Iran’s religious Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, considered as moribund, appeared in public to denounce the rampant “land-grabbing,” that is decimating Iranian forests: individuals use their access to government officials to illegally privatize forests and mountains environment.
Khamenei said, “It’s painful that through cleverness or manipulating the law, and lately by buying off a few weak-minded officials in a certain institution, [it's possible] to turn public wealth into personal wealth.” He added that the “issue of land-grabbing has slowly turned into mountain-grabbing. … When I see what is happening north of Tehran, one becomes very disappointed. I’ve talked about this issue many times to city and administration officials, and they’ve made efforts, but they need to act decisively.”
Khamenei said that parts of Iran’s forests in the northern parts of the country have been “plundered” while officials paid no attention. He warned all the officials involved to not permit this kind of thing to happen, saying that whatever the excuse, whether it is to “expand cities, tourism, build hotels or seminaries,” it should be prevented.
According to Khodakaram Jalali, head of the Forest Management Service, during the last 10 years, Iran has lost about 14,000 hectares (around 35,000 acres) of its forests. The reasons for the loss, according to Jalali, were “construction projects, mining, fires, diseases, expansion of cities and villages and excessive use.”