President Hassan Rohani began the new Iranian calendar year with a series of orders aimed at environmental protection, including protection of the Hara Forest on Qeshm Island and the prevention of development in coastal areas. He is quoted as saying that Hera Forest is part of the island’s identity and must be preserved.

The president, however, made no reference to the role of the ministries and the military in destroying Qeshm’s natural resources and developing wide coastal areas in both southern and northern Iran.

Rohani told the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Free Zones from all across the country that any plan that would harm Hara Forest will be rejected by the government.

The Hera Forest region has already been heavily affected by oil and gas projects in southern Iran as well as hotel development in Qeshm.

Rohani told the Board of Trustees that coastal regions should not be up for sale anywhere in the country and should remain public property.