No Off-Road Rally in Maranjab

The rally ban is in line with environment protection policies. The rally ban is in line with environment protection policies. 

Vehicles with two differentials and off-road cars are banned from entering Maranjab Desert in Isfahan Province, in an effort to protect the environment.

Speaking to IRNA, Javad Seddiqian, the head of Aran-Bidgol office of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, announced that heavy motorcycles, vehicles with two differentials and off-road cars are strictly prohibited from entering the region.

"This is the clear verdict of senior judicial authorities, which is based on reports of the regional Department of Environment about the destructive effects of off-road rallies on the desert," he said.

During a recent scheduled off-road rally event, over a thousand heavy vehicles entered Maranjab Desert, which raised complaints from local residents, cameleers, range managers and environmentalists.  

"The decision was made in line with environment protection policies such as the ban on unlicensed desert tours in Abuzeydabad, Siazga, Yakhab, Chah-Aroos and specifically Maranjab Desert areas in central Iran," he said.

Off-road racing, which has gained popularity in Iran over the past several years, has been a subject of widespread criticism by environmentalists, despite the organizers' eco-friendly mottos.

The frequent passage of vehicles across a track causes the earth to be beaten and blocks the burrows built by animals.

Off-road racers often drive in deserts where temperatures reach scorching levels and animals such as lizards and sand cats seek shelters under the earth.

As the burrows created by these animals are crushed, they either run or die.

Based on a study in Switzerland, animals gradually learn that the road is a dangerous spot and keep away from it. The knowledge is passed down to their offspring as well. But off-road driving is particularly dangerous, because it follows an unpredictable route and surprises wildlife.

Maranjab Desert near Kashan has great tourism potentials and attracts many travelers each year.

According to a recent study of Iran’s ecotourism potentials, Maranjab Desert (comprising of Aran-Bidgol, Kavir National Park, Maranjab and Band-Rig desert) attracts more than 56,000 tourists annually.

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