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The Great Canal Of Persia

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#1 Soheil


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Posted 09 May 2016 - 11:57 PM

Iran's 'Suez Canal': Tehran Could Connect Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf


One of the most ambitious initiatives that Tehran plans to launch will see an artificial channel link the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The project, which is expected to be completed in the 2020s, is particularly interesting for Russia due to the cold spell with Turkey, but European and post-Soviet states will also benefit from it.

In Iran, "work is underway to construct a navigable channel linking the Caspian and the Persian Gulf," economic analyst Alexei Chickin observed.

The initiative itself is not new. The idea first emerged in the late 19th century and by 1890s Russian engineers developed blueprints for the navigable channel that would offer Russia and others the shortest way to the Indian Ocean bypassing the Turkish Straits and the Suez Canal in Egypt.

The project was endorsed by Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2012, former Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjoo estimated that the cost of the project would be approximately $7 billion.

In February 2015, Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament Alaeddin Boroujerdi told the Fars news agency that Khatam-al Anbiya, an engineering company owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was taking a close look at the project.

But not everyone has welcomed the idea with open arms. "The West and Turkey have directly or indirectly tried to block the waterway [from being created]. As a matter of fact, the United States imposed sanctions" on companies that have been involved in the project, Chickin explained.

Other challenges to constructing the channel that would also help to deal with droughts in central Iran include difficult terrain, the sheer magnitude of the project, as well as the required level of funding, which among other things will have to cover desalination efforts. In addition, the artificial waterway will be built in an area prone to earthquakes.


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#2 Soheil


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Posted 10 May 2016 - 12:01 AM

1# Soheil

Iran rud : The Great Canal of Persia

Sep 29, 2014

1- Introduction :

Iranrud which means Iran's river was a plan to build a Marine Canal from Caspian Sea to southern waters of Iran such as Persian Gulf or Gulf of Oman . From 1920s The Soviet Union was keen into having direct access to warm seas where they only have an access to cold seas and their vessels were supposed to pass through the marine ways such as the Strait of Bosporus and Dardanelles or Suez canal were under the control of the NATO , Turkey and Egypt who were the U.S. alliance .

2- History :

The idea of connecting the northern and southern shores of Iran for the first time appeared even during the Qajar period and during the reign of Nasrudin Shah , while later during the 1970s the initial design involved a group of local hydrological engineers . Since in 1979. further studies are temporarily disabled due to the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war .The project was revived again afterward . At the same time, the Iranian authorities have approved the budget for the development of preliminary studies where between the 1995th and 1997th attended by about 130 local experts .

In 2005th report on the assessment of the feasibility of connecting the northern and southern waters created by the Institute for Infrastructure Studies presented to parliament . The above studies have shown that local experts have the knowledge, experience and technology to build and that the project is technically feasible and economically affordable, and are approved further detailed studies

3- The Routs :

Basically two routs have been proposed for this megaproject:
  • The Western route - roughly following the shortest aerial distance between the two coasts , extending the total length of about 950 km from the far north of the Persian Gulf to the southwest of the Caspian Sea . Channel to the south passing Arvand Rudo , Karuna and Karkha (~ 450 km ) to the north -Sefid Rud (~ 50 km ) . The above rivers bed are partially navigable,. In the central part of the channel would be run through the high Zagros mountain valleys length of about 600 km . General advantages of the western route of the short distance between the seas, passing through Khuzestan and Gilan provinces lowlands, partial navigability of rivers, the possibility of using more artificial lakes and canals for water supply easier humid climate and numerous streams . However, a major disadvantage of this route is the passage through the chain Zagros , and Alborz , especially in Kurdistan and Hamedan provinces where the inevitable climb to heights above 1800 m . The western route is only mentioned as a possibility for her not even made any detailed study considering that experts give high priority to a more flexible eastern route.
  • The Eastern route - stretching from coast Gulf of Oman to the south-east of the Caspian Sea total length of 1465 - 1600 km . In 1996 this route was firstly proposed by engineer H. Farzad , and he was expecting to provide channels through depression , Dast-e Lut and Dast-e Kavir.
The irrigation and development of agriculture in east and central provinces of the country is another reason that eastern route has been preferred by authorities. The shortage of rainfall cause a massive a drought in recent decades and there are hopes that such waterway can help in improving the situation by recharging the underground water resources on its rout .


4- Topography of the rout

Based on topographical survey, the approximate level of the existing land at eastern rout is as follow:

From 0 to 250 m (above Sea water level) 65 Km

From 250 to 500 m (above Sea water level) 330 Km

From 500 to 1000 m (above Sea water level) 920 Km

From 1000 to 2000 m (above Sea water level) 150 Km

5- Advantages :

