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Iran to move its capital from Tehran? 3, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
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The BBC reports that Iran is considering moving its capital city from Tehran to – it has been suggested – near Qom. The official reason for this mooted change is that Tehran sits atop countless earthquake-prone fault lines. Indeed, the devastating quake at Bam in 2003 may well ‘concentrate the minds’ as the reporter puts it.

There are, however, other motives afoot. Tehran is known as being something of a relatively liberal city where demonstrations are relatively easy to organise (i.e. wide boulevards and squares) and there is also something of a pedigree of demonstrations, offering tacit support to the dissenters. Moving the capital uproots the history of dissent and can make it simply harder to do, if, for example, it is away from a major population center. The flip side to this is, of course, that it is away from a major population center and staffing Ministries is problematic and the overall cost of moving a capital can be – predictably – astronomical.