TEHRAN, Iran - The Iranian parliament voted Tuesday to consider a proposal to pick another city as the nation's capital, potentially moving the seat of the government from the overcrowded and heavily polluted city of Tehran, despite government opposition to the plan.
Iran's official news agency IRNA said lawmakers accepted outlines of the proposal with 110 out of 214 present lawmakers supporting it. The chamber has 290 seats.
Under the plan, a council would be set up and spend two years studying which alternate location would be best. While there's no suggestion in the bill which cities would be looked at, several central and western cities already have said they would like to be considered.
Supporters of the plan believe Tehran, with a metropolitan population of 12 million people, simply cannot support the capital. They point to the heavy pollution, the city's traffic jams, as well as the risk of earthquakes there. Iran is located on several faults and experiences, on average, one light earthquake a day.
Still, moving the capital seems unlikely, due to the high cost involved.
Lawmakers and officials occasionally have raised the idea over the last 50 years, even before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. U.S. advisers reportedly had asked the king to relocate the capital because it was too close to borders of the Soviet Union.