| University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences|
Zahedan (Persian: ?, also Romanized as Zahedan, Zahidan, and Zaidan; also known as Zahedan-e Yek; formerly known as Dowzdab, Duzdab, and Duzdap and renamed Zahedan by Reza Shah Pahlavi in the late 1920s ) is a city in and the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 552,706, in 109,488 families. "Zahedan" is the plural of the Arabic word zahed meaning pious.
Zahedan is located near Pakistan and Afghanistan, only about 41 km (25 mi) south of the tripoint of the borders of the three countries, at an altitude of 1,352 m (4,436 ft) above sea level and at a distance of 1,605 km (997 mi) from the Iranian capital of Tehran. The most famous tribes in Zahedan include the Rigi, Shah Bahkhsh, Mollazadeh, Shahraki and the Mir families, which are known for their highly educated family members.
S The Demographics of Zahedans inhabitants are largely ethnic Baluchi who speak the Baluchi language and Sistanis who speak Persian Sistani, Yazdi and Khorasani. There are also smaller numbers of Brahuis and Pashtuns.
Zahedan lies east of the Kavir-e Loot desert. The city was part of the historic region of Sistan (Persian: ??????), situated today on the borders of southeastern Iran and southwestern Afghanistan. One portion is part of the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan. The other portion is part of the Nimruz Province of Afghanistan.
The name Sistan comes from Sakastan, of which Sistan was once the westernmost part. The Sakas that were once native to Sistan were driven to the Punjab during the Arsacid era (63 BCE-220 CE). The Saffarids (861–1003 CE), one of the early Iranian dynasties of the Islamic era, were originally rulers of Sistan. In the Shahnameh, Sistan is also referred to as Zabulistan, after Zabol, a city in the region. In Ferdowsis epic, Zabulistan is in turn described to be the homeland of the mythological hero-king Rostam.
Zahedan and the area of Sistan has a very strong connection with Zoroastrianism and during Sassanid times Lake Hamun was one of two pilgrimage sites for followers of that religion. In Zoroastrian religion, the lake is the keeper of Zoroasters seed and just before the final renovation of the world, three maidens will enter the lake, each then giving birth to the saoshyants who will be the saviours of mankind at the final renovation of the world. The most famous archaeological site in Sistan is on Kuh-e Khwajeh, a hill rising up as an island in the middle of Lake Hamun.
Zahedan is the main economic center of the region and home to many small- and medium-scale industries. Its main products include cotton textiles, woven and hand-knotted rugs, ceramics, processed foods, livestock feed, processed hides, milled rice, brick, reed mats and baskets.
Zahedan is a centre for Sunnism in Baluchistan. The Makki mosque and its madrasa play an important role in Baluchistans society. Shaikh Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi is the main and most influential religious and Sunni community leader in Iran that is heading Makki mosque and its institutions. Zahedan also has a Friday mosque for Shiite and a Jame mosque, where many members of the community gather to worship on Fridays. The city also has a Sikh gurdwara. A colorful bazaar, Rasouli Bazaar, can also be found in the city, where Baluchi and Pashtun traders intermingle. About 100 km (62 mi) south of Zahedan is an intermittently active volcano, Taftan, which rises abruptly 4,042 m (13,261 ft) from the surrounding plain.