The Islamic Republic of Iran is a state in the Middle East (Asia). This country, formerly known in the West as Persia, corresponds to only part of geographical Iran, or Iran proper, which is a trapezoidal plateau, and which stretches between the Caspian Sea and the Turkestan steppes to the North and the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean to the South.
To the West this plateau is bounded by the Tigris valley (in Iraq)and the mountains of Armenia (little Caucasus), to the East by the Indus Valley. The area of this plateau can be estimated, in round figures, at 2.600.000 km2, of which the largest half, 1.648.000 km2, forms the territory of Iran; the rest is divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran’s population is nearly 66.5 million (2009).