When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Worldcrunch
English edition - WORLDCRUNCH

TEHRANEmerging after years of sanctions, Iran appears almost single-mindedly eager to boost its economic growth. Thus a photo op this week of the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei planting and watering a tree, and cited as telling "all" Iranians to care for "green spaces," was a minor newsstand surprise Wednesday around the polluted and congested streets of Tehran.

The Tuesday event was carried in papers like the conservative Kayhan, though with far fewer details than most reports on the Leader's pronouncements.

The brevity shows perhaps both the media's and Ayatollah Khamenei's lack of interest in trees and nature. He did however declare that "attacking" and destroying gardens and forests was "not sensible," nor in the country's interest.

The comments may be belated given the utter neglect and wholesale destruction of the natural world that has characterized Iran since the 1979 revolution: From the disappearance of the gardens of northern Tehran, which have morphed into a concrete jungle altering the capital's climate (smog inversions rather than rain and snow, now characterize its winters), to widespread desertification and overuse of water resources.

Though rare, this was not the first time Ayatollah Khamenei has publicly referred to the impact of environmental damage. He spoke this week about "certain violations" of the country's forests threatening Iran's native tree species, and alluded to persistent reports on the dwindling scale of Iran's ancient forests.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