These videos provides a brief introduction to the geography, demography, and early history of Iran.

Iran is a large and geographically diverse country.  While parts of the country are desert, it holds two mountain ranges and features a temperate climate in the north.

While Iran is around the same physical size as Saudi Arabia, it has more than twice the number of people.

Iran is also highly urbanized, with around 75% of the population living in cities.

Iran is highly ethnically diverse, with only around 55-60% of the population being ethnically Persian.  This is sensitive because its diverse ethnic groups tend to be located on the periphery of the state, and Iran takes is national unity and territorial integrity seriously. 

While Iran is ethnically diverse, it is more homogenous religiously.  99% of the population is Muslim, of which 90% is Shi’ite and 9% Sunni. The Kurdish and Baluch populations are primarily Sunni. The remaining 1% represents the Baha’i, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Jewish communities. The Armenian and Assyrian Christian, Zoroastrian, and Jewish communities receive constitutional protections as religious minorities, including representation in parliament.  Baha’is and Christian converts, however, are non-protected minorities and can face prosecution as apostates.

Iran adopted progressive family planning policies in the 1980s, including widespread access to contraception, which brought its fertility rate down to levels similar to European countries.  This means Iran does not have a “youth bulge” so much as a “millennial bulge,” with its largest population cohort aged 30-40.