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Iran has a population of 66.4 million and it is one of the world’s only Shia-majority states, with Shia Muslims comprising 89 percent of the population or 58.6 million of people.

Iran also has a Sunni Muslim minority, which accounts for nine percent of the population or 5.9 million people.

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Entangled with domestic problems, estrangement with the United States over the hostage crisis, and later the war with Iraq, Khomeini’s regime maintained relations both with the Soviet Union and its satellite regime in Kabul.The Hazara make up roughly nine percent of Afghanistan’s population or 2.9 million people. Fifty-eight percent of Iranians or 38.2 million speak Persian, while half of all Afghans or 16.3 million speak one of several dialects of Persian (Dari).The Turkmen population in Afghanistan is concentrated mainly along the northern border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.Incensed at the killing of its citizens and the Taliban’s horrific treatment of Shia minorities, Iran amassed a quarter of a million troops along the border with Afghanistan and threatened to invade.Ultimately, a military confrontation between Iran and the Taliban was averted.

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