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Return to Abadan and Khorramshahr

Abadan was once a thriving city which boasted the very first and the biggest oil refinery in the Middle East. Its neighbour, the southern port city of Khorramshahr was the starting point of the railway to the north and a major centre of the country’s commerce. All this came to an abrupt end within the first weeks of Iraq’s invasion of Iran.

With Abadan under siege and Khorramshahr occupied, almost all their commercial and industrial facilities were destroyed. These were amongst the most painful events for the people of Iran throughout the whole period of the eight-year war. Even after their liberation- Abadan in September 1981 and Khorramshahr in May 1982- these two cities were constantly under fire from the enemy until the very end of the war, and therefore it was impossible to rebuild them.  People who had fled from their ruined homes to other parts of the country could not go back until their cities were reconstructed.

Now, more than 20 years later, most of the damaged areas have been rebuilt and about 70% of the former inhabitants have returned, although signs of the ravages of war still can be seen here and there. But it is not just these physical scars that people want to be mended. They long for regaining their lost identity and the revival of the social and cultural life that existed before the war.

In this multimedia report, we are taken on a guided tour of Abadan and Khorramshahr and hear from a young Abadani journalist talking about his hopes for the reconstruction of the city. 

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