Tehran set to lose status as Iran capital

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It has witnessed some of Iran's most tumultuous events: the fall of the shah, the return of Ayatollah Khomeini and the transformation from pro-western monarchy to revolutionary Islamic republic.

Now Tehran's days as the Iranian capital appear numbered after a powerful state body approved a plan for a new principal city. The idea was proposed by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and rubber-stamped by the expediency council.

Seismologists have warned that Tehran is liable to be struck by a catastrophic earthquake in the foreseeable future. It is not clear whether a new capital will be built from scratch or sited in an existing city.

Iran has had numerous capitals during its history, including Isfahan, Qazvin, Shiraz, Mashhad and Hamedan. Since the Qajar king Agha Mohammad Khan declared it capital in 1795, Tehran has become the country's political, social, economic and cultural centre.

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