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By Mahmoud Hakamian

Geographically speaking, Tehran is located in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides. In the meantime, officials and bands within the regime have through building high-rises prevented the city from breathing; first by eradicating Tehran’s northern gardens to make room for new buildings, and then by erecting tower blocks in gardens’ places, thereby preventing airflow in the city.

Excessively building tower blocks is one of the main problems in Tehran and Iran’s other big cities so that in addition to Tehran’s other issues, this one has now turned into a pollution stabilizing factor in the city.

As it was seen in regime’s so-called presidential debates, the issue was used by candidates as some sort of leverage used against rivals.

“He’s only a construction mayor”, said Rouhani’s first vice president ‘Jahangiri’, addressing Tehran mayor ‘Ghalibaf’ during regime’s so-called presidential debates, adding “He’s only issuing permits. Go see what damage the tower blocks erected in Tehran’s 22nd district have done to the city.” (Sham presidential debate, aired on state TV, April 28, 2017.)

“To whom did you give permission to build such tall tower blocks?” Rouhani addressing Ghalibaf during the same sham debate, adding “you authorized the same guy who plundered people’s property and defalcated 3.8 billion dollars of people’s money to build a 33-story tower, didn’t you? On what basis are you giving building permissions for 20-story buildings to be built in 10-12 meters wide alleys?”

Also regime’s head of Environment Department ‘Masoumeh Ebtekar’ points to this same issue in an interview with state-run ILNA news agency, saying “there are real estate developers in Tehran who have no problem getting any building permit as they can offer lots of money, while this much construction is beyond Tehran’s capacity. For instance, huge shopping malls have been built in Moghaddas-Ardebili Street and southern Niavaran Park; non-standard constructions that have turned the area into a battle field.”

“As long as selling density and building permit are municipalities’ main sources of revenue, the crisis will continue”, said Ebtekar amid a continued battle between regime’s rival bands, adding “the policy of selling city will only lead to excessive construction, destruction of gardens, ecological imbalance, and population overflow.” (State-run ILNA news agency, June 3, 2017)

Meanwhile, a look at the number of Tehran’s tower blocks and the way they’ve been permitted to be built, reveals the depth of regime’s plundering and rentiering. There are 987 tower blocks in Tehran at the moment. The number, however, was just 37 by 1981, with 733 new ones being added to Tehran’s tower blocks by 2005 and yet another 208 added between 2005 and 2016. The interesting point is, however, that only 208 out of Tehran’s 937 tower blocks have been authorized by regime’s Article-5 Committee, while the others lack even municipality’s construction completion certificate.

According to regime’s construction regulations, building taller than 12-story buildings needs to be authorized by Article-5, a Committee, whose members are Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Construction, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Jihad, Deputy Minister of Power, Deputy Interior Minister, Deputy Head of Cultural Heritage Organization, Deputy Head of Environment Department, City Council Chair, and Tehran Mayor.

The important question is, however, how it’s possible that anyone can build tower blocks in Tehran without being authorized by regime’s Article-5 committee, whose members are all high-ranking regime officials? This very same head of regime’s Environment Department who’s now too concerned about Tehran’s tower blocks, has through all these years had someone at deputy level in Article-5 Committee, but now they’re exposing each other in a clash of rival bands.

Also in this regard, regime’s Deputy House Speaker ‘Ali Motahari’ says “the institution called ‘taskforce to implement Khomeini’s orders’ which is none governmental but under the direct order of Regime’s leader, Ali Khamenei, has turned into an economic cartel, a tower block builder who is busy erecting high-rises here and there.”

It’s quite clear that it’s not traffic, people’s troubles, or environmental issues that matters for regime officials, but it’s all about keep going with their plundering and predatory policies in which all regime officials are involved.. That’s the only thing in every issue that matters to regime officials.