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Iran: Unprecedented heat wave triggers emergency holidays

The high temperatures have widely been linked to the overall impacts of climate change, which is hitting Iran twice harder than global averages, according to official data.
A man rinses his face with water from a bottle to cool off during a heat wave in Tehran on July 11, 2023.

TEHRAN — Iranian authorities declared Tuesday and Wednesday emergency holidays to mitigate the "health" implications of the ongoing heat wave gripping almost the entire nation, with average temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).  

Announced on state television, the decision was made in response to a proposal by the country's Health Ministry, which cited potential health issues based on increasingly grim forecasts for the coming days, advising citizens to remain indoors and hydrated. All medical centers were also placed on a state of high alert in anticipation of overwhelming demands for the treatment of heat-related illnesses.  

In the capital, Tehran — the country's largest, densest and most populous city — temperatures are expected to hover above 39 degrees Celcius. Meanwhile, in the southwestern, energy-rich province of Khuzestan, the typically scorching weather could go well over 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).  

With the closures covering both the public and private sectors, the plan will mean four consecutive days of stoppage as the two emergency holidays will be followed by Thursday and Friday, the official weekend in Iran. 

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