Thursday, February 10, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran gripped by wintry weather

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran gripped by wintry weather: "Iran gripped by wintry weather
By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran



The heavy snow has caused huge disruption
Heavy snow has disrupted ordinary life in the Iranian capital, Tehran, with schools closed for most of the week and many people unable to get to work.

Roads to the north and west of the country have been closed, leaving some villages in the mountains cut off.

More than 70 flights were cancelled on Tuesday alone, and many others have been delayed.

One newspaper says it is the worst weather for 34 years, and the forecast is for more snow in the coming days.

In the capital, Tehran, 10,000 bulldozers and 13,000 municipal workers have been deployed to keep the main roads open - but many small lanes are still blocked.

Public transport has been badly disrupted with long queues for buses and quarrels between the public and taxi drivers who have been increasing their fares.

Children who have been off school all week have been building snow men and playing snowballs, while young boys are making money by shovelling the snow off people's roofs and driveways.

All this comes as the authorities are planning a rally in Tehran for Thursday to mark the anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

This year they are hoping for a massive turnout to counter American allegations that the Iranian regime oppresses its own people and has no popular support. But the weather does not seem to be on their side."

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