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Environment – Current Issues:
Iran borders the Southern shore of the Caspian Sea with a coastline of more than 750 km, and 11% of the terrestrial territory hold the southern Caspian watershed.
The Iranian area of the Caspian Sea is the most biologically productive area of the sea and the focal point of economic activities in North Iran. Tourism and fisheries are primary economic activities and the health of the Caspian Sea environment is therefore of high importance to the country. The Iranian area of the sea also offers hydrocarbon reserves. Exploitation of these reserves has however in some cases been halted in order to protect the environment.
National concerns regarding the Caspian Sea involve the potential changes in sea level and sea currents. This could potentially result in more frequent occurrences of diseases and extinction of plankton and benthos species, which influence the rest of the food chain. A rise in sea level will as well have severe consequences for the coastal inhabitants of 2 mill people as well as important infrastructure and maritime industry structures.
Environment – International Agreements:
Party to: Biodiversity (CBD), Climate Change (UNFCCC), Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol (KP), Desertification (CCD), Endangered Species (CITES), Hazardous Wastes (Basel), Marine Dumping (MARPOL), Ozone Layer Protection (Montreal), Ship Pollution, Wetlands (Ramsar).
Signed but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Source: Iran’s Second National Communication to UNFCCC, 2010, Department of Environment and National Caspian Action Plan, 2002, Islamic Republic of Iran.