State of Southwest Asia. According to 800zipcodes, the population growth between 2005 and 2014 led to an increase in the population of about 11.9%, reaching 78,470,222 residents, according to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). The demographic trend is not linked to migration, but to natural growth (13.8% in 2012). The relative majority of the population (around 30%) is between 15 and 29 years old, while life expectancy has slightly increased, reaching 74.0 years (2013). Most Iranians live in urban areas, with the peak of Teherān boasting as many as 12,183,391 residents. Access to drinking water and the daily availability of calories remain at high standards, while spending on health care has almost halved in recent years. On the other hand, the expenditure on education, equal to 3.7% of GDP (2013), has been remarkable, which has led to the compulsory elementary education to guarantee a high level of literacy. In university enrollment it should be noted that the female students outnumber the students. The number of illiterate people is constantly decreasing, which in 2012 stood at 15.7%. Due to the economic sanctions of Western countries against Iran, in 2013 the GDP was contracting (−1.9%) and inflation had reached worrying levels (35.2 in the same year). In 2014, GDP recovered (1.5%), also as a result of the easing of sanctioning policies.
A further critical issue is the price war, underway in 2014 on hydrocarbons, which threatens an economy heavily dependent on gas and oil. Just think that in the 2013 state budget, expenditure exceeded revenue by as much as 75% and unemployment reached 12.9%. Although GDP returned with a positive sign in 2014, the price war on hydrocarbons decided by Saudi Arabia raises serious questions about the future. The impact of the economic crisis on the population is calmed by state control over the costs of consumer goods. In the primary sector, the national needs are still not covered due to a lack of sufficient water resources for extensive cultivation and the production of major agricultural goods has remained substantially unchanged in recent years. The percentage of Iranians employed in the agricultural sector is steadily decreasing (about 18% in 2013), while the relative importance of the tertiary sector increases. The mining industry remains Iran’s main economic activity. Iran is the third largest producer of natural gas in the world, with a 50% increase in production between 2006 and 2012. As for oil, it is the sixth largest producer in the world, with constant production in recent years, mostly directed to China. One of the most delicate issues from an economic and political point of view is the Iranian desire to produce electricity through the development of nuclear technology, a request that is justified by the need to allocate greater quotas of hydrocarbons for export. Military spending is low compared to GDP (2.4% in 2014).
Cinema. – Established on the international scene between the eighties and nineties, with a group of authors who were able to adapt to the climate imposed by the Islamic Republic, after the 1979 revolution, the renewal forces expressed in the mid-seventies by the directors of the nouvelle vague Iranian, the cinematography of the Iran has entered the new century, confirming the characteristics of a production supported by some strong authorial figures, who take on a problematic and profound confrontation with the demands of a society poised between the rigor of religious institutions and the libertarian and secular yearning of large sections of the population. In a scenario burdened by political events, in which the election in 2005 of the ultra-conservative Mahmoud Aḥmadīnejād as president of the Islamic Republic led to a tightening of control over social life by the ‘guardians of the revolution’ (the pāsdārān) and inaugurated a long period of international isolation of the country, authors such as Abbas Kiarostami (b.1940), Mohsen Makhmalbaf (b.1957), Jafar Panahi (b.1960), Bahman Ghobadi (b.1969),
These are the years in which Kiarostami moved between the expressive freedom of the digital light camera (ABC Africa, 2001; Dah, 2002, Ten) and the psychological study of characters immersed in foreign scenarios (Italy in Compliant Copies, 2010, Certified copy ; Japan in Like someone in love, 2012, Someone to love), while Makhmalbaf, after leaving the Iran and having dedicated himself to humanitarian projects in Afghānistān, he sought in the philosophical approach to reality the reasons for that spiritual well-being denied to man (Sex o phalsapheh, 2005, known with the title Sex and philosophy ; Faryad moorcheha, 2006, Journey to India ; Bagheban, 2012, The Gardner), ultimately pushing himself to create a metaphor for the madness of authoritarian power in The President (2014). Panahi, after denouncing the subordination imposed on women by the regime (Offside, 2006), instead became the protagonist of a form of active resistance from inside his country and, sentenced in 2009 to six years in prison and banned from making films for having participated in the riots following the disputed re-election of Aḥmadīnejād, has begun to produce in clandestinity and with light digital means works in which he denounces his condition of imprisonment and, by metaphor, that of the whole Iranian people (In film nist, 2011, known with the title This is not a film ; Pardé, 2013, known as Closed curtain; Taxi, 2015). Ghobadi, on the other hand, established himself with two dramas set in the Iranian Kurdish community of which he originates (Zamani barayé masti asbha, 2000, The time of the drunken horses, and Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand, 2004, known as Turtles can fly), was established with Kasi az gorbehaye irani khabar nadareh (2009; Persian cats), a vibrant fresco of the youth scene of Teherān. A clear international prominence has also reached Farhadi, who, in works such as Darbâreye Eli (2009; About Elly), Jodái-e Náder az Simin (2011; A separation) and Le passé (2013; The past), combines a predilection for relationship problems and psychological dynamics with an innate ability to test the dramatic hold of situations and characters. Finally, the emerging Pitts showed clear potential who, although trained in Europe, does not renounce to set his rigorous and metaphorical dramas in Iran (Sanam, 2000; Zemestan, 2005, known with the title It’s winter; Shekarchi, 2010, The Hunter).