Al-Monitor | : Iran’s air pollution crisis, which claimed more than 4,800 lives in 2016, has become yet another area for scoring political points for both the Reformists and the Principlists, much like almost everything else in Iran. Ever since the Reformists took over the presidency and the capital city, they no longer criticize the administration or the municipality for not resolving the air pollution crisis. The matter has been forgotten and replaced by partisan attacks aimed at various Iranian political groups.
For the past decade, air pollution has been an increasingly common feature of Tehran during the months of December and January. On certain days, Tehran’s weather is a hazard to all age groups. Under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he and then-Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf took turns accusing each other of neglecting their responsibility to address the air pollution crisis. Ever since Hassan Rouhani was elected president in 2013, the Reformist media outlets have focused their criticism on the municipality’s administration and Ghalibaf, who was still mayor last year. The issue came up during the televised presidential debates. In June 2013, Ghalibaf and Reformist candidate Mohammad Reza Aref accused each other of being responsible for the air pollution crisis.
However, Rouhani’s administration has gotten no closer to solving Tehran’s air pollution problem. During the presidential debates leading up to the May 2017 elections, Ghalibaf criticized the administration and held it responsible for the air pollution problem.
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