In 2007, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad approved the development of Abshenasan Mehr housing developement in Robat Kareem, some 25 miles from Tehran.
Mehr was part of Ahmadinejad's vision to provide housing to some of the most vulnerable in society — but in reality, it fostered corruption and drove up house prices exponentially. Its planners failed to consider the demands of the tough desert environmental in which the project was being built, and, as the cost of the project rose beyond budgets, shoddy materials were increasingly used to complete units and bring housing to the poor.
Almost 10 years on, much of the vast development remains unfinished, and those who live in the competed parts of the complex are cut off from essential services, including medical care and clean water. Garbage collection is infrequent and unreliable and fire safety and building standards have not been met. Many residents face serious threats to their health. Today, not only has the legacy of Ahmadinejad's housing dream helped fuel Iran's financial crisis, it has left those people it was supposed to help living in poorly maintained, dangerous accommodation — a blight on the landscape that will take huge amounts of care and money to set right.
Iranian Students' News Agency