Karun käro͞on´ [key], river, c.450 mi (720 km) long, rising in the Zagros Mts., W Iran, and flowing S to the Shatt al Arab on the Iraqi border. The Karun is navigable to Ahvaz for shallow draft vessels rapids prevent further upstream passage except during high water in April and May. The river was opened to foreign trade in 1888 but since the construction of a rail line during World War II between the river port of Khorramshahr, Ahvaz, and the main Iranian system, this route has lost importance. At Shushtar there is a dam designed to irrigate an area of 500 sq mi (1,295 sq km) it is surmounted by a magnificent bridge (no longer in use), probably built in the 3d cent. for Shapur I of Persia by captured Roman soldiers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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