Chābahār 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 theGulf of Oman. At the 2014 census, its population was 120,000. 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 of the city's inhabitants are ethnicBaluch who speak the Baluchi language.


Etymology:

The name bases on 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.


History:

There is a fishing village and former port named Tis in Chabahar's 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. (1188) 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 Indiacommences with Tizor modern Chabahar. 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. (1621). The British, and later the Portuguese in the 17th century (year 1616) AC (1026 A.H.), entered this region.

Modern Chabahar dates back to around 1970, 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.


Transportation:

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 toMascat. 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.

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.


Chabahar port:

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 doing so, India hopes to compete with the Chinese, who are building Gwadar Port, in Pakistani Baluchistan. In 2014, Indian government sanctioned an initial amount USD 85 million for the development of Chabahar port.

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


Society and culture:

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 thepyramid are superior tribes locally dubbed as Hakom, 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 andBoledehi 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.

The dominant culture in Chabahar is similar to other parts of Makran.


Climate:

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. 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. The summer monsoon winds from the Indian subcontinent make Chabahar the coolest southern port in the summer and the warmest port 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.