The use of the drug is so widespread that Iran has one of the highest opiate addiction rates worldwide. (Supplied)

September 20, 2019

Like any country on the map, Iran has its customs, culture and common practices, but there are some facts that we don’t all know about and perhaps we should. This is a list of some eye-opening facts about Iran.

Iran’s Own Internet

Iran’s chief of police announced in 2012 that Google was actually a spy tool that was infiltrating Iran. The government is working towards creating a state-controlled internet of their own. Currently social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are banned. The government fears that the platforms will be used to organize mass riots.

Controlling The Internet

Soccer Stars

When it comes to sport, Iran has her heart invested in soccer. The sport is played by males and females, with the latter wearing hijab during play. Iran’s national men’s team have qualified for three World Cup tournaments and have even won three Asian Cup titles. Not bad for a country from the Middle East.

Soccer Stars

Young Guns

Iran has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 70% of their population being under the age of 30. Iran is also the 18th most populated country in the world with just over 80 million people. That’s a lot of people waiting in line to get into a bar… oh, wait.

Young Guns

Secret Star Of David

For 30 years there was a star of David on the roof of the main terminal building at Tehran’s international airport. It was undiscovered until Google Earth came along, and after an infuriated government heard about it, it promptly disappeared.

Secret Star Of David

Air Pollution

It’s not just the government’s tight grip on the capital, Tehran, that makes it hard to breathe; it’s the air pollution too. Tehran claims an estimated 27 lives a day are lost because of air pollution-related diseases.

Air Pollution

 

Difficult Divorces

After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, women’s rights were greatly downgraded. Now if a man and woman divorce, the woman loses all custody of her children. And seeing as polygamy is allowed in Iran, the man has enough choices.

Difficult Divorces

Flying Carpets

It’s no surprise that Iranians have been weaving rugs for more than 2,500 years ago. Now although they don’t actually fly (bummer!), they are incredible masterpieces of fabric artistry. If you happen to buy a rug and notice that it is 99% perfect but has a small defect, fear not. Those who weave rugs make a single mistake on purpose because they believe that only God can be perfect.

Flying Carpets

Heavy Weights

Do you know what happens when your country is one of the biggest consumers of kebabs? You’re smacked with obesity. Iran claims the 41st place in the world for obesity with 14% of their population crossing the weight line. But let’s face it, they have a long way to catch up to America which is the 6th most obese country in the world.

Heavy Weights

Getting High

Not only is opium easy to get your hands on in Iran and others surrounding countries, it is also super cheap. Since it is illegal to drink alcohol, millions of Iranians take to opium. The use of the drug is so widespread that Iran has one of the highest opiate addiction rates worldwide.

Getting High

The Goodies

The Arabian Peninsula is rich in oil, hence the nauseating number of wars that have taken place there. But aside from oil, there are some other wonderful delicacies that Iran is known for. It is the world’s greatest producer of caviar, pistachios and saffron.

The Goodies

Mosque Mat

Imagine the biggest carpet you’ve ever seen. Right, now double its size. Triple it. You’ve still got nothing on the massive carpet that Iran produced in 2007. The carpet was intended for a mosque in the United Arab Emirates and was as big as a soccer field!

Mosque Mat

Lashing Out

Women and girls from the age of nine must wear a hijab headscarf when in public. If a woman goes out in public without covering up appropriately, the law states that authorities can punish her with lashings. But this law isn’t always carried out, whew!

Lashing Out

Going Nuclear

In 2002, Iran came out by saying that they had been working on an undercover nuclear program with Russia for 18 years prior. The world tensed up when they heard that, but Iran reassured the world that the goal was to produce nuclear energy and nothing else. Oh, okay. Sounds legit.

Going Nuclear

Nose Job Capital

Did you know that Iran has humorously been dubbed “the nose job capital of the world?” Why is this you ask. Well, young Iranian women have fallen in love with the “typical” Western nose shape.

