September 24, 2023

Persian News

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Tehran, Moscow seeking enhanced environmental ties

TEHRAN – Iranian and Russian officials held a meeting in Moscow on Friday, seeking to enhance relations in the areas related to environmental protection.

In this line, Iranian Ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, met Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Alexander Kozlov, IRNA reported.

The two sides particularly discussed the issue of the Caspian Sea’s shrinking water with the diminishing water flow from Russia’s Volga River being primarily to blame.

The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) on August 12 warned of a significant decline in the water level of the Caspian Sea over the past years, Tasnim news agency reported.

ISA studies based on satellite images demonstrate that during the past years, particularly the last 24 months, the northern part of the Caspian Sea has seen an advancement of the coastline due to a decrease in its water level, while its southern part remains little changed, Tasnim quoted ISA Spokesman Hossein Dalirian as reporting.

Dalirian highlighted the water level decline as a “serious and important” issue, which could pose potential environmental challenges to the surrounding littoral states in the coming years.

On Friday, Tasnim quoted Iranian environmental official Mojtaba Zoljoudi as saying that the Caspian Sea’s ecological balance has naturally experienced sinusoidal fluctuations, while the sea’s water level has witnessed an abnormally long period of decline over the past two decades.

Zoljoudi said the Caspian Sea’s water level decreased by 26 centimeters during the 12-month period to March 2023 and by nearly 2 meters since 1996.

The Caspian Sea’s water has reached its lowest level in the past 30 years, primarily because the Volga River’s water flow into the sea has shrunk, in addition to other natural factors, the Tasnim reported.

The coastlines of the Caspian Sea are shared by Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

Ali Salajeqeh, the head of the Department of Environment, has said the issue of pollution in the Caspian Sea will be followed up on within the framework of the Tehran Convention.

“We hope that we can solve both the problems of water rights and pollution within the framework of the Tehran Convention,” ISNA quoted Salajeqeh as saying.

The entrances to the Caspian Sea have been closed by neighboring countries, especially the Volga River, he said, adding: “On the other hand, the amount of precipitation has decreased in the entire Caspian Sea watershed.”

Some statistics say that the Caspian Sea has receded by almost one meter over the past 4-5 years. On average, the Caspian Sea recedes 20 centimeters per year, Salajeqeh noted.


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