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Marriage, Endogamy And Polygamy, Arranged Marriages, Temporary Marriage (sigheh), The Family, Premarital Sex And Extramarital Relationships

Iran (also known as Persia) is a Middle Eastern country in Southwest Asia. The country's official name became the Islamic Republic of Iran after the Islamic revolution of 1979, which abolished the monarchy of the Pahlavi dynasty and established a theocratic republic regime. The population of Iran is approaching 66 million (49% female), with 40 percent being younger than fifteen years of age in 1996. The area of the country is 1,648,000 square kilometers (38% rural). Infant mortality rate is twenty-nine per 1,000 live births, and life expectancy is sixty-nine years. The literacy rate for the total population is close to 80 percent (Marandi 1996).

Iran is a multiethnic country. The majority are Fars; other groups include Aazari, Kurds, Baloochi, Turkman, Lurs, and Arabs. The official language is Persian (or Farsi). The ethnic groups also speak their own languages or dialects. About 98 percent of the total population are Moslems (of the Shi-e sect, different from the Sunni sect to which a great majority of Arab Moslems belong), and the rest are Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians (officially recognized and represented by elected deputies in the national legislative body), and Bahais (Sanasarian 2000).

Iranian culture and social institutions have been shaped by Islamic values, blended with traditions inherited from the pre-Islamic national religion (Zoroastrianism) and ancient customs. Many Iranian nationalists identify themselves more with the Persian culture—and feel national pride as the Women voting in Iran, some in traditional Muslim chadors and others in modern secular clothes. Iranian women were given the right to vote and hold office in 1963. Despite the influence of Western ideas, women still have a low social status. A/P WIDE WORLD PHOTOS inheritors of a great ancient civilization with a history of more than 2,000 years (Mackey 1996)—than with a particular religious faith or ethnic group (Amanat 1993).

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural Aspects