National Geographic : 1961 Jan
restore the region's one-time green glory. The ambitious scheme, modeled after TVA, envisions a system of 14 dams across the province's five rivers. They would irrigate some 4,000 square miles, grow sugar cane where none has grown for 500 years, generate six million kilowatts of hydroelectric power, and prevent several million dollars' worth of flood damage annually. Keystone of the project will be a thin con crete arc soaring 620 feet above the Dez River in the Bakhtiari foothills-the highest dam in the Middle East, seventh highest in the world (next page). Winding north through the mountains of Lorestan, we encountered other dynamite crews and bulldozers engaged in the bridge building and road reconstruction one finds through much of Iran. Nearly a fourth of Plan Organization funds is earmarked for 3,700 miles of new main highways and im proved provincial roads. Dervish Tells an Epic Tale But here, too, it seemed a short step back into legendary Persia. Near Khorramabad we met a green-turbaned dervish, one of an order of religious mendicants. 77 a snow-fed stream from the towering mountains of Bakhtiari irrigates fields of Lur farmers KODACHROMEBY THOMASJ. ABERCROMBIE,NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF© N.G .S .