On March 5, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei urged government agencies to coordinate their response to Iran’s pressing environmental challenges. “If you do not act decisively, some people will continue to take advantage of the situation [and continue polluting],” he said in an address marking Tree-Planting Day. Iran has three of the world’s five most polluted cities in terms of air pollution. And more than two-thirds of the country’s land—up to 118 million hectares—is rapidly turning into desert, Iran’s Forest, Range and Watershed Management Organization reported in mid-2013. The following is a translation of Khamenei’s speech. Click here for more information on threats to Iran’s environment.
March 6, 2014
First, I deem it necessary to express my gratitude to all those people who are active in the area of improving the environment. Second, I ask all officials and all the people to attach great significance to the issue of green areas. I ask all of them to prevent the country, the people and their lives from being deprived of this divine assistance and this very great divine blessing - which is plants, trees and the like.
The issue of the environment is very important. The issue of the haze and dust particles, which come to the country from the outside, is really a very important issue. A few days ago, the Minister of Agriculture delivered a report to me about this issue and the damage that it causes. It is necessary for all the officials of the country and all different executive organizations to cooperate with one another in a fundamental way in order to prevent this damage. This [dust] will cause great damage to the country. Recently, a report has been delivered to me about these haze particles. This report is warning and it is necessary to pay attention to it.
I ask the people to respect trees and attach great significance to the environment. The slogan, "Each Iranian Should Plant a Tree" which is common among the people is a good slogan. The people should do their best to plant more trees on such days. Both the people and officials in particular should prevent the hands, which try to destroy the environment. They should not allow our forests, grasslands and the environment in cities and suburban areas to be destroyed.
If you do not act in a powerful and decisive way, the Alborz mountain range will turn into iron and cement all the way up to the peaks. That is to say, if you do not act decisively, some people will continue to take advantage of the situation. Of course, you mentioned that you are working on this. This is very good, but this should be visibly seen in practice so that people know fundamental measures are being adopted. I hope that, by Allah's favor, you will be successful.