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Iran’s Raeisi calls for regional effort to tackle dust storms

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows the iconic White Bridge in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz being covered in thick haze during a dust storm in the region.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has called on regional countries to cooperate to tackle a rising wave of dust storms that has created major environmental and economic problems for the region.

Addressing a regional meeting of top environment officials in Tehran on Tuesday, Raeisi said regional cooperation would be key to tackling environmental challenges, including a significant rise in sand and dust storms in recent years that has impacted the day-to-day life of citizens in several countries.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran would welcome this regional convergence to resolve these challenges and to improve the environmental conditions,” Raeisi said during the speech.

The Iranian president also proposed the establishment of a regional organization backed by a fund to pursue joint efforts meant to tackle environmental problems.

Iran has suffered from increased cases of severe dust storms in recent years with authorities blaming the problem on drought as well as on the lack of proper management of water and land resources in neighboring countries, especially in Iraq.

Iraq has itself suffered from the same problem with people across the Arab country being subject to major health issues because of recurring cases of dust, sand and windstorms in recent years.

Head of Iran’s environment protection agency Ali Salajeghe said on Tuesday that Iran was intent on resolving the dust storm problem through collaboration with regional countries.

A report by the official IRNA news agency said that top environmental official from 11 countries of the region had gathered in the conference held in Iran on Tuesday under the banner “Environmental Cooperation for Better Future”.

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