Differences Between Iran and Iraq

Last Updated on December 13, 2021 by QCity Editorial Stuff

When most people think of the Middle East, they often think of Iran and Iraq. While these two countries do have some similarities, there are also several key differences between them. This blog post will explore some of the most notable differences between Iran and Iraq.

The two neighboring countries of Iran and Iraq have many similarities, but also several key differences. Both are predominantly Muslim and share similar languages and cultures. However, Iran is an Islamic republic while Iraq is a parliamentary democracy. Economically, Iran is considerably wealthier than Iraq, with a GDP per capita that is more than twice as high. Politically, Iran is much more centralized than Iraq, with a powerful president who has broad authority. In Iraq, the government is much more decentralized, with significant power delegated to the regions. Finally, while relations between the two countries have improved in recent years, they remain strained due to their competing interests in the region.

Comparison between Iran and Iraq

Parameters of ComparisonIranIraq
LocatedIran is located in AsiaIraq is a country in the Middle East
Peoplewhile Iran’s population is around 79.4 millionIraq has over 34 million people
GDPIran’s was USD 6,400Iraq’s GDP per capita was USD 5,000
GovernmentThe Iraqi government system is a presidential republic with one legislative bodythe Iranian government system consists of the Islamic Republic with two legislative bodies
SpeakIranians speak Persian and KurdishIraqis speak Arabic and Persian

What is Iran?

Iran is a country in Western Asia that was established by the Iranian Constituent Assembly on 1 April 1979. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it has been called one of the “world’s most strategic” locations. Iran covers an area of approximately 1 million square kilometers with a population approaching 80 million people. The state religion is Islam which has its primary site at Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque). 

Iran has had four major periods in its history: Ancient Iran, Achaemenid Empire, Parthian/Sassanid Empires, and Safavid Empire. This blog post will provide some information about the first two periods as well as how they are connected to modern-day Iran.

Differences Between Iran and Iraq

What is Iraq?

Iraq is a complex country with a long and tumultuous history. It’s located in the Middle East and borders Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Despite its small size, Iraq is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis, Christians, and Shi’ites. The Iraqi government is a federal parliamentary republic. The president is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Iraq has been through several wars and conflicts in recent decades – including the Gulf War (1990-1991), the Iraq War (2003-2011), and the current conflict against ISIS – which have resulted in massive loss of life and displacement of millions of people.

Differences Between Iran and Iraq

10 Differences Between Iran and Iraq

1. Iraq is a country in the Middle East while Iran is located in Asia.

2. Iraq has over 34 million people while Iran’s population is around 79.4 million.

3. Iraq’s GDP per capita was USD 5,000 as of 2013 and Iran’s was USD 6,400.

4. The Iraqi government system is a presidential republic with one legislative body whereas the Iranian government system consists of the Islamic Republic with two legislative bodies. 

5. In 2011, there were about 1,500 recorded terrorist attacks in Iraq but only 20 recorded terrorist attacks in Iran. 

6. Iraqis speak Arabic and Persian but Iranians speak Persian and Kurdish.

7. Iran is a Shiite Muslim country, Iraq is a Sunni Muslim country.

8. Iran has an elected president and Iraq has a monarchy.

9. Iran’s military is funded by the government; in contrast, most of Iraq’s military funding comes from the United States.

10. The official language in Iran is Persian (Farsi); meanwhile, Arabic is the official language in Iraq.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of  Iran

1. Iran is the 18th largest country in the world.

2. The Iranian flag has three colors – red, white, and green.

3. There are more than 100 languages spoken in Iran.

4. One of the most famous places to visit in Iran is Shiraz, which was once home to Persian poets like Hafez and Saadi.

5. Iranians celebrate Nowruz every year on March 21st as a new year celebration.  

6. Tehran is one of the biggest cities in Iran with over 8 million people living there.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Iraq

1. Iraq has the world’s second-largest oil reserves.

2. The Iraqi Dinar was worth $3 in 2003 and now it is worth $1.

3. There are over 8,000 archaeological sites in Iraq.

4. Baghdad is home to some of the oldest mosques in the world.

5. Saddam Hussein built a palace with 180 rooms for his family at an estimated cost of $750 million.

6. About 75% of Iraqis live below the poverty line.


Iran and Iraq are two Middle Eastern countries that have conflicted with one another for many years. They share a border, but the conflicts between these neighboring nations have led to increased tensions over time. The Iraqi government is controlled by Shia Muslims who follow Islam while Iranians are mostly Sunni Muslims following Islam. These religious differences have played an important role in shaping how each country perceives its relationship with the other. Understanding this background can help us make sense of current events happening today such as heightened rhetoric about Iran’s nuclear program or President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from the Iranian Nuclear Deal. We hope our readers will find this information useful when trying to understand why there is continued tension between these two neighbors despite their shared religion and culture.


Resource 01: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-sends-3-research-payloads-into-space-tasnim-2021-12-30/
Resource 02: https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/iraq/

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