There have been so many events going on during the past days. We had the Clean Air Day celebrations on Sunday. This was an event that the Department of Environment initiated during my tenure. During those years we embarked on a serious strategy to improve air quality in Tehran as well as 7 major cities, amounting to better air for more than 20 million citizens. A comprehensive plan was implemented in 7 phases and more than 40 projects. We had achieved many targets by 2006 including out phasing lead from gasoline in the country, implementing emission standards for the automotive industry and promoting CNG fueled public transportation. Those projects resulted in better air quality until 2007 , however since the new government was installed many projects have failed or have faced serious delays. Now the quality of air in this city of 8.5 million is deteriorating quickly.
The Environment Committee of the City Council visited some of the projects of the Metro ( the underground urban train system) . The Metro has transported more than 2 billion commuters since its inception in 1996 and it is rapidly expanding the current 3 lines to 8 lines. Several regions in the city are under construction for the Metro . The people are generally very satisfied and hope to see new lines opened for transportation in different parts of the city. We visited some lines in the south of the city and also some maintenance facilities.
My general impression is that the current government is no longer interested in promoting environmental standards and improving air and water quality. They seem to follow only short term objectives and usually invest where they can generate some propaganda for the upcoming presidential elections. Their incompetence in many areas is now taking its toll.
No one still knows whether President Khatami will stand for these elections or not. Many people hope that he will step forward to change the existing circumstances. Others pray that God gives him the wisdom to make a correct decision.
Changes in the American administration are inevitable and the world is watching closely. The inaugural ceremony is underway. We have a religious narration saying that : Actions are judged by the intentions behind them. I hope Obama has good intentions not only for the American people but for all of humanity as well.