Iran 2003

Iran Border Map

In 2003, Iran was a large and diverse country located in the Middle East with a population of around 68 million people. It was the 18th most populous country in the world and the 17th largest in terms of land area. According to computergees, the capital city was Tehran and the official language was Persian. The economy had been struggling since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but had improved somewhat since then due to reforms implemented by reformist governments which had increased foreign investment, reduced taxes on businesses, and allowed more competition in certain industries. Despite this economic progress, poverty remained a major issue in Iran with millions of people living below the poverty line. Education levels were low compared to other countries in Asia, but healthcare access had improved due to government efforts to expand access to public health services. Crime rates were high compared to other countries in Asia, but there were no reports of political violence in 2003. The government at the time was led by President Mohammad Khatami who had been elected in 1997 and had implemented several economic reforms such as reducing tariffs on imports and introducing labor reforms. Despite its vast size, Iran maintained strong cultural ties to its neighbors including its unique cuisine as well as its rich history of literature, music and art forms such as Shia Islam which have been passed down for centuries.

Yearbook 2003

Iran. At least 30,000 people were killed in the earthquake that shook the city of Bam in southern Iran. December 26. Bam, which with its surrounding area had about 200,000 residents, was a historic city, and about 90% of the buildings in the city collapsed during the earthquake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. According to, Iran Independence Day is April 1. Rescuers from some 40 countries also included Americans, which was a milestone as the United States lacks diplomatic relations with Iran since the Revolution of 1979. To facilitate disaster relief, the United States also eased its financial sanctions against Iran.

In June, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found small amounts of plutonium and enriched uranium, which could be used in nuclear weapons, in advance of Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran claimed that the enriched uranium had been on imported equipment and that the plutonium was the result of innocent chemical experiments.

In September, the IAEA called for unannounced checks and Iran to suspend its enrichment of uranium and prove that the country had no nuclear weapons production. The French, British and German foreign ministers visited Iran in mid-October, after which Iran pledged to comply with all IAEA requirements. The United States believed that the finds in Iran proved that the country violated the IAEA rules. The IAEA made another interpretation and reported in November that there was no evidence that Iran had a nuclear weapons program.

Otherwise, Iranian politics was characterized by the power struggle between reform friends and conservatives. The Conservative camp significantly strengthened its positions in the February 28 local elections. In the capital, Tehran, a coalition calling itself Islamic Iran’s developer took 14 out of 15 mandates, and equally smashing victories won the Conservatives in Esfahan, Kerman, Meshed, Qom, Shiraz and Yazd. The turnout was a low 39%.

Student protests in Tehran June 10 soon attracted protesters outside student circles. Demonstrators reportedly were encouraged by American television broadcasts in Persian. In mid-June, the protests spread to other cities. In total, nearly 1,000 protesters were reportedly arrested, about 400 of them students.

The 80-year-old storayatolla Hossein Ali Montazeri, the country’s most prominent regime-critical religious leader, was released Jan. 20 from the house arrest he has been held in since 1997.

On February 14, the Supreme Court overturned the death sentence against university teacher Hashem Aghajari for blasphemy. The court remitted the case to the court in the city of Hamadan who issued the verdict.

The country’s highest leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, in the spring, pardoned the ten Iranian Jews who have been incarcerated since being convicted of espionage in 2000.

Canadian freelance photographer Zahra Kazemi, of Iranian origin, was beaten to death July 11 in a detention center in Tehran, where she has been accused of spying after taking pictures outside Evin Prison in the capital. A parliamentary inquiry set up to investigate the case in October revealed that Tehran’s top prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, had tried to prevent the truth from leaking.

Lawyer Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October. President Khatami urged Ebadi “not to be exploited” and said the price was not very important.

Just before the Iraq war broke out in March, Iran and Iraq exchanged the last of the prisoners of war they had held since the war between 1980-88.

During the year, Iranian authorities arrested a number of people suspected of colluding with the al-Qaeda terror network. Some of the arrested were extradited to countries with which Iran has friendly relations. Iran, on the other hand, refused to extradite terror suspects to the United States.


Criticized death sentence executed

December 31st

A man arrested in 2007, suspected of stabbing to death when he was 16, is executed in a prison in Rasht. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty, which criticizes Iran for the executions of minors when the crimes were committed, have demanded that he be given a new trial because there is evidence that he confessed to torture. The UN notes that at least eight people were executed in Iranian prisons between 19 and 26 December alone.

Iran specifies compensation for air casualties

December 30th

Iran promises to pay $ 150,000 or the equivalent in euros to all families who lose a relative when Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner on January 8. All 176 on board perished. Many were Iranians and 85 were Canadians or had residence permits in Canada. The government of Kiev reacts with criticism: the size of damages should be decided through negotiations between the countries, Ukraine believes (see July 2).

Iran is singled out for kidnapping separatists

December 14

Turkish police confirm that eleven people have been arrested on suspicion of, among other things, espionage and kidnapping on behalf of Iran. The detainees are Turkish citizens. There is a disappearance behind the arrest: Habib Chaab, who lived in Sweden but was accused of having links to Arab separatism in Iran, is believed to have been abducted from Istanbul and smuggled to Iran in October. In southwestern Iran, there is an area of ​​Arab population around the city of Ahvaz. There are political movements acting in the name of the Arabs, a conflict that has also led to the hunt for suspects in Europe (both separatists and the Iranian regime’s envoys, see 22 September 2018 and 30 October 2018).

