A former vice president and head of the environment department says the fate of the Iranian regime is contingent on saving the country's largest lake that has shrunk by 95 percent.

In a conference on Monday about ways to revive Lake Urmia (Orumiyeh), near Western Azerbaijan Province capital of the same name, Isa Kalantari highlighted that the lake has lost 95 percent of its water over the past three decades, despite government claims that it has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent the environmental disaster.

If the lake is not restored, it will have security consequences, and no government can survive in the country because it cannot withstand the flood of migration of millions of people who reside near it, he said. 

Kalantari said that the country's experts had warned about the drying up of this lake since the mid-1990s, but the authorities ignored the warnings. 

Considering the fact that it has 13 billion tons of salt in its bed, if the lake dries up completely, the city of Tabriz should be evacuated, he elaborated, adding that even if this evacuation is possible, it will cost at least one trillion US dollars.

“The residents of the neighboring provinces will be forced to migrate; winters will be at least 3-4 degrees colder and summers 3-4 degrees hotter, which will disrupt the entire ecology of the region," he noted. 

At its greatest extent, Urmia was the largest lake in the Middle East and sixth largest salt lake in the world, with an original surface area of 5,200 square kilometers in the 1970s, or 2,000 square miles. It had shrunk to 700 sq km by 2013. The lake began shrinking in the 1980s due to water mismanagement and climate change. 

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