankruptcy. The still popular Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh , who is most identified with nationalization, tried at the same time to curtail the Shah's powers. In 1953, tensions peaked and the Shah fled the country. Mohammad Mossadegh was overthrown a little later with Operation Ajax with the help of the CIA , and Shah Mohammed Reza subsequently established an autocracy with the support of the USA.
Monarchist forces led by General Fazlollah Zahedi arrested Mossadegh. The Shah returned to Iran. The then government, with Zahedi as prime minister, began new negotiations with an international consortium of oil companies. The negotiations lasted for several years. In the end there was an agreement that would last until the first oil crisis .
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1941–1979) initiated extensive economic, political and social reforms from 1963 with the “ White Revolution ”. With the rising oil revenues, an industrialization program could be launched that turned Iran from a developing country to an up-and-coming industrial country in just a few years. Active and passive women's suffrage was introduced in September 1963. Industrialization and social modernization led from the beginning to tensions with the conservative sections of the Shiite clergy. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in particular spoke out against the reform program as early as 1963. In addition to the Islamic opposition, the Fedayeen-e Islam , a left guerrilla movement was formed in Iran that wanted to change the country with "armed struggle". The political liberalization that followed in 1977 enabled the opposition to organize. There were violent demonstrations, murder and arson attacks that shook the country to its foundations. After the Guadeloupe Conference in January 1979, at which French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing , President Jimmy Carter from the United States, Prime Minister James Callaghan from the United Kingdom and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt all decided to stop supporting the Shah and that Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran to seek conversation with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Islamic revolution had begun.
Islamic Revolution and Republic
On February 1, 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile in France; this day has since been celebrated as a national day of remembrance, called Fajr ( dawn ) . He quickly established himself as the highest political authority and began to form an "Islamic Republic" out of the former constitutional monarchy, among other things through the successive and violent elimination of all other revolutionary groups. His policy was shaped by an anti-Western line and did not shy away from terror and mass executions . This led to a break with numerous former supporters - such as his designated successor, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri .
From 1980 to 1988, Iran was in the First Gulf War after Iraq attacked. Iran's ongoing international isolation eased for a time at the end of the 1990s. With Mohammad Chātami's surprising victory in the 1997 presidential election , the political movement of Islamic reformers established itself in the Iranian parliament. Thus, at the beginning of his term in office, Chātami succeeded in pushing through a liberalization of the national press. This gave the voices critical of the system a public organ to emphasize their will to reform.
The rise of freedom of the press did not last very long. The Guardian Council revoked the laws with reference to the incompatibility with Islam and from then on blocked almost all reform attempts by Parliament. Since then, the reformers have been confronted with a major loss of confidence in the population groups willing to reform. The disappointment over the powerlessness of the parliament led to a very low turnout in the local elections in 2003 (national average 36%, in Tehran 25%) and to a clear victory for the conservative forces.
The presidential election on June 17, 2005 marked a turning point, especially since Chātami was not allowed to run again after two terms. The election of the conservative Mahmud Ahmadineschād as president and his confrontational foreign and repressive domestic policy increased international isolation again. In particular, his re-election in 2009, which was accompanied by numerous allegations of manipulation, led to massive protests in the country, which continued to increase, especially towards the end of 2009, despite the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrations. In the process, Ahmadinejad , who appears close to the people and distributes subsidies , was also in conflict with even more radical, radical-orthodox religious groups around the influential eschatological clergy Jannati , Yazdi and Ahmad Chatami , who succeeded several times - also with the help of Parliament - as ministers and confidants of Ahmadinejad to force resignation. Other ministers remained in office against the will of the president with the support of radical Orthodox circles, but were unable to dismiss their state secretaries, supported by Ahmadinejad. The clergy accused Ahmadinejad of pursuing a national Islamic course instead of an Islamic course. Students of these Orthodox clergymen ( Haghani school in Qom ) hold numerous key positions in the Iranian military and secret service.
The result of the conflicts were threats against Ahmadine Shad and the radicalization of the judiciary, executive and legislative branches. They asked members of parliament in 2011 the death of the system also true, defeated in the presidential elections in 2009. Opposition candidates Mousavi and Karroubi , both of which were put together with their wives under officially unacknowledged and illegal house arrest, which was most severely criticized. Former President Rafsanjani , loyal to the system , lost his influential position as chairman of the Expert Council to an aged Haghani representative . The confidants and children of the billionaire , formerly known as the " Richelieu of the Iranian Revolution", became the object of bullying, violent Basij-e Mostaz'afin riots on the street.
Another result of this radicalization was increasing international economic and political isolation , as a result of which private assets were frozen and travel bans and further sanctions against numerous high-ranking Iranian military, police, judges and prosecutors, among others. were imposed by the European Community in April 2011.
On April 11, 2013, Hassan Rouhani , who by Iranian standards is moderate and politically close to former President Rafsanjani, announced his candidacy for the June 2013 presidential election . He stated inter alia. the intention to introduce a civil rights charter, to rebuild the economy and to improve cooperation with the world community, in particular to overcome the isolation of Iran and the sanctions that led to a devastating economic crisis due to the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program . During the election campaign, Rouhani vigorously defended his approach as chief negotiator and insisted in a TV interview that the nuclear program had never been halted even under his leadership of the negotiations, and that the Iranian nuclear program had been successfully expanded. "Prudence and hope" is the motto of the government he wants to form. According to preliminary information from the Interior Ministry, Rouhani won the election in the first round with 18,613,329 votes (50.71%).
Shortly before a visit by Rouhani to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2013, he and the supreme religious and political leader Ali Khamenei announced that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard , which is closely linked to Ahmadinejad, should stay out of politics in the future. In addition, around a dozen political prisoners were released early on September 18, 2013, including the human rights activist Nasrin Sotudeh . Some observers saw this as Rouhani's first attempt to implement his election promise to allow more political freedoms in Iran in the future, but at the same time as a signal that Iran is hoping to ease relations with Western countries. Indeed, Rouhani managed to open direct talks between the United States and Iran over the nuclear dispute. Others, like Human Rights Watch , welcomed the releases, but saw them as little more than a symbolic gesture, given that hundreds of political prisoners were still in Iranian prisons. The regime must also ensure that those released are not again targeted by the security forces and the judiciary. The Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Amnesty International also sharply criticized Rouhani's human rights record and the sharp rise in the number of executions.
Although Rouhani did not display the excessive anti-Israel rhetoric of his predecessor, he did not change the content. On the occasion of al-Quds Day in 2014, he declared that there could be no diplomatic way out for the Palestinians, but only one of resistance: “What the Zionists are doing in Gaza ( Operation Protective Edge ) is inhuman genocide , so the Islamic one must World today unanimously declare their hatred and resistance to Israel. ”In addition, at a panel discussion at the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum , he denied the WEF founder Klaus Schwab's question whether he was also seeking friendly relations with Israel, which the Islamic Republic of Iran has not so far was recognized. His emphasis on the peaceful use of nuclear power and his offer to mediate in the Syrian civil war , in which Iran is involved on the side of Bashar al-Assad , also attracted international attention in mid-September 2013. Critical voices noted that Rouhani was pretending "as if he were a neutral observer", even though Iran has long been a party to the war.
With the conclusion of the treaty on the Iranian nuclear program on July 14, 2015 with the UN veto powers and Germany, the Iranian leadership achieved the exit of Iran from its international isolation and with the Vienna Agreement on January 16, 2016 the lifting of international sanctions. Both Iran and Western business representatives expected this to give their countries a significant boost in growth.
In the presidential election on May 19, 2017 , Rouhani was re-elected.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump canceled the nuclear deal with Iran and announced new sanctions. The move has been criticized by the EU, Russia and China. In response, Iran gradually withdrew from the agreement and resumed uranium enrichment in 2019.
In a two-week unrest in November 2019 (the most violent riots since 1979) over a drastic increase in gasoline prices, around 1,500 people were killed, according to insiders at the Iranian Interior Ministry, as the state violently suppressed the protests. Amnesty International previously reported several hundred deaths from the protests. The Iranian government rejected Amnesty's statements as baseless claims. During the rioting, the country's internet was at least partially blocked for a few days by order of the state in order to prevent the dissemination of information about the protests.
As a result of the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani in Iraq by US forces at the beginning of 2020, there was a multi-day state mourning and several funeral marches with up to more than a million participants. There was a mass panic during a funeral procession in Kerman with around 40 dead and several hundred injured.
The Iranian state in its present form is unique in the world and can not be classified into any of the common categories by comparative political science . It contains elements of theocratic , totalitarian , post- totalitarian and authoritarian , but also democratic systems.
The current form of government in Iran is largely based on Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Motahhari and is based on the Islamic principle of belief that human will is dependent on God's will and that true freedom lies in obedience to God and his divine law. The universal validity assigned to this principle is transferred accordingly to the developed state philosophy: the happiness of peoples and societies can only be achieved by following these divine laws, which are equally valid for all countries .
Since in the eyes of Khomeini only God has the authority to legislate, he strictly rejected a legislative parliament based on the Western model. Man should not falsify God's laws, resistance to or criticism of these laws is blasphemy . As a consequence, he propagated a programming parliament . In Khomeini's state, the executive of divinely given laws is incumbent on the legitimate leader of the Muslim community, according to the Shiite creed, that is, the prophet and the rightly guided imams . In the absence of the twelfth imam , who has been raptured from the world and whose return the Shiites believe, a profound expert on divine law, i.e. a Shiite legal scholar, is supposed to act as the imam's representative. This system, which Khomeini called the governorship of legal scholars , gives the supreme legal scholar at the head of the state divine legitimacy and thus obliges the subjects of the state to obey.
The highest and most powerful office in today's Iranian state is the religious leader , who is synonymous in German as the supreme or ruling legal scholar, spiritual leader or religious leader; in Persian the term Rahbar is common. According to Article 5 of the Constitution, he rules as the representative of the expected Imam Muhammad al-Mahdī ; With this religious legitimation he has almost unlimited power: he defines the politics of the state (as the state of God ) and monitors its implementation, he is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and as such declares war and peace, he appoints the president elected by the people and can subordinate him remove certain circumstances. Last but not least, he appoints the chief judge, the chief public prosecutor and the commander-in-chief of the security and law enforcement forces . The religious leader is not appointed by the people, but by the council of experts for an indefinite period of time and can theoretically also be removed from office by them. So far there have only been two incumbents: Ali Khamenei succeeded Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini in 1989 .
