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Karun(käro͞on`), 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.
a river in Iran, a left tributary of the river Shatt al-Arab. Length, 820 km (according to other data, 850 km); basin area, 60,000 sq km. It rises on the slopes of the Zard Kuh massif (Zagros Mountains). In its upper and middle course it flows through canyons and crosses intermontane basins; in its lower course it flows through the Mesopotamian Lowland. The river is characterized by spring high water caused by meltwaters; there are summer flash floods, and low water is in fall and winter. The average water discharge in the lower course is 770 cu m per sec. Part of the discharge in the upper course is channeled through tunnels to irrigate the Isfahan oasis; in the lower course it is used to irrigate the Mesopotamian Lowland. The Karun is navigable up to the city of Ahvaz, where there are rapids, and above that until the city of Shushtar.