Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Strike, sandstorm and shutdown in Tehran?

Someone please tell me if I'm following wandering fires here:

On Monday, Reza Aslan, whose Daily Beast posts seem to carry a whiff of wishful thinking, reported that Mousavi supporters were calling for a 3-day strike, beginning Monday, under cover of the 3-day Islamic holiday Itikaf,
a time when particularly pious Muslims cloister themselves inside homes or mosques for a period of intense prayer and deep spiritual reflection. It is a practice that the Iranian regime has long encouraged the country’s citizens, particularly the youth, to take part in, usually without much success.
Aslan also noted that a "massive sandstorm swept into Tehran Monday morning, blanketing the streets in a dark and dreamy haze."

Today, the Iranian government's media organ Press TV reports:
Tehran closes down for second day

The rising level of dust pollution has forced the closure of Tehran's offices and educational centers for a second day.

According to Tehran Governor General Morteza Tamaddon, the decision was made to decrease the number of cars on the streets and decrease the level of particulate concentration.

“Traffic and using private vehicles could aggravate the air pollution in the capital,” he said on Tuesday.

Studying the latest updates by Tehran's Air Quality Control Company (AQCC), Tehran's Committee for Coordinating Emergency Air Pollution found the particulate concentration at a dangerous level and declared the city closed down on Wednesday.

The committee had earlier announced that all offices and educational centers in Tehran Province would be closed on July 7, 2009 and its industrial centers would be closed from July 7 to 9
Was a planned strike under cover of holiday trumped by an official shutdown under cover of sandstorm? How frequent are sandstorm-induced shutdowns in Iran?

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