Significant progress in the classification, definition and understanding of the main Au deposit types could significantly aid improvements in Au exploration. Because of the wide occurrence of Au in the central part of the Tethyan Eurasian Metallogenic Belt, Iranian structures composed of more than 17 zones (arcs and blocks) are considered as having one of the largest Au reserves in the Middle East. Without attempts at understanding the tectono-magmatic evolution of Iran and the geodynamic settings of Au deposition, the establishment of a reliable predictive exploration model for Au-type deposits in Iran and other parts of the world will be unsuccessful. By considering a total of 33 Au deposits and prospects in Iran, a mineralization sequence is revealed from orogenic and volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS), orogenic, Carlin-type, epithermal/porphyry Cu–Au/skarn, epithermal/iron oxide–copper–gold (IOCG). The trend of deposition gradually changes in the SW–NE axis to intrusion-related, epithermal and porphyry Cu–Au deposits at the Urumieh–Dokhtar Magmatic Arc (UDMA) and post-arc magmatism. VMS deposits occur adjacent to the NE Zagros Fold and Thrust Belt, at the Sanandaj–Sirjan Zone. The Zagros Orogeny and associated post-collisional magmatism at UDMA host many porphyry, epithermal and intrusion-related Au deposits, with a major magmatism peak in the Miocene. This work reveals that orogenic and Carlin-type Au mineralization are linked genetically. After each associated subduction for Palaeotethys (286–215 Ma) and Neotethys (210–68 Ma) in Iran, VMS and orogenic Au-deposits are formed in the border of the subduction (±obduction) zone. The porphyry, intrusion-related, epithermal and IOCG mineralization are emplaced in appropriate formations and structures during collision and post-collision processes.

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