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Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan

Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 53 00 E

Map references: Middle East

Area:
total: 1.648 million sq km
land: 1.636 million sq km
water: 12,000 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly larger than Alaska

Land boundaries:
total: 5,440 km
border countries: Afghanistan 936 km, Armenia 35 km, Azerbaijan-proper 432 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 179 km, Iraq 1,458 km, Pakistan 909 km, Turkey 499 km, Turkmenistan 992 km

Coastline: 2,440 km
note: Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: natural prolongation
exclusive economic zone: bilateral agreements, or median lines in the Persian Gulf
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast

Terrain: rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Qolleh-ye Damavand 5,671 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 27%
forests and woodland: 7%
other: 55% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 94,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes along western border and in the northeast

Environment—current issues: air pollution, especially in urban areas, from vehicle emissions, refinery operations, and industrial effluents; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; oil pollution in the Persian Gulf; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

Source: CIA World Fact Book