By Ahmet Dursun
Seventy-four Iranian parliamentarians have sought to enlist the support of Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, in a bid to relocate the Iranian capital outside Tehran.
Speaking to Iran’s Parliament News Agency, MP Abolfazl Abourabi said that he and 73 other parliamentarians had sent a letter to Khamenei in which they called for the implementation of a 2013 parliamentary decision to relocate the capital.
“Even though the decision was approved by the president [Hassan Rouhani], the steps needed for its implementation have yet to be taken,” Aboutorabi told the news agency.
“The Plasco fire incident, in which 30 people were killed, revealed just how vulnerable Tehran is,” he added.
On Jan. 19, central Tehran’s 17-story Plasco Business Center collapsed after being gutted by fire.
At least 30 people were killed in the collapse, which also raised questions about the structural integrity of the city’s many high-rise buildings.
Parliamentarians also cite Tehran’s rapidly growing population (currently estimated at more than 8 million), air pollution, traffic congestion and propensity for earthquakes as reasons for wanting to move the capital.
* Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara