Iran is an Islamic republic with a presidential system based on Shiite Islam. A council of experts, made up of theologians elected for eight years, elects the leader of the Islamic Revolution for life. It has been Ali Khamenei (* 1939) since 1989. As the chief legal scholar, he is the highest authority in the state. The state president, Hassan Rohani (* 1948) since 2013, is elected by the people for four years; re-election is possible. As head of government he determines the main features of domestic, foreign and economic policy, proposes the members of his cabinet and heads the National Security Council, but can be dismissed by the leader of the revolution.
Legislation lies with the parliament, which is elected for four years and made up of 290 members, the Madjlis. The Guardian Council must approve all laws and regulations. He checks whether they are compatible with the principles of Islam. Six of its members are Islamic legal scholars appointed by the revolutionary leader and six are non-clergy elected by parliament. At the head of the judiciary is a chief judge appointed by the revolutionary leader for five years, who proposes the minister of justice and appoints all other judges. In criminal law, Islamic law applies, the Sharia based on the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed. Political parties are irrelevant and there are no independent trade unions. Fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of the press are severely restricted. There is strict internet censorship.
Iran has a conscript army of 523,000 soldiers. There are also other military forces, above all the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) with 125,000 members. As the elite force of the Islamic Republic, they support states allied with Iran such as Syria and militias in Lebanon (Hezbollah), Yemen (Houthi) and Iraq.
Western states in particular have accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons. That is why there were international punitive measures up to an agreement in 2015. Iran is also testing missiles that have a range of several hundred kilometers. The US continues to view Iran as a military threat and therefore reintroduced punitive measures in 2018.
Iran is an emerging country. Its economic backbone is formed by oil and natural gas. Iran is one of the world’s largest sponsors. Natural gas is primarily used to supply its own energy. Crude oil is mostly exported and, to a lesser extent, processed in refineries. In addition, steel and aluminum production, automobile assembly, the chemical and construction industries as well as mechanical engineering and the electrical and electronics industries are important sectors. Most industrial companies are controlled by the state, state-affiliated religious foundations or the Revolutionary Guard. US punitive measures are hindering Iran’s international economic and financial relations, particularly oil and gas exports. Therefore there is also less investment and the national currency loses value (Inflation).
The agricultural sector contributes around 10% to the national economic output. One tenth of the national area is used for agriculture, half of it is irrigated. In the winter-humid western mountain regions, rain-fed agriculture is practiced, especially for grain. Irrigation agriculture for the cultivation of vegetables, melons, fodder plants, sugar beets, sugar cane as well as fruit and dates has a 2500 year tradition with often kilometers of underground tunnels, the canoes. However, modern dams, canals and deep wells have largely replaced the canoes. The irrigated area has almost doubled in the past 30 years.
A particularly fertile region is the Caspian lowlands as the most important growing area for rice, citrus fruits and cotton and the only one for tea. Iran is also one of the world’s largest producers of pistachios. About a fifth of the country’s area is used as pasture for sheep, goats and cattle. The nomadic way of life that was widespread in the past is dying out. Tourists mostly visit the historical sites in Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Susa and Persepolis. Meschhed and Kum are important pilgrimage destinations for Shiite Muslims.
According to recipesinthebox, the total strength of the conscription army (service period 18 months) is 523,000 men. The elite troops of the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran; 125,000 men) as well as the gendarmerie (40,000 men) and the people’s militias (Basij) belong to the paramilitary forces. The army has 350,000, the air force 30,000 and the navy 18,000 men. The Pasdaran controlled much of Iran’s infrastructure and are associated with numerous commercial enterprises.
In Syria CONFLICT the Pasdaran with the support Assad regime associated combat troops in, Iraq with Iran affiliated militias and in Lebanon the Hezbollah.