Iran considers moving capital away from Tehran
January 5, 2004 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Iran considers moving capital away from Tehran. Tehran lies on a major seismological fault and experts have long warned that a strong earthquake in the city would be devastating. A professor of geophysics at Tehran university, has warned that if a quake of similar magnitude hit Tehran it would kill more than 700,000 people. Government buildings would be destroyed.
posted by hoder (14 comments total)
I wonder if the holy city of Qom would be a better choice, seismologically at least?
posted by alumshubby at 3:18 PM on January 5, 2004

If I were a citizen of Tehran, I think I'd be asking, "umm, what about me?" Shouldn't they be talking about "We're going to strengthen the city against earthquakes" since even the modern hospitals collapsed in Bam? Seems like the rulers don't care too much about the common folk. My god, 700,000? Sounds like they need a plan to move everybody or solidify the place, not just move the leaders.
posted by superchris at 7:29 PM on January 5, 2004

I'd guesstimate that it would be cheaper to just pick a new place and build everything from scratch, instead of tearing everything down and then building it from scratch.

I might be mistaken in my assumption that the only way to really earthquake-proof i a building is to build it earthquake-proof from the start, tho'.

Expect this to peter out as soon as people get the recent disaster on some distance and carry on with their daily lives.
posted by spazzm at 8:32 PM on January 5, 2004

Superchris: the problem is, you could say the same thing about putting air defense around the Whitehouse. Sure, everyone should be kept safe, but some people need to be kept safer than others. 700,000 dead is bad, but 700,000 dead and no government is much worse.
posted by Ptrin at 10:03 PM on January 5, 2004

spazzm - the best way to build an earthquake proof building is to build it away from an earthquake prone area!

Ptrin - I'm sure that GWB would like to appoint them a them a new government!!!
posted by brettski at 2:13 AM on January 6, 2004

I think death, destruction, depravity and poverty will follow the Mullahs wherever they go--it's built into their karmas.
(In fact, the Republic's slogan should be D, D, D and P)
posted by ParisParamus at 3:41 AM on January 6, 2004

ParisParamus: Wtf are you talking about? They were not in Bam, and nothing has happened to Tehran.


Erm, anyway. The only way to protect the people would to rebuild every building up to code. How often does Iran have earthquakes? Is it as often as Cali or Japan? Obviously Bam had not had an earthquake in hundreds of years...
posted by delmoi at 4:43 AM on January 6, 2004

WTF am I talking about: just an axis of evil, women-oppressing, thought-oppressing, tyranical, economic basket case kind of place. Looks pretty cursed to me.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:52 AM on January 6, 2004

Looks like half the developing world to me.
posted by jpoulos at 6:58 AM on January 6, 2004

And parts of Texas.
posted by jpoulos at 7:01 AM on January 6, 2004

brettski: I don't think anyone wants Iran's government to disappear tomorrow in a killer earthquake. We do not have the troops to occupy given how many are tied up at the moment, and it would take six months to move them into the region anyway. A power vacuum paired with a humanitarian emergency of the highest degree is not so good.
posted by Ptrin at 7:34 AM on January 6, 2004

I don't think anyone wants Iran's government to disappear tomorrow in a killer earthquake.

ParisParamus does, obviously.

While it would probably be a good idea to move the capital away from Tehran, it ain't gonna happen—too much inertia. Washington's a lousy place for a city, too, and a lot of people were saying that even before it was built, but the political compromise had already been worked out and there was no stopping it, so bureaucrats have been cursing the weather, bugs, &c ever since. And if they do move the capital, god forbid they should wreck Isfahan in the process, one of the world's great cities with lots of glorious 17th-century architecture; I shudder to think of it all being replaced with Concrete Moderne.
posted by languagehat at 7:48 AM on January 6, 2004

I'm no seismologist and it has been some time since I took the structural portion of the architect's exam, but a number of factors are going to come into play to how any architecture performs in a quake. Certain ground movements, regardless of where they fall on the Richter scale, will be more devastating than others but be certain of this: unreinforced masonry construction is the worst possible system of construction as measured by its ability to withstand any kind of movement of the earth under its feet.

I've not done the research but Delmoi must be correct: Bam could not have stood long if not for years of fortune from our good earth.

Populations do not necessarily move with their capitals (see Berlin) leaving Tehran with a looming problem nevertheless. The cost to correct such problems are indeed high . If I understand the system of construction employed in Bam, seismic protection of their buildings would have been nearly impossible without a dramatic change in the character of the existing architecture without a complete reconstruction of entire walls: i.e. taking everything down and putting it up again.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:41 AM on January 6, 2004

just an axis of evil, women-oppressing, thought-oppressing, tyranical, economic basket case kind of place.

Yeah, right. Funny, though, isn't it, that under the mullahs, Iranian women now receive a better education and have a better standard of living, than they did under the US-backed Shah?

Peyvandi adds that, ironically, it was after the 1979 revolution and the Islamization of the country's educational institutions that girls from traditional or conservative families began to find ways to go to school. "The modern middle-class families who sent their girls to school even before the revolution continued to do so after [the revolution]. I think the change that took place after the revolution should be considered part of the reason behind the progress we're seeing now," he said. "And that was that the traditional families who had not sent their girls to school before -- because the teachers were men or the school was not Islamic -- these were the girls who took the greatest advantage from the Islamization of schools, or the fact that schools were no longer mixed, as a way of justifying their presence out of the home."

The growing number of female university graduates has already had an impact on Iran's labor market. Women have entered a number of professions both in the public and private sector. Women are also becoming increasingly active in the business world.

All told, they currently make up some 10 percent of the work force. But with women comprising 60 percent of all university students, that number is set to grow dramatically. Dr. Peyvandi says it is a historic change. "In the early years of the revolution, about one-third of the women who were working were laid off by the new regime. Now, instead of those female office workers and secretaries, Iranian women are returning as factory engineers and specialists," he said. "So in fact, Iran's labor market is facing an influx of female specialists who can replace men, and with the very male-oriented structure of Iranian society, this is a big change. In Iran there is now a labor force made up of women specialists that never existed in Iranian history."

Not to mention all those lovely US-backed Gulf states (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia).

More importantly, we should consider move FreedomParamus's administrative centre from his rear end.
posted by riviera at 4:14 PM on January 6, 2004

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