The whole area of Iran can be divided into four parts: 1/2 mountains as one part, and 1/4 deserts and 1/4 fertile plains as the other part. There are two major ranges of mountains called the Alborz and the Zagros.
- The Alborz have been extended all the way from Azerbaijan to Afghanistan passing through the southern part of the Caspian Sea.
- The Zagros have covered a region from Azerbaijan to the west and SE of the country.
These two ranges function as walls blocking meteorological phenomena from entering inside central Iran. In addition to these ranges, there are mountainous regions in central and eastern Iran.
The Mountains of Iran at the North
Arasbaran Mountains at the NW of Iran are located along the banks of a border river, Aras, with the highest peak called “Neshan Kuh” 3700m above sea level (ASL).
- Sahand Mountains are located at the NW of Iran with the highest peak 3710m ASL.
- Sabalan Mountains are located at the NW Iran with the highest peak 4811m ASL.
- Talesh Mountains are located at the south of the Caspian Sea with their highest peak called “Aq Dagh”, 3200m ASL.
The Alborz Massif
The highest and widest area within the Alborz is at central Alborz with the highest peak of Iran called “Damavand”, 5671m ASL. It is a burned-out volcano with a crater of 400m width. At times, sulfur gas ascends to the top and covers the peak like clouds.
The Alborz extend to the NE of Iran and forms Khorasan mountains. Khorasan Mountains can be subdivided to some smaller ranges. The northern range is extended from “Kopet Dagh” to a river called “Hari Rud”. The central range is around Bojnurd and Quchan, with their highest peak at the south of Quchan 3520m ASL, create a marvelous view for the province. The southern range consists of some individual peaks with lower altitudes.
The Zagros Range
The peaks and altitudes of the Zagros have steep slopes, deep valleys, and very narrow gorges. The major altitudes of the North are Border Mountains near Maku, Khoy, and Qotur.
The central Zagros consists of several peaks more than 3000m ASL. The highest and wildest altitudes of the Zagros are Bakhtiary Mountains between Luristan and Shiraz plains.
Their highest peak “Zard kuh” is 4547m ASL. “Dena”, another peak in Fars province, is 5200m ASL. The altitude decreases as one goes southward.
The Mountains of Iran at the East
Extended from Khorasan to Sistan and Baluchestan provinces, there stand the Eastern Mountains of Iran that can be categorized into three major zones:
- “Jaam” in South Khorasan, is generally extended in E-W direction.
- “Qaen ” to the south of “Jaam”, includes “Ahangaran” peak, 2877m ASL.
- “Makran” is extended from “Zabol” to “Bam Posht” at Sistan and Baluchestan province. The highest peak in this region is called “Taftan”, a burned-out volcano, which stands in the SE of Iran with an altitude of 4050m ASL.
The Mountain Ranges in Central Iran
There are uninterrupted altitudes in central Iran. Some of them are connected to the Alborz or the Zagros. They can mainly be categorized into “Qahrud” and “Banan” mountains. “Qahrud”, which are longer and higher, start from around Kashan and the south of Tehran to Kerman. “Banan” is the continuation of the former one to “Makran” area in Sistan and Baluchestan province. At these ranges, “Shir kuh” near Yazd is 4075m ASL.
The central part of Iran is a very significant region as far as minerals are concerned. There is a little rainfall during the year, sudden changes in weather, strong winds, a few permanent rivers and flood-producing rivers in this region.