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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian lawmaker says one person was killed in his city during recent unrest over price increases in the southwestern Khuzestan province, semi-official ILNA news agency reported Saturday.

Ahmad Avaei, a member of parliament from Dezful did not give the name or gender of the person killed, or say how many people were arrested during the unrest.

State media reported Friday that Iranian authorities had arrested at least 22 demonstrators who had been protesting sudden price hikes of subsidized staple foods, 15 of them in Dezful. A firefighter was injured in clashes with demonstrators in a nearby city, Andimeshk.

The unrests follow Iran’s announcement earlier in the week that the cost of cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk would rise by as much as 300%, as food prices surge across the Middle East due to global supply chain snarls and Russia’s invasion of major food exporter Ukraine.

State TV on Friday showed footage of demonstrations in the province that had deteriorated into violence, with protesters burning tires and leaving mosques and public property damaged.

Memories of Iran’s fuel price hike in November 2019 also remain fresh. Then, widespread protests — the most violent since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979 — rocked the country.

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Schools, offices close in Tehran as sandstorm hits Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Schools and government offices closed in the Iranian capital on Tuesday and elsewhere in the country after yet another sandstorm blanketed Tehran, state TV reported.

The report said the air quality was very poor and that the pollution from the dust was high. It was the third severe sandstorm in Iran since mid-April.

Last week, authorities also shuttered schools in Tehran and other provinces because of a similar sandstorm but Tuesday marks the first time government offices closed in Tehran due to a sandstorm.

Tehran is among the most polluted cities in the world. The country’s west, along the border with Iraq, has seen frequent closures of schools and offices due to sandstorms. On Monday, airports in western Iran saw dozens of flights canceled or delayed.

In neighboring Iraq, sandstorms — at least eight since April — have landed thousands in hospitals with severe respiratory problems and killed at least one person. In Syria, at least three people died along the border with Iraq because of the storm.

Experts blame poor government policies, desertification and low water levels as well as climate change for the frequency and intensity of recent sandstorms.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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