The second highest office is the President . He is the head of the executive and appoints the members of the government, who must, however, be approved by parliament . The President directs the work of the government, coordinates the decisions of the ministers and is responsible for them to parliament and the religious leader. However, all questions that directly concern the Islamic leadership are matters of the religious leader; this regulation can be used to curtail the powers of the President at will in favor of the religious leader. The president is elected in general elections for a four-year term and can only be re-elected once. The current incumbent has been Hassan Rohani since 2013 . The office of Prime Minister was abolished as part of the 1989 constitutional amendment.
The Guardian Council is a very powerful twelve-member body, six of whom are appointed by the religious leader and another six are proposed by the head of the judiciary and elected by parliament. Its task is to check every law for conformity with Islam and, if necessary, to reject it. In addition, the Guardian Council has the authority to interpret the constitution and examines every candidate for parliamentary, presidential or expert council elections for their suitability. Candidates who are not admitted by the Guardian Council are automatically excluded from the elections. Thus the Guardian Council has direct influence on the legislation and the outcome of the elections; its role is a constant point of contention between conservative and reformist forces in the country. The Expert Council is a body of 86 clergymen, some of whom are permanent members and some of whom are directly elected by the people for 8 years. Its job is to elect the religious leader; otherwise it meets to deliberate on legislative proposals by parliament that violate the constitution.
The Arbitration Council , also known as the Establishment Council, is a body in which representatives of the Guardian Council, the executive, judiciary and legislative branches as well as other members directly appointed by the religious leader sit. His task is to advise the religious leader on the one hand, and on the other hand he mediates between parliament and the guardian council if the guardian council considers a legislative proposal to be violating Islam or the constitution and the parliament cannot change the proposal.
In the Islamic Consultative Assembly , the parliament of Iran known as the Majles, factual issues are discussed, budgets are drawn up and passed, government reports are examined, legislative proposals are drafted, referendums are passed and investigations are carried out. The parliament has 290 members who are elected every four years in a general election. Candidates for parliamentary elections must be approved by the Guardian Council.
Thus there can be no talk of a separation of powers; Article 57 of the Iranian Constitution provides that the legislative, executive and judicial branches are subordinate to the religious leader, whose opinion is decisive in all matters. The fact that the religious leader directly and indirectly appoints the council of guards via the chairman of the judiciary appointed by him, the council of guards admits the candidates for the council of experts, and the council of experts in turn elects the religious leader, creates a circle of power that takes place within the clergy and that of the Rest of society is decoupled.
Unlike in most countries, there are no parties in Iran that have existed for a long time and represent political positions. However, there are various camps or currents that are constantly engaged in intense power struggles. The boundaries between these informal camps are blurred. Not every political actor can be precisely assigned to one of these camps. Politicians also frequently change camps. Observers usually differentiate between four major camps:
- The conservative camp stands for rule by the clergy , the preservation of the achievements of the revolution, economic self-sufficiency and the emphasis on Islamic values and the Islamic lifestyle. This camp includes numerous high-ranking clerics such as Ayatollah Mahdavi-Kani , Makarem-Schirazi or the deceased Abbas Vaez-Tabasi and Ali Meschkini as well as representatives of the traditional economy of Iran ( Bazaris ). It controls the Guardian Council , the Expert Council and the Friday prayers . The religious leader is also close to him and usually fills posts with candidates from this camp. Its candidates are chosen from the lower middle class, the lower clergy and the bazaar merchants.
- The reform-oriented camp advocates more personal freedoms, the compatibility of democracy and Islam, a more liberal cultural policy and opening up to foreign countries within the framework of the dialogue between civilizations. It is supported by the urban middle class and achieved a majority in parliament and the presidency in the 1990s ; however, his efforts are regularly blocked by the conservative camp, especially the religious leader. It has lost influence since the protests following the 2009 general election . At its center is the former President Mohammad Chātami . Despite its efforts to reform, it is seen as a stabilizing factor for the regime because it acts as a legal reservoir for opponents of the regime, especially the youth.
- The pragmatic camp stands for a liberal economic policy and an opening towards the west. This camp includes representatives from the private sector, capital and the oil industry. While it is close to the reformers on economic issues, it takes conservative positions on cultural and social issues. The most important representative of this camp was the late Akbar Hāschemi Rafsanjāni .
- The principalist camp stands for absolute adherence to the principle of Welāyat-e Faqih . It represents populist positions such as justice, the rights of the poor and the rural population, and a new nationalism. This camp includes numerous politicians from the generation that fought in the Iraq-Iran war such as the former President Mahmoud Ahmadineschād or actors such as Ali Larijani and Said Jalili , but also fundamentalists such as Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi . It gave the Revolutionary Guards great economic and political influence. It is skeptical about western countries. Their candidates are elected by the urban and rural poor.
These political camps represent very different views and goals within the system-loyal spectrum, which leads to high voter turnouts in elections. However, players outside this system-based range end up being politically sidelined, especially for numerous reform-minded politicians after the protests of 2009 . The tendency that a growing segment of society, especially the youth, does not feel represented by anyone within the loyal forces is a potential source of instability.
The Iranian unicameral parliament ( Islamic Consultative Council ; Persian Majles-e Schora-ye Eslami ) consists of 290 members who are elected in general, direct and secret elections for a 4-year term. Because of the election of the Guardian Council, the parliament (except from 2000 to 2003) is dominated by the Islamic conservative forces. In parliamentary elections, people are not elected, only parties. The requirements for election to parliament are: 30 to 75 years of age, belief and active commitment to Islam (members of religious minorities are required to profess their religion), to the constitution and to the principle of Velayat-e Faqih (governor of the Legal scholars), suitable physical constitution and an academic degree equivalent to a master’s degree, alternatively a bachelor’s degree plus professional and academic practice. Exclusion criteria for candidacy are: active role in the pre-Islamic system, large landowners, membership in illegal groups, convictions for subversive activities, drug addiction or drug trafficking, people who have been convicted under religious law (unless they have repented) and known for debauchery People. The religious minorities can send the following number of members of parliament: Zoroastrians and Jews one member each, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians together one member and Armenian Christians one member each from the north and south of the country. Sane citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote. Parliament, like the government, has the right of legislative initiative. The president must obtain a vote of confidence in his cabinet before taking any action. The sessions of the Iranian parliament are public, except in an emergency.
With the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Islamic law, the Sharia , was introduced as the legal basis. Since the Sharia has never been codified in Islamic countries, the administration of justice and the further development of jurisprudence is incumbent on a kind of case law system based on the Iranian penal code and Iranian family law. In terms of the separation of powers, the work of the first Supreme Magistrate after the revolution, Chalkali , had a very negative impact. To date there is no separation of powers in Iran, the religious leader has far-reaching powers. Minister of Justice of Iran has been the conservative cleric Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi since 2013 , who succeeded Sadegh Larijani .
Processes and procedures
Amnesty International continues to criticize the Iranian courts or special courts for failing to comply with international fair trial standards. Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners are common. In 2006, the Canadian government's request to Germany to arrest the Iranian Attorney General Said Mortasawi at the airport on his return flight from Geneva because he was accused of being directly involved in the murder of the Iranian-born Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi caused a stir .
Kazemi had died in Tehran's Evin prison during interrogation with Mortasawi, among others. Said Mortasawi was the Iranian representative at the UN Human Rights Council, which met in Geneva . Together with the head of the Iranian judicial apparatus - Mahmud Haschemi Schahrudi - and the security chief of Evin prison, Mohammed Bachschi , Mortasawi is considered to be responsible for obstructing free reporting in Iran and for massive human rights violations and torture in Tehran's Evin prison, which is already closed Times of the overthrown Shah government as a torture prison.
The Evin prison is considered next to the Ghasar Prison and Towhid prison since the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi , but even after his overthrow under the leadership of Khomeini and Chamene'is as a torture prison . According to former inmate Marina Nemat , who was incarcerated in Evin Prison for over two years, none of her cellmates in wing 246 survived. According to Nemat, the wing in which 50 people were held during the Shah's time was occupied by 650 women during their imprisonment. In Kahrizak detention center -Gefängnis south of Tehran 2009, three people died during the election unrest. After Mohsen Rouhalamini, who is also said to have been detained there, also the son of a prominent conservative was killed, conservative politicians protested. As a result, the head of state Khamenei had the prison closed. Two prison guards at Kahrisak Prison were later sentenced to death, and a total of 12 officers came to court after brutal abuse during the protests against the presidential elections, nine of whom were sentenced to imprisonment and flogging. In its report at the beginning of 2010, a parliamentary committee made the then General Prosecutor of Tehran, Said Mortasawi , responsible for the incidents.
In general, opposition groups repeatedly refer to the inhumane conditions in Iranian prisons. This also applies to the Vakilabad detention center in the northeastern city of Mashhad . Mass executions had taken place in the prison; the conditions of detention - including severe torture - were described in a report by the UN Secretary-General on March 14, 2011. Group executions have also occurred in the Birdschand and Taibad prisons . Human rights activists in Mashhad accused investigators of physical abuse and severe torture in detention centers in order to extract confessions from detainees, which are often the only proof of guilt when they are convicted.
After a brief period of declining execution numbers, Iran has been the country with the most executions in terms of population for several years (as of 2017). In absolute terms, it now ranks second after China . Especially in the years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 , the number of executions today was in some cases far exceeded. Several thousand political prisoners were executed in mass executions, mostly without a fair trial and sometimes despite being sentenced to imprisonment. In the 1985 annual report, Amnesty International mentions a total of 6,108 executions between February 1979 and the end of 1984. In a report from 1990, Amnesty International found thousands of executions after often arbitrary detention between 1987 and 1990. Between July 1988 and January 1989 alone , over 2000 political prisoners were many of them arrested and executed for nonviolent activities. Amnesty International regularly advises that the figures given in the annual reports are to be understood as the lower limit. In particular, the executions of political prisoners are often kept secret and are therefore difficult to comprehend in their entirety. Even today there are repeated group and mass executions, a process based on the rule of law is not guaranteed. In particular, in Iran "confessions" leading to condemnation are partly obtained through torture .
The death penalty can be imposed in Iran for murder , various drug offenses , " political offenses ", prostitution , adultery and "violations of morality" as well as blasphemy . The death penalty is also possible and carried out for apostasy (apostasy from Islam). In 2011, the most common death penalty (81%) was for drug trafficking, blasphemy (4.3%) and rape (4.1%). It is hanging available as a means of execution, 53 of the 753 convicts were executed in public, 2014. Shooting , beheading , stoning and (theoretically) crucifixion are possible according to the Iranian penal code; Other than the death penalty, penalties such as limb amputation, corporal punishment and eye gouging continue to be imposed.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) notes that most death sentences have been passed and carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Court since 1979 , 64% of executions in 2016 and more than 3,200 executions since 2010. The procedures there are less transparent than in public courts and abuse of office by the judges of the Revolutionary Court is widespread. Proceedings in these courts often take less than 15 minutes, there are no rights to self-chosen lawyers, and convictions are regularly based on confessions obtained through torture.
