CONTROVERSY surrounds the proposal to open an Iranian oil refinery in Algeciras.

Green groups and Gibraltar are likely to oppose the development, that would cause more pollution to the Campo area and could be sensitive politically.

ALGECIRAS: Pollution concerns over Iran refinery
ALGECIRAS: Pollution concerns over Iran refinery

It comes after Spanish government minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo confirmed he had held talks with Iran over the refinery.

In a carefully worded statement, issued after sanctions were lifted this weekend, he said: “The refinery would create jobs in the Campo de Gibraltar, which was one of my concerns.

“We’ve been ready to do that in the past with Rosneft, but talks with the Russian company were discontinued as a result of sanctions.

“But Iranian investment can fill the void left and create jobs.”

Residents voiced their anger on local eco-protest group Verdermar Ecologistas en Acccion’s Facebook page.

“With the contamination that there already is in the area? We have more than enough with a refinery here already. What a disgusting country,” said Joceleyne Kammerer.

“I can’t believe it. More illness, more cancer, more contamination and less health,” said Noah Leiva Albornoz.

The reported deal comes as world leaders lifted sanctions on Iran’s oil in exchange for the regime hauling back its nuclear programme.

Iran wants to invest in a Spanish facility, which would produce 200,000 barrels a day, according to the state-run National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company.

The Campo de Gibraltar is one of the most polluted areas in Spain.

In 2007, cancer levels in the Campo de Gibraltar were shown to be 50% higher than anywhere else in the country, according to figures from health agency Centro Nacional de Epidemiología del Instituto de Salud de Carlos II.

A Gibraltar government spokesman refused to comment.


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