Nose Job Capital

Rich Kids

Fancy cars, expensive jewelry, bikini-clad girls and drinks flowing as freely as the women’s hair. These “Rich Kids of Tehran” are an Instagram sensation. Despite local laws banning pretty much everything these youths do, they continue to have enormous parties because they’re rich and their parents are influential. Even though Instagram is on the national banned sites list, secret VPNs give these youngsters freedom to post their private lives to the world.

Rich Kids

Arabic Or Persian?

When thinking of the Arab Peninsula, many people assume that everyone speaks Arabic, but in Iran, Persian is the official language. Don’t get me wrong, there are other languages too, like, Turkic, Kurdish, Gilaki, and Arabic.

Arabic Or Persian

Jews In Iran

When it comes to religion in Iran, over 99% of the population is Muslim with 89% of them being Shi’a Muslims. There are other religious groups who make up the other one percent. Surprisingly Jewish people are part of that one percent.

Jews In Iran

Aryans

If you were to translate the word “Iran” into Persian, you will get “Land of the Aryans” as its translation. Now there’s something you probably weren’t expecting to read.

Aryans

High And Dry

Iran doesn’t get much rain during the year. In fact, the country only receives about four inches of rain each year. Having said this, it’s still important to note that Iran has four seasons and certain places even have snowfall.

High And Dry

Oil In Oil

We all know that the Middle-East is virtually swimming in oil, so it makes sense that Iran has around 10% of the world’s oil reserves. On a daily basis, Iran pumps around 4 million barrels of oil, wow! All in all it is the 4th largest oil producer in the world.

Oil In Oil

No TV

Considering the government’s stern policy on internet, it’s not very surprising that satellite TV is banned in Iran. You do realize what that means, right? No Game of Thrones! Although this law doesn’t prevent the population from using secret VPNs.

No TV

Young Brides

Make sure you have your reading glasses on for this one, because you’re about to read correctly. From the age of 13, girls can get married. Boys need to wait a little longer – from their 15th birthday only. Talk about getting out of the house at a young age.

Young Brides

Married Life

The Marriage Protection Law was introduced in 1967. The law raised the age of marriage to 18 for men and 15 for women. Later in 1975, that age was raised to 18 for women and 20 for men. This act was eventually nullified in 1979.

Married Life

Some Perks

One of the advantages of laws applying to youngsters, is that from the age of 15 everyone can vote. Now that’s teaching the youth a thing or two about taking responsibility.

Some Perks

Sex Changes

This one is going to blow your mind! In Iran getting a sex change is legal! But even more absurd from that, is the state will actually fund it. Just when you think you know a country and its policies.

Sex Changes

Short-Term Marriage

Let’s imagine you’re kind of into a girl or guy and you’re not sure if you’re ready to commit to them. Alright, cool. There is a practice called Sigheh which allows a couple to have a short-term marriage which can last anywhere from a few hours to a few years.

Short Term Marriage

Expensive Weddings

Despite having tons of crude oil which brings in heaps of money, the country has its economic struggles. Because of this many people are choosing not to get married. The country set up a marriage fund of $720 million to offer funding for weddings.

Expensive Weddings

What To Bring

Bringing a host a gift is one of the most difficult things you can do. I mean, how are you to know what they like or dislike? Well if you happen to visit in Iran, they appreciate receiving flowers or pastries – it’s their custom.

What To Bring

Right Or Left Hand

So you’ve passed the gift test, you’re inside their house. Where’s the table? Where are the knives and forks? Okay, I’m exaggerating. Not every household works this way, but don’t be shocked if they sit on cushions on the floor to eat dinner. Also their custom is to eat with their right hands, and not their left. The left hand is for wipin… ah, never mind.

Right Or Left Hand

Housewives

Let’s face it, working from home is a dream come true. As is the case in many countries, many women in Iran spend their time as housewives, which includes taking care of and raising the children, maintaining the home, and preparing meals.

Housewives

Drinking Alcohol

Even though alcohol is officially banned from Iran, there is a huge market for it. In fact, illegal alcohol is often smuggled in to the point that it has evolved into a business that rakes in $700 million each year. Sound like “Prohibition” much?

