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HomeIran News NowIran Culture & SocietyGreedy Officials Sanction Park Deforestation for Urban Sprawl in Iran

Greedy Officials Sanction Park Deforestation for Urban Sprawl in Iran

Chopped trees in Tehran’s Chitgar Park

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Tehran’s green spaces are under threat as recent reports from Dideban Iran, a state-run website, reveal extensive tree-cutting operations by the city’s municipality. The Director-General of Tehran’s Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the removal of trees in Chitgar Forest Park to facilitate the construction of a cultural complex. Despite these claims, Alireza Zakani, the Mayor of Tehran has expressed ignorance about these activities when questioned.

Over the past few years, approximately 16,000 trees in Tehran’s forest parks have died due to pest infestations and drought, attributed to inadequate municipal management. Recently, at least 2,700 more trees in Chitgar Park have perished and have been marked for cutting and replacement.

Dideban Iran also highlights the aggressive push by Tehran’s municipal management to grant construction permits for private hotel projects within forest parks. Navid Khasehhbaf, CEO of the Tehran Municipality Investment and People’s Participation Organization recently announced plans to attract investors for four five-star hotels in these parks. This has sparked opposition from many people in the capital who maintain that forest parks are natural resource areas and should not host heavy constructions.

The Director-General of Tehran’s Department of Natural Resources assured that efforts would be made to prevent hotel construction in these parks. However, public discontent continues to grow. Tehran residents have also been vocal against what they call a “massacre of trees,” with numerous reports of tree cutting and neglect surfacing. Significant tree deaths in Sorkhe Hesar Forest Park have been linked to poor maintenance and watering by city contractors.

Additional concerns about the potential damage to trees during the construction of new facilities in other parks like Qeytarieh and Kharazmi have been raised, further fueling public protests.

Recent data indicates a dire situation: around 16,000 trees have been lost due to poor municipal management, and nearly 150 trees were illegally felled in Chitgar Park for a cultural complex. Experts suggest that approximately 10,000 trees were cut between 2014 and 2018 in Chitgar’s “Secret of Existence” garden alone.

Reza Bayani, Director-General of the Tehran Department of Natural Resources, reports about 2 million trees in the Chitgar and Sorkhe Hesar Forest Parks combined. However, mismanagement has led to thousands of trees being marked for removal in Chitgar alone. Bayani also noted a municipal contractor’s recent illegal cutting of around 70 trees in Khargoush Darreh Forest Park.

Critics argue that financial gain is the primary motivation behind the deforestation. Under Mayor Zakani’s administration, there is a strong perception that the municipality prioritizes profit over environmental stewardship, aiming to boost revenue by developing hotels and heavy structures. This has resulted in the widespread destruction of trees, with many Tehran residents accusing the mayor’s office of greed and mismanagement.

This deforestation trend reflects a broader pattern of environmental neglect under Iran’s regime, intensifying public frustration and disillusionment. As urban development continues encroaching upon Tehran’s green spaces, these policies’ environmental and social implications are becoming increasingly severe.