Captured

The toiling coal miners of Iran

Faces blackened by coal, these men seem to have stepped out from a bygone era

Iran's Mazandaran province is only 80 miles from the country's capital, Tehran. But it is a world away from that modern metropolis.

In Mazandaran's mountains, more than 1,200 men spend their days tunneling deep into the ground to extract thousands of tons of coal each month, an important resource for the country's steel industry.

The miners work with dated equipment and in dangerous conditions. Western sanctions have limited Iran's ability to import cutting-edge machinery, while the industry's privatization 10 years ago left the men working longer hours for just $300 per month, The Associated Press reports.

Below, a look at these contemporary miners stuck in an old-school trade.

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