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گفتنی است این سایت آرشیو مطالب منتشر شده از اسفند 89 تا دی 92 و همچنین از مهر 94 تا شهریور 95 را شامل می شود

Second USAN campaign to help save lake Urmia in West Azerbaijan region

AZOH: if you remember, last year we ran a similar campaign. Although it

can be considered successful - thousands of letters were sent out and three articles

were published as a result - but nothing has changed on the ground. The lake Urmia

is still being dried up by Iranian government policies, and it is not a domestic or

internal problem of Iran anymore, it has turned into a major regional and

international environmental catastrophe in the making. Let's raise awareness about

this issue and help stop this - otherwise people not only in Iran, but in Iraq,

Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and possibly others, will be suffering from this. It

takes just a few seconds to make your voice heard. Thank you for your activism!


USAN and USTN Boards



Dear member of Congress and media,




A major international environmental disaster is in the making, and requires

immediate action to prevent a humanitarian, ecological, and food crisis. Lake Urmia,

which is located in the West Azerbaijan region of Iran, is the third largest

salt-water lake in the world, the largest lake in the Middle East and one of the

environmental wonders of the world. It is registered as a Biosphere Reserve by the

UNESCO and listed as a wetland of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar

Convention, to which the Government of Iran included lake Urmia on June 23, 1975

(http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/sitelist.pdf). Lake Urmia's coordinates are 37º30'N





Over the last several years, due to reckless and irresponsible irrigation and

infrastructure projects (bridges, hydro-electric stations, dams), that disregard

environmental impact assessments, lake Urmia, which was listed at 483,000 hectares

at the time of the Ramsar Convention, has shrunk by up to 70% in area size and its

depth has fallen by seven meters. This is clearly visible from Google Maps, where

huge salt-covered areas are now dry, serving as a reminder of the lake's former size

and splendor. According to experts, if the lake completely dries up, then up to 10

billion metric tones of salt will be released into the atmosphere resulting in an

ecological catastrophe not only in Azerbaijani cities of Iran, and as far away as

the capital city of Tehran, but also to neighboring countries such as Iraq, Turkey,

Armenia and Azerbaijan. Millions of people could be displaced, resulting in refugees

and additional burden on neighboring countries.




U.S. allies, U.S. soldiers, and U.S. interests will also be affected from this

massive environmental degradation, as many people will become refugees, water and

food shortages will increase, and wars would be more likely, putting a strain on our

budget and on our military. Authoritative reports on such scenarios were published

by Washington DC-based think tanks CNAS: http://www.cnas.org/node/4374 and CNA:





Such environmental disasters are not new - the second-largest salt-water lake in the

world, Aral Sea in Central Asia, has similarly dried up to just 10% of its original

size, creating all kinds of problems for the people on the ground. Lake Urmia should

avoid the fate of the Aral Sea - if we all help and take action.




For well over a year now, tens of thousands of local ethnic Azerbaijani Turks,

especially those living in the city of Urmia, which is the capital of the West

Azerbaijan province of Iran, are protesting government policies that result in

environmental disaster and degradation. Unfortunately, domestic pressure did not

bear any results, escalating this environmental problem further, and requiring

international attention and action. After all, Iran is not a democracy, and does not

care about internal pressure - unless it's coupled with international pressure.




The U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) and the U.S. Turkic Network (USTN) calls upon the

U.S. Government and Congress to use its influence and position in the United Nations

and its agencies, as well as calls on all environmental NGOs to put additional

pressure on the government of Iran to take immediate actions to fulfill their

commitments to preserve lake Urmia. The Iranian government should expedite the

conserving and water transferring plans, and adjust its own $1.7 billion lake

restoration plan, which despite a generous dollar sum, envisions unscientific,

unproven and ineffective solutions that are doomed to fail. A revised action plan,

reworked with the assistance and guidance from the international community, should

be launched and implemented immediately to be effective in protecting the Lake's

flora and fauna. This environmental catastrophe must be stopped before it is too

late. A detailed action plan on how to save the lake is available from USAN and






USAN and USTN member







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