Young people under the age of 18 are also sentenced to death and executed in Iran, even though Iran has signed the UN civil pact , which forbids this. In some cases, the enforcement of the judgment is postponed until reaching the age of majority. In addition, over 4,000 homosexual men have been publicly executed since the Islamic Revolution .
Only rarely are executions stopped or postponed due to international pressure. Foreigners are also executed, especially because Iran does not recognize dual citizenships and thus prevents consular assistance. For example, Sahra Bahrami , a Dutch woman from Iran, was hanged in January 2011. As early as 2010, the then Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Ghaschghavi declared that the Islamic system will continue to practice executions:
“We live in an Islamic country and we act according to the rules of the Koran. Even if we have to execute a hundred thousand people, we will continue to enforce these rules. "
The annual development of the number of executed death sentences in the Islamic Republic of Iran is determined as follows by the United Nations (for the period from 2004 to the end of 2015) and, with only a slight deviation, by Amnesty International (between 1979 and 2016) and the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC , from 2011 to 2015) - a high number of unreported cases is consistently assumed:
Number of executions per year:
- 1. 1979 to 2003: Amnesty International Annual Reports Iran (no report exists for 1998, 1979 figure is based on estimates)
- 2. 2004 to 2014: Iran Human Rights (IHR), March 2016
- 3. 2014 to 2019: UN report on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran
After 94 people, including eight minors, were executed in Iran in 2005, according to Amnesty International, the numbers rose significantly in the following years to well over 600 people in some cases. Around 400 people were executed in 2009 . 112 death sentences were carried out between the controversial presidential election on June 12 and the second inauguration of President Mahmoud Ahmadineschād on August 5. In 2011, Amnesty International accused the Iranian leadership of executing more than two people a day at the beginning of the year and spoke of a killing frenzy. The European Council names a large number of judges and appellate judges - inter alia. of the Revolutionary Courts in Tehran (Sections 15, 26 and 28) and Mashhad - on sanctions lists and accuses them of summary death sentences en masse without a fair hearing process. Several public prosecutors and attorneys general are also named responsible and sanctioned, among others. Ghorbanali Dorri- Nadschafabadi , Gholamhossein Mohseni-Esche'i and Said Mortasawi .
After Hassan Rouhani's inauguration on June 14, 2013, the number of executions rose again significantly. A total of 852 people are known to have been executed between July 2013 and June 2014. In January 2014 alone, over 70 people were executed in Iran, including the poet Hashem Schaabani . With 33 killings in the second week of January alone, more death sentences were carried out than in all of January of the previous year. The wave of executions continued in February. The IHRDC figures, which were slightly below those of the UN, recorded a total of 721 executions in 2014, of which only 268 were officially announced; the March 2015 UN report said at least 753 people were executed in 2014, 53 of whom were publicly killed and nearly half (362 executions) involved drug-related crime internationally classified as minor and not eligible for the death penalty. In particular, the execution of the death sentence against 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari caused international outrage. In 2015, the year the international isolation ended, the number of executions rose to the highest level since 1989, with around three deaths per day; a total of 969 people were executed. In 2016, Iran continued to execute more people than any other country in the Middle East (66%), despite a significant drop to 567 executions. As the only state besides North Korea, Iran also organized at least 33 public executions. In 2017, 507 executions were carried out, compared with 253 in 2018.
Execution of minors
According to Sharia , boys from 15 years of age and girls from nine years of age are of legal age and fully criminally responsible . The minimum age at marriage and thus also the criminal liability was set in Iran in May 2002 by the “Council for the Establishment of the Interests of the State” (an arbitration council ) for girls at 13 and for boys at 15 years. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International repeatedly accuse Iran of being one of the last states to condemn and execute minors to death at the time of the crime. For example, in a 2006 report, Amnesty International found that at least three execution victims were minors at the time of the alleged crime and one further on the day of execution. In 2007, with a massive increase in the number of executions, at least seven minors were executed at the time of the crime. In addition, at least 75 underage offenders were still on death row. In the years that followed, juvenile offenders were regularly executed: eight in 2008, five in 2009, one in 2010, and three to seven in 2011. The reports from 2013 and 2015 also mention around 100 juvenile offenders on death row awaiting execution. According to the UN report on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran from March 2015, at least 13 young people were executed in 2014. In 2016, according to Amnesty International, at least two people who were minors at the time of arrest were executed.
The death sentences are often the result of hasty trials and even contradict the criminal procedural rules of Sharia law. In the city of Neka, for example, a sixteen-year-old girl was convicted by the judge Hajji Radschai for allegedly unchaste behavior and, after confirmation from Tehran, was executed, even though the execution, in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed by Iran, was an act contrary to international law represents. In 2007, Westdeutsche Rundfunk named six other minors who are threatened with a death sentence for the same offense. The Wiener Zeitung accused the electoral president of Iran - Mahmud Ahmadineschād - of using the execution of Delara Darabi , who was 17 at the time of the crime, as an electoral tool in 2009. Their execution was also illegal under Iranian and Islamic law.
|Name of the index||Index value||Worldwide rank||Interpretation aid||year|
|Fragile States Index||83.4 out of 120||44 of 178||Stability of the country: big warning
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
|Democracy index||2.2 out of 10||152 of 167||Authoritarian regime
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
|Freedom in the World Index||17 out of 100||-||Freedom status: unfree
0 = unfree / 100 = free
|Freedom of the press ranking||72.7 out of 100||174 of 180||Very serious situation for freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
|Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)||25 out of 100||149 of 180||0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean||2020|
Freedom House rated Iran's political system as “not free” in 2012, with major flaws in the areas of political rights, civil rights and a general downward trend. Former defense minister Ahmad Vahidi is wanted by the Argentine judiciary and Interpol for murder, as is former secret service minister Ali Fallahian .
After the Islamic Revolution, a series of murders began against dissidents and opposition politicians abroad who had been declared enemies of God . This series peaked between 1989 and 1996 and claimed more than 160 victims. The victims include the Shah's nephew, Shariar Shafiq (murdered 1979 in Paris), Ali Akbar Tabatabai (murdered 1980 in Bethesda ), General Gholam Ali Oveisi (murdered 1984 in Paris), the deserted pilot of the Iranian Air Force Ahmed Moradi-Talebi ( murdered 1987 in Geneva), the chairman of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan-Iran Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou (murdered 1989 in Vienna), the human rights activist Kazem Rajavi (murdered 1990 in Geneva) the former Prime Minister of Iran Shapur Bakhtiar (murdered 1991 near Paris) or four Kurdish people Politician in the 1992 attack on Mykonos in Berlin. The assassination of Salman Rushdie , for which a reward of up to 2.6 million US dollars was promised based on the book The Satanic Verses in 1989 , did not succeed. However , the death sentence pronounced by Khomeini has been confirmed several times and has not been revoked to this day (as of 2016). Most recently, in February 2016, on the occasion of the fatwa anniversary, the declared bounty of forty Iranian state media was increased by a total of 600,000 dollars. Only in the cases of Mykonos and Salman Rushdie were convictions in the western states concerned, which then also established the responsibility of the highest management level in Iran. In most cases, out of consideration for trade relations and out of fear of retaliation, those responsible were not prosecuted.
After years of massive repression by the new rulers, the election of Mohammad Chātami in 1997 gave many grounds for hope that the human rights situation would improve. As a result, various non-governmental organizations were also able to be founded. The efforts finally received international attention when the Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 . Opposition groups, however, criticized the widespread perception of Chātami as a reformer and pointed out, on the occasion of the declining international isolation of Iran, that “the real reformers in Iran are still in prison”, the opposition in Iran and abroad are persecuted and the human rights violations persist . Even Amnesty International reported on ongoing massive human rights violations in large numbers, including 73 dead and hundreds injured in attacks by police and security forces at three public rallies in of 2005.
In the following years, however, the human rights situation in Iran deteriorated again significantly. Political and everyday repression, as well as the number of executions, increased again under Mahmoud Ahmadineschād and culminated in the violent crackdown on the protests after the Iranian presidential elections in 2009 . A report by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN), which was called upon by the UN Security Council to investigate the human rights situation in Iran, spoke at the end of March 2011 of unchanged and numerous violations of fundamental human rights in Iran. In particular, there was a growing number of executions, amputations, arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and opposition activists. The government of Iran was then requested by the UN Security Council to review national legislation, in particular the catalog of criminal law and the law on minors, in order to bring it into line with international law. Furthermore, Iran should refrain from the death penalty and other forms of punishment insofar as they contradict international law.
The hopes linked to the election of Hassan Rouhani in 2013 that the domestic political situation would ease, the release of the many political prisoners imprisoned since 2009 and greater political and everyday freedoms were quickly dashed after some symbolic gestures criticized as being directed at the West . Among other things, Rouhani nominated the conservative cleric Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi as Minister of Justice in August 2013 .
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi sharply criticized Rouhani's human rights record and accused the government of lying about the release of political prisoners. None of their expectations are met. According to Ebadi, Rohani may have “the reputation of a moderate reformer”, but so far has been sending the “wrong signals” with regard to human rights. Ebadi and Amnesty International also point to the sharp rise in the number of executions to a record level since Rouhani took office.
According to Articles 13 and 14 of the Iranian Constitution, the Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian religious communities are recognized as “official religious minorities” that are protected by human rights. To protect the Jewish minority, Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1979. Representatives of the Jewish minority have sat in the Iranian parliament since 1905. However, the number of Jewish Iranians has decreased from 80,000-60,000 to an estimated 35,000-20,000 since the revolution. But religious minorities in Iran have also been disadvantaged since the revolution. This is shown in particular by the persecution of the Baha'i , who make up the largest religious minority and are considered apostates . The Baha'i are stylized by the government as archenemies of Shia and national pride and repeatedly serve as scapegoats, which are instrumentalized in order to gain the emotional support of the masses. The persecution of the Sufi (Islamic mystics) is also tolerated or supported by the government.
Furthermore, uprisings by the Kurds are answered with massive military sanctions, in which numerous civilians were killed.
