and Baluchestan is located in the southeast of the country, bordering
Pakistan and Afghanistan and its capital is Zahedan.
The province is one of the largest in Iran, with an area of 187,500
km² and a population of 2.6 million. The 14 counties of the province are
Chabahar, Dalgan, Hirmand, Iranshahr, Khash, Konarak, Nikshahr,
Saravan, Sarbaz, Soran, Zabol, Zaboli, Zahedan and Zehak.
Before the rise of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1923, the city of Zahedan
was known as Dozz-aap. This names is in turn derived from the Persian
Dozd-aab, literarily mean "water thief." This is the name given to a
sandy land formation that quickly swallows up any water that falls on
it, be it rain or irrigation water.
The name was changed to Zahedan by the Academy of Culture, set up
during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi in the 1930s, which changed a
myriad of toponyms in Iran. This included the very name of country,
which was known to the Western World as Persia until 1935.
A popular theory claims that that the current name, Zahedan
("Sages," or "pious people" in Persian) was given to the city upon its
visit by Reza Shah. The story maintains that upon arrival in the city,
the Shah noticed many Sikhs among the inhabitants of the city. By their
traditional appearances, the Shah misinterpreted the inhabitants as
being devout people. The Sikhs were not many, but occupied in the trade
business and therefore highly visible in the city.
Sistan and Baluchestan coordination locates in 29°29'33"N 60°52'01"E / 29.4924°N 60.8669°E.
province comprises two sections, Sistan in the north and Baluchestan in
the south. The combined Sistan & Baluchestan province today
accounts for one of the driest regions of Iran with a slight increase in
rainfall from east to west, and an obvious 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 as Levar, the Qousse wind, the seventh (Gav-kosh) wind,
the Nambi or south wind, the Hooshak wind, the humid and seasonal winds
of the Indian Ocean, the North or (Gurich) wind and the western (Gard)
In the south, east and west of Sistan and Baluchestan, the people
are mostly Baloch and speak the Baluchi language. The name Baluchestan
means "Land of the Balochi" in Persian language. Similarly, the Persian
language name Sist?n comes from the Old Persian Sakastana, meaning "Land
of the Sakas".
Many scholars, orators, and literary personalities have sprung up
from this part of Iran, amongst which are the reputed Farrokhi sistani,
Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar and Rostam. Ayatollah Sistani is also from
Sistan; though he currently resides in Najaf, Iraq.