By: Jabbar Fazeli, MD
Snow and rain brings a welcomed relief from the smog and pollution that has caused Tehran to declare an air pollution emergency recently. The government had taken measures to reduce pollution by closing government offices to decrease traffic a few weeks back, with little effect.
Modern day Tehran has always had a pollution and smog problem, however in 2012 this pollution may have been exacerbated by the Iranian shortcut to gasoline self-sufficiency, which involved the rapid conversion of petrochemical plants to produce petrol. The Iranian media have also recently reported that there were over 100,000 vehicles in Tehran that didn't meet emission standards (I didn't know there were emission standards in Tehran).
Since these peak days of pollution happening in the fall and winter months this year, one would expect that Tehran's pollution is going to get much worse as the temperatures rise and the rain and snow disappear from the forecast.
In any case, since the regime has no prayer in resolving its political impasse with the west and securing the lifting of sanctions, Tehran and other major cities are likely to suffer from higher levels of pollution in the months to come. The only thing left to do for the Islamic republic is to put the theo in theocracy to good use and "pray" for rain and snow this summer.