5.1 Geopolitics:
  • Regardless of the route, the channel extends across the full length of the Iranian territory , which the central government maintains full political control and a greater impact on the global level
  • Gets the shortest marine link between the Persian Gulf and India on one side with the Eastern , Central and Northern Europe, on the other, thus becoming Iranrud competition Egyptian Suez Canal . A special geopolitical benefit from the channel would have Russia achieving direct and easy access to the Indian Ocean longtime American allies Turkey and Egypt . Iranrud would also be a naval competition and the Northern sea way with regard to European ports offering identical Russian friendship to China and Japan.
  • The possibility of a shorter and faster transfer of civilian and naval ships from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea or vice versa , depending on the political heightened in one of the two oil- rich regions.
  • The physical separation of the territory and channel clutter route would cut smuggling routes through which the transported illegal goods and drugs from eastern border of the country.
5.2 Economical benefits:
  • Eligible cost of construction and long-term profitability due to fixed income from canal and supporting projects , and attracting foreign direct investment
  • The drastic increase in the amount of transported goods on the domestic and international level (initial 70 million tonnes per year ), a further possibility to compete the world's leading ports like Dubai , Hong Kong and Singapore because of re-arrangement of maritime connections .
  • Saving energy in land transport , relieving the state of roads or the railway lines
  • In the long opening of two million new jobs in the construction and maintenance, and other development projects related to the canal .
  • Revitalization of isolated parts of eastern Iran supporting infrastructure , including the construction of new modern port in Bam and Tabas free economic zones, shipyards and airports , and planned cities due to non-uniform distribution of the population
  • The development of other economic branches - Tourism , agriculture (due to breeding drought ends irrigation) , and Fisheries (along the 3000 km coastline channels predicted the eruption of farms , northern part of the channel would be supplied Caspian waters suitable for breeding of sturgeon and production of caviar and south to supply itself with suitable for different kinds of fish and shrimp
5.3 Environmental Benefits
  • Control of the Caspian level - because NASA predictions about raising the Caspian level of 3.0 to 5.0 m for the next quarter century, , irrigation portion of the project would be pumping 500 million m³ in the Iranian interior mitigate the negative effects of this phenomenon ( Flood Gilan , Mazandaran and Golestan ) up to about 20 %.
  • Control of Desertification - channel route provided help along the edge portions of Dast-e Lut and Dast-e Kavir creating a barrier to the spread of the desert to fertile areas.
  • Breeding biotope - increased humidity and amount of rainfall caused by evaporation from canal contributed to the enrichment of the flora and fauna of the Iranian plateau and the water itself canal would contain various types of fish and other organisms .
5.4 Technological advantage:
  • Expert studies have shown that Iran has the experts, experience, technology and resources to maintain their own complex project.
  • The project is a multi-purpose character and the entire system would be used for maritime transport , irrigation and water supply
  • The possibility of phased construction of the canal - the first irrigation systems , then the easy part of the route from the Gulf of Oman to the Dasht-e Kavir , and finally a complex canal and continue to the Caspian Sea
Part2. Iran rud : The Great Canal of Persia

6- Disadvantages and challenges
  • 6.1 The length of the channel - the shortest direct distance between the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean is 725miles . While the non-adhering western route mentioned distance of 950 to 1000 km , for the eastern route is planned length of up to 1465-1600 km which means Iranrud a is much longer than the Suez canal ( L = 193.3Km ) and the Panama Canal ( L = 77.1 km ). The only existing marine channel in the world is comparable to the length of the Great Chinese channel ( L = 1770 km ) which is not fully artificial.
  • 6.2 Altitudes - from the Caspian Sea ( -28 m ASL ) as the lowest point to the peaks of Alborz mountains as the highest, the total height difference is above 2000 m . Since the maximum level provided for the channel 1070 m ASL. , the project involves in a huge canals which needs to overcome the navigable height difference (~ 1100 m ) . in compare this difference in the Panama Canal is only 25m , using three ascending and descending locks . In China's Great channel this difference is 42 m , with 80m and nine locks, while in Suez canal no loch is required . To overcome the height difference of Iranrud project , it would take at least a total of 55 locks arranged in cascades in at least four locations by taking into account the Maximum available locks such as Carrapatela in Portugal ( h = 35 m ) or Oskemen in Kazakhstan ( h = 40 m).
  • 6.3 Shallow Depth - minimum predicted depth channel is 5.0 m which means to be used only for ships relatively shallow draft, while the majority of tankers class transport had been suspended. Iranrud therefore not be fully able to compete with the Suez Canal , which missed ships draft up to 20 m . Realization greater depth implies a higher cost of the project and complex technological solutions such as larger locks . When viewed in the context of the proposed segment of the Asian channel that received the depth of 15 m , Iranrud could circulate ships class of Handymax , Handysize , q-max and panamax , but not the new Panamax and Suezmax . North connection of the Iranrud in located at Caspian sea where other canalssuch as Volga Don exist as connection to the Black Sea. . This canal receives ships maximum length of 140 m, a width of 16.6 m, depth 3.5 m and a capacity of 5000 tons only On the other hand, the proposed alternative Eurasian channel is intended depth of 6.5 m . by the way , Iranrud could be planned for much deeper depth to accommodate the larger vessels for cargo, LNG or Containers.
  • 6.4 Questionable economics - the estimated cost of construction is approximately between 6.5 to 7.0 billion USD ,( initial estimation ) which critics describe expensive and risky . Proponents of the project cost is considered acceptable due to multiple economic benefits. Despite the salinity of the Caspian Sea three times lower than the world average , some experts criticize his irrigation part because they claim will cost desalination of huge quantities of water for irrigation or water supply continues to be relatively high
  • 6.5 Irrigation problems - the soil in certain peripheral and central zones of the province Semnan intended for irrigation consists of sand and clay , and is not suitable for farming , while the water that is not desalinated be used only for halophytes plantations . There is also the danger of excessive salinization of the soil.
  • 6.6 Depopulation - passing the canal route through the fertile valley of the river inevitably implies the displacement of certain areas , particularly on the northern segment of Golestan province which are relatively densely populated.
  • 6.7 Ecological problems -. The big issue would constitute and air pollution due to passing vessel into the northern forest of Iran with influence with variety of species living up there.
  • 6.8 Natural hazards - Iran is located in a zone with frequent earthquakes causing construction project (especially in the northern regions along the Alborz ) requires compliance with the high standards of seismic design . Also, some geologists and geophysicists argue that the accumulation of large amounts of water reflected pressure on faults which would increase the seismic hazard
  • 6.9 Political disputes - over-supply of water of the Caspian Sea could cause political objections to its coastal countries. Countries such as Azerbaijan, with which Iran matter of the Caspian waters have criticized the announced project, arguing that "inconsistent with international law.
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