U.S. Sanc­tions on Iran Harm En­vi­ron­ment

Iran News - - WORLD NEWS -

TEHRAN (IFP) - Ira­nian Vice-Pres­i­dent Mas­soumeh Ebtekar says the U.S. sanc­tions on Tehran not only en­dan­ger peo­ple’s lives but also cause se­vere dam­ages to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Ebtekar, the cur­rent VP for Women Af­fairs and a for­mer chief of en­vi­ron­ment, made the re­marks in an ad­dress to the In­ter­na­tional Sem­i­nar on Post-Con­flict Ef­fects on Women, Fam­ily and En­vi­ron­ment held in Tehran Tues­day.

Be­sides phys­i­cal wars, she said, other types of war could also have harsh con­se­quences for women, fam­ily and en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing the eco­nomic war waged by the U.S. against Iran. The vice pres­i­dent said the tight­en­ing of anti-Iran sanc­tions in 2011-2012 led to ag­gra­vated air pol­lu­tion in some Ira­nian cities, due to lack of high-qual­ity fuel in­side the coun­try.

Ebtekar said the lat­est wave of sanc­tions im­posed by the US on Mon­day could have sim­i­lar con­se­quences.

The vice pres­i­dent fur­ther noted the long-term ef­fects of the war on the en­vi­ron­ment and wa­ter re­sources are of­ten over­looked, be­cause the hu­man toll is so sad­den­ing that we for­get about other things.

Ebtekar said the Mid­dle East is cur­rently the scene of var­i­ous con­flicts, par­tic­u­larly Ye­men, which is the most heart-break­ing ex­am­ple of the dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences of war.

The vice pres­i­dent said the Ye­men war and its im­pact on en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, which has led to wide­spread famine and cholera in the county, has made life re­ally dif­fi­cult for mil­lions of women and chil­dren.

She said the sem­i­nar seeks to in­form the peo­ple of the ef­fects of war on women and fam­ily and how degra­da­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment ag­gra­vates this sit­u­a­tion, and the role women can play in pro­mot­ing peace and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

Bar­bara Riz­zoli, the deputy head of the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross’ del­e­ga­tion in Iran, also told the con­fer­ence that the post-con­flict sit­u­a­tion presents a va­ri­ety of sit­u­a­tions that needs to be ad­dressed in dif­fer­ent man­ners.

One of the most dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions is weapon con­tam­i­na­tion, when the land needs to get free of mines and other weapons so peo­ple can safely live on them, she said. Riz­zoli said an­other sit­u­a­tion is the re­turn of the dis­placed, when in­fras­truc­tures and eco­nomic units needs to be cre­ated so the en­vi­ron­ment be­comes con­ducive to those who have ran away.

The ICRC of­fi­cial said the fam­ily re­union is an­other sit­u­a­tion that needs to be dealt with fol­low­ing the end of a war.

Riz­zoli said the fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion, which hap­pens dur­ing con­flicts for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, is a plight that if not man­aged acts like a can­cer that de­vours the fab­ric of the so­ci­ety.

“The plight of the miss­ing does not only con­cern first de­gree fam­ily mem­bers, but also con­cerns a wider cir­cle … the so­ci­ety in gen­eral,” she said.

“Out of my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, I can tell you that to the fam­i­lies of the miss­ing … the con­di­tions of their loved ones is worse than death,” she said.

“So that’s why it’s very im­por­tant to take ini­tia­tives to try to un­der­stand and in­ves­ti­gate and give an­swers to th­ese peo­ple. This is a scar that if not treated will never heal,” Riz­zoli said.

The ICRC of­fi­cial said it is of ut­most im­por­tance to pro­vide peo­ple with ways to com­mu­ni­cate with each other so they can lo­cate their fam­i­lies and re­store fam­ily links.

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