Saturday, December 5, 2015

Iran Takes Part in Climate Summit

The earth's vital signs are distressed due to the excesses and agression humans have displayed. Global warming is one of the most important manifestations of this distress. After the Convention for Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, now global talks for the pre and post 2020 agenda have culminated in the COP21 negotiations. While few actions for implementing the Kyoto Protocol have been taken by some developed countries others refrained and global warming continued. In this round recognising the urgency of the matter, the international community decided to invite all countries to voluntarily submit their contributions to the mitigation and adaptation processes ie, the INDCs.
While 140 leaders took part in the Paris summit, amounting to the largest one day gathering of world leaders, 180 countries submitted their INDCs creating an unprecedented opportunity for global action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow the warming processes before it nears the 2 degrees Celsius danger point. The important issue is the inequalities manifested in both the consequenses and the responsibilities which the rich countries do not wish to undertake.  
I took part on behalf of President Rouhani in the Summit in Paris . Leaders were all welcomed by President Hollande and  UNSG Ban Ki Moon as well as Ministers Fabius and Royale. I thanked the President for the hospitality of his government and conveyed the regards of President Rouhani. I also expressed my condolences for the victims of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris. Mr. Ban Ki Moon also welcomed me and I thanked him and hoped for success in the negotiations. 
In the couple hours we had before the opening we met several heads of States and Prime Ministers, including the presidents of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lithuania, Armenia, Bolivia, Vietnam, Switzerland , King of Sweden, Prince of Monaco and Prime Ministers of Palestine, Pakistan, Japan, Norway, Algeria, Greece,Ireland, Vietnam and Chancellor Merkel. We spoke about bilateral relations and environmental cooperation. After the inaugural plenary session we also had some other bilateral meetings and interviews and ultimately I made my speech and we left for Tehran that night.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Supreme Leader Submits General Policies for the Environment

General Policies are high level strategies formulated by experts in the Expediency Council, adopted in that council and endorsed by the Supreme Leader. We were working with the Council for the past year to define the outlines and content of the major policies we need for the environment in Iran. These general policies will enable us to strengthen cross sectoral cooperation and to engage the judiciary, legislative and even armed forces to engage in implementation of environmental policies. The stategic mandate given in this directive also addresses social participation and the civil society which could be instumental for a social campaign to change current mentality and lifestyles particulaly in consumption patterns of water and energy. In addition  the emphasis on greening of the economy and supporting green technologies will give us strong incentives for investment and growth. The need to mitigate greenhouse gases and confront the detrimental effects of climate change is clearly mentioned as well.  The clear focus on environmental diplomacy is also important given the regional role with our neighbours and with the wider international community that we need to persue. The General Policies have given us a strong support in promoting the environmental agenda led by President Rouhani in the current government. These policies have also given a strong signal of committment and cooperation at the international level at the onset of COP21 negotiations on the new climate agreement. 
Iran will have an important role, as an influential and committed regional and global player, for promoting peace and environmental protection for our home, planet earth. 


Expand green economy, administer justice and raise awareness of the environment

In a letter to the heads of the three branches of government, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, announced the general policies on the environment on the basis of the first clause in Article 110 of the Constitution. 

The following is the full text of these policies issued on November 17, 2015.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

General Policies on the Environment:
1.    Comprehensive, harmonious and organized management of vital resources (including the air, water, soil and environmental diversity) based on ecological capability and sustainability particularly by increasing capacities and appropriate legal and structural capabilities accompanied by public participation.
2.    Establishing a cohesive and national system on the issue of the environment.

3.    Improving environmental conditions with the purpose of helping society enjoy a healthy environment, administering justice and observing intra-generational rights.

4.    Preventing and prohibiting the circulation of all kinds of unlawful pollutants, recording crimes related to the environment, administering efficient and preventive punishment of polluters and destroyers of the environment and forcing them to compensate for their actions.
5.    Continuous refinement and control of air, water, soil and noise pollutants, destructive waves and rays and unfavorable climatic changes, and making compulsory the observation of environmental standards and criteria in implementing rules and regulations, development plans and spatial planning.

