Sistan and Baluchestan province

Coordinates: 29°29′33″N 60°52′01″E / 29.4924°N 60.8669°E / 29.4924; 60.8669
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Sistan and Baluchestan province
استان سیستان و بلوچستان
Sib and Suran Castle
Map of Iran with Sistan and Baluchestan province highlighted
Map of Iran with Sistan and Baluchestan province highlighted
Coordinates: 29°29′33″N 60°52′01″E / 29.4924°N 60.8669°E / 29.4924; 60.8669
 • Governor-generalMohammad Karami
 • MPs of Assembly of ExpertsAbbas-Ali Soleimani and
Ali Ahmad Salami
 • Representative of the Supreme LeaderMostafa Mahami
 • Total180,726 km2 (69,779 sq mi)
 • Total2,775,014
 • Density15/km2 (40/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+03:30 (IRST)
ISO 3166 codeIR-11
Main language(s)Baluchi
HDI (2017)0.688[2]
medium · 31st

Sistan and Baluchestan province (Persian: استان سيستان و بلوچستان, romanizedOstân-e Sistân wa Balučestân; Balochi: سیستان ءُ بلۏچستان اوستان, romanized: Sistàn o Balòcestàn ostàn) or Asli Baluchestan 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 Afghanistan and Pakistan, 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 (along the border with 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 area comrising Zabol, Hamun, Hirmand, Zehak and Nimruz counties.[8] 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).

In 2023, Sistan region was affected by several dust events, occuring in April[9], June[8], and August. The latter sent 1120 people to hospitals from 10 to 14 August. Winds reached a speed of 108 km/h (67 mph) in Zabol station and reduced visibility to 600 m (2,000 ft).[10]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Sistan and Baluchestan province population history
Administrative Divisions 2006[5] 2011[6] 2016[1]
Bampur County1 [11]
Chabahar County 214,017 264,051 283,204
Dalgan County1 62,813 67,857
Dashtiari County2 [12]
Fanuj County3 49,161
Golshan County4
Hamun County5 41,017
Hirmand County5 65,471 63,979
Iranshahr County 264,226 219,796 254,314
Khash County 161,918 155,652 173,821
Konarak County 68,605 82,001 98,212
Lashar County3
Mehrestan County6 62,756 70,579
Mirjaveh County7 45,357
Nik Shahr County 185,355 212,963 141,894
Nimruz County5 48,471
Qasr-e Qand County8 61,076
Rask County9
Saravan County 239,950 175,728 191,661
Sarbaz County 162,960 164,557 186,165
Sib and Suran County4 73,189 85,095
Taftan County10
Zabol County 317,357 259,356 165,666
Zahedan County 663,822 660,575 672,589
Zarabad County11
Zehak County 70,839 75,419 74,896
Total 2,349,049 2,534,327 2,775,014
1Separated 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]

Rank Name Population (2016)
1 Zahedan 587,730
2 Zabol 134,950
3 Iranshahr 113,750
4 Chabahar 106,739
5 Saravan 60,014
6 Khash 56,584
7 Konarak 43,258
8 Jaleq 18,098
9 Nik Shahr 17,732
10 Pishin 16,011


Jameh Mosque of Makki

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.[13]: 25  Baluchestan means "Land of the Balōch"; Sistani are the second largest ethnic group in this province 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.[14][15][16]

Sistan and Baluchestan today[edit]

The southern coasts of the province along the Gulf of Oman

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.[17]


Road transport[edit]

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.[18]


Aerial view of Beris on the Gulf of Oman.

Sistan and Baluchistan province has two main passenger airports:


The 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.[19]

Higher education[edit]

  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[20]
  6. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences[21]
  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[edit]


  1. ^ 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. ^ 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. ^ 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. ^ 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. ^ a b "Storm in Sistan sent 330 people to medical centers" توفان در سیستان ۳۳۰ نفر را راهی مراکز درمانی کرد, Tabnak (in Persian), Tabnak, 25 June 2023, 1180454, retrieved 9 April 2024.
  9. ^ "The storm sent 99 people to the hospital in Sistan region" توفان در منطقه سیستان ۹۹ نفر را راهی بیمارستان کرد, Tabnak (in Persian), Tabnak, 18 April 2023, 1171738, retrieved 9 April 2024.
  10. ^ "1120 people went to hospital in Sistan and Baluchistan" ۱۱۲۰ نفر در سیستان و بلوچستان راهی بیمارستان شدند. (in Persian). Tabnak. 14 August 2023. Retrieved 9 April 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Sistan and Baluchestan Province Retrieved 20 July 2020
  15. ^ "Ahmady, Kameel. A Peace-Oriented Investigation of the Ethnic Identity Challenge in Iran (A Study of Five Iranian Ethnic Groups with the GT Method), 2022, 13th Eurasian Conferences on Language and Social Sciences pp.591-624". 13th Eurasian Conferences on Language and Social Sciences. 2022. Pp.591-624.
  16. ^ "Baluchistan | History, People, Religion, & Map | Britannica". 7 August 2023. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  17. ^ "هفت‌هزار سال هنر در یک سرزمین" [Seven thousand years of art in one land]. ایسنا (in Persian). 15 March 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  18. ^ Projects Invest Iran [dead link]
  19. ^ "From Gwadar to Chabahar, the Makran Coast Is Becoming an Arena for Rivalry Between Powers". The Wire.
  20. ^ "دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی واحد زاهدان". Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Zahedan University of Medical Sciences(zdmu)". 17 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2021.


External links[edit]