Iran Blames Iraq For Sandstorm That Crippled Power Grid

Iraqis walk through Tahrir Square during a heavy sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The sandstorm prompted the shutdown of Baghdad's airport on Monday and brought travel complications for envoys trying to reach the Iraqi capital for nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers scheduled to begin …
AP/Hadi Mizban

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities are blaming neighboring Iraq for a sandstorm that knocked out power in a southern province and sparked protests against local officials.

Iranian state TV said Monday that Masoumeh Ebtekar, a vice president in charge of environmental affairs, has called on Iraq to implement an agreement to prevent dust storms by spreading mulch over 3,500 sq. miles (9,000 sq. kilometers) of desert.

Last week hundreds of people protested in the southern city of Ahvaz, demanding the resignation of Ebtekar and the provincial governor over power and water cuts resulting from the storm. Authorities have since banned protests over the issue.

The sandstorm is still underway, but power and water have been restored.

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