An organisation directly controlled by Iran’s supreme leader has acquired part of Mount Damavand, the country’s highest mountain, according to an Iranian daily, sparking criticism amongst Iranians.
The state-run daily Hamshahri reported on Sunday that Iran's Endowments Organization has acquired one eleventh of Mount Damavand and the slopes leading to the summit.
The organization is part of the Culture Ministry, but its head must be personally approved by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Mount Damavand, a potentially active volcano 5,600 meters high, is the highest mountain in Iran and the highest volcano in Asia. It was registered as a national monument in 2008.
The acquisition was completed with the consent of the country’s highest judicial authority, the Supreme Court of Iran, Hamshahri said.
The ruling has sparked criticism from Iranians on social media as well as from some officials.
The supreme court issued the ruling without consulting the Forests and Pastures Organization, Mohammad Rajab Ali Pisheh, an official at the Natural Resources Office of Mazandaran Province, told Hamshahri.
“The country’s natural resources are no longer enough, they have now come for Damavand,” Iranian political analyst Alihossein Ghazizadeh tweeted.
“When the regime’s pockets get empty, it will knock on every Iranian’s door and demand something more. If we don’t act soon enough, all of Iran will be dedicated towards keeping the regime in power,” Ghazizadeh added in the same tweet.
“The Islamic Republic is plundering Iran’s natural resources and national lands with an insatiable onslaught,” another user tweeted.
As with most Iranian organizations under Khamenei’s direct supervision, the Endowments Organization is accused of lack of transparency regarding its financial status.
The organisation has never released a transparent report about its transactions, according to Radio Farda.