the people today
The people in present-day Iran are faced with the same challenges of ancient times. Mountains, deserts, and scarcity of water influence today’s culture just as they did in ancient times, especially in undeveloped rural areas.
In 1935, the country’s name was changed from Persia to Iran, which is much smaller than the Persia of ancient times. Iran’s capital, Tehran, is the largest city and the political, commercial, and industrial center of the nation. Iran’s current population is more than 70 million people with nearly 12 million people living in the Tehran area.
Petroleum is the rich mineral resource of Iran today. About 64% of the world’s oil lies under the shallow saltwater lake known as the Persian Gulf. Additionally, Iran is located next to Asia, which has the world’s second largest undeveloped natural gas reserves.
Any pipelines that would carry oil for export must cross Iran. With so much of the world dependent upon oil and gas, Iran holds a very important position in political and social decisions around the globe.
In addition to its petroleum products, Iran’s chief exports are carpets, fruits, nuts, animal hides, iron, and steel. Machinery, metals, military supplies, food, and chemicals are brought into the country from trading partners such as Japan, Germany, and Italy.
The capital city of Tehran was formerly the capital of the Persian Empire. More than half the country’s industry is based in Tehran. Electrical equipment, textiles, sugar, and cement are manufactured, and motor vehicles are assembled there. The city’s large open market is the leading center for the sale and export of carpets.
Remnants of a complex pattern of ethnic groups, languages, and regions remain today with more than 400 different tribes in modern Iran. This diversity causes many of the conflicts that arise today, as well as those that have been handed down throughout Iran’s history.
While there has been a blending of most tribes, some still live in remote mountain and desert areas. In their isolation, they have been able to keep their ancient customs, languages, and religions alive.