Iran, UAE sign memorandum of understanding on combating dust storm 

A number of Iranian provinces recently announced a “state of emergency” due to a thick dust cloud that blanketed southern Iranian cities.
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Ali Selajgeh, the head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (right) stands alongside Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri of the UAE Climate Change and Environment Ministry, July 12, 2022. (Photo: IRNA)
Ali Selajgeh, the head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (right) stands alongside Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri of the UAE Climate Change and Environment Ministry, July 12, 2022. (Photo: IRNA)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to contain the rising number of intense dust storms that have battered the Middle East since the start of the year, Iranian state media reported. 

Signed by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri of the UAE Climate Change and Environment Ministry and Ali Selajgeh, the head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization, in Tehran, the memorandum requires both countries to exchange expertise and increase cooperation in the face of rising threats from frequent and intensive dust storms, Iran’s IRNA reported. 

The signing ceremony came on the sidelines of a regional meeting of environment officials from 11 Middle Eastern countries that convened at the invitation of Iran to find a common solution for the climate threat.

A number of Iranian provinces recently announced a “state of emergency” due to a thick dust cloud that blanketed southern Iranian cities.

Iraq is also frequently battered by these storms, which sent thousands to hospitals with respiratory issues. 

Exacerbated by drought and strong winds, this dust storm phenomenon is not new to Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Gulf countries. However, the frequency and intensity of storms this year is greater than before. 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) lose about $13 billion annually to the adverse effects of dust storms, according to a 2019 World Bank report. 

According to a United Nations assessment, Iraq is ranked as the fifth most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change.