MNA| Maryam Azish: Iran’s pollution, a decades-old problem, has progressively increased in recent years, claiming several lives each year and damaging healthy lungs.
Economic activists believes that the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has opened a new horizon to promotion of economic situation in Iran and has paved the ground for importing of electric vehicles to the country which are considered as a zero-emissions.
An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one electric motor or more, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device. A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle.
Iran’s most recent official statistics indicates that air pollution in Tehran has claimed lives of 412 citizens in the October 22 to November 13 period, forcing schools in the capital city to be shut down for several days.
The geographic situation of Iran’s big cities—most significantly, mountainous Tehran—is only one of the roots of this problem. The overwhelming number of vehicles has largely contributed to this dilemma.
Recently the representatives of Tehran in Majlis have sent a letter to President Hassan Rouhani calling on him to pay special attention to the issue of air pollution in the capital. 35 Tehran representatives in Majlis out of total 290 lawmakers in the parliament have called on the President to order the related organizations to find due solution to the air pollution question and make serious decisions about it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is one of the leading causes of cancer. The fact is that people are more exposed to air pollutants in industrialized areas and metropolises where exhaust gas and auto-industrial emission can create a hazardous situation. This has increased health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, stroke, asthma, allergy and cancer.
While Iran is fully determined to end its relying on heavily-subsidized fossil fuels through the implementation of a targeted subsidy plan known as ‘subsidy reform plan’, it has concentrated efforts to put CNG cars and electric vehicles on its roads.
Up to now, the Iranian transportation and fuel management employees have tried to replace gas and diesel vehicles with CNGs vehicles to great success, especially in the public transportation sector.
But such replacements seem to be insufficient as the air pollution is getting worse particularly in major cities, and the main culprit is low-standard gasoline as well as overproduction of cars by domestic manufacturers.
To settle the problem, Tehran municipality has planned to bring hundreds electric motorcycles and hybrid taxis to the streets of the capital.
** Iran supports import of hybrid transportation systems
On Feb 2016, Deputy Head of the Department of the Environment (DOE) Saeed Motesadi underscored that Iran would support import of electric and hybrid transportation systems in a bid to preserve the environment and reduce pollution in big cities.
Motesadi reiterated that current circumstances are favorable for the import of electric and hybrid cars and all commercial and customs charges on their imports have been removed in Iran, adding that the electric cars have been produced that can run up to 400 kilometers by only one charge that can be a major help to ridding of pollution in megacities.
Regarding DOE’s foundation policy to remove sources of pollution, the official stressed that, the department endorses import of electric and hybrid cars into the country.
JCPOA‘s key role for import of eco-friendly electric cars
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Datis Khodro Co., Milad Alinaqi believes that the implementation of JCPOA has opened a new horizon to promotion of economic situation in Iran and has paved the ground for importing of electric vehicles to the country.
The veteran expert in hybrid cars, Alinaqi, added that environmentally-friendly vehicles produce zero emission, adding, “It is not so far-fetched that with their emergence in the country we would experience less pollution nationwide.”
Alinaqi considers the utilizing the green vehicles are considered as a practical solution for settlement of the country’s air pollution.
He believes that lack of information about the Hybrid cars’ state-of-art technologies in Iran is the main reason behind meager employment of such vehicles across the country.
Managing Director of Datis Khodo Co., reiterated that the demands for electric vehicles would gradually increase as necessary centers for delivering after-sales service be established across the country.
Citing Iranian market as an “active and dynamic”, Alinaqi stressed that the country enjoys huge untapped potentials for entrance of foreign investors in private sector, auto industry in particular.
Alinaqi also expressed hope that the ground could be properly paved for entrance global automakers in Iran and they could produce the products in the Islamic Republic.
Eliminates electric, hybrid vehicle import tariffs
In May 2014, Iranian government announced that it had eliminated import tariffs on electric and hybrid cars with engines of 2500cc and smaller. This surprise move shocked both local and foreign car fanatics, with some even commenting on how an “Oil producing country would even be interested in electrics and hybrids.”
Iranian Deputy Industry, Mine, and Trade Minister Valiollah Afkhamirad stressed that this is the first time Iran has dropped import tariffs on electric and hybrid class cars.
The astounding move which is still unknown to most is to “to boost domestic production and make the auto industry competitive” again.
This resulted in, various people believe, a deterioration of quality of the locally produced cars and allowed three major car manufacturers to form an effective oligopoly between them.
In conclusion, air pollution in Iran stems from various factors including great number of cars as well as the clunkers, motorcycles, sand mines surrounding the city, and occasional dust storms originating from hotspots which used to be wetland and are now dried up due to mismanagement of the water resources.
To tackle all these problems different organizations must get involved to formulate coherent policies to reduce this persisting predicament.
As carburetor motorcycles are responsible for a great deal of harmful emissions replacing them with electric motorcycles would play a significant role in mitigating the air pollution.
For a metropolis like Tehran, where at large number of people dies each year from diseases caused by air pollution, there are no other options but to put aside the vehicles with internal combustion engines and shift to the vehicles with zero emissions.