6.    Preparing an environmental atlas of the country and protecting, reviving, optimizing and developing renewable natural resources (such as seas, lakes, rivers, dam reservoirs, wetlands, aquifers, forests, soil, grasslands and environmental diversity particularly of wildlife), imposing legal restrictions on using these resources in line with their ecologic capability (their sustainability and resilience capabilities) on the basis of sustainability standards and criteria, the management of sensitive and valuable ecosystems (including national parks and other national environmental heritage), preserving genetic resources and developing and improving them at the level of international standards.

7.    Managing climatic changes, confronting environmental threats such as desertification, dust particles, drought and microbial and radioactive transmitters, promoting foresight and identifying and managing new environmental phenomena. 

8.    Expanding the green economy by emphasizing:

8.1. Low-carbon industries, the use of clean sources of energy and healthy agricultural and organic products, the management of waste and wastewater by optimizing economic, social, natural and environmental capacities and resources.

8.2.    The reformation of production patterns in different economic and social areas, the improvement of consumption patterns of water, various resources and materials, food and energy sources particularly through promoting those fuel sources that are in harmony with the environment.

8.3.    The promotion of green and non-fossil modes of public transportation such as electric modes and an increase in public transportation particularly in large cities.

9.    Balancing and preserving, in an optimal way, groundwater through watershed and aquifer management, managing elements that reduce groundwater utilization and evaporation and preventing the entrance of pollutants.

10.    Establishing an environmental auditing system in the country by considering environmental values and costs (destruction, pollution and revival) in national accounting.

11.    Supporting and encouraging investments and technologies that are compatible with the environment by using proper means including green taxes.

12.    Preparing an environmental behavior chart and promoting and establishing environmental behavior and culture based on constructive Iranian-Islamic values and patterns.

13.    Improving studies and scientific research, utilizing new environmental technologies, benefiting from constructive domestic experiences in the area of preserving the balance of ecosystems, and preventing the environment from being polluted and destroyed.

14.    Raising and strengthening societial awareness, knowledge and outlook about the environment, and strengthening religious culture and teachings related to social responsiblty particularly through enjoining to do good and forbidding evil with the purpose of preserving the environment at all levels of society. 

15.    Strengthening environmental diplomacy through:

15.1. Efforts to create and strengthen regional organizations with the responsibility of confronting dust particles and water pollution.
15.2. Strengthening relations and encouraging purposeful and efficient cooperation – bilateral, multilateral, regional and international cooperation – in the area of the environment.

15.3. Making efficient use of international opportunities and incentives in moving towards a low-carbon economy and facilitating the transport and development of relevant technologies and innovations.


    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    The Timeless Message of Hussein: A Time for Contemplation

    The timeless message of Imam Hussein the younger grandson of the Prophet, is now a dynamic source of inspiration for many. Ashura has become an opportunity for contemplation on the plight of humanity. 
    Sixty years after the advent of Islam and the Hejira, fearing a serious deviation from the authentic teachings of  Islam ,Imam Hussein did not pledge allegience to the tyrant of his time. Being a charismatic and popular figure, Hussein was under tremendous pressure to approve thetreacherous  policies of Yazid .Branded as a rebell by the regime and based on the invitation of thousands of Kufan residents he departed from  Mecca before Hajj. Along with his companions and household, he faced a full army prepared for war in Karbala. He attempted to prevent war and bloodshed but the enmy was relentless. He was martyred along with his sons and companions leaving his sister Zainab and the children to pass on the message of Karbala.
      His was a life of love and inviting all humans to embrace the qualities of virtue.  The account of his legendary life and Ashura as the climax of his campaign for justice, is laden with references to his compassion and love for all. His endeavors to bring the adversaries to reverse their policy and leave him alone and abandone the battle field are a clear testimony to the ethical nature of his cause. In stark contrast with the message of contemporary reactionary terrorists who try to portray a very violent and ruthless image of Islam, Hussein's mesage was one of abiding to principles of human dignity, even in the battle field Imam orders his warriors not to shut off water from the enemy. He invites them to change course and save themselves,but they have been promised reign and wealth in return for killing Imam and silencing his campaign for justice.
    Fourteen centuries later, the voice of Hussein is loud and clear as he calls " life with oppressors is loss,and death becomes salvation" or as he said "my revolution is to invite people to enjoin in what is right and avoid what is wrong". Hussein stand as a beacon of light in the dark times we experience today, the philosophy of Hussein stands as a ship of salvation for a humanity shaken by stormy waters of war, violence and dangers for the future of our planet earth.
    More and more we see people from different walks of life, from different religions and nationalities embracing the cause of Hussein, striving for a life of dignity in a world torn apart by poverty, war, injustices and environmental degradation.

