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Abadan ( ) is a city in the Khuzestanmarker province in southwestern Iranmarker. It lies on Abadan Islandmarker ( long, 3–19 km or 2–12 miles wide, the island is bounded in the west by the Shatt al-Arabmarker waterway and to the east by the Bahmanshir outlet of the Karun River), from the Persian Gulfmarker, near the Iraqi-Iran border. It is the capital of Abadan County. The civilian population of the city dropped to near zero during the eight-years Iran–Iraq War. In 1992, only 84,774 had returned to live in the city. By 2001, the population had jumped to 206,073, and it was 217,988 according to 2006 census.


Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri (d.892) quotes the story that the town was founded by 'Abbad bin Hosayn from the Arabian Tribe of Banu Tamim, who established a garrison there during the governorship of Hajjaj in the Ummayad period. An Iranian etymology of the name (from the Persian word "ab" (water) and the root "pā" (guard, watch) thus "coastguard station"), was suggested by B. Farahvashi. Supporting evidence is the name "Apphana" which Ptolemy applies to an island off the mouth of the Tigris. The Persian version of the name had begun to come into general use before it was adopted by official decree in 1935.The geographer Marcian also renders the name "Apphadana" and "Estoban Mendez" in his writings.


Darkhuien oil field behind Abadan.
Abadan is thought to have originally developed as a port city under the Abbasids' rule. Legendarily, it was founded by a holy man, 'Abbad. In this time period, it was a commercial source of salt and woven mats. The siltation of the river delta forced the town further away from water; Ibn Battutah described Abadan as a small city in a flat salty plain. Politically, Abadan was often the subject of dispute between the nearby states; in 1847, Persia acquired it, in which state Abadan has remained since. From the 17th century onward, the island of Abadan was part of the lands of the Arab Ka'ab (Bani Kaab) tribe. One section of this tribe, Mohaysen, had its headquarters at Mohammara(present-day Khorramshahrmarker), until the removal of Shaikh Khaz'al Khan in 1924.
Exploded tank, remains as symbol of Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988).

Ruins of a building in Abadan.
Abadan had suffered serious damages during Iran–Iraq War (1980-88), including Saddam's deadly chemical weapons.
It was not until the 20th century that rich oil fields were discovered in the area. In 1910, the population had been around 400. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company built their first pipeline terminus oil refinery in Abadan, starting in 1909 and completing it in 1913 (see Abadan Refinery). By 1938, it was the largest in the world. To this day it remains a vast facility for refining petroleum. The facilities necessitated an equally vast population: more than 220,000 people in 1956.

Only a low 9% of managers (of the oil company) were from Khuzestan. The proportion of natives of Tehranmarker, the Caspian, Azarbaijan and Kurdistanmarker rose from 4% of blue collar workers to 22% of white collar workers to 45% of managers. Thus while Arabic speakers were concentrated on the lower rungs of the work force, managers tended to be brought in from some distance.

During World War II, Abadan was a major logistics center for Lend-Lease aircraft being sent to the Soviet Unionmarker by the United Statesmarker.

On August 19, 1978-the anniversary of the US backed pro-Shah coup d'état which overthrew the nationalists and popular Iranian prime minister, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh — the Cinema Rex, a movie theatre in Abadan, Iran, was set ablaze by four Islamic Revolution sympathizers in an attempt to help the cause of Iran's Islamic Revolution. The local Abadan police had taken notice, and became suspicious of Hossein Takbali-zadeh and his accomplices, and had started following the arsonists as they were entering Cinema Rex. The police decided to continue their surveillance and track the group after they left the movie theater. This incident ended up causing the Cinema Rex Fire, where over 350 people perished. At the trial, Hossein Takbali-zadeh stated that his three accomplices by the names of Faraj, Falah, and Yadollah had all burned in the fire.

In September 1980, Abadan was almost overrun during a surprise attack on Khuzestan by Iraq, marking the beginning of the Iran–Iraq War. For 18 months Abadan was besieged, but never captured, by Iraqi forces. Much of the city, including the oil refinery which was the world's largest refinery with capacity of 680,000 barrels per day, was badly damaged or destroyed by the siege and by bombing. Previous to the war, the city's civilian population was about 300,000, but before it was over, most of the populace had sought refuge elsewhere in Iran.

After the war, the biggest concern was the rebuilding of Abadan's oil refinery. In 1993, the refinery began limited operation & and the port reopened. By 1997, the refinery reached the same rate of production it was at before the war. Recently, Abandan has been the site of major labor activity as workers at the oil refineries in the city have staged walkouts and strikes to protest non-payment of wages and the political situation in the country.

Recent events

To honor the 100th anniversary of the refining of oil in Abadan, city officials are planning an "oil museum" The Abadan oil refinery was featured on the reverse side of Iran's 100-rial banknotes printed in 1965 and from 1971 to 1973.

Places of interest

Taj cinema in Abadan

The Abadan Institute of Technology was established in Abadan in 1939. The school specialized in engineering and petroleum chemistry, and was designed to train staff for the refinery in town. The school's name has since changed several times, but since 1989 has been considered a branch campus of the Petroleum University of Technology, centered in Tehranmarker.

There is an international airportmarker in Abadan. It is represented by the IATA airport code ABD.


The people of Abadan have acquired an almost legendary status throughout Iran for various reasons. During the start of the Iran–Iraq War, the neighboring city of Khorramshahr was taken over by the invading Iraqi forces. Since Iran had just gone through a revolution, the armed forces were not adequately prepared so the Iranian military was not able to mobilize efficiently to challenge the invading Iraqis. Instead, the Abadanis (people of Abadan), the extent of which is debated, took up arms and defended their city themselves. How many Abadanis actually fought and how effective they were depends on who you ask, but the Abadanis have not been shy about retelling their war stories which has led people from other parts of the country to claim their war stories are exaggerated since they seem so far-fetched.

Abadan and the Khuzestan province is also known for producing many talented soccer players who have gone on to play for the Iranian national team. The local team, Sanat Naft Abadan (Oil Company of Abadan) is called the 'Brazil of Iran' because when the team was formed they tried to imitate the Brazilian style of soccer. They also share the same team colors as the Brazilian national team.

Before the Iranian Revolution the city of Abadan was a popular tourist destination. Abadan was the main place for Iranian Singers concert's and many international one. While the whole country of Iranmarker mostly were from religious people, Abadani people had their own music genre which is called Bandari and that's why all people of Iran in memory of Abadan before Iran-Iraq War say:'آبادان گلستان' "Abadan is Garden" , 'گلستان آبادانه' "Garden is Abadan".

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