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article imageBritain sued by Iran for burning trees in Qolhak Garden, Tehran

By Katerina Nikolas     Nov 2, 2011 in World
Tehran - Britain is to be sued by Iran for burning 310 trees in Qolhak Garden. The Iranians state that it has created an environmental legal issue and demand $400,000 in compensation, also saying the garden should be confiscated from the British Embassy.
The Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, has created a legal stir by accusing the British of disregarding the environment. Qolhak Garden in north Tehran is in the possession of the British Embassy but they had no legal right to cut down and burn 310 trees in the garden without obtaining permission from Iranian authorities.
As the issue came to light it provoked accusations that the garden is in the possession of the embassy illegally, a matter which was previously raised but never resolved. The Tehran Times quotes Qalibaf saying “the British Embassy in Tehran has expropriated the Qolhak Garden for years, and every freethinking Iranian has the right to call on the relevant institutions to take the measures necessary to defend the country’s inalienable rights in this regard.” Regarding the issue of illegal tree burning Qalibaf added “It is a matter of regret that the British government, which has adopted an affectation of being a protector of the environment and an advocate of humanitarian values, ignores the national and citizenship rights of the people of another country through taking such a measure.”Mehdi Chamran, Chairman of Tehran’s city council, lent support to the mayor. He stated “According to the national laws, the embassy should pay a 5 billion rials (approximately USD400,000) fine for cutting the trees and the garden should be confiscated in the interest of the people." (Fars)According to Press TV the 200,000 square meters of garden were leased to the British Embassy in 1872 yet remained in British hands when the lease expired. The Iranian government concluded in 2006 that the British have no legal basis to claim the Qolhak Garden belongs to the embassy.
Mayor Qalibaf had further accused the British of attempting to undermine Iran, saying “The efforts that the British government has made since the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution to undermine (Iran’s) national unity and territorial integrity and its seditious moves are common knowledge.”
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