IR is the abbreviation for Iran, the 17th largest country in the world. Officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iran is a country located in Middle East (Western Asia), bordering 7 countries – Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. Tehran is the capital city of Iran. Top 10 biggest cities are Tehran (population: 7,153,298), Mashhad (population: 2,307,166), Isfahan (population: 1,547,153), Karaj (population: 1,448,064), Tabriz (population: 1,424,630), Shiraz (population: 1,249,931), Qom (population: 900,011), Ahvāz (population: 841,134), Pasragad Branch (population: 787,867), and Kahrīz (population: 766,695).
- Capital: Tehran
- Language: Persian
- Area: 1,648,195 km2
- Population: 82,531,711
- Currency: Rial (IRR)
- Time zone: UTC+3:30
- Calling code: 98
- ISO 2-Letter Abbreviation: IR
- UN 3-Letter Abbreviation: IRN
- Internet TLD: .ir
- State Government Website: http://en.iran.ir
List of Iran Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Iran are IR which stands for Iran and IRR which means Rial (Iran currency). In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Iran, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.
Much of Iran is a desert plateau central to the country, surrounded by mountain ranges and high passports. The Caspian Sea coast is narrow. The flat, cultivable areas are located on the coast of the Caspian Sea and the Gulf of Persia. At the Gulf of Persia, date palms and other fruit trees are grown.
The climate in Iran varies between the highlands, where it is often snowy and cold, and the lowlands where it can be up to 40-50 degrees of heat. The climate is dry in large parts of the country, and rain is most common in the winter months. Strong winds are common, and in the summer wind gusts can reach a speed of 45 meters per second – far above hurricane strength.
The country is subject to severe and devastating earthquakes. Due to oil spills during the Gulf War, the Gulf of Persia is still heavily polluted. CO 2 emissions from cars, parallel to the pollution from oil and heavy industry, has weakened the quality of air, especially in cities. The capital Tehran is ranked as one of the world’s most polluted cities.
Formerly called Persia, Iran was the world’s largest and most powerful dominion of ancient times. The country has been ruled by a number of dynasties and was under Mongolian rule for over 300 years. During World War II, British and Soviet troops invaded the area. In 1953, there was a British-American coup where the prime minister was deposed, and a Western Allied king was deployed. The dissatisfaction with Shaen’s (king’s) policy and his attempt to westernize Iranian society led in 1979 to the Iranian revolution. Shaen was forced to leave the country and Ayatollah Khomeini took power. A new dictatorship emerged, independent of Western domination, but at the same time introduced a form of Islamist rule in the country. The same year as the Revolution, a group of students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran, and the students took around 50 hostages. Since then, Iran-US relations have been tense.
In 1980, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, went to war against Iran. This war is often called the First Gulf War, and it lasted for eight years. Around 400,000 people lost their lives and material costs after the war were enormous.
Society and politics
Iran is a constitutional priesthood without democratic elections. After the 1979 revolution, the country has had two spiritual leaders, ayatolls, who sit for life. The Ayatollah is the top chief in the country, and he controls the judiciary, the media, the police and the military. Neither the priests nor the Ayatollah are chosen by the people. The country’s executive power – the president, and the country’s parliament – Lajlis-e-Shura e Islami, are elected by the people every four years, but candidates must be approved by the priesthood and it is therefore not democratic. The 1979 Constitution states that Islamic law, sharia, is superior to all laws of society.
In recent times, Iran has been characterized by a power struggle between the conservative clergy and the more liberal elected officials. In 2004, international sanctions were imposed on Iran. The reason was suspected of the Iranian nuclear weapons program, as well as allegations of Iranian support to the Hezbollah military organization. For a long time, Iran was accused of developing nuclear weapons, while the authorities claimed that there were only peaceful purposes for the nuclear projects. In 2015, Iran signed an agreement to stop enriching uranium in large quantities. This was approved by the UN in 2016, and international sanctions were removed. Since Donald Trump became president of the United States, the United States has reintroduced sanctions on the country.
