Dust storms affecting Iran may be contaminated with uranium - official

Photo: Dust storms affecting Iran may be contaminated with uranium - official / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 28

By Umid Niayesh, Saeed Isayev - Trend:

Dust storms which repeatedly affect Iran come from such countries as Iraq, which in parts, suffers from depleted uranium contamination, the Chancellor of the Iranian University of Environment, Asghar Mohammadi Fazel said, Iran's Asriran news portal reported on Jan. 28.

"The presence of depleted uranium in Iraq is confirmed," he said, adding that the country is one of the main sources of dust storms in Iran.

He further said that study and observation of microfossils in the dust indicate that the dust storms originally come from the Horn of Africa.

Fazel went on to claim that in the modern world, it is possible to affect people of a specific area with dust.

"You can add specific elements to dust, and that would affect people psychologically," he said. "Such dust can make people sorrowful, sad or even happy."

In recent years, dust storms in Iran have raised concerns over the air pollution levels in some cities, raising the particulates concentration to 9 times greater than standard levels.

The capital city of Tehran was affected by dust storms for 117 days during the last solar year (ended on March 21, 2013), ISNA quoted Tehran Province's Environment Department director Mohammad-Hadi Heidarzadeh as saying.

The incoming dust has already forced the closure of governmental offices as well as educational and industrial centers in the capital Tehran several times.

Iran's Environment Protection Organization says it is cooperating with the Iraqi side to prevent the entry of dust and haze into Iran through proper measures.

In October 2012, the then director of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh, travelled to Iraq to discuss the issue of dust storms with Iraqi officials and push for the implementation of agreements between the two countries in this regard.

In 2009, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement according to which Iraq should have poured oil derivative mulch on deserts, however the agreement was never fulfilled.

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