The dam has been planned for 10 years as part of a project to provide irrigation water for farmers in the parched south of the country.

Iranian archaeologists have located 129 sites of interest in the Tang-e-Bolaghi gorge, ranging from prehistoric finds to remains of the Qajar monarchy which fell in 1925. They are expected be flooded when the dam’s reservoir starts filling.

The dam’s comissioning was planned for March 2005 but the Iranian energy ministry has delayed it to early 2006 to give the archaeologists more time to examine the sites.