The Iranian government is doing its best to show off what it says is a captured US drone, but we have to ask: are the people of Iran really paying attention?
This is especially true about the people of Tehran. Those who want to care have to stop coughing first as the level of pollution in the capital city is reaching dangerous levels.
Today Tehran’s schools and universities were closed because of excessive pollution. Tomorrow could be the same. The situation is so bad that the Iranian Ministry of Health has advised people to leave Tehran. According to Radio France International’s Persian language service, Iran’s National Security Council has even instructed the media to stop reporting this event. This instruction must be very recent as there are still news sites in Iran reporting about the pollution issue.
Tehran’s pollution problem has been getting worse over the years. Traffic mismanagement and relatively high proportion of old gas guzzlers on the road have meant high levels of air pollution. The fact that Tehran is situated between mountains means that unless there is very heavy rain or wind, the pollution stays above the city. Some are also blaming Iran’s own petrol which its producing in order to avoid sanctions, which is said to be low quality and highly contaminated.
The other responsible factor, or rather person is Ahmadinejad. For years Tehran’s Mayor Ghalibaf has been trying to improve Tehran’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) as well as the Metro system. To do so he needs funds to be released from the Ministry of Interior which Ahmadinejad has been running as president. As the Mayor is Ahmadinejad’s rival, the president has made life very difficult for him, meaning numerous traffic projects having to be placed on hold because sufficient funds have not been released.
While the regime shows off what it says is its technological prowess which it says enabled it to capture a US drone intact, it should focus on other things. The regime says that it can bring down a US made drone, yet it can’t bring down inflation or unemployment.
It’s not clear whether the drone was American or how it came to Iran’s possession, however what is more clear is that in terms of public consumption inside Iran, this whole drone saga is very unlikely to impress the Iranian public.