Vahid Salemi / File / AP

Sanctions hurt climate change efforts, Iran envoy says

Iran climate envoy says sanctions block technology and investment that could boost efforts to cut carbon emissions

Iran could quadruple its carbon emissions cuts if economic sanctions imposed by the United States, United Nations and European Union were ended, Tehran’s lead envoy at U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn said Tuesday.

Majid Shafie-Pour, Iran’s climate delegation chief, was at the talks in Bonn where at least 190 nations were meeting to prepare for the signing of a global climate treaty in Paris in December. Iran will likely submit its plan to address climate change by November, Shafie-Pour said.

“We would really have to have at least two different plans — one with the existing technology available to ourselves, the existing level of investment and financial resources and the capacity under the unjustifiable sanction regime,” and another that assumes sanctions are lifted,  Bloomberg quoted Shafie-Pour as saying.

He estimated that lifting sanctions would allow Iran to present a plan that has “three to four times the effect” on emissions.

Washington first imposed sanctions on Iran in 1979 after Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took diplomats as hostages. Nuclear sanctions were levied in the 1990s, and the U.S. and the U.N. Security Council approved sanctions over Iran’s uranium enrichment program in 2006. Western nations suspected Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian program, charges Tehran has repeatedly rejected.

Iran has not yet announced its climate action plan ahead of the December U.N. climate summit in Paris, where world leaders hope to sign a deal aimed at curbing the worst effects of global warming. Of countries that have not yet announced their plans, Iran is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany would curb Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for lifting the sanctions.

Once Iran complies with and implements changes to its nuclear program specified in the deal, the lifting of sanctions is set to begin. Virtually all sanctions over Iran’s nuclear plan could be lifted within a decade, according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed on in July.

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