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Iran’s Koan

If you have not yet read Ismael Hossein-zadeh’s “Rouhani’s “Open-Door” Economic Policy for Iran: Recipe for Indebtedness, Deindustrialization and Dependence” you should. It clearly points out the wall that Iran is walking into. What is left out though is the ditch it is falling into, which will cause it to slam into the wall even harder. The ditch is the environmental crisis that Iran is facing, and which could be avoided, or at least its impact diminished if corrective action is taken now.

Okay, let’s pretend decision makers have all the facts, or the Majlis suddenly woke up and passed laws so the following would happen:

Immediate design and construction of Iran’s own Gigafactory. Maybe it should be in the plural.

Immediate design and construction of PV cell manufacturing plants with the latest technology available. Capacity: 30 Giga Watts per year for Phase One? Or is that too little?

Immediate construction of solar power plants to generate all of Tehran’s electricity needs for Phase One, with Phase Two being entire country, and Phase Three being able to export clean energy to all neighboring countries.

Dismantling of all plants manufacturing internal combustion engines and converting them to electric engine manufacturing through technology transfer agreements with Tesla, Nissan, BMW, and others.

Agreement with Chinese electric motorbike makers and bicycle makers to convert all motor bikes and bicycles in all Iranian cities to electric within three years. Construction of elevated bikeways throughout Iranian cities could begin.

Conversion of all buses to electric within two years.

Incentives to build solar panels on apartment roofs, carports, and businesses so that each building can be used as a charging station within three years.

Direct at least fifty percent of all revenue from sale of fossil fuels for creation of renewable industry; power plants, PV cell making, wind turbine making, R&D investment in latest innovations, technology transfer agreements, incubators, re-training centers, career centers, venture capital, career guidance, a reverse brain-drain program, and conversion of all fossil extractions to non-polluting activities.

Re-examine all past dam building activity and dismantle any dam that is causing environmental damage, if no good solution can be found.

Enforce strict water extraction measures and controls on private wells reaching down to groundwater and aquifers.

Bring back the quanat system if it makes environmental sense.

Build massive pipelines for transporting seawater to central regions of Iran to be used for agriculture.

Eliminate all import duties or tariffs on PV cells and all technology that has renewable applications but also encourage indigenous innovation through financial support and subsidies until able to compete.

Establish a high speed electric train network so that air travel would not be necessary. This network would seamlessly integrate with urban metro and elevated tramways and bikeways systems. “You mean cancel the multi-billion dollar orders for Airbuses?” Yes. And cancel the nuke plant orders also.

The objective would be to be entirely renewable powered by 2030 and have all fossil fuel extractions used for non-polluting chemical industry activities and exports.

All of the above is within today’s technological capability and very much implementable if knowledgeable political will existed.

Undertaking such a plan of action would create millions of high paying jobs that have a good secure future, and which can be filled with our current existing pool of highly talented and educated young Iranians. Recently I placed some classified ads seeking horticulturalists and other engineers. The response was astonishing and gave a very good window on who is out there and the potential they have.

The first priority is the environment. If we don’t solve the environmental problems there will be nothing to argue about. The mass migrations, the rising sea levels, critical shortage of water, the agricultural crisis with likely dependence on very expensive imports. And there will be many other problems that will be outgrowths of more unforeseen problems.

However the problem is not the technology, the know-how, or even money, it’s having a full understanding of the facts and being able to see reality without blinkers and distortions.

Once you have fully identified a problem, fifty percent of the problem has been solved.

We have not yet done this. Instead we are arguing while looking at our own noses and not the facts. Iran’s water crisis is very real. Learn what that reality is. The answer will exist within the problem. Or to quote Sojun Roshi, “The answer to a koan is within the koan.”