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Iranian general accuses Israel of ‘snow theft’

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Mountain Technology,

As reported by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, an Iranian general last week accused Israel of stealing snow from Iran.

Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Civil Defence Organisation, said at an agricultural conference in Tehran, Iran: “Foreign interference is suspected to have played a role in climate change. Joint teams from Israel and one of the neighbouring countries make the clouds entering into Iran barren. Moreover, we are faced with the cases of cloud theft and snow theft.”

To back his claims, Jalali cited a recent survey that reported that all mountainous areas higher than 2190 m from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea were covered in snow, except for Iran’s.

Ahad Vazife, head of Iran’s meteorological service, refuted Jalali’s theory, saying that the general, "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.”

Furthermore, evidence from trips to Iranian ski resorts by UK-based companies suggests good snow conditions in place. Nick Williams, Managing Director of Mountain Heaven, skied at the resorts of Dizin and Darbandsar in March this year along with guests and said the snow and weather were both “good”.

“We went the first week of March and experienced no bare slopes or signs of snow issues. We did see drought in the south of country but not in the mountains.”

Iran has four main resorts: Shemshak, Tochal, Dizin and Darbandsar. All are in the Alborz mountain range in the north of the country and have off-piste areas that can be reached by lift.

While Jalali’s extraordinary claim of ‘snow theft’ may be getting into the realms of fantasy, the threat of climate change is a very real one of the ski industry. Rising global temperatures mean many ski resorts in Europe and North America now use snowmaking equipment to artificially extend the length of the ski season. ‘Snow farming’, where snow is preserved for the next season by being covered with insulating materials, has also been deployed at Val Thorens and Courchevel in France.

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