    Saturday, October 17, 2015

    Iranian Wonderland

    The Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majlis as we call it, witnessed fierce debates on the Nuclear Agreement. The supporters of Paydari Faction,  who stood firmly behind the former President Ahmadinejad During his term, are staunch adversaries of the agreement. They went as far as threatening Drs. Zarif and Salehi ,the Foreign Minister and the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization. Yet ultimately since the majority were convinced, in spite of the  very  heavy lobby  of the opponent and the very negative report of the special commmittee in charge, the agreement was appproved by the Majlis and endorsed by the Council of Guardians. Thus, one of the major vows of President Rouhani during his election campaign has neared fulfilment. While the Supreme Leader has given the green light for the 5+1 Agreement from the star,he has stressed on containment of political relations with the US considering the continued expansionist and militaristic policies of that government in the region.
    During the past months we are witnessing a rising flurry of diplomatic and business delgations, including a evident willingness on behalf of American corporations who feel they are falling behind in the competition. European and Asian, political and economic sectors have arrived but we have also seen a surge in journalists and tourists arriving in the Iranian Wonderland.
    Journalists are asking for interviews many of which I simply cannot accomodate, but those which I do, are keen on asking about the future of our relations with the west about my views as a member of the revolutionary student group in 1979, on the prospects of the new deal for the region and the world .
    I believe that the Moderation Government of Dr. Rouhani has taken great economic, social, political ,environmental and international strides in the past 25 months, yet we still have a long way ahead. In light of the very volatile situation of the middle east Iran has been playing a more proactive role to create more trust and confidence and sort out the differences created by a fabricated wave of Iranophobia among Arab states. We also have much to do in terms of creating grounds for a full integration of political groups loyal to the Constitution in the upcomming Majlis elections.
    We also have a very challenging course ahead in terms of integrating environmental concerns in the country's development processes.
    Hope and Prudence have been the key motivating factors in this path; we trust in God to guide us through these troubled waters.

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    GreenTech Helsinki

    I visited Helsiniki this month based on the invitation of the Finnish Minister of Economy to speak at an international event on Green Technologies. In addition to taking part in that session I met several dignitaries including, the President of Finland, the speaker of the Parliament, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Environment, and the Committee on Foreign affairs.

    The cordial and positive atmosphere in all the meetings was indicative of a general resolve to upgrade bilateral relationships. Many Finnish corporations had a long history of successful dealings with Iran until of course the sanctions. 

    On the second day of my visit I also had the opportunity to meet with the Confederation of Finnish Industries and several top business leaders who were very keen to find ways to return or to begin investment in Iran. I explained the environmental challenges we face in Iran and proposed a joint effort to invest in green technologies such as solar energy.

    Several interviews with local and international media were convened including one with Euronews. Journalists were mostly inquisitive about the post[-]sanctions plans and the future relationships between Iran and the West.

    In these deliberations I emphasized on the emerging role of Iran in promoting peace and security in the region. I also mentioned that environmental issues are of a global and human nature and that we are all passengers of one ship and have a common but differentiated responsibility in this regard.

    Meanwhile, duringthe previous visit I had two months ago in Norway we had decided to convene technical workshops on renewable energies and environmental standards in petroleum industries. These workshops will be held in Bushehr and Tehran next month marking the start of our practical cooperation .

    Saturday, August 15, 2015

    Global Day of Peace for Iran

    Over 70 US cities have pledged to take part in a ceremony to support the nuclear deal with Iran. The opponent of the deal mainly the Hawks and Zionist lobbies see their interest in continuing tensions with Iran ultimately leading to a full escalation of war. That would give them more chances to sell their weapons and to dominate over the region. The Amercan people live in relative prosperity but they shuold know that this prosperity is attained at the price of war and suffering for many on earth.They need to realize that they are complicit in what their government does in other parts of the world. Time for indifference and carefreeness has elapsed, the young American generation must now choose between peace or war.The Iran nuclear deal has a message of mutual respect,peace and coexistence for all irrespective of our beliefs,cultures,nationalities or race,it builds upon our shared humanity, the dignity that every human being deserves. I pray and hope that goodness and peace will overcome.

