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Covering an area of 1,648,195 square kilometers, Islamic Republic of Iran is located in south western Asia. The Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia in the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east, Turkey and Iraq in the west surround the country. On the south Iran borders The Persian Gulf and The Oman Gulf. Total terrestrial borders of the country are 5,170 km. and total water borders are 2,510 km.
Iran is situated at the heart of the Middle East and, as a bridge, links The Caspian Sea, the largest land-locked body of water in the world, to The Persian Gulf. There is a strategic location, Strait of Hormuz, which connect the Persian Gulf to Oman Gulf and Indian Ocean. It is a vital maritime pathways for crude oil transportation.
Iran is also a crossroad between the East and the West. Thus, historically, Iran has been in the juncture of cultural, intellectual and political manifestations of both the East and the West, while preserving its unique identity.
Iran consists of rugged, mountainous rims surrounding high interior basins. There are two main mountain chains: Zagros and Alborz (Elburz).The Zagros Mountains, a series of parallel ridges interspersed with plains that bisect the country from northwest to southeast. Many peaks in the Zagros exceed 3,000 meters above sea level, and in the south-central region of the country there are at least five peaks that are over 4,000 meters. As the Zagros continue into southeastern Iran, the average elevation of the peaks declines dramatically to under 1,500 meters. Rimming The Caspian Sea littoral is another chain of mountains, the narrow but high Alborz Mountains which separate The Hyrcanian forest from central dry part of Iran .The Caspian Sea has unique landscapes such as mountains, endless high and low lands and dense forests of the Alborz Mountain Range.Mount Damavand (5,610 meters) an inactive volcano, which is located in the center of The Alborz, is not only the country's highest peak but also the highest mountain on The Eurasian landmass west of The Hindu Kush.
The center of Iran consists of several closed basins that collectively are referred to as the Central Plateau. The average elevation of this plateau is about 900 meters, but several of the mountains that tower over the plateau exceed 3,000 meters. The eastern part of the plateau is covered by two deserts, Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut. Except for some scattered oases, these deserts are uninhabited.
Iran has only two expanses of lowlands: The Khuzestan Plain in the southwest and the Caspian Sea coastal plain in the north. The former is a roughly triangular-shaped extension of the Mesopotamia plain and averages about 160 kilometers in width. It extends for about 120 kilometers inland, barely rising a few meters above sea level, then meets abruptly with the first foothills of the Zagros. Much of the Khuzestan Plain is covered with marshes. The Caspian plain is both longer and narrower. It extends for some 640 kilometers along the Caspian shore, but its widest point is less than 50 kilometers, while at some places less than 2 kilometers separate the shore from the Alborz foothills. The Persian Gulf coast south of Khuzestan and the Gulf of Oman coast have no real plains because the Zagros in these areas come right down to the shore.
There are no major rivers in the country. Of the small rivers and streams, the only one that is navigable is the Karun, which shallow-draft boats can negotiate from Khorramshahr to Ahvaz, a distance of about 180 kilometers. Several other permanent rivers and streams also drain into the Persian Gulf, while a number of small rivers that originate in the northwestern Zagros or Alborz drain into the Caspian Sea. On the Central Plateau, numerous rivers, most of which have dry beds for the greater part of the year, form from snow melting in the mountains during the spring and flow through permanent channels, draining eventually into salt lakes that also tend to dry up during the summer months. There is a permanent salt lake, Lake Uromiyeh in the northwest, whose brine content is too high to support fish or most other forms of aquatic life. Unfortunately it is getting dry these days since the water input is decreasing. There are also several connected salt lakes along the Iran-Afghanistan border in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
“ Geography ”