National Day Celebration of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Iran, also known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a sovereign state in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia, the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Azerbaijan; to the north by the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second-largest country in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world. With 82.8 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 17th-most-populous country. It is the only country with both a Caspian Sea and an Indian Ocean coastline. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, make it of great geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.
Iran is a major regional and middle power, and its large reserves of fossil fuels—which include the largest natural gas supply in the world and the fourth-largest proven oil reserves— exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy. Iran's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third-largest number in Asia and 11th-largest in the world.