Currently, an important scientific challenge that researchers are facing is to gain a better understanding of climate change at the regional scale, which can be especially challenging in an area with low and highly variable precipitation amounts such as Iran. Trend analysis of the medium-term change using ground station observations of meteorological variables can enhance our knowledge of the dominant processes in an area and contribute to the analysis of future climate projections. Generally, studies focus on the long-term variability of temperature and precipitation and to a lesser extent on other important parameters such as moisture indices. In this study the recent 50-year trends (1955-2005) of precipitation (P), potential evapotranspiration (PET), and aridity index (AI) in monthly time scale were studied over 14 synoptic stations in three large Iran basins using the Mann-Kendall non-parametric test. Additionally, an analysis of the monthly, seasonal and annual trend of each parameter was performed. Results showed no significant trends in the monthly time series. However, PET showed significant, mostly decreasing trends, for the seasonal values, which resulted in a significant negative trend in annual PET at five stations. Significant negative trends in seasonal P values were only found at a number of stations in spring and summer and no station showed significant negative trends in annual P. Due to the varied positive and negative trends in annual P and to a lesser extent PET, almost as many stations with negative as positive trends in annual AI were found, indicating that both drying and wetting trends occurred in Iran. Overall, the northern part of the study area showed an increasing trend in annual AI which meant that the region became wetter, while the south showed decreasing trends in AI.