The registry for .ir, IPM/IRNIC, with over 450 000 registrations, has the highest number of registrations of any ccTLD in the Arab States. It grew by 44% in 2013, making it one of the fastest growing ccTLDs in the world.
IRNIC has 54 listed resellers, or registrars, of which 45 are based in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and 9 are based overseas. There is also a network of domestic sub-resellers which extend the reach of Iranian domain names. For the region, Iran has a high number of local registrars, and globally comparable numbers of ICANN accredited registrars.
IPM/IRNIC, the registry for .IR ccTLD, started registering IDNs at the the third level under < ایران. ir>, where ( ایران means IRAN, in Perso-Arabic script), in 2006. The registry informs us that its IDN registration system embodied a robust bundling system to avoid abuses that could arise from the confusion of Arabic and Persian keyboards.
According to the registry, the use of the < ایران. ir> domain presented various difficulties, including the lack of a standardised Persian Windows operating system. The registry believes that most registrants were just experimenting with the domain. As result, not many of the original registrants maintained their domains, there was considerable volatility in the total number of registrations, the number went up to 6 000, but it started dropping when ICANN announced the opportunity of registering under the fast-track scheme. By end of 2013, the number of IDNs under < ایران. ir> had dwindled to 2 980.
IPM/IRNIC applied for the string <ایران>with the backing of the government under the ICANN IDN ccTLD fast-track process, and the string was approved on Oct 15, 2010 by ICANN. Anticipating the launch of second-level registration of IDNs directly under this string, IPM/IRNIC froze further third-level IDN registrations at the then-existing 3 200 on that date in order to avoid future conflicts between second-level and third-level registrations, the plan being to transfer third-level domains to second-level in a timely and organised manner.
2013 brought the necessary approvals, and the <ایران> domain was launched in 2014, and has 2 849 registrations. These domains were originally registered at the third level under <ایران. ir>, and have been transferred across into the fully Persian IDN.
Previously published in World Report on Internationalised Domain Names, 2014