Chabahar

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For the administrative subdivision, see Chabahar County. For other places, see Chah Bahar (disambiguation).
"Chahbar" redirects here. For other uses, see Chahbar (disambiguation).
Chabahar
چابهار
city
Chabahar coast.jpg
Chabahar is located in Iran
Chabahar
Chabahar
Coordinates: 25°17′31″N 60°38′35″E / 25.29194°N 60.64306°E / 25.29194; 60.64306Coordinates: 25°17′31″N 60°38′35″E / 25.29194°N 60.64306°E / 25.29194; 60.64306
Country  Iran
Province Sistan and Baluchestan
County Chabahar
Bakhsh Central
Population (2006)
 • Total 71,070
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)

Chābahār About this sound pronunciation  (Persian: چابهار‎, formerly Bandar Beheshtī)[1] is a city in and capital of Chah Bahar County, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran. Chabahar is a free port (Free Trade Zone) on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. At the 2006 census, its population was 71,070, in 13,837 families.[2] Chabahar is Iran's southernmost city.

Chabahar is situated on the Makran Coast of the Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran and is officially designated as a Free Trade and Industrial Zone by Iran's government. Due to its free trade zone status, the city has increased in significance in international trade. The overwhelming majority[citation needed] of the city's inhabitants are ethnic Baluch who speak the Baluchi language.

Etymology[edit]

Name roots from Persian char that means four and bahar that means Spring. Hence, it means a place that all four seasons of the year are Spring time.

Economic significance[edit]

Chabahar is Iran's closest and best access point to the Indian Ocean. For this reason, Chabahar is the focal point of Iranian development of the east of the country through expansion and enhancement of transit routes among countries situated in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.[3] The hope is that with the development of transit routes, and better security and transit services, the benefits will reach the local residents.

Chabahar's economic sectors are fish industries and commercial sector, fishery sectors with largest amount of country's fish catch, mainly located out of the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone. Growing commercial sector located at free trade area with high potentiality to turn to a place that would connect business growth centers in south Asia (India) and Middle East (Dubai) to central Asian and Afghanistan market. The government plans to link the Chabahar free trade area to Iran's main rail network, which is connected to central Asia and Afghanistan. This would provide more capability for Chabahar to foster a faster logistics sector that will achieve a better position compared to its competitor (Pakistani port of Gwadar)

Transportation[edit]

Chabahar is connected to multimodal transportation through air, sea and roads. Its Konarak Airport has twice daily flights to the capital Tehran, thrice weekly flights to Zahedan and twice weekly flights to Mashhad, Shiraz and Bandar Abbas. It has also a weekly international flight to Doha and Dubai and a biweekly flight to Mascat. Chabahar has two jetties that connect it to international waterways. Iranian contractors are developing both jetties to provide port facilities for handling of 6 million tons of goods a year; this is expected to be completed by 2011. Chabahar is connected to national road networks. Chabahar-Bandar Abbas, Chabahar-Iranshahr-Kerman, Chabahar-Iranshahr-Zahedan-Mashahd and Chabahar-Iranshahr-Zahedan-Milak (on the Afghanistan border) are four main routes connecting Chabahar to national and international roads.

The government is pursuing a multi-billion dollar railway project which was named "Iran's eastern corridor" by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. It will connect Chabahar port to Central Asia, Afghanistan and Central Iran. This project would have three branches including Chabahar-Iranshahr Fahraj County, Chabahar-Iranshahre-Zahedan-Mashhad and Chabahar-Iranshahr-Zahedan-Milak. Construction began in December 2010.[4]

India is finalising a plan to construct a 900-km railway line that will connect Chabahar port in Iran, being built with Indian help, to the mineral-rich Hajigak region of Afghanistan.[5]

History[edit]

The city of Chabahar does not have a long history. There is a fishing village named Tis in its neighborhood, which dates from 2500 BC, known in Alexander the Great's conquests as Tiz, eventually renamed Tis. In addition, in his book Aqd al-Ala lel-Moghefe al Ahla, Afdhal al-Din abu Hamid Kermani wrote in 584 A.H. about the port of Tiz and its commerce and trade. According to the scholar and historian, Alberuni,author of an encyclopedic work on India called “Tarikh Al-Hind, the sea coast of India commences with Tiz or modern Chabahar.[6] As a matter of fact the Sarhad range which runs from north to south and separates the Sub-continent of India from the Plateau of Iran, commences in the vicinity of Tiz. Tis was formerly an active commercial port, and was destroyed by the Mongols. There are still some ruins in the village. The Portuguese were the first colonial country to attack the Makran (Oman) Sea. The Portuguese forces under Afonso de Albuquerque gained control of Chabahar and Tis, staying there until 1031 A.H. The British, and later the Portuguese in the 17th century (year 1616) AC (1026 A.H.), entered this region.

