Khuzestan (khōzēstänˈ) [key], province (1991 pop. 3,175,852), c.24,000 sq mi (62,160 sq km), SW Iran, bordering on Iraq in the west and the Persian Gulf in the south. Its major cities include Ahvaz (the capital), Khorramshahr, Dezful, and Abadan. Mountainous in the east, it has a hot, dry climate; agricultural products include dates, citrus fruit, rice, and vegetables. Khuzestan has enormous petroleum deposits. Dams on the Dez River in the northern part of the province provide water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. There is a rail line and an extensive road network. The province, which was formerly called Arabistan, has an Arab majority. The area was conquered (7th cent.) by the Arabs and invaded (13th cent.) by the Mongols; it passed to Timur in the 14th cent. Development of the oil industry in the 20th cent. has led to growth of Khuzestan's population and economy. Iranian government efforts to encourage more ethnic Persians to relocate to Khuzestan has sparked unrest among the Arabs there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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