Freedom of expression and the right to organize in Iran are very limited. Authorities violate human rights, and hundreds of political prisoners are imprisoned. The death penalty is common.
Economics and Commerce
Iran plays an important role in the world economy because of its large reserves of oil and natural gas. In the mid-1970s, a law was passed on the complete nationalization of the oil industry, and since then the oil industry has been Iran’s largest source of income. The oil deposits, as well as the country’s strategic location have created a number of problems nationally and internationally.
Dependence on oil exports makes the country’s economy vulnerable to fluctuations in world oil prices, and in the mid-2000s, the economy was hit hard by international sanctions and a fall in oil prices. Sanctions against the country have reduced oil exports to half of what they once were. Obstacles such as deficits in the public sector and the practice of Islamic law have hampered Iran’s participation in the world market. Unemployment in the country is high, and many Iranians are therefore seeking work abroad.
The UN Association is offering a role-playing game for the 2019-20 school year in which students will try to resolve a conflict within the UN Security Council (Iran and the nuclear issue). Iran is not a member of the Security Council but is invited to the debate because the conflict concerns their country. The following sections are information related to this role-playing game.
Foreign policy and relations with the Security Council countries
Iran has a poor relationship with the West in general, and with the United States and the United Kingdom in particular. Relations with the United States were completely reversed at the head of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. Since then, there has been an open hostility between the two countries. Iran has designated the United States as the “Great Satan”, while in the period after September 11, the United States designated Iran as a member of the “axis of evil”.
In the conflict with the United States, Iran is trying to gather both Shia and Sunni Islamic opposition in the Middle East, against what the country sees as still Western imperialism and illegal interference in the region. Israel is part of this contradiction as an obedient ally of the United States (the “Little Satan”), and is today the greatest regional threat to Iran’s security. According to Iran, the right turn in Israeli politics in recent years has helped sharpen America’s hostile rhetoric against the country.
Iran has a relatively good relationship with the veto powers Russia and China. Russia has historically played an important role in the development of the country’s nuclear program, while China has remained an important trading partner during periods when other countries have failed. Although China and Russia share the West’s view that Iran should refrain from developing nuclear weapons, the attitude is also that Iran has a self-imposed right to hold civilian nuclear technology programs. Russia and China have been more skeptical than many other Security Council countries in imposing financial sanctions on Iran, and China in particular has invested significant sums of money in the Iranian oil industry.
Iran is involved in a number of regional conflicts in the Middle East. After the Arab Spring (from 2011), Iran has strengthened its role in many countries. The country, along with Russia, played a crucial military role on President Assad’s side in the civil war in Syria, and through this war has also strengthened its ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran has also supported the Houthi rebels during the war in Yemen, and increased its influence in neighboring Iraq. In particular, the war in Yemen has brought Iran into open opposition to its second major rival in the region next to Israel – namely Saudi Arabia.
Iran is strongly critical of the US withdrawing from the nuclear deal and imposing severe financial sanctions on the country. Iran describes the sanctions as illegal and as “economic terrorism”. Iran believes that they have fulfilled all their obligations in relation to the nuclear agreement, and that it is the United States that must take responsibility for Iran also breaking parts of the agreement.
Iran is trying to play Europe and the US against each other on the issue of financial sanctions. They do this by demanding that the major EU countries Germany, France and the United Kingdom align the alternative trade mechanism INSTEX in such a way that the US sanctions do not destroy the Iranian economy. To achieve this, Iran demands that oil sales be included in INSTEX as soon as possible. Iran threatens that if oil sales are not included in the deal, it will breach those parts of the agreement that include the restrictions on enriching uranium.