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

    Iran Nuclear Deal :Congress Decides

    As long as we are alive we are tested for our deeds,our words and even our intentions and thoughts.This is part of the system of creation where a chance is  given to every human to fulfill a life in the good or the bad direction on the basis of the free choice given to all humankind.We are thus always making choices, taking decisions which directly or indirectly, immediately or gradually affect our lives and determine our fate. Regulating or controling our inner drives, which are intrinsically very strong is part of this process, therefore  caution is the rule of the day. This individual perspective , which applies to most faiths and religions, would have very dramatic dimensions when taken to social and political levels. The reasons behind major decisions affecting the future of humanity has sometimes fallen into the hands of people who have not taken caution against their inner drives , people who have not realized what could be at stake, people who did not have the insight to forbid what is bad and to enjoin what is good. 70 years ago the US employed nuclear weapons against Hiroshima & Nagasaki killing millions of innocent civilians. Nuclear proliferation and the arms race has continued in the world unabated since and while millions live in abject poverty and disease, while the natural environment of planet earth is degrading at an alarming rate, military expenditure and the legal and illicit arms trade has exceeded all other areas.
    70 years later,  building upon the legacy of those who have invited humanity to peace, brotherhood and justice, Prophets and altruists, Iran joined western powers in a difficult, complex and intriguing process of negotiations. These talks were aimed at lifting the illegal sanctions against Iran and ensuring western powers about the  peaceful intentions of our nuclear program. The successful settlement gave a strong signal to the international community that inspite of a long standing conflict between Iran and the US, dialogue can open vistas for reconciliation provided that a strong political will exists. The support of the Supreme Leader  and the President for Dr. Zarif and his team paved way for a national resolve on this matter in Iran, despite differences of opinion among political rivals. The current internal debates and hearings in the US Congress have recieved much media coverage. Since the major opponent of the deal has been the Zionist regime, their staunch supporters in the Congress have taken coordinated positions against the deal, bringing into light the true intentions of certain groups who consider the security of Israel more important than US or even global security. This reveals how the nuclear deal has exposed the true identity of zionist groups in the US and how this minority has contolled the political, financial and media strongholds of that nation for decades. The question has surfaced in many social media that since the American people have been held hostage  and taken to war several times to protect Israel will they now stand up to protect their own nation to secure global peace and to restore the damaged image of their country in the world? Americans and particularly their young generation have been generally barred from understanding the truth behind their governments policies, they are usually  uninformed or indifferent. The Iran nuclear deal provides an opportunity for the people and the Congress who purport to represent them to engage in determining  their destiny and that of the world, to change the war mongering image of their government. The Congress now has a historical decision which is exposed and evident for the world to see, to give diplomacy and negotiation a chance or to stubbornly push ahead for unilateral dominion,conflict and violence.  I sincerely hope that the American people and the Congress take necessary caution and make a better decision for peace and the future prosperity of all humanity. 

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Fabius and climate talks in Tehran

    Tehran has been hosting high level diplomatic delegations since the nuclear settlement. One after the other political and economic figures have arrived to enhance and strengthen relations. Lauren Fabius, the French Foreign Minister, was the most recent among them. He arrived on Wednesday to meet, Dr. Zarif, President Rouhani, ministers of industry and petroleum. 
    As Fabius is the future President of the COP21, the climate negotiations that must lead to a new agreement by the end of 2015, he also came to visit me at Pardisan Park later in the afternoon.
    Areas of bilateral cooperation, green technologies, renewable energy and air pollution control were discussed . We also spoke on the various hurdles ahead of the climate negotiations. The issue of common but differentiated responsibilites eluding to the historical responsibility of industrialised countries which have a long history of GHG emissions was brought up. I also noted of the need to take more practical steps and commitments by countries of the North. A balanced, equitable and sustainable deal which addresses mitigation as well as adaptation and the damages countries are facing is required. I noted that our government will collaborate to achieve those ends. I also made note of the steps Iran is taking for energy efficiency as well as renewable energies. The damages Iran faces now due to climatic changes including higher temperatures, lower precipitation and less snow resulting in degradation of natural resources and agriculture were also discussed. I mentioned that the episodes of dust storms were also  increasing in incidence and intensity. Mr. Fabius invited me to attend a consultation session with ministers in Paris ahead of the COP21 session. I also asked him finally whether he thought the COP talks would be more difficult than the nuclear negotiations.

