Tehran Pollution So Bad That Going Out Is 'Suicide'
City shuts down for days until winds pick up
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 7, 2013 11:01 AM CST
Air pollution blankets the skyline in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

(Newser) – When the potent mix of cold weather and windless days hits Tehran, so does pollution so thick that it shuts down buildings and stings the eyes and throat, prompting calls to stay indoors. Schools, banks, and government buildings were closed for five days last week in an effort to cut down on the yearly yellow fog that blankets the city, the New York Times reports. State radio told listeners that to go outside Saturday would essentially be "suicide." "It feels as if even God has turned against us," says one resident.

The Times puts the pollution in context: Tehran claims almost four times the polluting particles per cubic meter as Los Angeles, and three Iranian towns are on the World Health Organization's list of the 10 most polluted cities on the planet. Now, respiratory disease, heart disease, and certain cancers are on the rise, according to the country's health ministry. Part of the problem, according to experts, is Iran's domestically made gasoline, a replacement for refined imports banned by US sanctions beginning in 2010. But the government refuses to cite the gasoline as a cause, though a report on the capital found "healthy" air days fell from 300 in 2009 to less than 150 two years later.

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Jan 10, 2013 2:14 AM CST
The news story is incorrect. The Iranian government only ordered government offices, schools and universities to shut down one day in the last 2 weeks. I agree that Iran and specifically the weather in Tehran is highly polluted. I have been to Los Angeles and I must say, Los Angeles has clean weather compare to Iran's smog. Iran's pollution is like hell on earth. You can't see in front of you in the Tehran weather. It's one big smoke screen. You need to wear a gas mask in Tehran to walk on the street. And the Iranian domestic made gasoline is in reality "PAINT THINNER" as per workers in the Iranian Oil refinery. It appears that paint thinner can be used to run automobiles the same way gasoline can. The problem is that "Paint thinner" pollutes the air big time. The Iranian government doesn't care. The Iranians only want to be able to drive to work and elsewhere. So, the Iranians really don't care that there air is polluted. One year ago 10,000 Rials were equal to one U.S. Dollar. Today in Iran 35,000 Rials is equal to one U.S. Dollar. The only imports to Iran are from Turkey and China. The economy in Iran is in shambles. India no longer imports rice to Iran because to U.S. sanctions. The U.S. sanctions are working. President Obama, keep up the good work. The next step should be a world naval blockade of Iran's shores so that Iran can not sell oil to the world. The Iranian government is a threat to world peace. The U.S. and the world must work for regime change in Iran. The Iranian theocracy is a threat to Middle East peace and World peace. Even Jesus hates the Iranian government. The world prays for regime change in Iran and Syria. AMEN.
Jan 8, 2013 2:44 PM CST
good hope they all stay inside and stop killing us and eachother!!
Jan 8, 2013 6:48 AM CST
Maybe this is why Iran would like to have nuclear power plants like so many other countries that moved from dirty energy sources to cleaner alternatives??