Modern Chabahar dates back about 40 years, when it was declared a municipality and large port projects were started by order of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. A modern naval and air base was established as part of the Shah's policy of making Iran into a dominant power in the Indian Ocean. At that time these and other development projects in and around Chabahar involved the extensive participation of foreign companies, especially from the United States. After the 1979 revolution the foreign companies left the projects and Iranian public companies linked to the Ministry of jahade sazandegi (or jihad for construction) took them over. The Iraq-Iran war caused Chabahar to gain in logistical and strategic importance. War brought insecurity to the Strait of Hormuz and ships were unable to enter the Persian Gulf. Accordingly Chabahar became a major port during the war. In the 1980s the Iranian government developed a new scheme named the Eastern Axis Development Scheme, which aimed to use Chabahar's geographical position as a regional development tool to stimulate economic growth in the eastern provinces. The establishment of the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone in 1992 resulting from the EAD Scheme brought development and encouraged immigration from other parts of the country to Chabahar.

Religions and sects[edit]

A majority of Chabahar's people are Baluchs linked to the Hanafi Sunni faith and very close to the Deobandi school in India. Their leader and main cleric is Maulana Abdul Rahman Mollazahi. He leads a big madrasa known as Arabia Islamia. Other faiths were also growing because of immigration. Shias linked to Ja'fari jurisprudence are most important after Sunnis. Other minority faiths also can be found in Chabahar, including the Baha'i Faith, Zikris and kojas or Ismaili.

Society and culture[edit]

Society and culture in Chabahar gained its characteristics from the classified tribal community of the Makran region. In this classification, Chabahar society is divided into superior and inferior tribes. Social structure is hierarchical; at the top of the pyramid are Hakomes or superior tribes, independent influential tribes are in the middle, and other inferior weak tribes are at the bottom of the pyramid. Hakomes are Khans or Sardars, which in Chabahar refers to Sardarzahi and Boledehi tribes. Hoot and Mir (jadgals) are examples of independent, influential tribes which are at the next higher level in the hierarchy. There are many tribes in the upper and lower middle level, but at the bottom are former slaves from eastern Africa that have been brought by colonialists and Arab traders, especially Omanis, to the Makran Coastal area. These tribes are known as Darzada, Nokar, Sheedi and Gholams.

Development of education and economic growth in the past two decades are gradually eliminating social gaps between different tribes, but certain gaps do remain; it is obvious in relationships among people, especially in marriages that are restricted within tribes and classes. Urbanization and growing immigration have encouraged cross-ethnic marriages between Baluchis and Persians; this trend shows that Chabahar is in transition from a traditionalist society to a modern city.

The dominant culture in Chabahar is similar to other parts of Makran and very close to Pakistan's south Baluchistan; clothes, music and cultural norms are the same as in other parts of Makran. Women often wear precious hand-woven needlework clothes known as Pashk with an embroidered chromatic and fine scarf named Sarig; Indian and Arabic ornaments and jewelry are popular. Men wear loose, long, white clothes with a turban or hat on the head, similar to South Asian Muslims (Indians and Pakistanis). Baluchi music has centuries-old roots and is the most listened-to genre of music in Chabahar. Although Chabahar is not a music-producing center, music products are imported from Pakistan. It is usual for Chabahari people to invite Pakistani Baluchistan's singers to perform at their celebrations, especially at wedding ceremonies. Mulla Kamal Khan was a prominent singer who lived in Chabahar and died in 2010. Ghulam Rasool Dinar Zai, a once-famous but now marginalized Baluch musician and singer, also lives in Chabahar. After Baluchi music, Indian film music is the next most popular form of music among the current generation; banned Persian music is third in popularity.

Cultural norms are deeply affected by the tribal and religious structure of the society. Relationships between men and women before marriage are limited and regulated according to Islamic norms. Dance for high profile tribes for both men and women is a kind of stain. Clan chieftains have the final word even in voting and elections. Obligatory tribal marriages, polygamy, tribal vengeance and chastity murder are common[citation needed]. The growth in education is weakening the old cultural norms with the newer generation no longer prepared to accept them and it is likely that Chabahar will change significantly in coming years[citation needed].

Climate[edit]

The county of Chabahar has hot, humid weather in the summer and warm weather in the winter, giving it a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh). The western winds in the winter bring about scattered rainfalls in this region, and very occasionally winds from the Indian monsoon affect the region, as in July 1976 when 46.6 millimetres (1.8 in) fell.[7] In most years around 100 millimetres (3.9 in) will fall; however a positive Indian Ocean Dipole in 1997/1998 led to a record total of 470 millimetres (18.5 in); in contrast between July 2000 and June 2002 only 57.5 millimetres (2.3 in) fell in two years.[7] The monsoon winds from the Indian subcontinent (in the summer season) make Chabahar the coolest southern port in the summer and the warmest part of Iran in the winter. It has an average maximum temperature of 34 ˚C and an average minimum temperature of 21.5 ˚C. It has the same latitude as Miami in Florida, USA, and temperatures are very similar to those in Miami.

