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Modern-day Iran in the inheritor of an ancient history and cultural legacy; its predecessor Persian Empires had their capitals in equally old and established cities ranging from Ctesiphon to Isfahan to Persepolis, Shiraz and Susa. Tehran was not one of them.

its rapid expansion has brought with it a dramatic increase in air pollution—especially as Iran’s long-stymied hydrocarbon sector continues to lag behind in producing enough gasoline to meet domestic demand. Use of kerosene and benzene as stop gap measures have kept cars running, but at the cost of fast-rising air pollution.

For more on Iran’s changing geopolitical position, see Chapter 9 in The Accidental Superpower, and Chapter 6 in The Absent Superpower.

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