TEHRAN - The Iranian capital is experiencing what officials say is the worst pollution in its history, prompting the government to shutter offices and consider placing air purifiers across the city as it seeks to combat the brown blanket of smog.
The weeks of heavy pollution are taking a serious toll on residents of Tehran. Hospitals are reporting a strong increase in patients with breathing problems. Government offices have been closed for three days over the past three weeks, and schools and universities have been shuttered for at least six days.
Tightly embraced by one of the highest mountain ranges in the Middle East and filled with millions of cars, Tehran has grappled for decades with air pollution. But this year, as the capital and other Iranian cities struggle with extreme pollution, many here are blaming a new, locally produced form of gasoline.
The product is the result of an emergency plan to prevent fuel shortages following a vote by the U.S. Congress in July that banned oil companies from selling gasoline to Iran.
The Islamic Republic's leaders have lauded their oil industry for swiftly supplying the market with its own mixes of high-octane fuel, which is manufactured in petrochemical plants rather than refineries.>>>
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