Random Facts about Iran
In Persian, the word Iran means “Land of the Aryans.”
In 2012, Iran’s police chief announced that Google is a tool for spying. Additionally, the Iranian government wants to form a “national Internet” that would be under state control.
In Iran, couples that want a marriage license are required to take an hour-long lecture on contraception.
The current Iranian flag was adopted in 1980 and has three equal horizontal bands of green, white, and red. Green is the color of Islam and represents growth, white symbolizes honesty and peace, and red stands for bravery and martyrdom. Centered in the middle white band is the stylized representation of the word “Allah” and the phrase La ilaha illa Allah (“None is worthy of worship but Allah”) in the shape of a tulip. Along the inner edges of the green and red bands are 22 copies of the phrase Allahu Akbar (“God is great”).
Nearly half of Iran has an arid desert climate. It receives less than 4 inches of precipitation each year.
Only one river in Iran, the Karun, may be navigated by boat, and then only for short distances.
The Persian Gulf holds 60% of the world’s oil reserves. Iran alone has reserves of 125 billion barrels of oil, or 10% of the world’s total reserves. Iran pumps nearly 4 million barrels of oil each day.
Iran controls 50% of the Caspian Sea caviar market. The eggs of the Caspian beluga sturgeon can fetch up to $160 per ounce. The beluga sturgeon was swimming in lakes at the time of the dinosaurs.
Iran is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, with settlements dating back to 4000 B.C.
Approximately 70% of Iran’s population is under the age of 30.
Since ancient times, people in Iran have used a water supply system called a qanat (or kanat). It collects underground water and moves it through tunnels to places where people need it.
Most homes in rural areas do not have tables and chairs. Instead, people sit on cushions on the floor to eat their meals.
Iranians have woven beautiful rugs for over 2,500 years. After oil, Iran’s second largest export commodity is carpets.
The Persian cat is one of the world’s oldest breeds. They originated in the high plateaus of Iran where their long silky fur protected them from the cold. Italian traders brought the breed to Europe in the 17th century, where they became an exotic status symbol.
The Medes were of Aryan origin and the first people to unify Iran by the 6th century B.C. One of the tribes, the Magi, were powerful Zoroastrian priests. The most famous Magi are the Three Wise Men of the Christian Nativity story who brought gifts to the newborn Christ. The 13th century Italian explorer Marco Polo claimed to have visited the graves of the Three Wise Men in what is now Iran’s capital Tehran.
Iran has experienced one of the highest urban growth rates in the world, jumping from 27% to 60% between 1950 and 2002. By 2030, 80% of the population will be urban.
Iran has been dubbed “the nose job capital of the world,” as the Western nose has become the desired nose shape of young Iranian women.
Iran is one of the world’s largest producers of caviar, pistachios, and saffron.
Famous biblical figures purported to be buried in Iran include Esther, Daniel, Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, and St. Thaddaeus.
In 2007, Iran produced the world’s largest handmade carpet for a mosque in the United Arab Emirates. It was the size of a soccer field.
Polo was played in Iran as early as the 6th century B.C., mainly as training for the cavalry.
Poetry holds a special place in Iranian culture. All Iranians can recite lines from famous Persian poems, such as the most famous poem in Iran called Shahnameh or The Epic of Kings.
The first day of spring in Iran is a festive day. Women prepare huge feasts and mothers eat hard-boiled eggs, one for each of their children. According to Persian ritual, the table is set with seven items, each beginning with the letter “s” in Farsi: such as apples (sib), green grass (sabze), vinegar (serkey), berries (senjed), ground wheat (samanoo), a gold coin (sekke), and garlic (sir).
Persian culture is famous for beautiful poetry, luxurious rugs, and lush gardens. In fact, the English word “paradise” comes from a Persian word meaning “enclosed garden.”
The most popular sport in Iran is soccer. The national team has won the Asian Cup three times and played in three World Cup Final competitions.