Radical decentralization of politics and decision-making in Iran is needed to allow Kurdish communities to benefit from natural resources, experts say.
Kurdish regions in Iran have rich minerals, dense forests, and vast surface and underground water resources.
But deforestation, environmental exploitation and the erratic and misguided mining of gold and aluminum have led to environmental and health problems among the Kurdish people, as well as droughts and water shortages.
The study outlines how many Kurds view the Iranian state’s economic and development policies in Kurdistan as unsustainable, discriminatory and colonialist. Kurdish environmental groups are highly targeted by Iran’s security and judicial systems.
Researchers say water management is seen as destructive and poorly managed because it is transferred from Iranian Kurdistan to other regions. This threatens to cause desertification and subsidence. As part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) of the Turkish state, 22 dams have been built in Kurdistan, another form of exploitation of Kurdistan’s natural resources. This has adverse consequences for the landscape and culture in the region.
The study says that the Kurdish people could benefit from Kurdistan’s natural human resources if there were a radical form of decentralization of the political and decision-making system so that they could participate in various aspects of political and economic activities determined by their cultural and national values, needs and preferences.
The study, published in the Journal of World Systems Researchwas performed by dr. Allan Hassaniyan, from the University of Exeter and Mansour Sohrabi, an independent researcher.
dr. Hassaniyan said: “In recent decades, Kurdistan’s natural environment has been subject to massive degradation, and Kurdistan’s natural resources – which should have been the source of wealth and prosperity of the region’s population – have been extensively exploited by various state institutions , including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its sub-organizations and contractors.
“People are facing drought, soil erosion and deforestation. Damage to the natural environment in Kurdistan is caused by climate change and human activities, including the government’s mismanagement of environmental issues and disasters.”
dr. Sohrabi said: “The Iranian state’s economic and development approach to Kurdistan’s natural resources, and the extraction and exploitation of these resources, has led to extensive environmental degradation, with implications for human health.
“The state-oriented approach to socio-economic development, exemplified by dam construction, water transportation, deforestation, the location of polluting industries such as oil refineries in or near natural areas, are among the government initiatives that pose a major threat to the environmental sustainability and socio-economic integrity of various communities in the region.”
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Allan Hassaniyan et al, Colonial management of Iranian Kurdistan; with an emphasis on water resources, Journal of World-Systems Research (2022). DOI: 10.5195/JWSR.2022.1081
Provided by the University of Exeter
Quote: ‘Radical decentralization’ needed in Iran to allow Kurdish communities to benefit from natural resources, argues study (2022, Sept 3), retrieved Sept 3, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-radical-decentralization -iran -kurdish-benefit.html
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