Publisher of critical site executed

December 12

The journalist Ruhollah Zam, who via his news site on the internet has published criticism of the regime, is hanged (see June 30). Zam had asylum in France, but is believed to have been kidnapped in Iraq and taken to Iran. The EU condemns the execution and several countries in Western Europe are protesting by withdrawing from a digital business forum that would have been organized from Tehran two days later. Iran, for its part, is calling on ambassadors from France and Germany (currently the EU presidency) to protest the criticism.

Railway between Iran and Afghanistan inaugurated

December 10th

Tons of agricultural products are in the cargo when a railway line between Iran and Afghanistan opens. The line between Khaf in Iran and Rozanak in Afghanistan is the countries’ first joint and it will carry both passenger trains and freight trains. The route measures 150 km, but it will eventually be expanded to Herat, Afghanistan’s third largest city. The goal is also a further extension to railway networks in Central Asia and China.

US sanctions with Iran in the spotlight

December 8

Iran’s envoy to the Huthi rebels in Yemen, which, among other things, has control over the country’s capital, is subject to sanctions by the United States. Behind the sanctions against Hasan Irlu, there is dissatisfaction in Washington with the fact that the regime in Iran supports the Shia Muslim rebel movement. The outgoing US government under Donald Trump, for its part, supports the Huthi and Iranian opponents, the Yemeni government, which is also backed by Sunni regimes in the region, mainly Saudi Arabia. US sanctions are largely directed at Iran’s so-called Jerusalem Force (al-Quds). Trump is considering classifying it as a terrorist group to limit Iran’s actions in the region (see January 3, 2020).

The judiciary is pressuring Rohani’s advisers

December 5th

Shahindokht Molaverdi, a lawyer and former vice president, is sentenced to 30 months in prison. She is accused of leaking secret information to foreign powers and of propaganda against the Islamic State. She denies both allegations and says she intends to appeal. For four years she was one of Iran’s vice presidents and was responsible for women’s issues, after which she has been an adviser to the president. A few days after the verdict, it appears that another employee of President Rohani, Isa Kalantari, who is vice president with responsibility for environmental issues, risks prosecution. In conservative media, he has been accused of blackening the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, and it is both these comments and an environmental issue that have led him to be scrutinized by the judiciary.

Sad milestones in covid-19 reporting

December 3rd

More than one million cases of confirmed corona infection have now been registered in Iran, while the number of confirmed deaths is close to 50,000. The actual number is believed to be higher. But it seems that slightly fewer are dying now, compared to most of November when daily death tolls of over 400 were reported.

Increases pressure on uranium;

1 December

Iran’s parliament adopts a law that will resume uranium enrichment up to 20 percent purity, if sanctions against the country are not lifted within two months. UN inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities would also be stopped. According to the 2015 international agreement JCPOA, which aimed to slow down Iran’s conditions for acquiring nuclear weapons, Iran gets enriched uranium up to a purity of 3.67 percent. But since US President Donald Trump terminated the agreement and reintroduced sanctions, Iran sees itself less and less bound by conditions. President Rohani disapproves of the new law on the grounds that it makes it more difficult to reach a diplomatic solution, at a time when the United States is about to have a new president, Joe Biden, who is more negotiable than Trump (see November 18).). Low-enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear power production, but not for nuclear weapons.

Iran Border Map

Islamic Republic of Iran Brief Guide

According to AbbreviationFinder, the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Iran, is a large Islamic state in the Middle East, with Tehran as its capital. It is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea, on the east by Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Gulf and the Arabian Sea, and on the west by Iraq and Turkey. The country was formerly known as Persia.

Custom culture in
Iran is celebrated on weekends on Thursdays and Fridays. Agencies and banks close on Thursdays as early as this morning. Respecting local culture includes covering dress; in women a loose-fitting outfit that covers the legs and arms, as well as a scarf covering the hair. Men should wear long pants. Public displays of affection are prohibited. The rules of local morality must be followed and respected.

Travel Tips for

– Footwear can also be sandals, and no socks are needed. (The Dome of the shoes are taken off at all times, and in some mosques is required for the duration of the visit stockings Socks therefore worthwhile in any case must be included in the ointment..)
– adhere to the dress code is a good low-key color scheme.
– The dress code will enter into force on the territory of the Republic of Iran, ie as soon as the aircraft leaves.

– Long trousers (no capers)
– The shirt may be short-sleeved (not sleeveless)
– The use of a tie reflects Western values ​​(therefore not necessary or even desirable)

– Loose clothing, no skinny outfits
– No translucent fabrics
– Arms and legs and ankles covered
– An easy option is, for example, a tunic-length shirt or a hot dress under which you can wear a long-sleeved shirt and trousers

  • As trousers, for example, jeans go well (no tight fit, no leggings, no caprim or shorter pants)
  • Long sleeves on shirts (although in Tehran, for example, young people in particular wrap or pull the sleeves in half the arm)
  • The hem of the shirt / tunic should cover the pelvis fairly, preferably up to half the length of the thigh
  • The scarf should be worn at all times (Should also be wrapped to cover the neck, bangs may be visible.)
    Tip for using the scarf: slippery scarf materials are inconvenient because the scarf does not stay in place. Crepe-type fabric works better.

– Alcohol is not available in the country and its import, use and possession is prohibited.

Prohibited material
– No material containing anti-Iranian or anti-religious writings or moral images (lingerie advertisements in newspapers, etc.) may be imported.
– Many hotels have free Wi-Fi. However, access to many sites has been blocked, including many social media channels.