Ahwazi , Azerbaijanis , Baluch , Kurds and Turkmen are discriminated against in Iran. The use of the respective mother tongue in government institutions is prohibited. Access to education and the labor market is severely restricted compared to Persians.
Members of various opposition political groups, including the Left People's Mujahedin , are threatened with death sentences and torture. Human rights organizations refer to hundreds of political prisoners in Iranian prisons, including human rights activists, internet activists, journalists, feminists and members of religious and ethnic minorities. According to the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) , at least 827 people were in prison for exercising basic human rights at the beginning of 2016. Nonviolent political demands, including the demand made by the late Khomeini antipode Hossein Borudscherdi for traditional Shiite separation of state and religion and for the separation of powers , are answered with imprisonment and torture, as in the case of the internationally known Hossein Kazemeyni Borudscherdi . After the violent suppression of the protests following the Iranian presidential election in 2009 - the largest mass protests since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 - there was intensified persecution of opposition members, especially by the ubiquitous Islamic Basiji militia, which forms part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard . The presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi , who were considered moderate at the time, and their wives are still under house arrest to this day (as of February 2016) .
Foreign citizens were arrested several times in Iran and sentenced in show trials in order to then use these hostages as a means of political pressure against foreign states. According to those who were later released (e.g. in the context of prisoner exchanges ), the confessions and interrogations of the detainees took place using torture, among other things. The conditions of detention themselves amount to abuse .
freedom of speech
Freedom of information and speech are not given in Iran. Journalists , webloggers , human rights activists and opposition activists face repression, arrest, torture and even the death penalty. In the summer of 2007, the conditions for freedom of the press deteriorated significantly. Newspapers were banned and journalists were arrested. For example, the reform-minded magazine was Sharq for an interview with the living in Canada in exile lesbian writer Saghi Qahraman prohibited. Observers saw a direct connection with the poor poll results for the then incumbent President Ahmadinejad . However, under President Hassan Rouhani , who has been in office since August 2013 , the situation worsened dramatically with a “downright hunt for bloggers and internet activists”.
According to Iranian jurisprudence, homosexuality contradicts Islam. For “sexual act between men, either by penetration or in the form of tafkhiz [تفخيذ] (rubbing thigh and penis)”, the death penalty applies, often in connection with a public flogging. In July 2005, the public flogging (228 lashes) and execution of two youths for homosexual acts caused a sensation worldwide, also because it was suspected that the official reason for the execution, the rape of a thirteen-year-old, had only been added by the authorities afterwards.
Other homosexual acts are also punished. For example, Iranian law provides for up to 60 lashes for “kissing out of lust”. Due to a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini , unlike in other Islamic countries, gender reassignment measures and the subsequent change of legal gender are permitted in Iran.
Until 1979, Iran was the most important ally of the western world in the Persian Gulf. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has pursued a complex and sometimes contradicting foreign policy that tries to unite Islam, anti-imperialism and the leadership of the Third World. Since Khomeini's death, ideology has increasingly given way to national interests. Although Iran is perceived as an aggressive state with aspirations to become a regional power, it is largely isolated. Today he sees himself surrounded by rival Sunni states and allies of the West and has few reliable partners. The relationship with the West is dominated by the dispute over the nuclear program.
In addition to the human rights situation in Iran, which is regularly condemned by UN resolutions, the Iranian nuclear program in particular has been the most important cause of international criticism for several years . In several resolutions, the UN Security Council endorsed the demands of the IAEA with regard to the Iranian nuclear program and also passed sanctions against the Islamic Republic that are binding under international law.
Isolation and sanctions
As a Shiite middle power and in the tradition of a cultural nation that is thousands of years old, Iran intervenes in the domestic politics of its neighboring countries, resulting in numerous diplomatic tensions. In particular, through its policy of ballistic and suspected nuclear armament as well as massive violations of basic human and minority rights, Iran fell into increasing international isolation, which is also associated with massive economic consequences for the population. Since 2006, the United Nations Security Council has imposed various economic sanctions and travel bans on Iran in several resolutions , and transfers of money to and from Iran are becoming increasingly complicated or even impossible. In mid-March 2012, for the first time in the history of SWIFT, international data traffic between SWIFT and Iranian banks was blocked in order to comply with the sanction rules of the European Union, which almost completely prevented money transfers between Europe and Iran. Institutions, banks, companies, universities, government agencies and also individuals are listed on sanction lists of the United Nations, the European Union as well as the United States and Canada, some of which are completely banned from trade or travel. This also includes the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in his function as the former head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization and Minister for Atomic Energy in the Ahmadinejad II cabinet .
On January 20, 2014, the sanctions were initially eased considerably for 6 months. The signing of an agreement on a permanent settlement was subsequently postponed again and again and finally announced on July 14, 2015 in Vienna as having taken place.
In view of the isolation of the country, the movement of the non-aligned states is an important institution in which the country finds contacts and recognition and in which it seeks to achieve a claim to leadership for the Third World. Other allies like Venezuela or North Korea , with whom Iran has concluded various agreements, do not have the influence to help Iran out of its isolation.
Until the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran and the United States were allies in the Cold War . However, as a consequence of the hostage-taking of Tehran , the United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran; the ideological hostility towards the Great Satan USA has since been a constant in Iranian foreign policy. Since then, there has been almost no direct contact between the governments of the two countries for many years. Although observers ascribe a large number of common interests to both of them, attempts to normalize relations have been rejected by the other side on several occasions. Last but not least, demonizing the enemy is useful domestically in both Iran and the United States.
As part of the anti-Israeli paradigm, Iran broke off political and economic contacts with Israel after 1979, with the exception of Israeli arms deliveries to Iran from 1980 to 1986 in the first Gulf War . Iran denies Israel any right to exist . Khamenei described Israel as a "cancerous tumor" to be removed. The representatives of the Jewish minority in Iran, Haroun Yashyaei and Ciamak Moresadegh , see anti-Zionism, but not anti-Semitism in Iran, which observers partly confirm and partly deny. Moresadegh, a member of the Jewish minority in the Iranian parliament, compared the Israeli military offensive in Gaza in 2014 with Nazi actions during World War II.
The propaganda highlight is al-Quds Day , which has been held annually since 1979, with its state-organized mass demonstrations against Israel. In addition, so-called “ international Holocaust conferences ” were held in 2006 and 2014 , at which anti-Zionists, right-wing extremists and Islamists denied the Holocaust and denied Israel's right to exist . In addition, as part of its anti-Israel state doctrine, Iran openly supports radical Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah in the armed struggle against Israel. In a much discussed speech on October 26, 2005, Iranian President Ahmadineschad took up the threat of annihilation against Israel, which has been given by both leaders since 1979 and regularly presented by various representatives of Iran, and demanded: “The regime that is occupying Jerusalem must be taken from the annals of the History (safhe-ye ruzgār) . ”In some media, including the website of the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB, the sentence has been translated as“ Israel must be wiped off the map ”.
During the reign of Rouhani , Iran maintained its hostile attitude and underlined it, among other things. with several missile tests in early March 2016. According to the state news agency Fars , the projectiles tested were labeled with the sentence “Israel must be erased”. In addition, a high-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Guard stated in this context that the Iranian missile program was directed against Israel: "We built our missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers in order to be able to hit our enemy, the Zionist regime, from a safe distance." The US, UK, France and Germany viewed the tests as a violation of the recently concluded nuclear deal.
The majority of Arab countries view their neighbor Iran with suspicion. This is due, among other things, to the export of revolution once proclaimed by Khomeini and the general striving for influence in the region, which is also expressed in the financing and military support of certain groups.
Since the 1980s, Syria has been Iran's only reliable long-term partner. A possible overthrow of the Syrian regime in the civil war could mean for Iran to lose its influence on politics in the Levant .
Russia and China
In the western states, an alliance between Russia and Iran is feared. Both countries have a number of common interests: Russia needs Iran as a buyer of weapons and nuclear goods, Iran has so far been dependent on Russia to circumvent the sanctions imposed by the West. For historical reasons, however, mutual mistrust was great, with both states accusing each other of a lack of willingness to cooperate. This has now changed, and Iran is pursuing a factual policy in the politically unstable Caucasus . Iran maintains excellent relations with Christian Armenia and supports it against Shiite Azerbaijan , with whom it is in a conflict over the demarcation of the border in the Caspian Sea and which is suspected of promoting separatism among the Azerbaijani minority in Iran.
China has recently become an important partner for Iran. Iran is a strategic partner, particularly when it comes to achieving China's One Belt, One Road initiative. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Beijing in August 2019 to discuss the roadmap for a strategic partnership. The aim of the partnership is to make Chinese investments in key Iranian industries in return for oil supplies from Iran on very favorable terms. Although China sees a possibly nuclear-armed Iran as opposing its interests, it helped Iran to soften the western sanctions and in return has expanded its economic relations with the country.
The beginning of the Iranian nuclear program falls in the 1950s: In keeping with the spirit of the times, the Shah intended to build a strong nation with the help of nuclear power. The first reactor came to Iran as early as 1957 as part of the Atoms for Peace program. Thanks to the Shah's great personal interest in nuclear power and the high oil revenues, the AEOI , founded in 1974, was given a large budget. Last but not least, the aim at that time was to invest the large oil profits in the country in such a way that the economy was not unbalanced. At the beginning of the 1970s, the nuclear program envisaged the construction of up to 20 reactors. In 1975 the contract for the construction of the first nuclear power plant was signed with Kraftwerk Union AG, a little later that for the construction of another power plant with Framatome , both of which were turnkey projects . In addition, the CEA built a turnkey research center near Isfahan . The acquisition of nuclear weapons was expressly not at the center of these efforts. The Shah thought his conventional armaments were so strong that he felt that he did not have to burden his relations with the United States with a nuclear weapons program. Thus, Iran was one of the first to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty . Until the Islamic Revolution, Iran kept all obligations under this agreement and allowed all inspections unhindered. The US, however, had reservations about giving Iran nuclear support: it had the scenario of the overthrow of the Pahlavi dictatorship and an irrational successor regime in mind and tried to prevent Iran from gaining full control over the fuel cycle.
