The Republic of Iraq, located in Southwest Asia, is bounded on the north by Turkey; on the east by Iran; on the south by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf; and on the west by Jordan and Syria. It has a land area of 438 317 km2.

North-eastern Iraq is mountainous, part of the range known as the Zagros in Iran and the Taurus in Turkey, with elevations exceeding 3 000 m. The highest point in the country is Mount Ebrâhîm (3 600 m).

To the south, a broad, dry rolling plain streches downward to the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The highest hills only rise to about 300 m above sea level. The plain extends south-east to the Persian Gulf, encompassing the fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Tigris and Euphrates meet about 160 km north of the Persian Gulf to form the Shatt al Arab River. There are extensive marshy areas in the south-east along the river.

South-western and western Iraq is mostly desert, extending into Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Most of Iraq has a continental climate. The mountains in the north-east have cool summers and cold winters, while the plains and deserts have hot summers and short, cool winters. The mean temperature in Baghdad is 9° C in January and 33° C in August, although temperatures as high as 51° C have been recorded. The area near the Persian Gulf can also be quite humid.

Most of the country receives little rainfall, only about 150 mm in the central plains and even less in the desert. The mountains receive up to 380 mm, sometimes in the form of snow. Most of the precipitation falls from November to April.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

last updated:  Monday, May 28, 2012