Population: 65 million
Race: 51% Persian, then 25% Azeri, a chunk of Kurds in the West and a few Turks and Arabs here or there.
Religion: Almost entirely Muslim but of the Shi’a sect.
Languages: Farsi(Persian) 58%, Turkish dialects 28%, then of course the Kurds in the East speak Kurdish.
Government: Autocratic religious state. The self-appointed ayatollahs hold all the real power while the parliament and president do what they can.
The CIA know all the information about Iran that a stats freak could want.
Visas and Immigration
It generally takes a few working days to get an Iranian transit visa which will only allow you to stay for a week or so.
But don’t panic because once you’re inside the country it’s easy to extend your visa. You can get 3 or 4 week extensions at the immigration offices in the main cities for under a dollar.
When you’re filling in your form put as your stated reason for staying in Iran that ‘you want to study Islam in this beautiful country’.
General Travel Tips
Take a course in learning how to open different kinds of seeds and nuts as Iranians will shower you with them on the bus journeys.
The taxis here run set routes and you have to call out your destination from the kerb side.