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Iran's environment VP to Al-Monitor: 'We lost eight years'

In a telephone interview with Al-Monitor, Masoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, said that many of the plans to address Tehran's pollution were not implemented under the previous administration.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari (R) meets with Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Baghdad February 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Ahmed Saad (IRAQ - Tags - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX184QG

Tehran, the overpopulated and heavily polluted capital city of Iran, is in constant struggle with environmental issues. Among the most drastic and dangerous issues is the city's ever-present pollution, which worsens in winter, causing schools and offices to close on some days, and prompting officials to caution residents — in particular children, the elderly and sick — to refrain from leaving their homes.

President Hassan Rouhani has invested his hopes in Masoumeh Ebtekar to resolve these issues. Ebtekar, 53, was the first woman to become a Cabinet member and a vice president after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Ebtekar, who spent part of her childhood in the United States and attended an American school in Tehran afterward, became a well-known face during the hostage crisis. Due to her fluency in English, she was the spokeswoman and translator for the hostage-takers.

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