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Iran’s coronavirus outbreak worsened by environmental crisis

Air pollution in Tehran
Air pollution in Tehran

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, January 6, 2021—Air pollution in Tehran and other Iranian cities is increasing the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths across the country, state media and officials are admitting. On Sunday, Tehran’s air quality index was in the red zone, and Abodlreza Rahmani Fazli, the regime’s interior minister, acknowledged that due to air pollution, Tehran was in a state of quasi-shutdown.

Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Tehran City Council, said, “The use of sulfur-rich combustive in industries and powerplants, and the activities of some sectors have had a severe negative impact on air pollution in Tehran and the density of sulfur in the air has doubled.” Rafsanjani, whose remarks were reported by the state-run Young Journalists Club, warned, “The reduction in the number of coronavirus deaths should not be compensated with deaths from pollution.”

The main reason for pollution in Tehran is the use of mazut fuel in powerplants. According to the Entekhab website, Issa Kalantari, the head of the regime’s environmental organization, admitted, “The deputy prosecutor of the country has ordered provincial governorates to avoid preventing the burning of furnace petroleum in powerplants and industrial complexes. This means that the person who is supposed to enforce the law of clean air has reached the decision that we must burn mazut fuel.”

The state-run Setareh Sobh newspaper ran a piece titled, “Large cities drowned in fumes,” on Sunday, in which it warned, “In the current conditions where we’re also faced with the coronavirus crisis, air pollution might increase the spread of the disease by 10-15 percent. The question is, why isn’t the law of clean air implemented to prevent more than 40,000 yearly deaths that happen in Iran due to air pollution?”

In a piece titled, “Concealing the role of mazut in air pollution,” Mardom Salari daily wrote, “Recently, the air in Tehran has been very polluted, and the main reason is the use of mazut fuel in powerplants. After officials evaded telling the truth and even denied reports, with the air pollution index soaring above 157 and the situation becoming worse, the environmental organization finally confirmed these reports. Air pollution is one of the important factors of deaths in the country, and a look at the figures shows that some years, pollution causes more deaths than road accidents. According to announcements by the health ministry, in the past years, in Tehran, more than 3,000 people aged above 30 have lost their lives due to pollution.”

The head of the research center on air pollution in Tehran Medical Sciences University told the official IRNA news agency on Sunday that studies show that every year, about 40,000 people lose their lives due to pollution.

Arman Daily ran a piece titled, “15 million liters of mazut is suffocating the people” and warned, “As the weather becomes colder, the skies of Tehran and other cities become grayer, and this happens while schools and other sectors are not active. On Saturday, the pollution index of parts of Tehran province, Bagher Abad and Shahr-e Rey exceeded 200, and in some parts of Tehran city, pollution was at 186.”

Etemad daily wrote, “With the air becoming increasingly polluted, the hashtag ‘dont_burn_mazut’ started trending in the Farsi Twitter sphere and users protested this matter.”

“Don’t burn mazut so we can breathe,” one user tweeted. “Death from air pollution is more than coronavirus deaths,” another wrote.

In this regard, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said, “Because of pollution, the people of Tehran and major Iranian capitals cry out ‘we cannot breathe!’ The mullahs waste the country’s wealth in anti-patriotic nuclear and missile projects and on export of terrorism. By using Mazut, they bring death to the people of Iran.”