Answer given by Mr Mimica on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is aware of the decline in the volume of water in the Lake Urmia. It agrees that the protection of Lake Urmia's biodiversity and ecosystems needs to be strengthened for reasons linked to the environment, to the health of the surrounding population as well as to other far-reaching socioeconomic effects.
The Commission very much welcomes the raising awareness on this topic by the global community and in particular by the Iranian authorities who bear the primary responsibility for its preservation.
Due to the prevailing political situation the contacts between EU authorities and Iran were until very recently limited. However the nuclear agreement reached between Iran, the EU and other partners in July 2015 opens the prospect for a resumption of cooperation in a variety of sectors, alongside the implementation of the agreement and once the sanctions are lifted. Environmental cooperation, in particular in the areas of water management and prevention of water scarcity and drought, is an important issue and could be part of future EU-Iran political dialogues and engagement.