|Geography and Climate
Iran is located in the Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan. Area comparatively slightly larger than Alaska. Total land boundary is 5,440 km, border countries are 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.
Climate is mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast. Terrain consists of rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts. Elevation extreme has the lowest point in Caspian Sea -28 m and highest point in Qolleh-ye Damavand 5,671 m. Natural resources are 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 are 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
Ref. Anonymous, 1999