Dangerous pollution levels force closures in Tehran

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Soaring pollution levels have prompted Tehran authorities to order a three-day holiday and encourage residents with the means to temporarily leave the city if possible.

Iran's Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi “made the appeal as her services recorded a 15 percent increase in hospital admissions in recent days by people suffering headaches, respiratory difficulties and nausea,” Agence France Press reported Thursday.

“If Tehran's inhabitants are able to leave the city, it would be good for them to do so,” Vahid Dastjerdi was quoted by  Arman, the AFP said.

City authorities ordered Tehran schools and government offices closed most of the week to reduce traffic pollution, and the government to cancel a cabinet meeting.

The pollution is blamed mostly on automobile traffic in the city of 8 million people, which is surrounded by mountains which trap the smog, the AFP report said.

(Photo: AFP, Behrouz Mehri.)

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