By Ezzatollah Raeisi; Sharareh Ghazy & Michael Laumanns: 315 pp., many surveys and colour maps; Berlin 2012. This is by far the most extensive reference on karst and caves of Iran. Introduction: Geological and tectonic settings, state of speleology in Iran, general explanations. Many cave surveys. Rankings according to length and depth. Geological map.
The main section of the book lists and describes, in the form of a table with over 2,000 lines, all caves, which became known up till now in Iran — obtained to a great part by the translation of Persian sources, which are inaccessible in the Occident. Has even more caves as all existing Iranian cave registries. Detailed list of references. In English language, with abstracts in Farsi and German.
Vol. 45 covers: introduction & cave registry according to names (184 p.).
Vol. 46 covers: cave registry according to provinces, rankings, references, surveys, geological map of Iran (131 p.).
The 3rd edition of the Iran Cave Directory is based on volumes 10 and 37 of this publication series, which were released in the years 2003 and 2009 and described more than 850 cave locations. This edition increases the number of described caves to over 2,000. As a result, the number of caves by far exceeds all previously compiled Iranian cave lists, apparently even those available in Iran itself. Although due to the political circumstances the possibilities for foreigners to conduct karst research in Iran are somewhat limited a number of explorative projects have taken place since 2009. In 2011 the Iranian Cavers and Speleologists Association (ICSA) was founded, which currently has more than 100 members from all over Iran. A significant factor in the progress made regarding the number of caves presented below is due to the amazing cave registry of Shary Ghazy. This invaluable resource along with a significant amount of information provided by Mr. Davoud Mohammadi–far, a survey of Farsi websites, and access to publications of an older date, all of which were made available for this edition. The likelyhood of additional information being available in the future will no doubt lead to updated editions of the Iran Cave Directory.
In the course of my own speleological investigations in Iran it was realised that a significant number of Iranian publications exist that deal with speleology in general and cave locations in detail. What they all have in common is that they are written in Farsi, a language unique in writing style and spoken in Iran and some of the neighboring countries exclusively. It is regarded to be a useful contribution to speleology to make all this information on the state of cave research in Iran known to international circles. The following list should encourage speleologists and karstologists to visit Iran and to raise the level of knowledge on Iranian caves. Iran has special entry regulations. It is not possible for individuals to enter the country without an official invitation and a formally granted visa permission. Hence, it is strongly recommended to officially apply to an official institution (like a university) for a joint project that implies state of the art surveying work, the delivery of a quality report for the Iranian project partners and an adequate respect for the culture of the host country. On this basis caving in Iran will certainly be an impressive experience and of sustainable benefit for all participants.