What you need to know about the Iran land submersion crisis


Subsidence in Tehran in June 2016 led to a serious accident in the city’s subway system

Climate change, water scarcity and other environmental crises threaten our planet. While many countries face potential ecological problems, Iran under the mullahs’ regime is just one step away from environmental catastrophe.

Aside from going to bed on an empty stomach and enduring the regime’s systematic oppression, the fear of dying due to subsidence has compounded people’s misery and anxiety.

Many Iranian environmentalists are warning of subsidence and that many Iranian cities are on the verge of total collapse.

Due to water shortages, land subsidence in Iran has been the country’s main environmental crisis in recent years.

Iran is one of the countries with the highest subsidence, estimated to be ninety times higher than that of developed countries. The situation has reached a point where Iran’s state media and regime officials are acknowledging the harrowing facts.

“According to Ali Baitullahi, director of the Road, Housing and Urban Development Research Center, Iran has the fourth-largest land subsidence in the world. He said that we have less than 10 years, all plains in Iran are sinking and the risk of this happening is much higher in Isfahan than in other cities.” reported the state-run Tejaratnews on October 16, 2021.

It is worth noting that the Geological Survey of Iran reported in early 2021 that out of the 609 plains in Iran, about 500 have fresh water and all face subsidence. In Isfahan, the city is permeated by subsidence.

In September, video from southern Isfahan showed deep holes, sometimes 12 meters deep. Located near the Isfahan-Shiraz railway, these holes pose an immediate hazard to commuter trains.

On May 17th, the quoted semi-official news agency ISNA The Isfahan governor who acknowledged: “Over 100 schools were evacuated and closed last year due to land subsidence.”

But this problem is not limited to Isfahan.

On April 16, 2022, the state-run Sanayepress quoted Alireza Shahidi, head of the Geology and Mineral Exploration Organization of Iran, as describing what he called the “silent earthquake” and the “disaster” of land subsidence. He had also warned of the “security” implications, or in other words, the public’s response.

“Iran’s land subsidence is more than five times the global average. About eight million housing units across the country are in vulnerable subsidence zones,” he wrote the state Fararou website on May 8.

“Land subsidence occurs in most provinces and only Gilan province is an exception. In other northern provinces of the country, such as Mazandaran and Golestan, we are seeing subsidence, and the southwestern provinces have worrying subsidence,” the state-run Fararou website added.

“Subsidence in Tehran is a serious problem and is more frequent and significant in south-west Tehran. This phenomenon can damage monuments next to landslides,” quotes the state news agency Mehr Mehdi Abbasi, chairman of the urban planning commission of the Islamic Council of Tehran, said on March 18.

On July 1, the Intel Labs Research Group also warned of massive subsidence in Tehran, calling it a “silently ticking bomb.” While showing some satellite imagery, Intel Lab emphasized that subsidence “has engulfed the city of Tehran itself in recent years, threatening a growing population of 13 million residents and its critical infrastructures.”

The Intel Lab emphasized that “excessive abstraction of groundwater has caused land subsidence at rates of up to 25 centimeters per year in some areas.”

What is subsidence and what causes it?

Subsidence is a general term for the vertical downward movement of the earth’s surface, which can be caused by natural processes and human activities.

Subsidence occurs when groundwater is improperly abstracted and water storage cavities become empty pores. Over time, the pores dry out due to the pressure of the upper soil layers. When the water in the pores of the earth is reduced by excessive consumption and the digging of countless wells. This compresses the soil grains.

This phenomenon was first observed in 1921 in Shanghai, China. After World War II, the problem was exacerbated by the rapid extraction of water, oil and gas from the lower strata, particularly the granular ones.

Why is subsidence increasing in Iran?

According to Alireza Shahidi, “Global access to water resources ranges from 3 to 20 percent, and when it reaches 40 to 60 percent we speak of tension and between 60 and 80 percent a crisis. In Iran, it sometimes reaches over 80 percent. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have led the country to destruction.”

The Iranian economy is dependent on oil. Since the hijacking of the anti-monarchical revolution in 1979, Iran’s ruling theocracy has relied heavily on oil and gas exports. But the revenues from Iran’s national wealth have been squandered on terrorism and repression. Tehran has accelerated oil and gas production without improving infrastructure in order to always have money for its mercenaries and illegal activities. As a result, the increased production of oil and gas without regard to their environmental impact has contributed to the creation and increase of subsidence.

Also, one of the main reasons for the water crisis in Iran is the construction of unscientific dams by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and their front companies. The IRGC uses these dams for military purposes and its factories. In addition, the IRGC has dug deep wells. Before the 1979 revolution, there were only 36,000 wells in Iran. But official reports from 2015 indicate that there are at least 794,000 wells nationwide.

Iran’s groundwater management is under the Ministry of Energy and the country’s surface water management is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards. By taking over all of the country’s surface and underground waters, digging wells, and building dams, these two institutions have monopolized water.

In 2018 the stressed the New York Times that “25 percent of all water withdrawn from aquifers, rivers and lakes exceeds the amount that can be replenished.”

As a result of the Iranian regime’s destructive policies, Iran is on the brink of disaster. Iran’s historical sites in cities like Isfahan and Shiraz are on the verge of collapse. According to the official IRNA news agency, in 2021 “subsidence in the country will start from 25 cm and reach two to three meters.”

This phenomenon endangers the lives of millions of Iranians and hundreds of Iranian cities would soon become habitable.

What is the solution?

Suppose there is a government in Iran that cares about its people. Then there are actually several solutions to the subsidence crisis. Some practical steps that could reduce the risk of severe subsidence include:

  • injection of excess water at the surface into aquifers;
  • Proper and efficient use of water resources with improved irrigation methods, such as B. using drip or sprinkler methods or improving the cultivation of crops that require little watering;
  • ban on excessive use of groundwater basins;
  • Urban water treatment and reuse in factories;
  • reducing industries that require large amounts of water to function;
  • drilling wells that can store excess water in the ground; and
  • Legal control of water resources

But these measures are in stark contrast to the Iranian regime’s goals. Considering that the regime’s top priority is to ensure its survival, taking measures to protect the environment and tackle the subsidence problem is the last item on its agenda.


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