People, Environment

Parts of Aras to Lose Protected Status

Parts of Aras to Lose Protected StatusParts of Aras to Lose Protected Status

The borders of Aras Free Trade Zone in northwestern Iran will be redrawn to eliminate areas that overlap protected zones, a senior official of the Department of Environment said.

Farhad Dabiri, DOE's deputy for natural environment, told Mehr News Agency that the move "follows a recent order issued by Iran's Administrative Justice Court due to environmentally harmful activities in regions that overlap protected areas".

Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone is located in East Azarbaijan Province and borders Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. It is surrounded by Arasbaran Natural Reserve and Kiamaki Wildlife Refuge.

According to Dabiri, industrial activities and development projects have raised concerns among environmental officials and activists, and redrawing the trade zone's borders will help prevent further damage to regions that overlap protected areas.

"Industrial activities and substandard and polluting firms at Aras Free Trade Zone should be wisely managed by DOE's respective deputy in charge to lessen the harmful effects on the environment," he said.

The largest decentralized economic area in Iran, Aras Free Trade Zone has attracted lots of investments from local and foreign business owners for the development of the zone.

According to Mohsen Arab-Baghi, the head of Aras Free Trade Zone Organization, as many as 173 factories are being constructed on an area covering 961 hectares.

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