Iran covers 1,648,195 sq. kilometers in southwestern Asia. Its strategic position, its vast resources, including petroleum, natural gas and minerals, its population amounting to 80 million, and its unique cultural life make it a country of high importance. Both history and geography of Iran make it a land of highly popular with visitors. The former gives it numerous spectacular monuments, and the latter makes it enjoy a climate full of variety.
The northern coastal region with luxuriant forests; southern coasts with forests of tidewater; deserts with their mysterious calmness; impressive lake such as Urmia, Hammun, Parishan, Ne’ur, Sama and Zarivar; and snow-clad mountains of Damavand, Dena, Karkas, Sabalan and Tochal are among the beauties of nature, being of great appeal.
Iran’s complex climate ranges from subtropical to subpolar. It is mild and humid in the Caspian region, but warm and humid in the southern shores. The north-western and north-eastern areas are cold and dry, while the central part has a desertic climate. The highest of Zagros and Alborz enjoy mild weather in summer. Because of this complex climate, Iran is famed for having four distinct seasons at the same time, so that one can go skiing in the northern mountains and swimming in the southern waters in the same season.
Plant and animal life is of great variety. Wildlife includes leopards, bears, mouflon, ibex, wild ass and wild boars. Studies have revealed the presence of a remarkably wide variety of reptiles like crocodiles and turtles. Some 200 varieties of fish live in the Persian Gulf. Sturgeon is one of 30 species found in the Caspian Sea.