Air pollution in Iranian cities is caused not just by sandstorms but by poor quality gasoline and inefficient fuel consumption by cars. Shafie-Pour said that eight large cities in Iran have “very poor air quality” and sometimes have to shut down schools and government offices because of the danger of breathing air outside.
To deal with the problem, Iran is accelerating a program to upgrade refineries. Sanctions imposed on importing refined petroleum products led the prior government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to encourage production of poor-quality gasoline to meet domestic needs.
Iran also suffered from sanctions that made it difficult to import catalytic converters, Shafie-Pour said.
“We would very gratefully open our arms and encourage both private and public enterprises” to help obtain modern technology, he said.
The Rouhani government has established an international environmental expo for companies to exhibit their products. Shafie-Pour said the next one will be held in Tehran on Feb. 25-28.
Iran produces electricity exclusively with natural gas and does not rely on liquid fuels or coal as do many other countries. Shafie-Pour said Iran was looking to increase the efficiency of power plants by 40% and to increase the use of renewable sources of energy to produce 7,500 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2030.