The global climate crisis transcends borders, impacting nations indiscriminately. However, the climate crisis in Iran takes on a distinct complexion, as it is exacerbated by the oppressive policies of the ruling dictatorship. While international conferences have repeatedly convened to address this dire situation, Iran’s government has not only failed to act but has intensified anti-environmental practices, contributing to the crisis at an alarming rate.
World leaders have discussed the climate crisis at length, including at the Glasgow conference two years ago. Commitments were made to curb greenhouse gas emissions and implement measures to mitigate the crisis. Unfortunately, Iran not only failed to follow suit but amplified its harmful policies, earning its place among the top-ten greenhouse gas producers globally.
Surprisingly, even arid countries like those in the Persian Gulf have found solutions to water scarcity through innovative desalination projects, green cities with artificial ecosystems, and model farms in barren deserts. In stark contrast, Iran’s leadership has perpetuated environmental degradation:
1. Outdated Oil Industry: Iran’s oil industry is in disarray, churning out crude oil, fuel oil, and subpar gasoline that even the Taliban rejects. The reliance on black oil in urban thermal power plants is incongruent with international norms.
2. Deforestation and Wetland Drainage: The regime’s eagerness for oil has led to nationwide deforestation and wetland drainage. Once lush wetlands have been transformed into oil extraction zones, sacrificing vital ecosystems.
3. Rivers and Water Monopoly: Government agents monopolize river ownership via ownership documents, a tactic that restricts public access and exacerbates water scarcity.
4. Deep Well Digging: The regime’s monopoly on underground water resources has spawned a frenzy of deep well digging, depleting vital water reserves.
5. Dams and IRGC Control: Ownership of crucial dams is concentrated within the IRGC and the Ministry of Energy, impeding equitable resource management.
6. Climate Crisis Intensification: The regime’s relentless pursuit of its own interests has contributed to intensifying the climate crisis within Iran, a disturbing reversal of international efforts to combat climate change.
This bleak scenario underscores the unique nature of Iran’s climate crisis, requiring a political solution more than specialized measures. Unlike other regions, where climate solutions are technologically driven, Iran necessitates a fundamental shift in governance to address the crisis. The situation is so dire that even Isa Kalantari, an environmentalist and former minister, has expressed concern over the systematic degradation of Iran’s water resources.
Kalantari remarked that over the years, from the era of Mirhossein Mousavi to Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and continuing through the period of Mohammad Khatami until today, the regime has persistently manipulated the nation’s vital water resources.
The discord between global efforts to address climate change and Iran’s counterproductive policies is glaring. While the world rallies for sustainable practices, the Iranian regime is accelerating environmental degradation for its short-term gains. This crude contrast underscores the urgency of the climate crisis in Iran, which requires more than just scientific and technological solutions—it demands a political upheaval.
As the climate crisis rages on, the international community must not overlook the plight of Iranians. Beyond technological advancements, Iran needs a seismic shift in governance—a departure from the oppressive policies that have fueled its role as a climate crisis contributor rather than a mitigator. The world’s focus on Iran’s climate crisis is not just an ecological concern but a call for political transformation, the linchpin for a more sustainable future.