After the Islamic Revolution, the nuclear program was initially viewed as part of a plot to westernize Iran and stopped, and foreign workers had to leave the country. Payments to the contractors have been suspended. It was not until 1984 that money was budgeted for the construction of the nuclear power plant again, but the contractors refused to continue working on the Bushehr power plant during the Iraq-Iran war. From the mid-1980s, Iran was looking for a partner to continue its nuclear program, because the support it was entitled to under the Non-Proliferation Treaty was refused by the official nuclear states. Help from other states was successfully prevented by the USA. Officially, Iran still rejected the atomic bomb. However, this stance was questioned as early as the early 1980s because the country, in view of its complicated foreign policy situation, would have had every reason to seek nuclear weapons. Even then, the media in the western world speculated how far it was to the Iranian atomic bomb. In the second half of the 1980s, Iran began to work on a uranium enrichment program without reporting to the IAEA and circumventing export restrictions . The first call for nuclear weapons development came in 1988 from the mouth of Rafsanjani , who called for an Islamic atomic bomb because of Israeli nuclear weapons . Construction of the heavy water reactor in Arak and the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz began in the mid-1990s ; at the same time , relations, especially with the USA, continued to deteriorate.
In 2002, overseas members of the People's Mujahedin made the secret activities public; In 2003, Abdul Kadir Khan's network , through which Iran had obtained plans and equipment, was exposed. Thus, it was revealed that Iran was working on two nuclear weapons avenues and that it had withheld the program. While Iran feared air strikes on the plants, negotiations began with the EU-3 , which resulted in an agreement in which Iran undertook to suspend uranium enrichment, to maintain transparency and to cooperate with the IAEA. Since, in his opinion, Iran received nothing in return for suspending enrichment, efforts were resumed two years later; in the meantime it had also been found that Iran had plans to build an atomic bomb. After Mahmoud Ahmadineschād took office , the country went on a course of confrontation with the West and refused to enter into dialogue. It was possible to enrich uranium up to 3.5% in 2006, which is sufficient for fuel in nuclear power plants, in August 2006 the plant in Arak was opened, and in 2007 the construction of the enrichment plant in Fordo was reported to the IAEA. At the same time, the production of more highly enriched uranium was also successful. Western countries reacted with sanctions: At the end of 2006, UN Security Council Resolution 1737 prohibited the delivery of goods for the nuclear industry. In March 2007, these were tightened and expanded to include missile technology. Resolution 1803 (2008) issued travel bans, sanctions against Iranian companies operating in the nuclear sector, and trade bans with dual-use technology. The USA and the EU issued more far-reaching unilateral sanctions against Iranian state-owned companies and the Revolutionary Guards, and Bank Melli's assets were frozen. Despite Iran's increased turn towards China and Russia, these measures created economic problems; In 2010, the sanctions were extended to include an arms and financial embargo ( Resolution 1929 ), and finally the EU increased its embargo by boycotting Iranian oil and freezing the assets of the Iranian central bank. At the same time as the diplomatic track, the Iranian nuclear program was fought against by the secret service, for example the Stuxnet computer virus affected centrifuges for uranium enrichment in 2009; Iranian nuclear scientists ( Dariusch Rezaie , Mostafa Ahmadi Roschan ) were murdered. Explosions in Iranian research centers have occurred more frequently since 2010. An underground nuclear facility in Natanz was damaged in explosions in summer 2020 .
Negotiations with Iran were only fruitful after a new change of government: On January 20, 2014, the sanctions were eased considerably for 6 months. The signing of an agreement on a permanent settlement was subsequently postponed again and again and finally announced on July 14, 2015 in Vienna as having taken place.
After several missile tests in March 2016, the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany sent a letter to the Security Council calling on them to initiate “appropriate reactions” because Iran had thereby violated the terms of the nuclear agreement. The missiles tested "[could] basically transport nuclear warheads".
The establishment of a military based on the Western model did not begin in Iran until the 1920s. Reza Shah used up to 40% of Iranian state spending for military purposes, and the military became one of the main pillars of the Shah's rule. Before the Islamic Revolution , Iran had the fifth largest armed force in the world, had 400,000 armed men and imported modern weapons systems in large quantities, so that there were up to 20,000 US military advisers in the country. After the revolution, political cleansing took place in the military, killing around 17,000 officers, which led to chaos and reduced effectiveness in the Iran-Iraq war .
Around 400,000 soldiers serve in the regular armed forces of Iran (Artesh) today. The Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) have 120,000 soldiers. These numbers have remained roughly the same since 2001. Both have land, sea and air forces. While the regular armed forces are better equipped in the conventional area, the Revolutionary Guard have strong ties to the country's political elite. The Revolutionary Guard also includes the Al-Quds unit for missions at home and abroad. The third arm of the Iranian military is the Basij-e Mostaz'afin militia , which is under the command of the Revolutionary Guard and is supposed to suppress insurrections and repel invasions. Originally, the tasks of the Revolutionary Guard included exporting the revolution , but this increased and legitimized the presence of the US military in the neighboring countries of Iran. That is why Iran has pursued a deterrent and detente strategy since the 1990s; since 2001, however, there was fear of a US campaign against Iran and, despite the international isolation, began to prepare militarily for this scenario.
The Revolutionary Guardians are not only a military but also an economic force in Iran. Thanks to their involvement in politics, they have established a dominant position with numerous companies in the construction , oil, gas, electronics and armaments industries , which they continue to consolidate.
Iran's defense budget doubled between 2001 and 2010, reaching US $ 10.5 billion in 2010. In 2017, they were just under 14.5 billion US dollars or 3.1% of economic output. In a regional comparison, however, this is not particularly high: the seven members of the Gulf Cooperation Council alone spend seven times as much on their military as Iran. The Iranian armed forces are particularly limited in terms of conventional capabilities. It can be assumed that the Iranian army would be overwhelmed if it had to march into one of its neighboring countries. For this reason, the defense strategy known as passive defense in Iran is based on making an attack using unconventional means as expensive as possible for the attacker.
In its history, Iran has gone through phases of strict censorship (e.g. after the coup in 1953 and after the protests of the green movement in 2009 ) and relative respect for freedom of expression (shortly before and after the Islamic revolution ). In 2011 the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Leadership maintained a system that forces publishers to obtain a license and a release for every book to be published; Withdrawal of a license means having to give up the business. Even with approval, however, it is possible that the public prosecutor will identify harmful content in a publication and therefore the author, publisher and censor will be held accountable. This system, the existence of which the Iranian government denies, violates the constitution of Iran and the commitments made by Iran under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights . Because of its arbitrariness and lack of transparency, it creates fear in all involved. In addition, there is a high financial risk for the publisher and high costs. In doing so, it damages the development of Iranian literature quite considerably. Foreign works are often not allowed for publication at all or only in a modified form, which arouses further mistrust among the potential readership. For this reason, some authors only publish their works on the Internet, even though there is censorship there too.
The government monitors and filters internet traffic or slows it down significantly, as it did during the 2013 presidential election. In 2007, ten million internet sites were blocked for users in Iran, in 2009 the law against virtual crimes was passed and an institution against criminal content was created . Because of this, in 2014 more than two-thirds of Iranians used technology that bypassed internet controls. It is inconsistent that leading Iranian politicians are also represented on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, which should actually be blocked. In the presidential election campaign, loosening internet censorship was one of the most important election promises made by the eventual winner, Rouhani . Since then, Iranian internet censorship based on the Chinese model has become more centralized and more intelligent and is accompanied by efforts to create a domestic and government-controlled service in order to reduce the attractiveness of foreign services.
Iran is divided into 31 provinces called Ostans (Persian: ostān , plural ostānhā ). Each provincial administration is headed by a governor called Ostandar (Persian: ostāndār ). This is appointed by the Minister of the Interior with the approval of the Cabinet.
In 2006 Iran had 30 Ostans , 336 Shahrestans , 889 Bachschs , 1016 cities (شهر Schahr ) and 2400 municipalities (دهستان Dehestan ). On June 23, 2010, the new Alborz Province was created from the north-western part of the Tehran Province, with Iran now consisting of 31 provinces.
In 2016, 73.9% of the population lived in cities or urban areas. In 1960 the urbanization rate was 33.9%. In the last few decades the country's urbanization has progressed rapidly due to the widespread rural exodus.
The Iranian economy is characterized by strong state influence, the great importance of oil and gas exports and the international sanctions due to the Iranian nuclear program . The main challenge for the government is to provide enough jobs for the large number of young people.
Before the Islamic Revolution, gross domestic product , adjusted for purchasing power parity, was around $ 8,000, by 1988 it had fallen to $ 4,000, and by 2005 it had risen to $ 7,000. Economic growth has fluctuated sharply since the revolution; in 1991 it was 12%, in 1994 the economy stagnated. The reasons for this include war, volatile oil export revenues, government intervention and poor management. The nominal gross domestic product, which amounted to 377 billion US dollars in 2016/17, is expected to grow by around 4.3% in each of the coming years, with the growth of the non-oil share being weaker. Inflation stood at 8.9% in 2016/17 and is expected to persist between 10 and 11% in the coming years. Unemployment, which stood at 12.5% in 2016/17, is likely to remain at this level.
The most important economic sectors in Iran include the oil and gas industry, petrochemical industry, automotive industry, agriculture, metal industry and cement and building material production.
Despite many problems and international sanctions, Iran's economy is being built. Iran's steel production grew from 0.55 million tons in 1980 to 1.6 million tons in 1990 and 6.6 million tons in 2000 to 14.5 million tons in 2012. Cement production rose from 7.5 million tons in 1980 over 23.9 million tons in 2000 and 35.0 million tons in 2007 to 70 million tons in 2012. This makes Iran the fourth largest cement manufacturer in the world.
In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Iran ranks 69th out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks 155th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom . Iran's economy is heavily influenced by the state and is not liberalized. Iran ranks 124th out of 190 nations in the World Bank's 2018 Doing Business Index . In the theocratic state of Iran, large parts of the economy are nationalized. These include B. With a few exceptions, the banks. Other economic areas are organized privately or as a cooperative. In general, the capitalist-oriented economy is referred to as the command economy , in which the political centers of power try to control the economy . The state planning is based on five-year plans.
In the 2010s, the corruption perception index fluctuated between 25 and 30 points, with 100 points being the best value.
|Growth in GDP (gross domestic product)
in% compared to the previous year
|Source: bfai CIA World Factbook|
|Public debt as% of GDP|
|Source: indexmundi / CiA factbook|
|Development of the inflation rate
(in% compared to the previous year)
|Source: World Bank|
|Development of foreign trade
(in billion US $ and in% compared to the previous year)
|Billion US $||% yoy||Billion US $||% yoy||Billion US $||% yoy|
|import||70.9||+ 11.5||52.4||- 26.1||60.5||+ 15.5|
|export||89.0||- 4.4||64.6||- 27.4||81.7||+ 26.5|
|balance||+ 18.1||+ 12.2||+ 21.2|
In 2014, Iran exported goods worth $ 70.9 billion. The largest export partners in 2014 were China (41.9%), India (17.1%), Turkey (15.0%), Japan (9.4%) and South Korea (7.0%). The most important export good is crude oil. The high price of oil allows Iran to cross-subsidize its industry and treasury.
