Tehran's new mayor vows to fight pollution
TEHRAN, June 6 (AFP) - Tehran's new mayor Morteza Alviri promised Sunday
to put the fight against pollution and traffic jams in the Iranian capital
at the top of his agenda.
Tehran, a city of 10 million, hemmed in by mountains, is one of the
most polluted cities in the world, and is famous for its monstrous snarl-ups.
Some 75 percent of the pollution is thought to be caused by traffic.
Alviri was appointed last Tuesday to replace Gholamhossein Karbaschi,
who started serving a two-year jail term on corruption and mismanagement
charges in early May.
The new mayor told the municipal council he would ensure that in future
the municipality's accounts would be "transparent" in order to
rule out any possible accusations of bribery, the official IRNA news agency
He also said he would work in "full coordination" with the
municipal police, whose chief is appointed by Iran's conservative supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Alviri paid tribute to his predecessor's "great services"
to the city.
Karbaschi -- a close associate of moderate President Mohammad Khatami
-- and his supporters denounced his trial as a move by his conservative
political opponents to weaken the Khatami government.
Alviri, 51, an electrical engineer in addition to being an economist,
is a close associate of Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
and is currently an advisor to Khatami.
The importance of the capital, home to one in six Iranians, makes the
mayor one of the leading figures on the country's political landscape.
The city suffers not only from severe pollution, but also from widespread
unemployment and unchecked expansion.