    We moved to the lobby of the main building of the DOE to  meet the large group of reporters and respond to some questions.

    Sunday, July 19, 2015

    Hopes on the Horizon

    Hopes on the Horizon

    In the Name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate

    The agreement between Iran and 5 +1 on the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic has been coined as a major historical event which has changed the course of events not only with respect to relationships among these nations but also at the broader international level. This new page in history has brought into light the real image of Iran.  Adversaries for a long time, used a name calling game to label Iran as a threat, as irrational and hostile in mainstream media, they had invested on creating a negative and fearsome image .  Iran was portrayed as a source of instability and threat for the region, Iranophobia was advertised to ensure a constant sales of arms to the Sheikhdoms of Persian Gulf. Iran was excessively threatened  and pressured for several years. Unnecessary and illegal sanctions were adopted against Iran, including chapter 7 resolutions which could take a country to military confrontation. A continuation of that trend would have eventually lead to escalation of conflicts in the very volatile west Asian region. While the sanctions did pressure the economy and environment in Iran, the nation withstood the pressures. Iranians were never prepared to submit or to relinquish their rights as a dignified member of the global community.
    In the Presidential elections of 2013 the people of Iran voted for a change in both  domestic politics and international diplomacy. They voted so that the nuclear issue would be resolved in a peaceful and balanced manner, protecting the rights of Iran to peaceful nuclear technologies but also addressing international concerns.  Dr. Rouhani was elected by the people to change the previous trends and address both national and international challenges in a rational manner. In addition to the weight that the Rouhani administration gave to curbing inflation and improving conditions for the workplace and employment ,special emphasis was placed on environmental standards and mainstreaming sustainable development policy as well as a robust health care scheme which was implemented nationwide. As his government was tackling the very difficult internal issues, Dr. Rouhani mandated the Foreign Minister Dr. Zarif and his team to engage with the 5+1 for a serious resolution of the nuclear issue. According to many observers, the Iranian negotiating team were both very qualified and experienced but also knowledgeable on the technical matters, particularly since Dr. Salehi the current Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation joined them.  A regional power negotiated competently for several months with six major global powers , even as the stream of events unfolded it became clear that Iranians, clear on their rights and objectives, are patient and polite and as Zarif noted clearly “ Iranians are not to be threatened”. After a lengthly process of negotiations where many issues were resolved and both sides made possible concessions, hardliners from both sides began a campaign to derail and spoil the processes. Also those who felt that their interests were undermined began a smearing campaign. The highest political will on all sides and specifically the support of the Supreme Leader, who indicated his full trust for the negotiating team, paved way for the final round and ultimate settlement.
    A longstanding conflict between Iran and the West came to a settlement which can prevent a new war and military adventures in the region. Many clashes in the  world have led to armed conflict and loss of human life, this is a new chapter in the international scene where a conflict is resolved through tedious and long months of negotiations. This is an example of a win win outcome where both sides believe they have gained. The strong message of peace and reconciliation that this agreement sends in a world marred by the terrible violence and killings of the extremists and terrorists, is a beacon of hope for the world and can serve as an example for others.
     The Holy Quran has  many lessons for humankind, it makes a clear reference to such examples in the verse Fuselat ayat 34 : “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.”

    Friday, July 10, 2015

    Quds Day, Unity for Justice, Peace

    People and government have been celebrating the last Friday of Ramadhan as Quds day in Iran for 34 years. Many other nations have also embraced the celebration during these years. Millions march in support of the Palestinian cause and condemn the atrocities and oppression of the zionsts. The issue of Palestine stands today as a stark symbol of global injustice and mismanagement with no clear solution in sight.

    International instititions and major powers have failed to act properly and to save innocent civilian lives in many instances including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Gaza. This incompetence has led to despair and has fuelled hatred and violence in the world. Today many analysts have found evidence to believe that DAESH is a fabrication of Western and Zionists intelligence services, to create discord and hatred against Muslims and to give a very wrong message about a religion preaching love and compassion for humanity.

    The marchers of Quds day were mostly Shias supporting the cause of Palestinains who are mostly Sunnis. The march was a demonstration of unity and fraternity of all humanity against oppression and war. Muslims and all believers in righteousness and peace marched today to demonstrate their solidarity against oppression.


