‘EU Deprives Iran of Technology to Reduce Air Pollution’

Undated photo of air pollution in Tehran by Mohammad Babaei

Head of Iran’s Department of Environment says the European Union complies with sanctions against the Islamic Republic even more than US President Donald Trump does.

Issa Kalantari made the comment in a meeting with French Ambassador to Tehran Philippe Thiebaud, criticizing the environmental restrictions imposed on Iran by European countries.

“The EU conforms to the sanctions more [strictly] than Trump does. The reason is that the environment was not on the list of US sanctions, but the EU even took environmental facilities from Iran,” said Kalantari, who is also a vice-president of Iran.

Due to the sanctions that Washington has slapped on Iran’s oil sales, said the vice-president, EU officials did not agree to share with Iran technologies that reduce air pollution during their trip to Tehran last week, which has led to an increase in ozone levels.

In their meeting, Kalantari and Thiebaud also discussed mutual cooperation. They also exchanged views on the general environmental situation in Iran, the Paris Agreement and ways of tackling climate change.

In the meeting, the Iranian official touched upon a climate change conference in Chile which is to be focused on the Paris Agreement.

Iran among First Victims of Climate Change

“Global determination is needed to tackle climate change,” Kalantari said.

“When the US and some CO2-producing countries stand on the sidelines, smaller countries cannot do anything,” he noted.

“Our country has lost 20% of its rainfall over the past 10 years due to climate change. In fact, rainfall has decreased and it has become hotter, which increases the need for water and that is why we are faced with water shortage,” he said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is among the first victims of climate change,” said Kalantari.

He said sanctions can cause “water tension, food tension, spread of dust and air pollution.”

Kalantari added sanctions have stopped Iran’s environmental cooperation with other countries.

“If French auto makers hadn’t stopped their cooperation [with Iran], we would have engines with the Euro-5 standard, and our fuel consumption would drop from 85 million litres per day to 60 million,” he said.

He said if sanctions were no in place, CO2 emissions in Iran would drop by 12 percent.

The top French ambassador, in turn, noted he agreed with what Kalantari said.

He also criticized Washington’s behaviour, saying, “We have deep divisions with the Americans.”

He condemned the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He said France, Germany and the UK are gravely concerned over Iran sanctions, and added European companies cannot do anything special due to these sanctions.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides underlined the need to follow up on efforts to help settle national and global environmental issues.

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