Iran’s Air Pollution Crisis, Caused by the Mullahs’ Destructive Policies
The city lights are dim, making it difficult to see more than a few meters ahead, and sounds of coughing reverberate down the street. Due to dangerous levels of air pollution, many schools and workshops have recently been closed. Climate change has impacted every country on the planet, including Iran. Iran’s dangerous air pollution and haze problem appear to be part of a global crisis at first glance, but a closer examination reveals the mullahs’ fingerprints. Iran’s state-run media reported on May 17 that the country’s air quality control agency had declared Tehran to be “the world’s most polluted city today.”
“Today in Tehran, the air pollution index was 441, and the air quality was hazardous. The index has now dropped to 226, which is still very dangerous, according to the state-run Fararou website.
Since 2021, Iran’s tightly controlled media has stopped reporting on the annual deaths caused by air pollution in the country. This cover-up implies that the death toll is much higher.
In June 2021, the official IRNA News Agency quoted Abbas Shahouni, then a health ministry official, as saying, “Every year, prolonged exposure to PM2.5 particulate matter causes 41,700 premature deaths in the country.” In other words, 114 Iranians lose their lives every day. The widespread use of fuel oil in large industries, particularly thermal power plants, mass production of low-quality cars with high fuel consumption, the rapid growth of slums in cities due to poverty, low-quality constructions, as well as the construction of unscientific dams and drying wetlands, all contribute to Iran’s highly polluted air.
Fuel Oil Use (Mazut)
Many countries have banned mazut, a heavy, low-quality fuel oil that pollutes the air. Mazut is blended or broken down in western countries, unlike in Iran.
“Our power plants and industries have been burning this fuel for years,” the state-run Arman-e Meli admitted in January 2021. We used to burn five million liters of mazut inside Iran and export 15 million liters to the United Arab Emirates and other countries. Despite this, the fuel is not exported, and the tanks are brimming with fuel oil.”
Officials from the regime have boldly claimed that Iran does not have enough natural gas to replace mazut. The country’s discovered gas reserves, on the other hand, total around 33.2 trillion cubic meters, or 17.2% of the world’s total gas reserves.
Production of Low-Quality Cars
The IRGC has monopolized Iran’s automotive industry, as it has other aspects of the Iranian economy. IRGC-dominated automotive industries use low-quality parts and produce cars that consume a lot of fuel to increase their production rate. “Light and heavy vehicles, as well as motorcycles, contribute significantly to air pollution. According to the Tehran City Council, they account for around 64% of annual air pollution,” the state-run Khorasan daily admitted in September 2021.
Role of Poverty
Another facet of poverty in Iran is the growing number of shanty towns and people living on the outskirts of the metropolis. The rising volume of garbage, sewage, and unscientific use of electricity and cheap fuel oil add to the country’s environmental crises, primarily air pollution, because the regime refuses to allocate a budget for sanitation in those areas.
State media have recently published hazy photos from southern Iran and Tehran. At the same time, regime officials blame this on climate change and other factors, such as dam construction in Turkey.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), on the other hand, have been building dams on the Karun River, which have caused many important wetlands and lakes to dry up, including Lake Urmia in northeast Iran, the Hawr-Al-Azim wetland in southwest Iran, the Miankaleh peninsula, Lake Hamoon, and the Bakhtegan Wetland, among others.
Wetlands and lakes have become sources of haze and dust as a result of the regime’s destruction of surface water resources. Due to water abstraction, many of Iran’s pastures and plains are dying and becoming haze sources.
The silent killer of Iranians is air pollution. Because of the regime’s disastrous policies, urban air pollution is rapidly increasing. While many countries are attempting to implement environmentally friendly policies and taking significant steps in this direction, Iran’s regime continues to implement disastrous policies that are destroying the country’s rich ecosystem.