The import amounted to 70.2 billion US dollars in 2014. The largest import partners in 2014 were China (23.4%), the United Arab Emirates (22.0%), South Korea (7.7%), India (7.7%) and Turkey (7.2%).
Various embargoes have been imposed on Iran. For the countries of the European Union, the restrictions of Regulation (EU) No. 267/2012 apply.
The national debt amounted to 35.0% of a GDP in 2016.
In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was in the following areas:
The religious foundations ( Bonyād ) represent an important economic factor. They control approx. 80% of the value added. The government plans to significantly increase the private sector. The system of the Bonyāds already existed under the Shah and already at that time fulfilled charitable tasks, as they represented black coffers for the ruling elite. Even today, the Bonyāds are accused of a lack of transparency, corruption and nepotism. Tax advantages would hinder the development of a private economic sector. The Bonyāds operate in the form of holdings and dominate the market in large parts of the economy. B. in the area of export, building materials (concrete), shipping companies and petrochemicals, they also operate hotels, universities and banks. The Bonyāds are solely responsible to the religious leader and head of state Āyatollāh Ali Khamenei . The two largest foundations, whose ownership is estimated at up to US $ 15 billion, are the Bonyād-e-Mostafezān (Foundation for the Disenfranchised) and the Āstān-e Qods-e Razavi of Mashhad , originally the administration of a saint 's grave , but now a large corporation. In the social system of Iran, the bonyāds are the largest factor next to the state and support about half of the needy population.
The Iranian governments have been running programs to promote the private sector since 2001. The constitutional article 44 had to be changed for this. In 2006 the government issued a privatization program that included strategically important industries in the oil and finance sectors. Implementation of the program has been weak because the private sector has shown little interest in investing. In 2008 the government issued another program to encourage private investment. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard also benefited from the privatization efforts . B. in the telecommunications industry. To what extent the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards exert direct influence on the management of the acquired companies is controversial. Since capital monopolies do not exist in Iran as in other countries, many companies are financed with accumulated small capital and through pension funds. A direct influence of the Revolutionary Guards on the management is not recognizable in every case, so there is no member of the Pāsdārān on the supervisory board of the Telekom acquired by the Revolutionary Guards. Half of this purchase was also privately financed. Tax advantages over private companies and the freedom from customs duties of the Revolutionary Guard are criticized. The National Construction Company, which is said to belong to the Revolutionary Guard, and the religious foundation Bonyād-e Mostazafin va Dschānbāzān ("Foundation of the Oppressed and War Disabled ") each have a half share in the expansion of the Tehran Metro . The Pāsdārān themselves deny any direct economic activity and in particular reject the allegations of smuggling made by President Ahmadinejad.
The agricultural useful area is, despite numerous mountains and deserts 10% of the land surface, wherein a third artificially irrigated is. Agriculture is one of the largest employers in the country. Important products are pistachios , wheat , rice , sugar , cotton , fruits , nuts , dates , wool and caviar . Since the revolution of 1979, the cultivation of grapes on the 200,000 hectares of vineyards has been almost entirely converted to table grapes and raisins due to the Islamic ban on alcohol . When it comes to raisins, Iran is now the second largest exporter in the world after Turkey, and when it comes to saffron, it is by far the largest, with a market share of around 90% of global demand.
Mining, petroleum and natural gas
The extraction and processing of oil and natural gas play a particularly important role in the Iranian economy. The first Iranian oil was found in Masjed Soleyman in 1908 by the British Burma Oil Company , which had taken over the D'Arcy concession . As a result, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was founded, which was British owned, but had to deliver a share of the profits to the Iranian state. The foreign control over Iranian oil and the low payments that the Iranian state received from the oil business led to the demand to nationalize the oil industry from 1946 , later to the Abadan crisis and the overthrow of the Mossadegh government . In 1960, Iran was a founding member of OPEC .
In 1968 Iran produced 2,847,580 barrels per day, making it the largest oil producer in the Middle East and, after the USA, the USSR and Venezuela, the fourth largest oil producer in the world, as well as one of the largest natural gas producers. Since the Islamic Revolution , all natural resources have been state-owned, and all oil and gas projects have been run by the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company , National Iranian Gas Company and National Petrochemical Company . The pre-revolution production levels (6 million barrels per day) have not been reached since then because of wars, lack of investment and the decline in the productivity of existing sources.
The extraction and processing of oil and natural gas contributed around 20% to Iran's GDP in 2012 . In the same year, Iran was the third largest producer of natural gas and the sixth largest producer of oil. It was estimated that at the end of 2012, 157 billion barrels of oil, i.e. H. 9.4% of the world's oil reserves , and 33.6 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, i.e. H. 18% of the world's natural gas deposits are in Iran. However, in 2019 Iran reported the discovery of a new oil field with 53 billion barrels of oil. In 2014, Iran produced 3.4 million barrels of oil a day. Of this, 1.8 million barrels remained for private consumption in the country; the refining capacity in 2014 was 2 million barrels per day. Nevertheless, around 61,000 barrels of petroleum products had to be imported per day. In 2013, 163 billion cubic meters of natural gas were produced (4.8% of the global amount) and almost all of it was used domestically. South Pars is the largest gas field in the country, it is located in the Persian Gulf and contains 40% of Iran's gas reserves. Thus, Iran is one of the largest natural gas consumers in the world. In order to slow down the growth in energy demand and to curb waste and smuggling, subsidies were cut in 2010, and further measures will follow.
Most of Iran's oil deposits are located in the south-west of the country and some of them continue on the territory of neighboring countries. One of the largest natural gas fields is near Gach Saran on the edge of the Zagros Mountains. About 70% of the oil deposits are onshore, about 80% of the deposits were discovered before 1965 (as of 2015). From the ports on the Persian Gulf , the oil has to be transported to the recipient countries through the busy Strait of Hormuz ; In 2013, 17 million barrels of oil and 3.7 Tcf of liquefied natural gas flowed through this road every day.
Due to the international sanctions against Iran, oil production fell sharply between 2011 and 2014 and natural gas production increased only very slightly. The revenue for the Iranian state fell from 118 billion US dollars in 2011/12 to around 56 billion US dollars in 2013/2014. The decrease in the production volume is mainly attributed to the lack of foreign technology and investment, the withdrawal of foreign partners when opening up new sources and the inability to obtain insurance cover for tanker transports.
The mining and processing of the mined raw materials contribute a further 14.2% to Iran's GDP. The most important of these raw materials include coal (1.3 million tons in 2012), iron (24 million tons), copper (260,000 tons), aluminum (230,000 tons), lead (40,000 tons) and manganese (70,000 tons). Some of the mines are privately owned and some are controlled by the government through the state-owned company IMIDRO .
The automotive industry employed around 500,000 people in 2010, making it the second largest employer after the oil industry and Iran the largest automobile producer in the Middle East. In 2012, however, Iran's automobile production fell sharply; only 989,110 vehicles were produced - 40 percent fewer than in 2011. This includes 848,000 cars and 141,110 commercial vehicles. The two largest automobile manufacturers are the state-owned SAIPA - currently in the privatization process - and Iran Khodro (IKCO). In addition to domestic models such as Dena and Runna, IKCO produces models under license, among others. from Peugeot. SAIPA overtook IKCO in the ranking for the first time in 2010. According to the Business Monitor International's Iran Autos Report, the resilience of the Iranian automotive industry will only become apparent in the next few years, when the domestic market is saturated and Iran is increasingly acting on the international market, because so far the increase in production has mainly been due to the support of the Government attributed. 12.64% of the registered motor vehicles run on gas. Iran ranks fifth in the world for the use of gas-powered vehicles. The Swedish truck manufacturer Scania opened a new production line in Qazvin in 2011, replacing Daimler-Chrysler, which has broken off its business contacts with Iran.
The declared goal of the Iranian government is to attract more tourists in order to generate foreign exchange income and jobs. Ten million people are expected to visit Iran annually by 2025. The following are considered to be special tourist attractions:
- Beaches on the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, which cover a total of 3000 kilometers of coastline
- Sandy deserts Kawir and Lut
- Cities like Tehran and Isfahan with their old buildings, museums and bazaars
Unequal distribution and subsidies
One of the leitmotifs of the Islamic Revolution was redistribution from the capitalists to the disinherited . For this reason, numerous efforts were made after the revolution, such as the electrification of rural regions and improvements in the health and education system, but also subsidies for food, medicines and energy as well as labor market regulations. In the 1990s the proportion of the population living in poverty fell sharply; today only 2-3% of Iranians live in severe poverty, a low figure in international comparison. The unequal distribution measured Gini coefficient is 0.43, only slightly below the level of before the revolution; in international comparison it is average.
The Iranian government spent about $ 2 billion on subsidies for food and medicines in 2005.
In the second half of 2010, the Iranian government began implementing a long-planned reform of subsidies on energy prices, grain, bread and public transport. The IMF confirmed that Iran had good starting conditions for the decline in inflation from over 30% to 10% from September 2009. In the first year of the reforms, $ 60 billion in subsidies were cut, 15% of the gross domestic product. The reason for the reform is the rising energy prices on the world market, with artificially low domestic prices, which led to Iran becoming one of the biggest energy wasters, while at the same time households with low incomes hardly benefited from the subsidies. The IMF cites an average of $ 4,000 in annual subsidies for a four-person household, although there are a large proportion of Iranians whose annual income is less than $ 4,000. So one promises both a more economical use of energy and the development of energy-saving technologies, e.g. B. in Iranian car production, and more social justice through direct payments to low-income households as well as increased government revenues through more export capacities for oil and gas. A total of 30% of the money saved by the canceled subsidies goes directly back to the citizens, 20% is paid to industry for the development of energy-saving measures, the rest remains in the state budget to compensate for the increased energy prices. 93% of Iranian citizens are registered for direct payments. Approximately $ 80 per person in a household is paid out every two months. The IMF drew a positive interim balance of the reforms in June: Despite the 20-fold increase in energy prices, the inflation rate rose moderately to 14.2% in May 2011. A temporary slowdown in economic growth and an equally temporary increase in the inflation rate are expected, the IMF states but already more social justice and lower energy consumption.
