|• Total||17,435 |
|Time zone||UTC+3:30 (IRST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+4:30 (IRDT)|
Mehran (Persian: مهران, also Romanized as Mehrān; formerly, Mansurabad (Persian: منسورآباد), also Romanized as Mansūrābād) is a city in and the capital of Mehran County, Ilam Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 13,118, in 2,958 families. The county is populated by Feyli Kurds.
Mehran is located near Iran's western border with Iraq. Because of its strategic proximity - only two hours' drive from Baghdad - the city has played a continuing role in dealings between Iran and Iraq.
In May 1986, during the Iran–Iraq War, Iraqi forces captured Mehran, on the western plain of the Zagros Mountains in Ilam Province, and pushed eastward to the mountain base. Mehran occupied an important position on the major north–south road, close to the border on the Iranian side. Saddam Hussein offered to exchange the captured city for the desired territory of Al-Faw. The occupation lasted only one month, however.
In 2003 the Iranian government set up a camp in Mehran to accommodate an anticipated influx of up to 50,000 Iraqi refugees from the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S.. By April of that year, over 100,000 Iraqis had massed near the border, prompting the Governor of Mehran to issue a plea for additional resources.
In March 2005 the Iranian government decreed that Iranian pilgrims could once again enter Iraq through Mehran; and in May 2005 it was reported that the city is to be converted into a special tourist zone from where Iranian pilgrims will travel toward Karbala and holy Shiite sites in Iraq, to be facilitated by the construction of several three and four star hotels and two shopping malls.