Lower Cretaceous carbonates of the Fahliyan Formation form prolific reservoir rocks at oilfields in the Dezful Embayment, central Zagros fold‐thrust belt, SW Iran. The carbonates have undergone significant diagenetic alteration in phases which can in general be linked to the pre‐, syn‐ and post‐tectonic evolution of the fold‐thrust belt. This paper investigates the impact of diagenetic processes on the reservoir quality of the carbonates using integrated petrographic, geochemical and sedimentological analyses of subsurface and outcrop samples of the formation. Diagenetic alterations include:(i) pre‐tectonic eogenesis in the marine and shallow‐burial realm, which resulted in micritization of allochems and cementation by equant and isopachous calcite rims and framboidal pyrite together with limited dolomitization and dissolution of metastable bioclasts. The isotopic compositions of micrite and early calcite cement depart from postulated values of Lower Cretaceous marine carbonates, signifying early stabilization of precursor metastable carbonate minerals and the possible effects of the incursion of meteoric waters and/or increasing burial temperatures;(ii) mesogenesis during the subsequent syn‐tectonic phase, which included Late Cretaceous ophiolite obduction at the northern margin of the Arabian Plate and the later Zagros orogeny in the Miocene‐Pliocene. Diagenetic modifications included the emplacement of hydrocarbons, the development of stylolites and fractures, and the precipitation of saddle dolomite, replacive rhombic dolomite, discrete pyrite, microcrystalline quartz, kaolin and anhydrite. The average stable isotope compositions of saddle dolomite (δ18O: ‐6.9 ‰ ± .9 and δ13C 0.5 ‰ ± 1.6, respectively) also reflects the influence of high temprature basinal fluids;and (iii) “late” (telogenetic, post‐tectonic) uplift‐related modification starting in the Pliocene, when the incursion of meteoric waters resulted in the formation of vugs, the calcitization of dolomite, and cementation by fracture‐filling blocky calcite. The negative δ18O and δ13C stable isotope values (average: ‐5.5 ‰ ± 1.5; and ‐3.6 ‰ ± 5.9, respectively) of late blocky calcite cement suggest the incursion of meteoric water into the system.This study demonstrates that diagenetic processes in carbonates in the Fahliyan Formation, which exerted a significant control on the distribution of secondary porosity, can be related to the tectonic evolution of the central Zagros fold‐thrust belt. Thus, constraining the diagenetic history of carbonate successions within the context of their wider tectonic evolution is important for the prediction of the spatial and temporal distribution of reservoir quality.

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