Head of Department of Environment, Issa Kalantari
[Head of Department of Environment, Issa Kalantari, talks about Gotvand Dam, considered to be an environmental disaster by all. The Dam is seen as a threat against the livelihood of thousands of farmers and the local environment.]
Issa Kalantari: one can say it is one of the worst engineering jobs in the country. It is a stain on the honor of the country’s water engineering. In my opinion, Gotvand was both an environmental disaster and an engineering disaster – a disgrace to the honor of the country’s engineering system. Studies conducted by Tehran University show that if outside of Gotavand, we want to circumvent the water around Karoun River and get back to Karoun again, it will cost more than 10 thousand billion tomans and will take 12 years to create two tunnels for 65 kilometers with 9.5-meter diameter. Gotvand wasn’t a mistake; it was a disaster. [As for Hoor al-Azim] it seems that it has been deliberate fire-setting, as the fire is along Iran’s border. A simple permit for Iranian helicopters to enter Iraq for extinguishing the fire took 12 days the first time and seven days the second time. Even when I talked to Iraq’s Environment Minister, he didn’t know very much about fire in Hoor. Unfortunately, the lands in Hoor al Azim have dried and haven’t been demined since war. So we cannot send our machineries to create a buffer against the fire. It is burning, and it is the people of Khuzestan are suffering due to polluted air.