Iran's massive unemployment problem, analysts put it between 20% and 30%, has led to a "brain drain" from the country, leaving it short of (among others) health professionals, particularly doctors and dentists.
Yet life expectancy is above the global average, though nowhere near that of most of the Western world, diabetes and tuberculosis are at relatively low levels, and notably few people smoke.
Only 4% of its population was undernourished in 2003, according to the World Bank, though 4.3% of under-fives were overweight - putting it a lot higher up the global "league table" of child obesity.
In 2003 Iran spent 6.5% of its GDP on health, just under half of that on public health.
Source: World Health Organization