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N36°10' E54°20'

Damghan, some 375 miles to the southwest of Mashad, is among other things famous for its pistachios. It is also remowned for the minaret of the Great Mosque, and the Masjid-e-Tarikhane, the oldest Islamic structure in Iran which is an important transition between Sassanid and Islamic architecture. Damghan, which is located in the Parthian district of Traxiana -- later known as Khorasan -- has been occupied since prehistoric times and was the original capital of the ancient province of Qumis. Pottery found in excavations near Damghan indicate that Iranians glazed pottery around 5000 years ago, 1000 years ahead of the Indian civilization and more than 2000 years ahead of the Chinese civilization.

Damghan is said to be Iran's primary chemical weapons production facility, along with the facilities located at Esfahan, Parchin and Qazvin. However, other sources conclude that claims that Iran had chemical weapons plants at Damghan and Parchin that began operation as early as March 1988 are of uncertain reliability. Iran continues to upgrade and expand its chemical warfare production infrastructure and munitions arsenal, which includes blister, blood, choking agents, and nerve agents. Iran is estimated to have an inventory of several thousand tons of various agents, including sulfur mustard, phosgene, and cyanide agents, with a total production capacity is estimated at as much as 1000 tons a year. Iran continues to upgrade and expand its chemical warfare production infrastructure and munitions arsenal.

Damghan is the reported site of a biological weapons laboratory reportedly constructed with Russian assistance.

As of 11 April 2000 Russian 2-meter resolution KVR-1000 imagery coverage was not available via the SPIN-2 service on TerraServer, nor was archived Space Imaging IKONOS 1-meter image of this facility available on the CARTERRA™ Archive.

Sources and Resources

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Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Wednesday, April 12, 2000 4:33:36 PM