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According to the latest census made in 1996, the population of Iran was a little more than 60 million of which about 37 million were urban dwellers and about 23 million villages and a small percentage are nomad tribes. The majority of urban dwellers live in major cities like Tehran, Meshed, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, Qum, Ahwaz, Rasht, Orumyeh, and Kermanshah.

More than half of the population of the country is active population and about 39.5% of total population are below 14 years of age. Thus, the population of Iran is one of the youngest among other countries of the world. So, the society of Iran is full of adolescence emotion and joy. From employment point of view, age distribution of employed population of 10 years and above in different economic sectors is 23.04% in agriculture, 44.50% in service, and 30.7% in industry. Total employed population of the country is reported at about 14.5 million.

Out of total population of the country with 6 year of age and above, 79.51% are literate. The rate of literacy in urban areas is 96.88%, and in rural areas is 91.37% of people deserving to be learned (6-14 year). This ratio is 84.66% among men and 74.21% among women. In urban areas this ration is 89.56% and 81.7% and in rural areas is 76.74% and 62.41% for men and women respectively.

Tourists, especially regular ones, are very interested in visiting the decampment of nomad tribes. This can be attributed to many reasons. The main reason is the fact that these nomad tribes have well safeguarded their old tradition and culture. Generally, the present life style of nomads in Iran, is not so different from our ancient predecessors. Therefore, visiting the nomad tribes and recognition of their life style, especially decampment between winter and summer quarters, will help them to get acquainted with the life and culture of ancient Iranians.

Iran is situated on the way of central Asia and Turkey as well as western countries and different ethnic groups live over there. Among them Farsis, Kurds, Lors, Balooches, Bakhtiaris, Azari Turks, Taleshs, Turkamans, Ghashghais, and Arabs may be pointed out. Smaller ethnic groups also live in Iran. Turkamans, who live in Turkaman Sahara and north of Khorasan, are different from other Iranian ethnic groups from appearance, language, and cultural points of view. Ghashghais, who have Turkish origin, live in central part of Iran. Arab clans mostly live in Khuzestan and are scattered along the coastlines of the Persian Gulf. Today, the composition of Iranian ethnic groups is considerably mixed due to development and expansion of communication systems and more interaction and association of people, resulting in a relatively uniform social environment.

Some groups of colored people, who are the descendants of slave trade with Zanzibar, are scattered in southern provinces of Iran. The existing Indian minority in the south of Iran is also the posterity of Indian traders in past times.

Economy and Development

According to the Article 44 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, the economy of Iran, from ownership point of view, is composed of three sectors: private, governmental (public), and cooperative. Presently, only 2.5% of the country's economy is owned by cooperatives and the most dominant ownership is concentrated in two governmental and private sectors. Regarding the official figures of total budget of the country, 50% of Gross National Product (GNP) come from governmental monopolies, which with the calculation of contribution of other governmental firms, contribution of the government reaches 60%. In the last 4 decades, the main source of income in budget of country, has been through oil and gas export. This amount has been about 64% of the country's total budget in 1995. In spite of severe fluctuations in global oil price and decrease of its value it yet plays a very important role in the economy of the country and is the main source of foreign currency income.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is composed of four sectors: agriculture, industry & mine, services and oil. During 17 years of 1977-1995, added value of agriculture sector with 130% increase has reached 3,740 billion RLS. on the basis of fixed prices of 1982. This sector, after the Islamic Revolution, has always been the impetus of Iran's economy.

On the contrary, for decreasing dependency on oil incomes and due to unstable global prices of oil, contribution of oil in GDP of the country has decreased from 39.4% in 1979 to 18.1% in 1996 i.e. less than half. In this period, the contribution of agriculture sector increased from 14.7% to 26.9%, and the contribution of industry and mine sector increased from 20.8% to 23.7% of GDP.

After the termination of the imposed war in 1988 and stabilization of political and economical condition of the country, rapid growth of added value in economic sectors began. Between the years l989-1994, the average growth rate in different sectors increased to 5.7% in agriculture, 7.9% in industry and mine, and, 6.7% in services. Since 1994, with appearance of foreign currency shortages and its impacts on national economy, industry and mine sector have become the main factors in accelerating economic growth of the country.

Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, sub-sectors of industry and mine i.e. water, electricity, and natural gas, have been the most thriving branches of country's economy.

In services sector, the highest rate of growth belongs to the transportation and communication groups. This phenomenon has caused the condition in which services sector play an important role in the economy of the country during last years with a relatively sound structure. During the years 1988-1994, the added value of transportation, warehousing and communication group has increased more than 97%.

In total, changes in national products in Iran during recent years and changes in production and added value in sectors and sub-sectors, indicate a tendency in national economy structure which its main characteristic is preference of production, especially industrial production.

In 1994, for the first time since early 1990s, the growth of added value of industry and mine sector exceeded the average growth of GDP and even sector's growth. While the figures of these indexes for GDP and services was annually 1.6% and 2.5% respectively, mine and industry sector experienced an annual growth of 4.9%. This growth increased by the amazing figure of 5.7 in 1995. At the end of 1995, the contribution of different economic sectors in gross domestic product (GDP) was 26.9% in agriculture, 23.7% in industry and mine, 42.9% in services, and 18.1% in oil, on the basis of factors price (fixed prices of 1982).


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