Rouhani: My Gov't Is Environment-Friendly

Rouhani: My Gov't Is Environment-FriendlyRouhani: My Gov't Is Environment-Friendly

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday one of his government's priorities is to help protect the environment.

Speaking at the 10th National Environment Awards to commemorate World Environment Day, he said, "My government's first directive was aimed at reviving Lake Urmia."

Rouhani lamented years of mismanagement and said one of the tenets of sustainable development is not to sacrifice the environment at the altar of unbridled development or short-term gain.

"It is our responsibility to protect the environment for future generations," he told the audience, IRNA reported.  Rouhani singled out global population explosion and haphazard urban development and modernization patterns as the two main culprits responsible for the huge calamity visiting the Earth.

 "Modernization and population growth have taken a toll on the environment; it is now up to us and technology to help reverse the trend," he said and appealed for workable international measures to meet the rapidly increasing need for "space, water and food" of the growing populations.

Protecting the environment is not only a civic duty, but a religious obligation, he noted. "Only with cooperation will we be able to overcome the obstacles and effectively defend the environment against (further) harm."

Warning against the threat to natural habitats in most countries, the president noted, "We cannot tear down trees and demand clean air. We cannot let rivers run dry and expect everything to be normal."

Pointing to the adverse effects of western economic sanctions on the environment, the president said, "Lifting of the unjust sanctions will [also] help protect the environment."

Iran is under sanctions over its nuclear energy program, which the West claims is tied to developing a bomb. Tehran denies the charge and has declared that the program is peaceful. Iran and six world powers are now wrapping years of negotiations and are expected to seal a final nuclear agreement that will put an end to the economic sanctions.

Elaborating on the crucial issue of ending the crippling sanctions, the president said lifting of the sanctions will pave the way for closer international cooperation and foreign investment.

"Academia, the media, and national and international groups should mobilize to put an end to the environmentally-harmful activities."

At the ceremony, the Iranian Cave and Speleology Association, the Borna Naturalists' Association and the Iran Alpine Club were awarded for their efforts to help protect the environment in the last Iranian year.