Iconic Iran river threatened by droughts, diversions

The famed river bridges of the Iranian city of Isfahan are a beloved tourist draw — but much of the time their stone arches span just sand and rocks, not water.

Drought and upstream water diversions have seen the Zayandeh Rood, “fertile river” in Persian, run dry since 2000, with only rare exceptions.

Sitting on a quay with two friends, 60-year-old Jalal Mirahmadi gazed with melancholy at the riverbed, which became the site of a farmers’ protest late last year.