Tehran Mayor sues British embassy
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 5 / Trend T.Konyayeva, T.Jafarov /
The Executive Office of Tehran city has taken the case of the Qolhak Garden, which is still 'illegally' occupied by the British Embassy to court, Mehr News Agency quoted Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as saying on Saturday. The court will issue a ruling on this case.
The Qolhak Garden case is not a political issue, Mr. Qalibaf stressed, adding that the matter concerns the violation of the law.
"Some trees were found burnt, chopped down and hewn here by the British Embassy staff.
They committed a crime and they should be brought to responsibility for these actions," he said. "We sent all required documents to the court and we hope that the court will take appropriate measures."
As for the recovery of the garden to the city, Mr. Qalibaf said he is not authorized to make such a decision. However, he said, the Iranian law specifies two points concerning the issue. First, any area where trees were illegally chopped down should be returned to the Executive Office and the Mayor may order to lay out a park there. Second, a violator should pay a penalty and plant trees ten times more than he/she chopped down.
Iran argues that Qolhak Garden belonged to Iranian Qajar King Nassereddin Shah and that the British Council took possession of this garden by force.
Some 162 members of the Iranian Parliament wrote a letter in 2006 to the then speaker, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, demanding an investigation over the ownership of the Qolhak Garden.
The investigation team reported that the garden belongs to Iran completely.
A meeting was organized in July 2007 to address the ownership of the compound. However the British side did not attend.