On Tuesday 14th of March , during the plenary session to discuss the annual budget in Iranian parliament , the proposal to assign 3% of oil and gas revenues for development and conservation of environment in oil rich areas was denied by the objection of “Guardian Council of the Constitution” and the voting of the parliament .
“Guardian Council of the Constitution” announced that , as this proposal fails to mention the exact amount of funds to be dedicated to this project ,it is in contradiction with article 53 of Iranian constitution which states “All sums collected by the government will be deposited into the government accounts at the central treasury, and all disbursements, within the limits of allocations approved, shall be made in accordance with law.”
Consequently the proposal was overruled after 149 members of parliament voted against , 14 voted in favore and 3 sustained. Iranian parliament has also in the past repeatedly voted against such proposal .
“Guardian Council of the Constitution” is too keen to abide by the constitution that in its article50 states “The preservation of the environment, in which the present as well as the future generations have a right to flourishing social existence, is regarded as a public duty in the Islamic Republic. Economic and other activities that inevitably involve pollution of the environment or cause irreparable damage to it are therefore forbidden.”
However no real measure have been taken by the Iranian government to tackle the environmental situation and implement article 50 on the ground ,especially in oil rich areas such as Al-Ahwaz region , the producer of up to 80% of Iran’s oil and gas.
Arab populated Arabistan province (Khuzestan as it is also called ) in oil rich south-west ,is one of the most underdeveloped provinces in Iran where discrimination ,poverty ,high unemployment and illiteracy rates and environmental pollution have pushed the locals to the edge .
Past month hundreds of locals took the streets for days in protest to the continuous dust and sand storms and pollution that resulted in water and electricity outages for several days in more than 11 cities of the province .
Refusing to assign even 3% of oil revenues to the province and the well-being of its people and its environment is illegal and is in clear contradiction with article 50 of Iranian constitution .