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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Bushehr - Location

The Bushehr nuclear facility is often associated with the city, as illustrated by the Argonne National Laboratory's International Nuclear Safety Center Database "Unclassified" map, but is actually located near Halileh (also spelled Haleyleh), which is about a dozen kilometers to the south of Bushehr proper, along the Persian Gulf coast. The reactor site is also the location of Iran's Nuclear Energy College.

Bushehr (also spelled Bushir), a major city and one of Iran's chief ports, is located 400 kilometers south of Tehran, in south-eastern Iran on the Persian Gulf. The chief products of the surrounding area of Bushir are Shraz wine, which has been famed for centuries; inlaid articles of wood; metalwork, especially silver; rugs; brocades and other textiles; cement; and fertilizer. Iran's major natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc and sulfur.

The Iranian Navy has historically been the smallest of the 3 services, having about 14,500 personnel in 1986, down from 30,000 in 1979. Throughout the 1970s, the role of the Navy expanded as Iran recognized the need to defend the region's vital sea-lanes. In 1977 the bulk of the fleet was shifted from Khorramshahr to the newly completed base at Bandar-e Abbas, the new Naval Headquarters. Bushehr was the other main base.

By 1979 the Shah's Air Force, numbering close to 100,000 personnel, was by far the most advanced of the 3 services and among the most impressive air forces in the developing world. By 1987, however, the Air Force faced an acute shortage of spare parts and replacement equipment. Air Force Headquarters was located at Doshan Tapeh Air Base, near Tehran. Other major operational air bases included Bushehr.

The rugged terrain and sheer size of Iran made the expansion of transportation facilities difficult. Emphasis was placed on linking the major population centers and economic centers by rail and road. Superimposed on a map, such main arteries would form a "T," with the crossbar extending from the northwestern corner to the northeast along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The vertical line would run through Tehran down to the Gulf. The leg of the "T" from Tehran to the Gulf was the most intensively used transportation corridor. Domestic and foreign trade from the Gulf traversed this portion of road. Key ports were connected to each other and to Tehran through the "T" network. Foreign trade came through the Gulf ports of Khorramshahr, Bandar-e Shahpur, Bandar-e Abbas, and Bushehr. The transportation system became incapable of meeting trade demands during the oil boom of the mid-1970s. Consequently, the Shah's government gave the expansion of port and transportation facilities high priority. By 1976 the 6 major ports of Bandar-e Abbas, Bandar-e Shahpur, Chah Bahar (known as Bandar-e Beheshti after the 1979 Revolution), Bushehr, Abadan, and Khorramshahr had a capacity of 12 million tons, with expansion projects underway.

In 1986, there were an estimated 530,000 Arabs in Iran. A majority lived in Khuzestan, where they constituted a significant ethnic minority. Most of the other Arabs lived along the Persian Gulf coastal plains, but there also were small scattered tribal groups living in central and eastern Iran. Apart from Khuzestan there was little sense of ethnic unity among the scattered Arab settlements. The Arabs in the area stretching from Bushehr to Bandar-e Abbas tend to be Sunnis. This helped to strengthen their differentiation from most non-Arab Iranians and even from the Arabs of Khuzestan.




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