New CIA World Factbook and Iran

First, the new Factbook is out and available here. About Iran and what the following might mean…

Iranian breakdown by age:

  • 0 -14 years: 21.7% (male 7,394,841/female 7,022,076)
  • 15-64 years: 72.9% (male 24,501,544/female 23,914,172)
  • 65 years and over: 5.4% (male 1,725,828/female 1,870,823) (2009 est.)
  • Median age: 27 years

Expected education:

  • Grades 1 – 12 and at least 1 year of higher education

Urban population:

  • 68% of total population (2008)


  • Muslim 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%)

Legal system:

  • Based on Sharia law. Iran has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction

Alright… So that’s just a tiny statistical snippet. But is there anything in there that will offer insight into what’s happening in Iran right now?

  • The median age combined with the fairly high level of education accounts for all the info that we’re getting from Twitter, etc. Expect more communication and organization.
  • The size of the urban population is considerable, and in ratio about the same as France. Ahmadinejad has drawn strength from the rural poor… In this day and age, he’s clearly hitched his horse to a small and shrinking wagon.
  • The climate of Sharia law ensures that as long as these protests go on, expect more bloodshed. Also expect that the numbers presented so far will rise significantly.
  • 89% Shia [edited: 9% was typo]… These struggles won’t be lost on the 60% Shia of Iraq. Also keep in mind Iran’s close ties to Syria, Hezbolla, and Hamas. There’s a lot at stake here.

Bottom line? This may or may not be an immediate revolution… Whatever happens, it won’t be a revolution over the voting debacle. That seed has grown into the briar patch that is the role that the mullahs/military will play in Iranian governance. And quite frankly, given the technology and the youth of the country, the writing is on the Blackberry be it sooner or later.

Alan Speakman


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