People, Environment

Qatar Soil Call Rejected

Qatar Soil Call RejectedQatar Soil Call Rejected

Local media report that Qatar has often contacted officials in Tehran appealing for the import of Iranian  soil to develop the country’s green space for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but has been turned down every time.

“Iran will suffer grave consequences if it okays the export of its soil,” Khodakaram Jalali, head of the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying.

Not blessed with rich soil, most Persian Gulf countries, including tiny Qatar, are after Iran’s fertile soil. Nevertheless, Iran has imposed a ban on the export of soil due to its rarity and the fact that it is a natural resource.

This has prompted certain people to smuggle soil out of the country, but the FRWO is cracking down on the illegal export of the precious resource.

“Rare cases of soil smuggling have been spotted and the perpetrators prosecuted,” he said, adding that border security needs to be enhanced to deter smugglers.

Jalali denied claims that the FRWO gives non-locals who harm forests a free pass while mercilessly punishing locals.

“The truth is that punishing non-locals (those who don’t live in and around forests) is much easier for the organization,” he said, adding that it is legally easier to punish those who do not rely on forests to make a living than the locals who do.

“While it is true that the locals get away with lenient penalties, the law does not discriminate between locals and non-locals when it comes to directly harming forests,” Jalali said.

Qatar is set to become the first Arab country to host a football World Cup, but the sheikhdom might lose the right to host the world’s most popular sports event if FIFA’s ongoing investigations reveal evidence of bribery.

  Immediate Concern

Despite Iran’s deepening water crisis, some believe soil erosion and desertification are more pressing issues with immediate consequences.

According to Parviz Garshasbi, a deputy at the FRWO, the rate of desertification is alarmingly high and is exacerbated by unrestrained deforestation.

“Our deserts are expanding at a rate of about a million hectares per year,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Iran’s land mass is 165 million hectares, 32 million of which are desert areas.

As the lush jungles and forests disappear at terrible speed due to a long list of avoidable reasons, authorities claim that special attention has been given to the seemingly losing battle with desertification in the next economic development plan (2016-21).