1157 GMT April 24, 2019
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 16th Iran International Environment Exhibition on Friday, IRNA reported.
Wrong policies in the region led to a particle pollution crisis, water crisis and desertification of the region, the foreign minister added.
He urged Iran’s neighbors to start serious cooperation for formulating a program to counter environmental damages caused during the ruling of former rulers of the region, including former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, and terrorist groups, Daesh in particular.
“The Islamic Republic extends a hand of cooperation to all its neighbors in order to provide a better life for our children and to counter the dangers threatening the life of our generation and the future generations,” Zarif added.
“This action is not only an environmental necessity, but also a political and security issue,” he said.
A total of 300 domestic and 20 foreign companies from Germany, South Korea, UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, China, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, France, Japan, Russia, Norway and Austria have attended the four-day event.
Dust storms in Khuzestan
Since 2002, Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan has been reeling from sandstorms, 75 percent of which is said to originate in Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, but a combination of events recently have brought Khuzestan to the brink of virtual collapse, Press TV reported.
Heavy rains have washed filaments of dust and sand into power transmission equipment, leading to long outages. Water supplies are not unscathed, crippling life in the provincial capital Ahvaz and other cities.
President Hassan Rouhani arrived in the province on Thursday at the head of a delegation of several cabinet ministers and vice presidents to closely examine the environmental crisis in the oil-rich province.
Upon his arrival, Rouhani pointed to power outrages and the problems facing water supplies, saying, “The government paid attention from the very first day, and we examined the issue and outlined plans.”
Iran’s Khuzestan Province is struggling to emerge from back-to-back power outages which have severely disrupted life and led to expressions of discontent with local authorities and the government.
He added that based on a report submitted by the energy minister, water distribution issues will be resolved in the coming days.
Iran is currently implementing plans to resolve the root causes of dust storms inside the country, but there is a need for regional and international cooperation to eliminate the origins of such storms in Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, Rouhani noted.