Throughout Iran’s political history and succession of governments, the capital has changed so many times that no region has ever been the capital of the country. Among the most prominent of these regions and cities were Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Qazvin and Kerman, until the choice settled on Tehran, the capital of Iran.
Tehran was chosen as the capital of the country during the Qajar rule (starting from the year 1200 AH / 1785AD), and from that period up to the Islamic revolution in Iran, it has been proposed to move the capital to other cities several times.
The Iranian parliament and the Guardian Council agreed in 2015 to transfer the administrative and political capital from Tehran as part of a plan to “study the feasibility of transferring the administrative and political center of the country, and organizing and decentralizing from Tehran.”
In a new attempt to move the capital, the Revolutionary Guard’s Khatam al-Anbiya base telegraphed a proposal to President Hassan Rouhani last week, in which it expressed its willingness to transfer the administrative and political capital from Tehran without any cost (as it is an independent institution and does not bear the state any additional cost). In turn, the President of the Republic sent a letter to the Minister of Roads and City Building to study the issue.
Crises, the capital, Tehran, and the proposed solutions
In this regard, Abu al-Fadl Abu Turabi, deputy and member of the Internal Security Committee in the House of Representatives, stated that “the excessive gathering of people, wealth, knowledge, and industry in Tehran is a real threat, whether in terms of natural hazards, military attacks or even civil disobedience.”
The accumulation of crises has tipped the balance of the capital’s transition, including that Tehran is located on the seismic fault, along with traffic congestion and air pollution, land subsidence and collapsing buildings, as well as unbalanced development compared to other cities.
On the other hand, many experts, as well as the municipality of Tehran, the Shura of the city and the governor of Tehran, believe that there is no point in moving the capital, and that through a strong and resolute central administration, Tehran’s problems can be overcome at lower costs.
The expert in architecture and urban design, Eng. Jamal El Din Taha, points out that “there are three active seismic faults in Tehran and its surroundings, and this is the same situation in various cities, which means that the danger continues with the new capital, so it is better to solve the problem and confront it rather than flee from it.”
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Taha added, “The solution to Tehran’s crises lies in educating and training human teams, as well as by preventing the construction of unsupported buildings, stopping the destruction of green spaces, modernizing the public transport fleet, and expanding subway stations in all regions, which will contribute to Solve the problem of traffic congestion and air pollution. “
Decentralization limits the aggravation of the crisis
Tehran is currently the largest city in Iran, with a population of about 10 million, and about 250,000 citizens migrate to it annually for various reasons, most notably work.
Political analyst and director of Insaf News (reformist) Ali Asghar Shafiian believes that the flow of people to Tehran is due to the quality of the facilities and cheap services, so subsidies for goods in Tehran should be removed so that the prices become real and thus not attract additional immigrants to it, which will limit the increase in the capital’s problems. .
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Shafaiyan indicated that moving the capital is a “joke” because the problems will not be solved by moving them, but rather by decentralizing and distributing tasks to various cities and not focusing on the capital only, which will put an end to immigration to Tehran and the receding of its problems.
There is no official list of candidate cities, but according to experts, these cities are likely to be on the list: Khomein, Isfahan (central Iran), Hamadan (west), Semnan (east Tehran), Bardis and Berend (east and south Tehran).
why now? And what does this have to do with the Beirut explosion?
Some are surprised by the timing of the talk of relocating the capital again in light of the spread of the Corona pandemic, as well as US sanctions, economic problems and the approaching end of the Rouhani government.
Others relate this issue to officials’ fear of a repeat of the explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut, as there is also a large reservoir in the capital, Tehran, for oil and chemical products within residential neighborhoods and on a seismic fault in northwestern Tehran (Shahran region), which prompted members of the city’s shura to warn of the danger of its explosion. They described it as a hydrogen bomb, as it contains about 200 million liters of petroleum products.
No practical action has been taken until this moment, and the government has postponed its final decision on transferring the administrative and political capital until the Corona pandemic is eliminated. However, experts believe that by expanding e-government, decentralization and sound management of problems, it can reduce the aggravation of Tehran’s crises by a large percentage until the final decision is issued.