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Sistan and Baluchestan province

How did Balochistan become part of Iran?

Sistan and Baluchestan province (Persian: استان سيستان و بلوچستانromanized: Ostân-e Sistân o Balučestân; Balochi: سیستان و بلۏچستانromanized: Sistân o Balučestân) is the second largest province of the 31 provinces of Iran, after Kerman province, with an area of 180,726 km2. It is in the southeast of the country, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, and its capital is the city of Zahedan.[3][4]

At the time of the National Census of 2006, the province had a population of 2,349,049 in 468,025 households.[5] The following census in 2011 counted 2,534,327 inhabitants living in 587,921 households.[6] At the most recent census in 2016, the population had increased to 2,775,014 in 704,888 households.[1]

The Baloch form a majority of the population and the Persian Sistani a minority. Smaller communities of Kurds (in the eastern highlands and near Iranshahr); the expatriate Brahui (on the border between Iran and Pakistan); and other resident and itinerant ethnic groups, such as the Romani, are also found within the province.


In the epigraphs of Bistoon and Persepolis, Sistan is mentioned as one of the eastern territories of Darius the Great. The name Sistan, as mentioned above, is derived from Saka (also sometimes Saga, or Sagastan), a Central Asian tribe that had taken control over this area in the year 128 BC. During the Arsacid Dynasty (248 BC to 224 AD), the province became the seat of Suren-Pahlav Clan. From the Sassanid period until the early Islamic period, Sistan flourished considerably.

During the reign of Ardashir I of Persia, Sistan came under the jurisdiction of the Sassanids, and in 644 AD, the Arab Muslims gained control as the Persian empire was in its final moments of collapsing.

During the reign of the second Sunni caliph, Omar ibn Al-Khattab, this territory was conquered by the Arabs and an Arab commander was assigned as governor. The famous Persian ruler Ya’qub-i Laith Saffari, whose descendants dominated this area for many centuries, later became governor of this province. In 916 AD, Baluchestan was ruled by the Daylamids and thereafter the Seljuqids, when it became a part of Kerman. Dynasties such as the Saffarids, Samanids, Qaznavids, and Seljuqids, also ruled over this territory.

In 1508 AD, Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty conquered Sistan. After the assassination of Nader Shah in 1747, Sistan and Balochistan became part of the Brahui Khanate of Kalat, which ruled it till 1896. Afterwards, it became part of Qajar Iran.[7]


The whole of the province had been previously called Baluchestan, but the government added Sistan to the end of Baluchestan. After the 1979 revolution, the name of the province was changed to Sistan and Baluchestan.

Today, Sistan refers to the narrow strip of the northern margin of the province and Baluchestan stretches north to south from Zahedan County to Chabahar County. The province borders South Khorasan province in the north, Kerman province and Hormozgan province in the west, the Gulf of Oman in the south, and Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east.

Sistan and Baluchestan province is one of the driest regions of Iran, with a slight increase in rainfall from east to west, and a rise in humidity in the coastal regions. The province is subject to seasonal winds from different directions, the most important of which are the 120-day wind of Sistan, known in Baluchi as Levar; the seventh wind (Gav-kosh); the south wind (Nambi); the Hooshak wind; the humid and seasonal winds of the Indian Ocean; the north wind (Gurich); and the western wind (Gard).

Sistan and Baluchestan province population history
Sistan and Baluchestan province population history

Sistan and Baluchestan province population historyAdministrative Divisions2006[5]2011[6]2016[1]Bampur County1———[8]Chabahar County214,017264,051283,204Dalgan County1—62,81367,857Dashtiari County2———[9]Fanuj County3——49,161Golshan County4———Hamun County5——41,017Hirmand County5—65,47163,979Iranshahr County264,226219,796254,314Khash County161,918155,652173,821Konarak County68,60582,00198,212Lashar County3———Mehrestan County6—62,75670,579Mirjaveh County7——45,357Nik Shahr County185,355212,963141,894Nimruz County5——48,471Qasr-e Qand County8——61,076Rask County9———Saravan County239,950175,728191,661Sarbaz County162,960164,557186,165Sib and Suran County4—73,18985,095Taftan County10———Zabol County317,357259,356165,666Zahedan County663,822660,575672,589Zarabad County11———Zehak County70,83975,41974,896Total2,349,0492,534,3272,775,0141Separated from Iranshahr County
2Separated from Chabahar County
3Separated from Nik Shahr County
4Separated from Saravan County
5Separated from Zabol County
6Separated from Saravan County and Sarbaz County
7Separated from Zahedan County
8Separated from Chabahar County and Nik Shahr County
9Separated from Sarbaz County
10Separated from Khash County
11Separated from Konarak County


According to the 2016 census, 1,345,642 people (over 48% of the population of Sistan and Baluchestan province) live in the following cities: Adimi 3,613, Bampur 12,217, Bazman 5,192, Bent 5,822, Bonjar 3,760, Chabahar 106,739, Dust Mohammad 6,621, Espakeh 4,719, Fanuj 13,070, Galmurti 10,292, Gosht 4,992, Hiduj 1,674, Iranshahr 113,750, Jaleq 18,098, Khash 56,584, Konarak 43,258, Mehrestan 12,245, Mirjaveh 9,359, Mohammadabad 3,468, Mohammadan 10,302, Mohammadi 5,606, Negur 5,670, Nik Shahr 17,732, Nosratabad 5,238, Nukabad 5,261, Pishin 16,011, Qasr-e Qand 11,605, Rask 10,115, Saravan 60,014, Sarbaz 2,020, Shahr Ali Akbar 4,779, Sirkan 2,196, Suran 13,580, Zarabad 4,003, Zabol 134,950, Zahedan 587,730, and Zehak 13,357.[1]