    A group of researchers have done some valuable work to expose the extent and dimensions of the genocide in Gaza. It is notable that while the recent condemnation of the Gaza massacre in 2014 as genocide by the Human Rights Commission is a valuable action it is only the begining of a process which could shed light on this calamity.

    CSI: Gaza - Forensic Architects Map Devastation in Gaza to Show Human Rights Violations

    Friday, June 26, 2015

    Peacemaking in Oslo

    Iran and Norway decided to work together in the field of the environment since 1999. The Norwegian Minster of Environment repaid my visit in 2001 and we signed minutes of the meeting to work together in different areas. Last week I was invited to attend the Oslo Forum, entitled this year: Peacemaking in in times of global disorder. There were many sessions dealing with crisis situations in different regions.Peacemaking is quite valuable when we attempt to understand the root causes, to take effective prevention measures and to transform conflicts into opportunities for develoment and peace.We also had many bilateral meetings as well.

     I spoke at a session devoted to Iran this morning and made note of the fact that peacemaking is an example of enjoing what is good and forbidding what is evil, which is a basic precept of Islamic ethics and also prescribed by Abrahamic religions. I spoke about the internal policies of Dr. Rouhani in different areas including the environment and also referred to the various international overtures we have had in promoting diplomatic relations with our neighbors but also in engaging for a just settlement in the Nuclear talks with the 5+ 1. I took questions from the audience some of which were quite challenging.
    I also met with the Minister of Environment of Norway, and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Parliament. We had a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We disscussed many issues including environmental cooperation but also regional issues and ways to confront the rise of extremism. Norwegian politicans were very concerned about the rising insecurity in many regions but also the spread of DAESH.
    I hope this visit would help to promote more understanding between our two nations.

    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Iraqi President in Tehran

    Fouad Massoum the President of Iraq visited Iran last week accompanied by Ministers of Trade and Environment. In addition to the significant  political implications of this visit, in which Iran reiterated its will to stand alongside the people  and government of Iraq against terror and DAESH, this visit also had important environmental dimensions.
    For the first time high level bilateral talks included environmental cooperation and the final communique delivered at the end of this visit clearly stated the will of both countries to improve the state of the environment. During bilateral talks we had we decided to work together for exchange of information, training of Iraqi experts and joint research. Areas included protection of wetlands , prevention of desertification and dust storms and creating transboundary peace parks on the border. 
    We have provided technical and training assistance on environmental issues to Iraqi brothers before and we decided to continue. While it is well understood that peace and security are the prerequisite for any improvement of environmental conditions, both Presidents stressed that  Iran will continue to play an instrumental role in confronting terror and insecurity in Iraq along with the Iraqi people. 

    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    Restoration of Anzali Wetland ,Caspian Sea

    The five littoral states of the Caspian Sea are bound by only one modern international legal instrument,ie the Tehran Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment. This convention which was signed in 2004 in Tehran provides mechanisms for cooperation to protect biodiversity, coastal zone management, waste and pollution control. 

    Last week President Rouhani visited Gilan Province on the coast of the Caspian Sea. During this visit I delivered a report on the Anzali Wetland on the coastal zones of the sea.The wetland  which extends over 19000 hectares and plays an important role in the ecosystem and livelihoods of millions has faced many challenges during recent decades.  The government of Dr. Rouhani has laid much emphasis on the restoration programs for this wetland particularly in conjunction and support of the Government of Japan. In my report I noted that the restoration plan for Anzali is now prepared and will be underway this year. Prevention of soil erosion in the larger water basin including protection of forests, waste management,  sewerage treatment and sustainable agriculture practices are all very important. Anzali and the Gilan province is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of the world. The President emphasised on the importance of protecting the wetland and promoting environmental standards in Gilan.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Clean Air for Iranian Cities

    The government of Dr. Rouhani has launched a major campaign for better air quality for our large cities. The program adopted last year by the cabinet undertakes several dimensions and cuts across many different sectors.The DOE has undertaken the management of this mega project in national dimensions. The improvement of fuel quality despite continuing sanctions in these areas resulted in the distribution of euro 4 quality petroleum and diesel in many areas leading to a decrease in aromatic and sulfur content. The automotive industry also began implementing euro4 standards under our continuous inspection processes. Power plants were controlled in terms of the heavy fuels they were accustomed to using before. 300000 obsolete cars were outphased for recycling and replaced by new cars under a  new incentive promoted by the government. All these measures and many more led to a gradual but significant improvement of air quality in our mega cities. Tehran had 44 days of better air quality as comparedto the previous year. This indicates we are on a correct track but that we also need to continue and ensure the efficient implementation of this vital project. After Nowrooz we have had very clean air in Tehran and many cities here are some pictures I have taken from Tehran yesterday.

    International Environmental Award in Tehran

    The fourteenth round of the Dr.Taghi Ebtekar Award was held a few days ago in Tehran. The Center for Peace and Environment as an NGO, convenes this ceremony on an annual basis to appreciate the efforts of researchers and activists in the field of the environment. The managing board decided this year, to award an international figure who has a lifetime achievement for the environment, in addition to the national awardees. Candidates were all selected after a public announcement from among those who applied for the prize, by a jury chosen from amog prominent scholars and activists.The 2015 international prize was awarded to Dr. Klaus Topfer, the former German Minister of Environment and former head of UNEP for 8 years. He championed the cause of the environment at the global level andsucceeded  in taking the issue to the highest levels of the international agenda. He now heads the Institute for Advanced Sustainabiliy Studies in Potsdam. Dr. Topfer who arrived in Tehran for the award ceremony spoke on the importance of cross cultural dialogues for the protection of the environment. He also pointed to the importance of climate change effects in coutries like Iran and stressed on the need for 
    a serious collective effort to change current lifestyles and consumption patterns at the global level. He thanked the CPE for the award and hoped that collaboration on matters of joint interest for Iran would continue. Dr. Topfer visited Lake Urumia next day and met with the teams involved in educating and training local farmers for more sustainable agricultural practices.

    Sunday, March 15, 2015

    Talks in Paris

    I was invited by the Executive Director of UNESCO to attend a session on the appraisal of achievement s of the Beijing World Conference on Women twenty years later. I spoke on the advances but also obstacles women face worldwide. I mentioned the consumerist and materialistic approach that plagues our world today and results in the erosion of both ethics and the nature we rely on for existence. Six women were invited to speak about their views, three of us had attended the fourth world conference in 1995. I also met separately with Irina Bokova and spoke about joint activities.
    I had a speech at the Diplomatic Club in Paris where I spoke on the moderation policies of the Government of Dr.Rouhani. The program was ensued by a lengthy question and answer session dealing with all aspects of social and political affairs.
    Medef International is a French corporate sector alliance which also held a session where I spoke frankly about business opportunities in the field of environment for about 70 business leaders.
    I had a working lunch session with several media directors including Le Monde and Figaro and others. Again I responded to many questions not only on internal politics but also the nuclear deal and prospects for improving relations with the west.
    I also spoke with a group of Parliamentarians from the French Congress and Senate over dinner .We exchanged  views on issues like ways to combat  climate change and extremism. 
    My meeting with Laurin Fabius, the French Foreign Minister recieved alot of media attention. Fabius is leading the negotiations on climate change which will finalize later this year in Paris. We discussed many issues of mutual interest.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Fourteenth environment exhibition of Tehran

    On the occasion of the fourteenth International Environment Exhibition, we had three high level international guests. The Environment Ministers of Lebanon, Russia and the Vice Minister of Japan arrived for the inaugural session. I had bilateral sessions and we discussed areas of practical cooperation. With Japan we had a policy dialogue session to follow the MOC that we had previously adopted. The Russian Minster signed the Biodiversity Protocol of the Tehran Convention for the Protection of the Caspian Sea Environment and our directors signed an action plan on joint collaboration. 
    The year's exhibiton was convened under the theme of Green Economy ,Resilient Economy. In the opening ceremony, the First Vice President of Iran Dr Jahangiri, spoke on the importance the government of Dr. Rouhani attaches to the environment and the green economy.In addition, the minsters of Russia, Japan and Lebanon also spoke on the need for regional and international efforts to protect planet earth. I then visited the different booths and met both private sector and NGO s active in this field. 290 different business and economic sectors had participated . In addition, over 80 NGOs and firms from 14 countries had taken part, it was an important event since we need to make the connection between economic activity and advances in the protection ot our global environment.
    Many new innovations in fields of renewable energies, recycling, waste management, water purification and  treatment systems, air filtration technologies,energy efficiency methods biodiversity protection and many more new technologies were presented at the fair . This creates opportunities for trade, exchange of views and know how in areas pertaining to environment protection.

