IRĀNŠAHR, a city, formerly Fahraj (q.v. at iranica .com), and a sub-province (šahrestān) in the province of Sistān and Baluchistan (q.v.). In 1935, the district (baḵš) of Bampur (q.v.) was officially renamed Irānšahr, and a year later it became part of the Ḵāš sub-province. In 1947 it was officially recognized as a city in the administrative division of Baluchistan.

The sub-province. The sub-province Irānšahr covers an area of 41,730 sq km and is comprised of two cities (Irānšahr and Bampur), six districts (Bazmān, Bampur, Delgān, Rāsk, Firuzābād, and Sarbāz) and 21 rural sub-districts (dehestān). It is bounded on the north and northeast by Zāhedān, Ḵāš, and Sarāvān, on the west by Kermān Province, on the south by Čāhbahār and Nikšahr, and on the east by Pakistan.

This sub-province is located in the Bampur (also known as Kāvandar) river basin (area 1,000 km2). According to the records of the Irānšahr center of meteorology, during a period of thirty-one years, the temperature has fluctuated between 50 (maximum) and -6 (minimum) centigrade, with the highest and lowest average temperature of 34.2 and 18.9 centigrade. The water supply is provided by 451 subterranean channels (qanāt), 965 permanent and 708 seasonal springs, as well as by 239 deep and 1,485 semi-deep wells. The Bampur and Sarbāz rivers pass through this sub-province. The plants covering this area are of desert-steppe type. A forest several km in length and 3 km in depth exists to the south of Irānšahr. The trees commonly found in the area include Prosopis spicigera (kahur), wild palm (locally called dāz), and tamarisk (gaz). Some hills in this region contain trees such as Amygdalus Reuteri (bādām-e kuhi) and wild pistachio (bana) and animals such as deer and wild goat.

In 1976, the population of Irānšahr was 157,322, which increased to 259,786 in 1986 and to 295,456 in 1996, of which 28.36 percent were urbanized and 70.71 lived in rural areas. In 1991, the population density was 5.8 persons per sq km. The entire economic activity is in agriculture, gardening, and manual labor. The arable land under irrigated cultivation includes 15,200 hectares for wheat, 1,100 hectares for barley, 950 hectares for rice, 200 hectares for other grains, and 2,250 hectares for legume; 3,190 hectares are used for the production of onions, potatoes, and vegetables, and 1,225 hectares for different varieties of melon, while 740 hectares are used for industrial crops and 4,600 hectares for alfalfa. Domesticated animals in Irānšahr include: 17,788 head of cattle, 355,347 sheep and goats, and 14,645 camels. The handicrafts of this province are mostly mat-making (640 such shops) and basket weaving.

Educational and cultural facilities of Irānšahr consist of 301 elementary schools, 31 secondary schools, 4 high schools, and 18 public libraries. There are also 20 clinics and 38 healthcare centers operating in Irānšahr.

Irānšahr houses some Baluch tribes including the Dāmani, Kalkali, Borhānzehi, and the Bijār-zehi. Their number has been reported as 700 family units. Their native language is Baluchi, and the majority are Sunnite Muslims. The historical monuments of this province include the ancient forts of Qalʿa-ye Pišin, Čhehel Doḵtar, Bampur, Dust-Moḥammad Khan, Sarbāz, Dāman, Espid Dež, and Bazmān.

The city. The town is situated 360 km south of Zāhedān on the main Zāhedān-Čāhbahār road, at 27o12’ 14’’ N, 60o41’ 31’’ E and elevation 571 m above sea level. In the first national census in 1956, the population of Irānšahr was reported as 3,600, which increased to 40,000 in 1986, and 75,000 in 1996. Some 6 percent of the economically active population of this city is active in agriculture, 33 percent in industry, and about 58 percent in services and other areas.



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Originally Published: December 15, 2006

Last Updated: March 30, 2012

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Vol. XIII, Fasc. 5, pp. 533-534