The following table shows the ten largest cities of Sistan and Baluchestan province:[1]

RankNamePopulation (2016)
9Nik Shahr17,732


Most of the population are Balōch and speak the Baluchi language, although there also exists among them a small community of speakers of the Indo-Aryan language Jadgali.[10]: 25  Baluchestan means “Land of the Balōch”; Sistan represents the minority who speak the Sistani dialect of Persian.[citation needed]


The minority Sistani people of Sistan and Baluchestan province are Shia Muslims, and the majority Baloch people of the Baluchestan area in the province are Sunni Muslims, specially Deobandis.[11]

Sistan and Baluchestan is the poorest of Iran’s 31 provinces, with a HDI score of 0.688.[2]

The government of Iran has been implementing new plans such as creating the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone.

Mountains in Chabahar County


Industry is new to the province. Efforts have been done and tax, customs and financial motivations have caused more industrial investment, new projects, new producing jobs and improvement of industry. The most important factories are the Khash cement factory with production of 2600 tons cement daily and three other cement.

Factories under construction:

  • Cotton cloth and fishing net weaving factories and the brick factory can be named as well.

The province has important geological and metal mineral potentials such as chrome, copper, granite, antimony, talc, manganese, iron, lead, zinc, tin, nickel, platinum, gold and silver.

One of the main mines in this province is Chel Kooreh copper mine in 120 km north of Zahedan.

Sistan embroidery has been an ancient handicraft of the region that has been traced as far back as 5th-century BC, originating from the Scythians.[12]


National rail network[edit]

The city of Zahedan has been connected to Quetta in Pakistan for a century with a broad gauge railway. It has weekly trains for Kovaitah. Recently a railway from Bam, Iran to Zahedan has been inaugurated. There may be plans to build railway lines from Zahedan to Chabahar.[13]


Aerial view of Beris on the Gulf of Oman.

Sistan and Baluchistan province has two main passenger airports:

  • Zahedan Airport
  • Chabahar Airport (Konarak Airport)


Port of Chabahar in the south of the province is the main port. It is to be connected by a new railway to Zahedan. India is investing on this port. The port stands on the Coast of Makran and is 70 km west of Gwadar, Pakistan.[14]

Higher education

  1. University of Sistan and Baluchestan
  2. Chabahar Maritime University
  3. Zabol University
  4. Islamic Azad University of Iranshahr
  5. Islamic Azad University of Zahedan[15]
  6. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences[16]
  7. Zabol University of Medical Sciences
  8. International University of Chabahar
  9. Velayat University of Iranshar
  10. Jamiah Darul Uloom Zahedan

Landmarks such as the Firuzabad Castle, Rostam Castle and the Naseri Castle are located in the province.

See also

  • Bazman, volcano mountain
  • Baloch people
  • Sistan region
  • Balochistan region
  • Balochistan, Afghanistan
  • Balochistan, Pakistan


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e “Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1395 (2016)”. AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 11. Archived from the original (Excel) on 23 December 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Sub-national HDI – Area Database – Global Data Lab”. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. ^ “معرفی استان سیستان و بلوچستان”. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  4. ^ “آشنایی با استان سیستان و بلوچستان”. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)”. AMAR (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 11. Archived from the original (Excel) on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  6. Jump up to:a b “Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1390 (2011)” (Excel)Iran Data Portal (in Persian). The Statistical Center of Iran. p. 11. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  7. ^ “Brahui”. Encyclopedia Irannica.
  8. ^ Jahangiri, Ishaq (13 August 2017). “Letter of approval regarding reforms and divisional changes in Sistan and Baluchestan province”. Qavanin (in Persian). Ministry of Interior, Council of Ministers. Archived from the original on 7 April 2023. Retrieved 7 April 2023.
  9. ^ Jahangiri, Ishaq (13 September 2018). “Letter of approval regarding the country divisions of Chabahar County, Sistan and Baluchestan province”. Qavanin (in Persian). Ministry of Interior, Council of Ministers. Archived from the original on 7 April 2023. Retrieved 7 April 2023.
  10. ^ Delforooz, Behrooz Barjasteh (2008). “A sociolinguistic survey of among the Jagdal in Iranian Balochistan”. In Jahani, Carina; Korn, Agnes; Titus, Paul Brian (eds.). The Baloch and others: linguistic, historical and socio-political perspectives on pluralism in Balochistan. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag. pp. 23–44. ISBN 978-3-89500-591-6.
  11. ^ Sistan and Baluchestan Province Retrieved 20 July 2020
  12. ^ “هفت‌هزار سال هنر در یک سرزمین” [Seven thousand years of art in one land]. ایسنا (in Persian). 15 March 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  13. ^ Projects Invest Iran[dead link]
  14. ^ “From Gwadar to Chabahar, the Makran Coast Is Becoming an Arena for Rivalry Between Powers”. The Wire.
  15. ^ “دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی واحد زاهدان”. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  16. ^ “Zahedan University of Medical Sciences(zdmu)”. 17 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2021.


  • W. Barthold (1984). “Sistan, the Southern Part of Afghanistan, and Baluchistan”. An Historical Geography of Iran. Translated by Svat Soucek. Princeton University Press. pp. 64–86. ISBN 978-1-4008-5322-9.


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