Canada's stability and resources enable us to offer a welcoming hand to people from other countries. Your interest in reading this booklet may arise from being involved in an organized HOST program, in which you have the opportunity to meet newcomers from Iran and welcome them to Canada. You may have Iranian colleagues at work or Iranian students at your school. Whatever your source of interest, this booklet will provide some insight into Iran and the people who live there.

Your new friends will have many of the questions that you would have if you moved to a new city or country. They will wonder what their new community is like, where to shop for food, what schools their children will attend, where the hospital is, whether it is safe to go out at night and how to get around the city. Answering your new friends' questions will help them settle more smoothly. You will also find that you can learn more from your new friends than you ever could from written material. An attentive ear is often the most valuable gift one can offer a newcomer.

Although this profile provides insights into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Iran.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Islamic Republic of Iran
Capital Tehran
Type of Government Theocratic Republic
Population 69 million
Area 1, 648, 000 sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Persian, Azeri, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Kurd, Arab, Lur, Baluch, Turkmen
Languages Persian, Azeri, Gilaki, Kurdish, Arabic, Luri, Baluchi, Bakhtiari, Turkmen
Religion Islam
Unit of Currency Rial
National Flag Three unequal horizontal stripes of green, white and red, with the emblem of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the centre white stripe and the inscription Allaho Akbar (God is Great) written 11 times on each of the green and red stripes.
Date of Independence Not recently colonized

  Did you know?
Iran was formerly called Persia, a name which comes from the Fars province where the Aryan tribes lived. In 1934, Reza Shah officially changed the name to Iran, an Aryan word meaning "of noble origin." However, the word Persia is often still used to refer to the country's arts and architecture.