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Iranian economy is still recovering from its bloody 8-year-old war with  neighbouring Iraq, even though it ended in 1988. During the course of this conflict, believed to be the longest running war in the 20th century, Iraq bombarded 87 Iranian cities and nearly 3000 villages. More than 400,000 homes were destroyed and  millions of civilians were forced to evacuate their cities to move to other parts of the country. The long-term environmental damage is incalculable. The total damage bill for the war is estimated at a staggering US$1000 billion.

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Despite this and the trade sanctions imposed by the USA, a high inflation rate (now under some control) and a sharp slump in oil prices, the precarious Iranian economy is still managing to function. The major industries are all owned by the government, including the main airline (Iran Air); the majority shares of the largest shipping company (Indo-Iranian Joint Shipping Company); the major export earner (oil); and all mass media. Private industry is nascent, but heavily regulated by the state.

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