BANDAR-e ŠĀHPŪR (Bandar-e Emām Ḵomeynī since the revolution of 1979), a port at the far end of the Persian Gulf, at the terminus of the trans-Iranian railroad. The town is located at about 70 km from the Gulf on poorly reinforced alluvium along the northern shore of the Ḵor Mūsā, the outlet of the Jarāḥī river, which flows down from the Zagros mountains. At low tide, vessels that draw 24 feet can enter the Ḵor Mūsā; and at high tide 29.5 feet. In the 1930s, Reżā Shah chose this site, about 12 km below the small traditional port of Bandar-e Māhšahr, as the site for Iran’s own railroad terminus on the Gulf at a distance from Šaṭṭ al-ʿArab. Declared open in 1932, the port had a pier a thousand feet long. After a second pier 1,800 feet long was built in 1941, the port’s capacity reached about a thousand tons a day. However there were still fewer than a thousand inhabitants. During a second phase of development begun in 1943, a 65 km-long narrow-gauge railroad was laid from the port to the Āḡā Jārī oil fields. When a large port for the oil industry was opened at Bandar-e Māhšahr in 1948, Bandar-e Šāhpūr was reduced to competing for traffic in general merchandise with Ḵorramšahr, which was hooked up to the trans-Iranian railroad. The population was 3,726 in 1956 and 6,013 in 1966. Local development took off with the construction, just east of the town, of a major petrochemical complex, Shahpur Chemical Company (Šerkat-e Sehāmī-e Šīmīāʾī-e Šāhpūr), which, mostly producing ammonified fertilizers, employed about 2,000 persons when it opened in 1973. Since it was turned toward the domestic market, it was difficult to justify its peripheral location at a port, which was strongly criticized. The building, in association with Japanese capital, of another industrial complex, the Iran Chemical Development Company, specialized in olefins (560,000 tons a year) and aromatics (860,000 tons a year), was finished in 1979 at the time of the revolution. According to forecasts, this complex should lead to the development of a city of 50,000 inhabitants.



Naval Intelligence Division, Persia, Geographical Handbook Series, Oxford, 1945, pp. 501-02.

A. Melamid, “The Geographical Pattern of Iranian Oil Development,” Economic Geography 35, 1959, pp. 199-218.

Razmārā, Farhang IV, p. 51.

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(X. De Planhol)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: December 15, 1988

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Vol. III, Fasc. 7, p. 689