Iran has a large and well-educated working-age population. The country can benefit from having made the demographic transition , so that more investments in human capital have been and are being made. Iran is predicted to have a good dependency quotient until around 2045 . However, the inefficient labor market prevents the country from deriving the maximum benefit from this situation. For the past 30 years, Iran's unemployment rate has always been around 11%, with youth unemployment around 30%. In addition, only 17% of women participate in the labor market, which results in a very low participation rate in an international comparison. In addition, there is a large gap between urban and rural unemployment. The 1990 Labor Act provides heavy penalties for companies that terminate workers for no good reason. As a result, private companies are very cautious about recruiting new workers and they can only orientate themselves on the diplomas presented about the skills of an applicant. The consequence of this is that young people strive for the best possible diplomas rather than productive skills and that around 84% of all university graduates enter the state and parastatal sectors. The labor market thus takes on the function of social and unemployment insurance, which leads to great macroeconomic costs.
After the Islamic revolution , Ayatollah Khomeini determined that only believers who believe in the Islamic Republic are allowed to take on top- level tasks in the state and the economy: pious and righteous people must take on state tasks, otherwise the state would perish . This principle applies today in the entire state area of the country, which generates 70% of the economic output. The Gozinesh process enshrined in the 1996 Selection Act provides for personnel to be selected based on religious thinking and ideological, moral and political factors. These criteria are checked on the basis of specialist questions on religious practice, the Koran as well as politics, ideology and history of the Islamic Republic; neighbors and family are also interviewed. The compliance of workers who have passed the Gozinesh procedure will continue to be monitored in the workplace. This practice leads to the wasted potential of well-trained staff, to well-trained people having to work in professions for which they are overqualified, and to key positions being held by people who are unsuitable for it. Many secular people therefore have to lead a double life for their job. These circumstances contribute significantly to the flight of talent , the emigration of qualified people from Iran.
In addition to high unemployment, child labor and the employment of low-wage workers are particularly widespread in Afghanistan . There is no union representation for the employees. Low-wage workers in particular are exposed to severe repression.
Iran has about 2500 km of motorways, as well as a large network of other roads including developed expressways. The entire road network has a length of 198,866 km (160,366 km of which were paved).
With 32.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, the country had one of the highest road death rates in the world. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. A total of around 25,000 people were killed in traffic. The reasons for this are an overloaded transport network with an inadequate infrastructure and relatively advanced motorization. In 2017 there were 256 vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants in Iran (in Germany there were over 500 vehicles).
Iran has had a railway network since 1888.
The state airline Iran Air flies national and international routes. Due to international sanctions, the airline is struggling with an outdated fleet. In addition to the state-owned Iran Air, there are a number of private airlines, which means that all major cities in Iran can be reached by plane.
In 2013, around 224 billion kWh of electrical energy was generated in Iran, 92% of it in thermal power plants that were fired with natural gas (70%) or crude oil. The remaining 8% came from nuclear, hydropower and other renewable energy sources. It is expected that the demand for electrical energy will continue to rise, although the government raised electricity prices by 25% at the beginning of 2014 and plans a further increase in 2015 in order to reduce growth and reduce pressure on existing capacities to dampen. In order to meet the demand, but also to be able to export even more electrical energy, the Ministry of Energy has proposed the construction of 35 new power plants.
The only nuclear power plant in Iran at the moment is the plant in Bushehr , which is said to have an output of 700 MW . Construction began in the 1970s, but due to the Islamic Revolution, damage in the Iraq-Iran war and problems with the contractor Rosatom , who had been entrusted with the completion, the power plant did not go online until 2013. There are plans for two more blocks in Bushehr, each with a capacity of 1000 MW. Another nuclear power plant in Darkhovin has been planned for a long time . Plans to build nuclear power plants at 15 additional locations have not yet been implemented due to the international sanctions against Iran.
Iran developed into a major dam builder. 157 dams have been built, 84 are under construction or planning, before the Islamic Revolution there were only 13 dams in the country. Apart from the production of electricity, which in turn releases more oil for export, the country wants to use it to deal with the increasing water scarcity . The largest project is the Bakhtiyari Dam in the Lorestan Province in southwest Iran, in the Zagros Mountains. It should be the largest double-arched dam in the world, with a height of 315 meters. Due to its difficult geographical location, it is not necessary to relocate people for this.
Iran gained access to the Internet in 1993. In 2018, around 70 percent of Iran's residents used the internet .
See: Iran #media
Persia, especially the southern Fars , has numerous poetry celebrities, Firdausi , Hafis and Saadi being some of the best known. In modern times, prose gained increasing importance in Persian literature, for example with the works of Sadegh Hedayat , who made significant and sometimes groundbreaking innovations both in style and in the choice of subject. Outside the framework of classical Persian poetry, new directions developed in poetry in the 20th century, including the New Persian Poem (Sche'r-e Nou) and the White Poem (Sche'r-e Sepid). An unusual art form has recently been chosen by the comic book writer Marjane Satrapi , who lives in exile in France. In her autobiographical work Persepolis, she tells of her childhood and youth during the Islamic revolution as well as tapping conversations among women in her family.
The pre-Islamic literature available today goes back to the hymns, the Gathas and the Yaschts , ascribed to the founder of the religion Zarathustra . There are works in various ancient Iranian languages. This includes, in particular, Avestan and Middle Persian works, which deal with Zoroastrian topics to a large extent , but also deal with historical and Manichean content, among other things .
The traditional Iranian architecture reflects the climatic and social conditions of the country. In order to survive the very hot and dry summer weather, qanats , underground water reservoirs and ice houses have been built for three millennia . With wind towers , fresh air is brought into the living rooms, some of which are underground, where it can be swept over bodies of water to cool the rooms. The main building material used is clay and bricks that are fired from it or not fired from it; this building material protects against heat and keeps the heat in the room when it is cold. Walls, be it city walls or walls around one's own house, reflect the numerous attacks that the population of Iran suffered from, but also the religious need to separate private life from public life. The traditional house has no windows to the outside, only into an inner courtyard. The Zoroastrian predilection for light as a source of beauty, but also the predilection for rich ornamentation, has been handed down to the present day as a defining element of the architecture of Iran. The traditional Iranian city separates residential areas from business areas, where the bazaar and main square are also located. Ethnic and religious minorities are usually assigned their own districts; rich and poor residents, however, were not separated from each other.
The earliest pre-Islamic architecture in Iran is preserved in the form of remains of adobe houses ( Tappe Zaghe near Qazvin ). The Elamites built huge ziggurats clad with glazed brick mosaics, as in Chogha Zanbil . The first major city was the planned residence of the Mede kings , Ekbatana . Numerous architectural remains of the typically elegant, relief-decorated palaces, mausoleums and fire temples have been preserved from the time of the Achaemenids , above all the capitals Pasargadae and Persepolis . Under the Parthians , vaults , keel arches and the heavy use of stonemasonry and stucco work found their way into the world. The Sassanids were based on the buildings of the Achaemenids, their buildings were characterized by artistic paintings.
After the introduction of Islam in Iran, architectural creation also changed. Mosques, initially simple buildings, soon became domed buildings, decorated with calligraphy, stucco, muqarnas , tiles, mosaics and mirror work, following Iranian taste . The most architecturally significant religious buildings include the Imam Reza Shrine , the Shrine of Fatima Masuma , the Shah Abdol Azim Shrine or Shah Cheragh . The decoration of mosques with tiles not only outside, but also inside, appeared in the 13th century, whereby the tiles can have floral, calligraphy or geometric motifs. The Safavids were special patrons of architecture, they had their capital Isfahan equipped with the ensemble around the Meidan-e Emam , gardens and palaces such as the Tschehel Sotun ; the Zand embellished Shiraz with numerous buildings such as the citadel or gardens such as the Bāgh-e Eram .
During the Qajar era , European concepts found their way into Iranian architecture. The Beaux Arts architecture in particular is visible in numerous new state buildings. In the interwar period, many buildings were planned for Iran by European architects, which are only superficially decorated with Persian shapes. The cityscape of many cities has been enriched with large squares and monuments, of which the Shahyad Tower from 1971 is the most famous. After the Islamic Revolution, everything Western and pre-Islamic was initially rejected. Since then, designs have appeared that combine Iranian, Islamic and Western traditions, which the Abbasi Hotel in Isfahan stands for. In view of the rapidly growing urban population, the rapid procurement of housing without architectural considerations is dominant in many places today.
With regard to monuments and cultural assets, there has been an initiative since 2018 by Karl von Habsburg , President of Blue Shield International and the Austrian Ambassador Stephan Scholz to set up a national Blue Shield Committee.
Celebrations and holidays
There are so many public holidays and festivals in Iran that critical voices fear that the economy will be damaged by the many celebrations.
The Islamic festivals are among the most important in the life of Iranians; There are festivals that generally belong to the Islamic religion and others that are only celebrated in Shiite Islam. The general Islamic holidays include Fridays , Ramadan and the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast or the Festival of Sacrifice , whereby the tradition of decorating a camel for the festival of sacrifice is driven through the city in a procession and then making sacrifices in the Pahlavi period was abolished. Of the holidays related to the life of the Prophet Mohammed, the birthday , the night journey and his death are celebrated, although this is not welcomed by conservative Muslims, but celebrated anyway as a sign of togetherness with the Sunni Muslims. The most important Shiite holidays are celebrated in the month of Muharram . On Tasua and Ashura , processions are organized by religious brotherhoods in all cities, in which the participants flagellate themselves or carry oversized objects that commemorate the death of Imam Husain ibn Ali in the battle of Karbala . Typical for Iran are the dramatic performances called Ta'zieh , which are staged for the occasion and re- enact the martyrdom of Husain. It is very welcome when the participants show genuine, uninhibited grief. Not only the death of Husain is mourned, but also especially of the daughter of the prophet Fatemeh , his son-in-law Ali , Imam Jafar and Imam Ali Reza .
Four times a year, important festivals are celebrated that originate from the Zoroastrian tradition , but are now largely secularized and that are celebrated by almost all peoples in the Iranian cultural area. These are Tschahar Schanbeh Suri , Nouruz , Sizdah bedar and Yalda . Nouruz is the Iranian New Year celebrations that take place on the equinox in spring. It symbolizes a new beginning for which people thoroughly clean their houses, wear new clothes and congratulate each other. The central element of the celebrations is the arrangement of a sofreh, a particularly beautiful piece of cloth, on which seven objects with a symbolically positive meaning are arranged, whereby all these objects must begin with the Persian S ( Haft Sin ). On the Wednesday before the Nouruz festival, bonfires are lit at Tschahar Schanbeh Suri and whoever can jump over one of the fires in order to have good luck and health in the coming year. Sizdah Bedar is celebrated on the 13th day of the new year; Since the number 13 is considered an unlucky number, you shouldn't get angry or argue on this day. At Sizdah Bedar, the Iranians populate the parks and gardens and enjoy picnics. On Yalda , the longest night of the year, people light a fire and try to keep it burning all night. That night, people don't sleep, but talk to each other over food, storytelling, or even dancing and music.
