Iran is, literally, being blown away. Stifling dust storms frequently now envelope both big cities and rural towns across much of Iran, the world’s 17th largest country. They threaten to disrupt crucial parts of public and economic life, education, commerce, public health, agriculture, trade and transportation. Swirling clouds – of windblown silt, soil, and sediment-already affected 23 of Iran’s 31 provinces in 2013, according to Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, head of the country’s Environmental Protection Organization.
Iran’s massive dust storms could also spill well across Iran’s borders, generating serious regional consequences and tensions. Dust clouds veiled Tehran for 117 days of the Iranian year which ran from March 2012-March 2013. And blinding sand storms blocked roads across the eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan last summer, isolating nearly 60 towns and villages.
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