Several powerful organizations including a financial empire and a foundation under the aegis of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, got the go-ahead from the Tehran Municipality to build "garden towers" in the gardens in and around the Iranian capital; a project that would destroy at least one third of Tehran's rare and precious green areas.
The gardens are on private properties and a remnant of old, traditional houses, which were surrounded by park-like grounds.
While city council member Bahareh Arvin has called on Mayor Pirouz Hanachi to publish all the information about the project in the interest of transparency, investigative journalist Yashar Soltani, who has already served a prison term for revealing financial corruption at the municipality under a former mayor, has published the names of some of the powerful and wealthy organizations involved in the projects.
The scheme, which would cause tremendous damage to Tehran's ecosystem according to environmental experts, was put forward in 2003, when former ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Tehran and conservatives controlled the city council.
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