As in all other countries, there are also holidays that serve as a reminder of significant events in national history. In the case of Iran, events related to the Islamic Revolution and the life of Ayatollah Khomeini are commemorated, and the celebrations are usually organized by the government. The public holiday with the greatest concern is the anniversary of Khomeini's death, which is celebrated on June 4th each year. Families who support the ruling system (or want to be perceived as such) visit a place associated with Khomeini's life to mourn there: Khomeini's birthplace, his mausoleum , the Khomeini shrine or the city of Qom . On this day, black flags hang everywhere and everyone is expected to wear particularly restrained clothing. Other national holidays coincide with the arrest of Khomeini after the 1963 riots (June 5), the victory of the Islamic Revolution (February 12), the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (March 20) and the referendum on its establishment of the Islamic Republic (April 1st).
Iran's cuisine is very diverse. It has a lot in common with Indian , Central Asian, Turkish and other oriental cuisines . The urban culinary art of the Persian highlands is considered standard and enriched with numerous dishes of local or ethnic origin. The main foods in Iran are rice and wheat. Wheat is mainly consumed in the form of bread, which Iranians like to buy fresh for every meal. The two most popular types of bread are tâftun and lavâsch , which are formed into very thin loaves and baked against the inner wall of the oven. In the traditional meal, which is consumed while sitting on a cloth in shared bowls and platters, this flat bread not only serves as food, but also replaces plates and cutlery. For a long time, rice was a luxury product for the rich, but today it is a regular feature across the country. It is simply boiled and mixed with butter (kateh) , prepared with vegetables or meat for a separate meal ( polo , e.g. the sour cherry rice Ālbālu polo ) or artfully cooked, then steamed ( chelo , with the coveted crust at the bottom of the pot , Tahdig ) and garnished with saffron rice. This type of rice with grilled meat, tomatoes, onions and herbs is the national dish of Iran under the name of Chelo Kabāb and is on the menus of restaurants all over the country in many variations. Tschelo can also be served together with chorescht, a kind of ragout that can also be found in many variations. Chelo -Chorescht variants include Chorescht-e fesendschan (chicken in a walnut and pomegranate sauce) or Ghormeh Sabzi (green stew). Abgoosht is also a kind of stew, cooked in meat, beans, vegetables, herbs and fruit. After cooking, the solid ingredients from the broth are sifted and mashed; Broth and puree are served with bread. Poor Iranians eat it almost every day when it is cooked in one of its many forms. Stews ( Āsch ) with vegetables, noodles, beans, barley or yoghurt as the main ingredient are an inseparable part of Iranian cuisine.
In contrast to those in some neighboring countries, spices are only used cautiously in Iranian cuisine. An important feature of traditional Iranian cuisine is the classification of food into hot and cold . This designation does not refer to the temperature of the products, but to their presumed effect on human well-being. Iranian chefs strive to combine hot and cold foods so that they are in balance with one another.
The national drink of Iran is tea , which is sipped neat through a piece of sugar held in with your teeth. Alcoholic beverages have been strictly forbidden to Muslims in Iran since the Islamic Revolution. Iranians like to eat dugh , a lightly salted yoghurt drink that is often refined with spices or herbs.
|Iranian feature film production|
The first films ever to be shown in Iran go back to Mozaffar ad-Din Shah , who had a cinematographer brought back from a state visit to France in 1900 . The films made by his photographer Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akkas Baschi became part of the entertainment of the royal court from then on. However, the new medium had great difficulty in being accepted in Iranian society: the first cinemas were accused of witchcraft , it was claimed that there was invocation of Satan and that cinema-goers were engaged in immoral activities; the then religious leader Ayatollah Fazlollah Nuri called for the cinemas to be closed. The first Iranian actresses in particular were exposed to numerous hostilities and social isolation. In the early 1930s there were as many as 26 cinemas in the country. The pioneers of film in Iran either came back from abroad like Khan Baba Motazedi or were Armenian immigrants like Hovhannes Ohanian . They also created the first Iranian films, mostly documentaries or mixes of comedy and melodrama that would remain popular in the decades that followed. The first Persian-language sound film was produced by Abdolhossein Sepanta in India in 1933; in 1935 the Sepanta government commissioned the creation of the first educational film: a film about the poet Firdausi .
Cinema was promoted under Reza Shah Pahlavi . The Shah had films made to showcase his ceremonies, government activities and achievements. He created favorable conditions for the import of foreign films, so that productions from the USA, Russia and Europe dominated. The local film industry limited itself to dubbing . It was only after the Second World War that the first film productions began in the Mitrā Film studio by Esmail Koushan , who, after a few financial failures, achieved his first success with Sharmsār (desecrated) ; this film was based on the then popular Indian films. Iranian film was then divided into two currents: the Sinemā Farsi with mostly cheap, commercially oriented productions and the films of the New Wave (mowdsch-e now), which were produced by actors and directors trained in Europe and which are artistically demanding, but mostly were only successful outside of Iran. As part of the White Revolution of the Pahlavi government, film academies, the production company Telefilm and art festivals were finally founded. A large budget was allocated to film production under state control.
The Islamic Revolution initially brought filmmaking to a standstill in the country: numerous cinemas that Islamic activists viewed as a haven of corruption were destroyed - including the attack on the Rex cinema in Abadan, which killed 430. Financing was withdrawn from the artists, they were subjected to arbitrary regulations, accused of illegal activities, arrested, and some even executed. The new rulers also recognized the propagandistic potential of the medium and used it, for example, to spread “Islamic values” and in the context of the Iraq-Iran war . Filmmaking on other subjects has only been around since the 1990s , although the rules can be extremely restrictive depending on the political situation. This is especially true for female figures, who always have to be portrayed correctly according to moral and Islamic standards.
Despite these adverse production conditions, which were also reflected on film (for example in Taxi Tehran ), there is now a lively, internationally perceived Iranian film scene with internationally highly regarded Iranian directors such as Abbas Kiarostami , Majid Majidi and Jafar Panahi . However, many films are not allowed to be shown in Iran itself. Because of the censorship, official pressure on actors and producers as well as the imposition of travel restrictions and professional bans, some filmmakers, such as the actress Golshifteh Farahani or the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, are now living in exile. In 2012, Nader and Simin - A Separation from Asghar Farhadi was the first Iranian film to receive an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film .
In addition to the multi-layered, subtly suggestive works of the New Wave , which meet high aesthetic standards and which are repeatedly awarded at international festivals, the second current of the film Farsi , which is often provided with scenes of violence, is particularly successful in Germany. Foreign films are rarely shown officially, but are mostly still accessible to the population on the black market.
According to Reporters Without Borders, at least seven journalists and twelve bloggers are currently in custody in Iran (as of January 2018) , including Narges Mohammadi, a journalist, women's rights activist and spokesperson for the Center for Defense for Human Rights .
Tehran is the country's media center. The most important daily newspapers appear here, such as Abrar , Ettelā'āt , Hamschahri , Jumhori-yi Islami , Keyhan , Resalat , Schargh , the English-language Tehran Times , Kayhan International , Iran Daily , Iran News and the literary and art magazine Nafeh . The most famous news agencies are Islamic Republic News Agency , Iranian Students News Agency, and Mehr News Agency . All newspapers, news agencies and the state radio and television stations (IRIB) are subject to state censorship. According to Article 110 of the Iranian Constitution, these are directly subordinate to the chief legal scholar . During protests against the government that took place in January 2018, the messenger Telegram and WhatsApp were blocked in the cellular network. The work of the press and the organization of the protests were massively restricted, as coordination and exchange of information was no longer possible.
Iran gained access to the internet in 1993. In 2018, around 70 percent of Iran's residents used the internet . According to Alexa Internet statistics , Google is the most used search engine in Iran and Instagram is the most popular social network . Direct access to many globally popular websites has been blocked in Iran, including Instagram and Facebook . However, in 2017, Facebook had around 40 million subscribers in Iran (48.8% of the population) who used VPN and proxy servers to access the website. High-ranking politicians such as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also use US social networks that are banned in Iran.
See also: Internet censorship in Iran
Immediately after the Islamic Revolution, sport in Iran was shaped by the puritanical worldview of the new rulers: a number of sports such as boxing, equestrian sports, fencing and chess were banned for various reasons. Women were generally no longer allowed to play sports. In the new Iranian society, almost all form of entertainment was abolished, so football games were some of the few remaining amusements for young men. Although football-related rioting continued, the government did not dare to ban football games. In the 1980s, sport prevailed as a form of entertainment acceptable to the government, and sporting events from home and abroad have been broadcast on Iranian television since then, provided that the athletes' clothing does not violate the ideas of the religious leadership too much.
Soccer is the most popular team sport in Iran. The Iranian national team has won the Asian Games and the Asian Football Championship several times . At the FIFA World Cup , she participated several times without getting beyond the first round. However, the victory against the USA in 1998 sparked a great deal of euphoria in Iran, and the government couldn't help but allow people to celebrate on the streets.
Iran's government continues to regard football as corrupted by the West and is therefore trying to counter it with traditional Iranian weight training , even though it is strongly associated with the Pahlavi regime. These efforts were unsuccessful because the young Iranians consider him old-fashioned. From this tradition, however, the Iranian strength in individual sports such as wrestling , weightlifting , Taekwondo and Judo has grown. The Iranian weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh won several Olympic gold medals and Iranian athletes like Hadi Saei Bonehkohal achieved international success in Korean-dominated Taekwondo.
Iranian women are allowed to play sports again today. Especially Faezeh Hashemi , the daughter of the former President Rafsanjani , had campaigned for women to have their own sports facilities. Since the beginning of October 2019, women in Iran have also been allowed to enter football stadiums for men's teams for the first time since 1979. The lifting of the ban was preceded by the public self-immolation of Sahar Chodāyāri , which triggered protests from the Iranian people, international criticism and pressure from FIFA. Chodāyāri, who eventually succumbed to her injuries, disguised herself as a man to attend a soccer game, but was exposed and arrested. With her suicide, she protested against the threat of being sentenced to prison.
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