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    Now Prophet Muhammad ,Messenger of God


    What interpretation of Islam is authentic, what is the true spirit of Islam and who was the Prophet of Islam ? These are the questions we face today considering the violent and hateful behavior of a group who have displayed cruel acts and wreaked havoc in many parts of the world. The importance of a full and complete biography of the Messenger as available to us can not be under estimated in this troubled time since both Muslims as well as Non Muslims have serious knowledge gap and even misunderstandings when it comes to recognition of the nature and behaviour of the Final Prophet and  Messenger of God sent to all of humanity, who came to restore the primordial religion of Man.

    In reality no Biography of Prophet Muhammad can really suffice to know him for he was all together someone else, the like of which humanity never saw before, never will in future. Language falls short to describe his appearances let alone the splendor of his character, the utter compassion flowing from his heart, the excellence of his mind, his ethical behavior and unmatched generosity and his unparalleled skill as a teacher of truth. Yet many prominent scholars have studied his life and produced remarkable works.
    "You have good example in God's Apostle for anyone who looks to God and the Last Day and Remember God always." - The Quran

    Here are some books and references introduced by authorites on Islamic thought.

    • Al-Itqan Fi 'Ulum Al-Qur'an by  Imam Suyuti  (Download PDF
    (For learning about how Prophet taught the Qur'an)
    by Tariq Ramadan   (download PDF
    • Memories of the Prophet (Why the Prophet Matters) by Omid Safi
    • Muhammad the Prophet of God (detailed) by Khawaja Shamsuddin Azeemi   (Link for Book)


    Some of the Testimonial about Prophet Muhammad by Scholars and Thinkers of the past

    “The world is in dire need of a man with the mind of Muhammad; religious people in the Middle Ages, due to their ignorance and prejudice, had pictured him in a very dark way as they used to consider him the enemy of Christianity. But after looking into the story of this man I found it to be an amazing and a miraculous one, and I came to the conclusion that he was never an enemy of Christianity, and must be called instead the savior of humanity. In my opinion, if he was to be given control over the world today, he would solve our problems and secure the peace and happiness which the world is longing for.” - George Bernard Shaw, the British playwright

    “It is impossible for anyone who studies the personality of the great Prophet of the Arabs, and come to know how this prophet he used to live, and how he taught the people, but to feel respect towards this honorable prophet; one of the great messengers whom Allaah sent” - Annie Besant, wrote in ‘The Life and Teachings of Muhammad’

    "If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls. Philosopher, Orator, Apostle, Legislator, Conqueror of Ideas, Restorer of Rational beliefs... The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire -- that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?” - Alphonse de La Martaine wrote in ‘Historie de la Turquie’

    “Muhammad was a shining example to his people. His character was pure and stainless. His house, his dress, his food - they were characterized by a rare simplicity. So unpretentious was he that he would receive from his companions no special mark of reverence, nor would he accept any service from his slave which he could do for himself. He was accessible to all and at all times. He visited the sick and was full of sympathy for all. Unlimited was his benevolence and generosity as also was his anxious care for the welfare of the community.” - Dr. Gustav Weil writes in ‘History of the Islamic Peoples’

    “It is a great shame for any one to listen to the accusation that Islaam is a lie and that Muhammad was a fabricator and a deceiver. We saw that he remained steadfast upon his principles, with firm determination; kind and generous, compassionate, pious, virtuous, with real manhood, hardworking and sincere. Besides all these qualities, he was lenient with others, tolerant, kind, cheerful and praiseworthy and perhaps he would joke and tease his companions. He was just, truthful, smart, pure, magnanimous and present-minded; his face was radiant as if he had lights within him to illuminate the darkest of nights; he was a great man by nature who was not educated in a school nor nurtured by a teacher as he was not in need of any of this.” - The British philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, who won the Nobel Prize for his book ‘The Heroes’ wrote:

    “Us, Europeans, with all our concepts could not reach what Muhammad has reached, and no one will be able to precede him. I have looked in the history of humanity for an example and found that it was Muhammad, as the truth must be revealed. Indeed, Muhammad succeeded to subdue the entire world to monotheism”. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer