Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar, speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, stated that the dust that has covered the country in recent days has been due to the formation of dust fronts between Syria and Iraq, adding: West wind currents moved from the axis of Syria and Iraq and the axis of Iraq and Saudi Arabia to Iran and affected the whole country.
Consequences of reduced rainfall and climate change
Referring to the decrease in rainfall in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the conversion of agricultural lands into dust sources due to climate change by the human activities, he added: On the one hand, humanitarian intervention is caused by Turkey; this is because the country has built 14 super dams on the Euphrates River and 8 dams on the Tigris River. Meanwhile, construction of dams on the Tigris River is increasing. This has created eternal dust for those three countries through the use of water right of the countries such as Syria, Iraq and Iran.
The expert and researcher on environment and sustainable development further added: It seems that with the continuation of those conditions, the dust will be eternal and this year and the coming years will be difficult years for the three countries. Meanwhile Iraq and Syria have taken measures to combat the dust, but so far Iran has not prepared and adapted itself to the extent that the budget allocated to combating dust has been removed from the 1400 and 1401 (2012-2022) budget bills.
Mahboubfar saying that part of the dust that covered the country is of domestic origin and the other part is of foreign origin, added: In Farvardin 1401 March/April 2022), compared to the same period last year, 90% of the rainfall has decreased and this decrease is a major problem along with human intervention, causing the loss of some surface water resources and wetlands, rivers and lakes, which have prepared the ground for the dust.
Importance of cooperation approach with Turkey
The member of the Land Management Association of Iran, emphasizing that the current situation can be resolved by paying attention to the issue of water diplomacy and giving priority to it, added: Instead of tension and conflict with Turkey, a cooperation-based approach should be followed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can engage in serious negotiations by prioritizing the issue of “water diplomacy”. It should be emphasized to the countries that the issues of environment and air pollution are extraterritorial and know no borders.
He said: Considering the environmental crisis and air pollution that has affected four countries, those countries should sign cooperation agreements by creating an atmosphere of cooperation to ensure the water right of all countries.
The member of the Association of Environmental Risk and Sustainable Development of Iran stressed: In the current situation, we see that Turkey is also involved in the issue of migration and its consequences. The increase in inflation in that country and the intensity of migration to it have had many consequences. As problems in neighboring countries increased, Turkey thought that whatever amount of immigrants it accepted was in its interest and could attract their capital. However, now the crises caused by the situation of the migrants have caused the facilities and incomes intended for them to be canceled, and in fact, only their money and capital have been lost.
Mahboubfar, saying that Turkey’s hope was to attract the economic capital of neighboring countries, added: The borders between Turkey and European countries are tense by the countries whose water rights have been taken away and trampled upon, and formation of the forced migration is very dangerous for those countries. .
Referring to the gathering of 110 countries at the Glasgow Summit, according to which harmful activities for the environment, including the use of water right from other countries, should be stopped by 2030, he stressed: Turkey must accept and abide by such agreement. If this country does not accept, the consequences of neglecting it will cause damage to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and it will soon affect Turkey as well. This is a climatic catastrophe for Turkey, and rising temperatures are facing the dams it has built with too much evaporation, and will face it with the air pollution and high volumes of fine dust rising from neighboring countries.
Cross-border environmental issues
The member of the Iranian Land Management Association said: Turkey must accept that environmental issues and issues related to water, air pollution and dust do not recognize political borders and are extraterritorial. It must sign regional agreements to address environmental and climate change problems.
Mahboubfar by saying that Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq should be the founders of regional pacts to control climate change, environmental degradation and water resources and water right of all the Middle Eastern countries, and even control dangerous deserts that are the main source of creating dust, continued: Countries must also convince Turkey in order to get out of the current situation. This is a practical event, but the conflict must be replaced by regional cooperation with the participation of the United Nations in order to restore the environment and water resources.
Referring to the successful experience of some countries in this regard, he said: European countries and even the United States and Canada have allied in the direction of climate change and have experience in it. Although we saw some opposition at the beginning of the Glasgow summit, finally they also agreed to peaceful coexistence; because the lives of all living things, climate and weather are in danger anyway. As the United Nations has pointed out, if governments fail to live up to their commitments at the Glasgow Summit, global warming could lead to a climate catastrophe.
The member of the Association of Environmental Hazards and Sustainable Development of Iran added: The Middle East is moving towards climate change, which has many consequences, so those countries must converge in order to protect the environment. Unfortunately, we see divergence between Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in this regard. Those countries must join water diplomacy in cooperation with Iran.
Saying that water diplomacy is complex but possible, Mahboubfar said: The countries of the Middle East and South Asia must accept to remove the pressure from their water resources in order to reduce creation of dust by domestic and foreign centers. Turkey must be justified that its actions have caused dust in Syria, Iraq and Iran and accept responsibility for its consequences.