Drinking Alcohol

Miracles

We all have some sort of magic medicine that we received from a great-granny. Something to clear that cough, something for your sleeplessness. Well in Iran yogurt is their miracle food. The locals use it for many different types of ailments. They even use it for ulcers, and sunburn for those who catch some sun that is.

Miracles

 

Readers And Writers

During the 1970’s, Iran’s literacy rate was alarmingly low at 37%. Recently the country’s adult literacy rate ranked at 93%. Even though many argue that before the revolution life was freer, the folks were reading a whole lot less it seems.

Readers And Writers

Bikinis Or Not

This is a fact that most people probably assumed and didn’t need to be told, but here it is anyway. Due to strict religious laws, women may not wear a bathing suit in front of men.

Bikinis Or Not

Don’t Wear A Tie

Getting ready for a job interview, men? Well the first thing you should know is that you shouldn’t wear shorts… that pretty much goes without saying. Secondly, don’t wear a necktie as men are forbidden from wearing them… and shorts.

Dont Wear A Tie

10 Neighbors

Take a look on a map and you’ll notice just how huge Iran is, but you’ll also notice just how many countries it shares a border with. Those ten countries are: Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Turk­menistan, Afghanistan, Pak­istan, Oman, United Arab Emi­rates, Kuwait, Iraq and Turkey.

10 Neighbors

Speaking Out

We all know that each and every person in a country can’t love their president or leader, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Or is there? In Iran you’d better not badmouth Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, because the punishment is a little more than a slap on the wrist. Insulting the supreme leader has led some people to torture, imprisonment, and even execution.

Speaking Out

Momma’s Boy

So let’s imagine a man can’t find a girl he’s happy to settle down with, what can he do? Well first he has to stay with his parents. Next he gets a “cool” new name – ‘na-mard’. Oh, it translates to ‘not-men’. Burn.

Mommas Boy

Cross-dressing Women

For women, watching sports matches is strictly prohibited. So what can they do about it? Well they have the solution, and that is cross-dressing in order to watch. Talk about dedicated fans!

Cross Dressing Women

UNESCO Sites

Iran has a rich history and it possesses a total of 21 UNESCO world heritage sites. Some of the sites you can visit are: Soltaniyeh – a 14th century double-shell brick dome, and Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System which is considered a “masterpiece of creative genius”.

UNESCO Sites

 

Contraceptions

Before obtaining a marriage license, a couple has to go through some classes. No, we aren’t talking about 9th grade, but rather lessons in contraception. The couple must attend an hour-long lecture on how to prevent getting pregnant.

Contraceptions

Condom Factory

It might seem like an unlikely thing to find in the Middle-East, but Iran actually has one of the only condom factories in the region. Iran’s plight to channel population growth comes in many forms.

Condom Factory

Queen Esther And Others

Iran is the burial ground of a number of history’s biblical figures. Some of those notable figures are, Queen Esther, the prophet Daniel, Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great.

Queen Esther And Others

An Excuse For Gifts

Giving gifts in Iran is kind of strange, but we can all relate in some way. Firstly gifts are given on many occasions like someone achieving greatness or just for returning from a trip. But the custom when giving a gift is to apologize for its inadequacy. Some of us do this back home too.

An Excuse For Gifts

The Olympics

Seeing Iranian Olympiads at the Olympic Games is nothing new. In fact Iran has sent participants to the competition since 1948 and have only missed two opportunities to attend the Summer Olympic Games, in 1980 and 1984.

The Olympics

The Persian Cat

The Persian cat, or the Iranian cat, if you will, is one of the world’s oldest cat breeds. Their beautiful, long, silky fur has made them one of the most sought after cats. The reason for their unique fur coat is actually to protect them from cold climates in the high Iranian plateaus – their habitat.

The Persian Cat

Shoes Or No Shoes

Coat check? Try shoe check first, my friend. In Iran, guests should check whether the host is wearing shoes or not. If the host is walking around barefoot, best you take off your shoes and leave them at the door.

