An Iranian general accused Israel of manipulating weather to prevent rain over the Islamic Republic, alleging his country was facing cloud “theft,” before being contradicted by the nation’s weather chief.
“The changing climate in Iran is suspect,” Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization told a press conference, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
“Foreign interference is suspected to have played a role in climate change,” Jalali was quoted as saying, insisting results from an Iranian scientific study “confirm” the claim.
“Israel and another country in the region have joint teams which work to ensure clouds entering Iranian skies are unable to release rain,” he said.
“On top of that, we are facing the issue of cloud and snow theft,” Jalali added, citing a survey showing that, above 2,200 meters (7,218 feet), all mountainous areas between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean are covered in snow, except Iran.
Iran’s own meteorological service struck a skeptical note, however.
General Jalali “probably has documents of which I am not aware, but on the basis of meteorological knowledge, it is not possible for a country to steal snow or clouds,” said the head of Iran’s meteorological service Ahad Vazife, quoted by ISNA.
“Iran has suffered a prolonged drought, and this is a global trend that does not apply only to Iran,” Vazife said. “Raising such questions not only does not solve any of our problems, but will deter us from finding the right solutions,” he added, in apparent reference to Jalali’s claims.
In a video last month addressed to Iranians, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered to share Israel’s water expertise with Iran, saying “the Iranian people are victims of a cruel and tyrannical regime that denies them vital water.”
Netanyahu told the Iranians that Israel faced similar water issues and found ways of dealing with them, adding that Israeli technology can help the Iranians.