Iran is the eighteenth largest country in the world and the 2nd largest one in the Middle East. With an area of 1.6 Million km2, its area roughly equals to the area of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany together. It is located on the Iranian Plateau and as one of the most mountainous countries in the world, Iran is covered by rugged mountain ranges and deserts. While Zagros and Alborz mountain ranges cover the western and northern parts of Iran, the golden deserts of Dasht-e Kavir (The Great Salt Desert) and Dasht-e Lut (The Emptiness Desert) are located on central and eastern sections.
By having dense rain forests in the north, warm sunny beaches in the south, snowy mountains in the west and amazingly hot deserts in the east, Iran is one of the few countries that gives the joy of experiencing four different seasons at the same time to travelers.
One of the world's most mountainous countries, Iran contains two major ranges of mountains, the Alborz with the highest peak in Asia west of the Himalayas, Damavand (5671 m above sea level) and the Zagros that cuts across the country for more than 1,600 km extending from north west to the south east of the country. The peaks exceeding 2,300 m in these two ranges capture a considerable amount of moisture coming either from the Caspian Sea southward or the Mediterranean eastward.
Iran is situated in a high-altitude plateau surrounded by connected ranges of mountains. The well-known deserts of Iran are at two major regions: 1) Dasht-e-Kavir, and 2) Kavir-e-Lut. They are both some of the most arid and maybe hottest areas of their kinds in the world. Kavir-e-Lut is the largest pit inside the Iranian plateau and probably one of the largest ones in the world. Kavir-e-Lut is a pit formed by broken layers of the earth.
The whole area of Iran can be divided in to four parts: 1/2 mountains as one part, and 1/4 deserts and 1/4 fertile plains as the other part. There are two major ranges of mountains called the Alborz and the Zagros. - The Alborz have been extended all the way from Azerbaijan to Afghanistan passing through the southern part of the Caspian Sea. - The Zagros have covered a region from Azerbaijan to the west and SE of the country.
The highest peak of Iran (Middle East) called "Damavand", 5671m ASL. It is a burned-out volcano with a crater of 400m width. At times, sulfur gas ascends to the top and covers the peak like clouds.
There is a vastly extended network of rivers in Iran most of which seasonally are filled with water. Some permanent rivers run from the Alborz or the Zagros to the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf and Oman Sea. Some temporary rivers either run into a body of water or get dried before reaching any watershed.
Sea, Gulf & Lakes
Persian Gulf is situated at the south of Iran. It is almost 900km long from the Strait of Hormoz to Arvand Rud, the border river between Iran and Iraq. The Persian Gulf is one of the warmest bodies of water in the entire Middle East. Oman Sea, situated at the south of Iran, connects the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. With an approximate area of 903,000 km, Oman Sea is surrounded by Iran and Pakistan at the north, Deccan peninsula at the east and Arabia peninsula at the west. With an area of approximately 371,000sq.km, Caspian Sea in the largest body of inland water all over the world, which is situated at the north of Iran. Its neighboring countries are Iran at the South, Turkmenistan at the SE, Kazakhstan at the NE and north, Russia at the NW and Azerbaijan at the SW. The Iranian shorelines are approximately 992km from the East to the West. The average level of of the Caspian Sea is 28m below sea level. There are geographic areas born at the Iranian shorelines because of the changes in the level of the sea, like Miankaleh Peninsula, Ashuradeh Island Hossein Qolly Bay, Gorgan Bay and Anzaly Bay. There are permanent and temporary lakes in Iran depending on the amount of water in them in different seasons. Such as Uromiyeh Lake, Zaribar Lake, Hamun Lake, Parishan Lake and Maharlu Lake.