Climate data for Chabahar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.0
(87.8)
33.0
(91.4)
38.0
(100.4)
42.0
(107.6)
46.0
(114.8)
45.2
(113.4)
47.0
(116.6)
42.4
(108.3)
42.0
(107.6)
41.4
(106.5)
37.0
(98.6)
32.0
(89.6)
47
(116.6)
Average high °C (°F) 24.5
(76.1)
25.0
(77)
28.1
(82.6)
31.0
(87.8)
34.0
(93.2)
35.0
(95)
33.8
(92.8)
32.4
(90.3)
32.2
(90)
32.4
(90.3)
29.5
(85.1)
26.3
(79.3)
30.35
(86.63)
Daily mean °C (°F) 20.4
(68.7)
21.3
(70.3)
24.2
(75.6)
27.1
(80.8)
30.4
(86.7)
31.9
(89.4)
31.1
(88)
29.8
(85.6)
29.1
(84.4)
28.2
(82.8)
25.0
(77)
22.0
(71.6)
26.71
(80.08)
Average low °C (°F) 15.0
(59)
16.0
(60.8)
19.0
(66.2)
22.3
(72.1)
25.2
(77.4)
28.0
(82.4)
28.1
(82.6)
26.9
(80.4)
25.4
(77.7)
22.7
(72.9)
18.8
(65.8)
16.2
(61.2)
21.97
(71.54)
Record low °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
7.0
(44.6)
9.6
(49.3)
14.0
(57.2)
16.0
(60.8)
22.0
(71.6)
21.0
(69.8)
19.0
(66.2)
19.0
(66.2)
13.2
(55.8)
9.0
(48.2)
7.0
(44.6)
7
(44.6)
Rainfall mm (inches) 29.4
(1.157)
37.9
(1.492)
14.9
(0.587)
6.1
(0.24)
0.1
(0.004)
0.5
(0.02)
6.2
(0.244)
2.1
(0.083)
1.2
(0.047)
0.0
(0)
4.4
(0.173)
13.7
(0.539)
116.5
(4.586)
Avg. rainy days 3.6 3.4 2.0 1.3 0.1 0.1 1.3 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.5 1.7 15
 % humidity 61 66 69 70 72 75 77 77 76 73 67 61 70.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 240.2 234.1 263.8 278.2 330.2 284.8 244.6 241.4 260.9 295.5 272.5 249.2 3,195.4
Source: NOAA (1963-1990) [8]

Chabahar Port[edit]

Main article: Port of Chabahar

India is helping develop the Chabahar Port, which will give it access to the oil and gas resources in Iran and the Central Asian states. By so doing, India hopes to compete with the Chinese, who are building Gwadar Port, in Pakistani Baluchistan.

Iran plans to use Chabahar for transshipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia, while keeping the port of Bandar Abbas as a major hub mainly for trade with Russia and Europe.

India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

Work on the Chabahar-Milak-Zaranj-Dilaram route from Iran to Afghanistan is in progress. Iran is, with Indian aid, upgrading the Chabahar-Milak road and constructing a bridge on the route to Zaranj. India's BRO is laying the 213-kilometer Zaranj-Dilaram road. It is a part of India's USD 750 million aid package to Afghanistan.

The Chabahar port project is Iran's chance to end its US-sponsored economic isolation and benefit from the resurgent Indian economy. Along with Bandar Abbas, Chabahar is the Iranian entrepot on the North-South corridor. A strategic partnership between India, Iran and Russia is intended to establish a multi-modal transport link connecting Mumbai with St. Petersburg, providing Europe and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia access to Asia and vice versa.

India and Iran are discussing building a gas pipeline between the two countries along the bed of the Arabian Sea to bypass Pakistan, using the Chabahar port. Both the countries are pondering the delivery of natural gas produced in Turkmenistan with Indian assistance to north Iran while the Islamic Republic will send natural gas from its southern deposits to Indian consumers. This pipeline is conceived by India to replace the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, the negotiations for which have dragged on due to the worsening of relations between India and Pakistan.[9]

Railway line from Bamiyan province in Afghanistan[edit]

India has finalized a plan to build a 900 km long railway line from Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan to Chabahar port.[10] An Indian steel consortium led by Steel Authority of India Limited has landed an exploration contract in the Hajigak coal fields located in the Bamiyan Province 130 km west of Kabul. This region is believed to have iron ore reserves of around 1.8 billion tonnes containing around 62% ferrous iron worth $3 Trillion according to Afghan-Soviet studies of the region in the 1960s.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chabahar can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3055106" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  2. ^ "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)" (Excel). Islamic Republic of Iran. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. 
  3. ^ "India, China's rivalry and a tale of two ports". Reuters 2011-3-25. Retrieved 2011-5-12
  4. ^ "NEW CHABAHAR –ZAHEDAN LINE IN IRAN". Railways Africa. 2010-12-11. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  5. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/India-s-Track-3-Afghan-Iran-rail-link/Article1-763448.aspx
  6. ^ Alberuni's India: An Account of the Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Chronology, Astronomy, Customs, Laws and Astrology of India about A.D. 1030, by Edward C. Sachau Published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1910
  7. ^ a b Chabahar rainfall
  8. ^ "Chahbahar Climate Normals 1963-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Iran, India discuss building underwater gas pipeline". Tehran Times. Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  10. ^ http://www.thefrontierpost.com/?p=75158

External links[edit]