Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has planted two saplings to mark National Arbor Day, describing the planting of a tree as a “religious and revolutionary” action.
Khamenei planted the saplings on Sunday morning to mark the National Tree Planting Day.
He urged all government institutions to take action to preserve the country’s water, soil and wildlife.
Khamenei said, “The destruction of forests, environment and vegetation is the destruction of national interests” and called on authorities to protect trees from profiteers.
Despite Khamenei’s public expression of support for the environment, successive Iranian governments have left a poor record when it comes to protecting natural resources.
In December 2021, the head of the forestry scientific association, Ali Banagar, expressed concern about the speed of deforestation in Iranlisting factors fueling the trend, including the country’s aggressive pursuit of development projects through the often illegal constriction of luxury vacation homes, timber smuggling and illegal logging, forest encroachment and land grabbing, wildfires, and pollution and landfills.
Hit by the worst drought in decadesIran would be more and more lose their forests and vegetation, with forest area declining from 19 million acres to 14.4 million between 1900 and 2012, and further reduced to 10.7 million in 2015.