Explaining the Geopolitical Evolution of Ports - Hinterland Connections in Iran; A Historical Comparative Approach

Document Type : Original Article


1 Ph.D Student of Urban & Regional Planning, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


This article explores the relation of Iranian ports with their surrounding regions from the geopolitical-spatial perspective since 6th century BC. Content analysis of historical data obtained from written, pictorial and secondary sources is the method used to achieve this aim. The results denote that the geopolitical-spatial evolution of Iranian ports and the surrounding regions can be classified into three general eras: in the first era (from 6th to 15th century), with the domination of the most powerful Iranian states on both sides of the Persian Gulf, the geopolitical-spatial of Iran often had foreland-oriented structure with mutual interaction of ports and hinterlands especially up to regional scale. In the second era (from 16th to 19th century) which coincided with the arrival of powerful foreign forces in the Persian Gulf, the rulers implemented a geopolitical policy: the protection of mainland with the aim of territorial integrity maintenance. So, in this era hinterland-oriented spatial structure was formed based on the interaction in local, regional and national levels. Also, the geospatial scheme of the country was founded on the basis of endogenous activities and integration political power. In the third era and with the exploration of oil (beginning of the 20th century till now), production, trade and distribution system of the country has undergone radical changes and along with formation of powerful world capitalist system, it has become subject to political and economic changes of this system. Directing capital flow to the capital and obtaining such development policies as growth pole, spatial structure of the country has tended towards corridor- polarized pattern. This pattern has led to the pole-oriented hinterland spatial structure based on single-product (oil) export. In other words, in this era, the political, spatial and economical geography relied on the political and economic decisions that were concentrated in the capital. Accordingly, spatial planning in the local-regional hinterland about habitats, activities and distribution of services depended on the capital decisions in the national hinterland.


Volume 12, Issue 44
January 2018
Pages 183-218
  • Receive Date: 04 September 2016
  • Revise Date: 05 October 2016
  • Accept Date: 09 November 2016
  • First Publish Date: 21 November 2016