Abadan (Persian: آبادان Ābādān) is a city in and the capital of Abadan County, Khuzestan Province which in located in central west of Iran. It lies on Abadan Island (68 km or 42 mi long, 3–19 km or 2–12 miles wide, the island is bounded in the west by the Arvand waterway and to the east by the Bahmanshir outlet of the Karun River otherwise known as Shatt al-Arab), 53 kilometres (33 mi) from the Persian Gulf, near the Iraqi-Iran border.
Abadan is thought to have been further developed ...see more into a major port city under the Abbasids' rule. 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; In the 14th century, however, Ibn Battutah described Abadan just as a small port in a flat salty plain. Politically, Abadan was often the subject of dispute between the nearby states; in 1847, Persia acquired it from Turkey, 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 Khorramshahr), until the removal of Shaikh Khaz'al Khan in 1924.
Exploded T-54/55 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. On 16 July 1909, after secret negotiation with the British consul, Percy Cox assisted by Arnold Wilson, Sheik Khaz'al agreed to a rental agreement for the island including Abadan. The Sheik continued to administer the island until 1924. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company built their first pipeline terminus oil refinery in Abadan, starting in 1909 and completing it in 1912, with oil flowing by August 1912 (see Abadan Refinery). Refinery throughput numbers rose from 33,000 tons in 1912-1913 to 4,338,000 tons in 1931. By 1938, it was the largest in the world.
During World War II, Abadan was a major logistics center for Lend-Lease aircraft being sent to the Soviet Union by the United States.
In 1951, Iran nationalized all oil properties and refining ground to a stop on the island. Rioting broke out in Abadan, after the government had decided to nationalize the oil facilities, and 3 British workers were killed. It wasn't until 1954, that a settlement was reached, which allows a group of international oil companies to manage the production and refining on the island. This continued until 1973, when the NIOC took over all facilities. After total nationalization, Iran focused on supplying oil domestically and built a pipeline from Abadan to Tehran.
Whereas Abadan was not a major cultural or religious center, it did play an important role in the Islamic Revolution. On 19 August 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. The Cinema Rex Fire was the site of 430 deaths, but more importantly, it was another event that kept the Islamic Revolution moving ahead. At the time there was a lot of confusion and misinformation about the incident; however the public blamed the local police chief and also the Shah and SAVAK. The reformist Sobhe Emrooz newspaper in one of its editorials revealed that the Cinema Rex was burned down by the radical Islamists. The newspaper was shut down immediately after. Over time, the true culprits, radical Islamists, were apprehended and the logic behind this act was revealed, as they were trying both to foment the general public to distrust the government even more, and also as they perceived cinema as a link to the Americans. This fire was one of four during a short period in August, with other fires in Mashhad, Rizaiya, and Shiraz.
In September 1980, Abadan was almost overrun during a surprise attack on Khuzestan by Iraq, marking the beginning of the Iran–Iraq War. For 12 months Abadan was besieged, but never captured, by Iraqi forces, and in September 1981, the Iranians broke the siege of Abadan. Much of the city, including the oil refinery which was the world's largest refinery with capacity of 628,000 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, as they were operating at 10% of capacity due to damage. 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.