The nuclear deal puts clear restrictions on Iran on how much uranium the country is allowed to enrich and what percentage they are allowed to enrich the uranium. The issue of uranium enrichment is very sensitive, as it is this that largely determines whether Iran can make a nuclear bomb. If you enrich uranium to 4%, at the same time you have done over 80% of the job to make uranium for weapons purposes. Enriching to 20% is approx. 92% of the work done, and then there is not much extra effort left before having a weapons uran (90% enrichment).
The nuclear deal states that Iran can store up to 300 kilos of uranium enriched at 3.67%. In July 2019, Iran announced that they would enrich uranium up to 5% to meet the need for fuel in its Bushehr civil nuclear plant. This is a clear breach of the nuclear deal, and Iran has said they may soon increase its enrichment even further. Iran has a research reactor in Tehran that needs 20% enriched uranium, and if the country enriches the uranium itself, there is an even clearer breach of the nuclear deal.
It is possible for Iran to continue to increase its enrichment of uranium incrementally, thus increasing pressure on European countries to help more to avoid the economic sanctions. But there is also a risk that these countries, or the other parties to the nuclear deal, will at one time or another accuse Iran of such a breach of the agreement that they propose to reintroduce UN sanctions. Iran must therefore think carefully about whether they want to continue to increase the enrichment of uranium beyond what they have already done. It is natural for Iran to ask for help from China and Russia to bypass the US economic sanctions as well.
In the big picture, Iran has said that the economic sanctions against the country are now reducing the country’s ability to help Afghan refugees, as well as stopping the smuggling of drugs from Asia to Europe (especially heroin). The country thus suggests that there may be an increase in the flow of refugees and a strengthening of criminal activity in Europe as a result of the US sanctions.
Iran strongly denies that they have a nuclear weapons program that they hide from the Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the outside world. They deny that there are secret nuclear facilities that are out of control, and believe Israel’s theft of the so-called Amad archive in Tehran was only a convenient pretext for speeding up the US decision to withdraw from the deal. In reality, the archive contains nothing but old claims that are no longer valid. When Iran is accused of having unnatural missiles and defense systems to protect its nuclear facilities, Iran believes this is a necessary deterrent to prevent Israel from illegally attacking the facilities (as they did in Iraq in 1981).
Iran’s missile program and missile exports to other countries were one of the main reasons the US withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. Although rockets are not explicitly mentioned in the nuclear deal, the UN Security Council mentioned a concern when the council approved the nuclear deal in July 2015. This concern states that “Iran will not undertake any activities that will allow missiles to carry nuclear weapons” until 2023. Iran refuses to talk about this point, as missiles form an essential part of its defense system and are considered essential to counterbalance the regional rivals Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. While Iran has for decades been prevented from modernizing its air force because of various international sanctions,
In the case of ships that have been damaged in attacks at sea in the Persian Gulf, Iran denies that they are behind these attacks. They believe they have the right to arrest ships suspected of smuggling, and that they are allowed to close the Hormuz Strait to look after their own coast. Iran invokes this right, among other things. because they have not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Regarding the Iranian tanker arrested in June 2019 by British authorities in Gibraltar, Iran believes that this was an illegal act staged by the United States.
Iran has been an avid advocate for the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East as soon as possible. The country believes that reluctance in Israel and the West are the main obstacles to this happening. Stability in the region cannot be achieved as long as there is a massive imbalance in military resources between countries, and where a threatening Israel alone holds nuclear weapons. Iran points out that a massive majority of the world’s countries support the proposal for a nuclear-free zone, and believes that a UN-led conference must be held soon to create the zone despite Israel’s resistance.
When it comes to nuclear disarmament in general, Iran is disappointed by the nuclear weapons states’ unwillingness to take action as a moons. Iran believes that nuclear weapons states too often resort to rhetoric to justify continuing to own the weapons, while at the same time using threats and power to prevent other countries from acquiring such. Iran believes it is a shame that the Non-Proliferation Treaty appears to discriminate against countries with and without nuclear weapons. The country believes that the practice of discriminating between countries will continue to weaken the legitimacy of the agreement if a drastic change is not made soon.