Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What's a state to do?

One way of exploring the limits of the capacity of the state in Iran is to examine government responses to the sanctions imposed on the country.

Heavy pollution takes a toll on residents in Tehran
The Iranian capital is experiencing what officials say is the worst pollution in its history, prompting the government to shutter offices and consider placing air purifiers across the city as it seeks to combat the brown blanket of smog.

The weeks of heavy pollution are taking a serious toll on residents of Tehran. Hospitals are reporting a strong increase in patients with breathing problems. Government offices have been closed for three days over the past three weeks, and schools and universities have been shuttered for at least six days.

Tightly embraced by one of the highest mountain ranges in the Middle East and filled with millions of cars, Tehran has grappled for decades with air pollution. But this year, as the capital and other Iranian cities struggle with extreme pollution, many here are blaming a new, locally produced form of gasoline… "This fuel is our political ace [against the sanctions]," the Ayandeh Web site, which is critical of the government, said Monday. "But it is of low quality and polluting."…

The government has… proposed installing 100 air purifiers in the most polluted places in the city. But experts say the purifiers only work in secluded spaces and would be ineffective…

Despite the pollution crisis, the Iranian government has boasted in recent months that the country has started exporting the gasoline it is producing to neighboring countries. State television showed trucks crossing the border with Iraq to deliver the fuel...

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