Iran

Iran's president tries to defuse anger in an oil-rich province hit by dust storms, blackouts and protests

Iran's president tries to defuse anger in an oil-rich province hit by dust storms, blackouts and protests

Bidding to ease public anger over a mounting environmental crisis, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday visited an oil-rich southwestern province that has been crippled by sandstorms and power blackouts.

Residents of Khuzestan province have long struggled with high levels of dust because of desertification, but the problems worsened this month when severe rains washed the fine particles into power transmission equipment. That caused several days of electricity blackouts last week in Ahvaz, the provincial capital and home to more than 1 million people.

Schools and government agencies in much of the province were closed temporarily, and water supplies were disrupted,...

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