The Geographical situation of Iran
By: Mohammad Hassan Talebian
Iran is located southwest of the Asian Continent. From the north the country borders with the Caucasus and Caspian Sea (Mazandaran Sea) and Central Asia. From the east, it borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. from the south with Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman and from the west it is bounded by Iraq and Turkey. The present Iran is part of a bigger mountainous plateau which incorporated several seas, lakes and plains including the Caspian Sea at north, the Jeyhoon and Seyhoon plains, the steppes at northeast, the Koora (Koorosh) Plain at northwest, the Punjab Valley at southeast, Sea of Oman and Persian Gulf at south and Mesopotamia region between Tigris and Euphrates at west. In fact, the former bigger Iranian plateau covered an area of 2,600,000 sq. km out of which only 1,648,000 sq. km belongs to present Iran.
Iran is a giant parallelogram fallen between Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman at south and Caspian Sea at north and has served as bridge and corridor between Central Asia and Western Asia. Its bigger diameter stretches from Ararat Mountain at north to Guatr Port at south at a distance of 2,210 kilometers and its smaller diameter stretches from Sarakhs River at north to Arvandrud River at south at a distance of 1,400 kilometers. Half of Iran is mountainous. One fourth of the country is fertile and one fourth is barren and salty. The latitude of the country at the farthest edge or Guatr Port is 25 degrees and the latitude at northwest extremity bordering Ararat Plain is 40 degrees. The country's longitude varies between 44 degrees and 63.5 degrees compared to the Greenwich Time in London. The farthest eastern point reaches Kuhak at the border with Pakistan and the farthest western edge is Bazargan border town which neighbours with Turkey. The difference of time between the farthest eastern town compared to farthest western town is approximately 1.18 hours. Iran has 468 km border with Turkey, 1609 km border with Iraq, 945 km with Afghanistan, 978 km with Pakistan, 40 km with Armenia, 768 km with the Azerbaijan Republic and 1206 km with Turkmenistan Republic. As a whole the country's circumference is 8,731 kilometers from Caspian Sea to Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. Out of 160 million hectares in the country about 20.7% is desert and barren, 54.9% is covered by plains, 7.6% is covered by forests and the remaining 14.4% is fertile.
Nature Climate and temperature difference
Iran falls in a moderate and dry climate at the north and approaches the tropic line at the south. Such a geographical condition and distance from oceans and sea hurricanes has rendered Iran's climate dry and barren, but thanks to its vastness and various natural features such as high mountains at north and west and vast lowlands in the center and the fact that it neighbors the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean at south the country enjoys a variety of climates.
Iran is a high plateau neighboring vast plains in Asia and its average elevation from sea level is approximately 1200 m. Because of very high mountains (some of which are beyond 4000 m from sea level) and the Caspian Sea at north and Persian Gulf at the south and the fact that the whole country is surrounded by mountains Iran is a rare country in which one can find different climates.
The mountains belt surrounding Iran is so high that prevents the moist winds blowing from Caspian Sea or Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean to reach inside the country. As a consequence the regions falling outside this mountainous belt enjoy humid weather and the regions behind these mountains are dry. As a result of such lofty mountainous belt the amount of rainfall at the southern shores of Caspian Sea is higher than other regions in the country. At the west the country enjoys Mediterranean climate and in the southern regions tropical and warm desert prevails. In western regions the summer is very warm in the valleys and moderate or cold in mountainous resorts.
Due to the humid climate in the south, the temperature is high. Maximum temperature in Khuzestan sometimes reaches 53°C. These regions are very hot in summer and moderate in winter and the temperature varies very slightly in the south during day and night. However, because of the lofty Alborz Mountains Range at the north and Zagros Mountain Range at west which operates like a very high barrier rainy clouds seldom penetrate into the central Iranian plateau and these regions are arid and barren. In fact, Iran joys three sorts of climates: desert and semi-desert climate, moderate mountainous climate and moderate Mazandaran climate.
The temperature in Iran varies from minus 30°C in Ardabil (Azerbaijan) to 70°C and above in southern regions and central deserts. Meanwhile, average rainfall in the country varies between minus 50mm to above 2000mm. As a result of such variables and because of outside and inner factors the country enjoys different climates. The farthest southern part of Iran is only one or two-degree close to the global tropic belt and as a consequence the southern regions in the country suffer from warm weather in all seasons. At north (with the exception of the seashores which are affected by the Caspian Sea) warm weather is seldom notable in summers and nearly three or four months in the year the weather is very cold.
Regions exposed to sea enjoy heavy rainfall and are enriched with dense jungles whereas regions surrounded by lofty mountains are dry and barren. As mentioned above there are three types of distinct climates in Iran: a. Desert and semi-desert climate which is covers vast acres of central parts of Iran and the southern shores of Persian Gulf. One feature of such climate is long periods of warm and dry weather (sometimes 7 months in a year). The amount of rainfall in such regions varies between 25 to 30 mm. Mountainous climate is divided into two zones: Cold mountainous climate which dominate approximately 40,000 sq. km of of Iran with average annual rainfall of 500mm per annum. Moderate mountainous climate which dominates approximately! 300,000 sq. km in Iran with average annual rainfall of between 250mm to 600mm. Mazandarani climate: Mazandaran Province is a narrow strip between Caspian Sea and Alborz Mountain range in which the amount! of annual rainfall varies between 600 to 2000mm per annum.