Shoes Or No Shoes

Poems And Poets

It’s not just beautiful architecture and detailed rugs that make up Iran’s culture, poetry has a special place too. It’s well known that pretty much all locals can recite some famous Iranian poetry to anyone who asks for it.

Poems And Poets

Women Driving

The massive debate around women and their rights to driving in Iran is never-ending. But the fact is that women are allowed to drive cars in Iran. However, if the police should catch a woman driving without a head covering, or even one that isn’t fixed correctly, her car will be impounded and she will have to face the unforgiving hand of the law.

Women Driving

Female Taxi Drivers

Considering that woman are allowed to drive cars, it’s cool to know that a group of women started their own all-women taxi service in Tehran. The company was founded by a woman and includes an all-female staff. How cool is that?

Female Taxi Drivers

Biker Babes

Just when we thought that women had a chance on the roads. Women are not allowed to ride motorcycles, regardless of how well their head covering is fixed. But something you will see in the streets of Iran, is women on the back of bikes being ridden by their male counterparts.

Biker Babes

Supreme Leader

What do you need a president for when you have a supreme leader? The supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has more power than anyone in Iran. He is the commander-in-chief of the military. He directly appoints the heads of the judiciary, the state radio and television networks, as well as the commanders of the police and military forces. At the end of the day, the supreme leader alone decides whether there will be peace or war.

Supreme Leader

Iran’s Army

Iran is a powerhouse in the Middle-East and could pose a major threat to any opposing force in the region. Its military is made up of two sides of the armed forces: the Army, Air Force and Navy, and then the Revolutionary Guards. The military totals about 545,000 active personnel and 350,000 reserve soldiers.

Irans Army

Axis Allies

Iran may not be directly involved in any conflicts in the Middle-East, but they definitely have their hand in them. Its military allies include Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon’s guerrilla military group, Hezbollah. It doesn’t only provide military advice to these armed groups, but also financial aid and weapons.

Axis Allies

Taekwondo Champion

19-year-old Kimia Alizadeh, is a multi-medal Taekwondo fighting champion. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she won bronze and became the first Iranian female to win a medal at the Olympic Games.

Taekwondo Champion

The Bahá’í Faith

Although the Bahá’í Faith is the largest religious minority in Iran, it is not recognized by the government. In fact the government has banned the 300,000 local members from practicing their religion, calling it a “dangerous cult”.

The Baháí Faith

Refugees

Iran is proud to say that it has more than 1,000,000 foreign refugees which is actually the most of any country worldwide. The country came under fire for using the Afghan and Kurdish refugees as means of expanding their workforce for minimum wages.

Refugees

Operation Ajax

America and Iran once were actually good friends, but the mistrust most Iranians feel could be traced back to 1953. The CIA was part of a secret operation called “Operation Ajax” which aimed to overthrow Prime Minister Masaddegh’s democratically elected government. USA would get 40% of Iran’s oil industry from Iran’s Shah… until the plan was blown out of the water.

Operation Ajax

Iranian Hostage Crisis

The American embassy in Tehran made front page news in 1979 when a troop of Islamist students and militants breached the walls and took hostages. The group demanded the release of Shah Pahlavi so that he could face a court for his “crimes against Iranian citizens”. The Shah was dying of cancer in America. It took 444 days until the hostages eventually made it out.

Iranian Hostage Crisis

Gender Equality

When Iran fell in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution, its legal system reverted to Islamic law. The change dropped women onto a lower tier, meaning that they were considered mentally and legally inferior to men. The government has made claims that “gender equality” was a construct created by Zionism.

Gender Equality

Playing Polo

Who would have ever thought that the sport of polo was invented in Iran? It’s not confirmed, but the fact is, Iranians were playing polo as far back as the 6th century B.C., and the reason for doing so was because they were training for the cavalry.

Playing Polo

Earthquake Crisis

Iran made front-page news in 2003 when its city of Bam suffered a devastating earthquake. The southeastern city had a death count of over 30,000 people.

Earthquake Crisis
The Daily Forest

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.