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Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, country in southwestern Asia, located on the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf. One of the world's most mountainous countries, Iran contains Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Asia west of the Himalayas. The country's population, while ethnically and linguistically diverse, is almost entirely Muslim.
Iran lies at the easternmost edge of the geographic and cultural region known as the Middle East. The country is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and Turkmenistan; on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; on the south by the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf; and on the west by Iraq and Turkey. Iran's capital and largest city is Tehran, located in the northern part of the country.
Tehran, the country's capital and largest city, serves as the main administrative, commercial, educational, financial, industrial, and publishing center. Iran's other major cities include Mashhad, a manufacturing and commercial center in the northeast and the site of the country's most important religious shrine; Esfahan, a manufacturing center for central Iran with several architecturally significant public buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries; Tabriz, the main industrial and commercial center of the northwest; Shiraz, a manufacturing center in the south near the ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis; and Ahvaz, the principal commercial and manufacturing center in the southwestern oil region.
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