Sanc­tions threaten Iran cli­mate ef­forts: Veep

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Iran’s vice pres­i­dent and en­vi­ron­ment chief, Mas­soumeh Ebtekar, has told AFP that the West’s fail­ure to fully im­ple­ment the nu­clear deal and lift sanc­tions are en­dan­ger­ing her coun­try’s ef­forts to meet cli­mate tar­gets. In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view, Ebtekar said Iran had al­ready seen tem­per­a­tures rise by 1.5 de­grees over the past 20 years, and ur­gently needed to work with in­ter­na­tional part­ners. “We’re fac­ing the con­se­quences of cli­mate change al­ready in Iran. It’s not a mat­ter of the fu­ture, it’s a mat­ter of to­day,” said Ebtekar, who heads the depart­ment of en­vi­ron­ment and has won mul­ti­ple global awards for her work.

“We have a se­vere short­age in un­der­ground water reser­voirs as well as dry­ing up of our rivers and wet­lands. In part this is due to un­sus­tain­able prac­tices we had in Iran, but it’s also due to the af­ter­math of cli­mate change.” With Iran still largely frozen out of the global bank­ing sys­tem be­cause of con­tin­u­ing US sanc­tions, she said com­mit­ments for a 12 per­cent cut in green­house gas emis­sions by 2030 were at risk.

Two-thirds of the planned cuts were “con­di­tional on a full lift­ing of sanc­tions be­cause... it re­quires in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion - the ex­change not only of ex­pe­ri­ences but also new tech­nolo­gies is very, very im­por­tant,” she said. Although most in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions were lifted un­der last year’s nu­clear deal, the United States main­tained sanc­tions linked to hu­man rights and Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram mak­ing global banks fear they could be fined by Wash­ing­ton for do­ing busi­ness with the Is­lamic re­pub­lic.

‘Rea­sons to be Skep­ti­cal’

The con­tin­ued block­ages have made re­new­ing trade with the out­side world much tougher than an­tic­i­pated, and con­ser­va­tives in Iran have leapt on the is­sue to make life dif­fi­cult for mod­er­ate Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani, say­ing his team was duped by Western ne­go­tia­tors. “They have rea­sons to be scep­ti­cal,” said Ebtekar, who is one of sev­eral Ira­nian vice pres­i­dents. “There are many in­stances where (the Amer­i­cans) have not been ful­fill­ing their com­mit­ments.”

Ebtekar, 55, gained in­ter­na­tional fame as spokesper­son for the stu­dent hostage­tak­ers dur­ing the 1979-80 siege of the Amer­i­can em­bassy in Tehran, but has since be­come a key fig­ure in the re­formist move­ment, push­ing for more open and demo­cratic pol­i­tics and closer ties with the West. She in­sisted the over­all out­look was pos­i­tive - ex­ports are up and the nu­clear ac­cord has shown Iran is “ready for in­vest­ment, for trade, for work­ing with the global com­mu­nity”. She pointed to the wealth of op­por­tu­ni­ties in her own field, say­ing in­ter­na­tional firms were lin­ing up to in­vest in so­lar en­ergy, water con­ser­va­tion and waste man­age­ment, if only full bank­ing re­la­tions could be restored. —AFP

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