In early July 2009, a dust storm that had raged over Iraq for over a week, and earned the reputation as the worst in living memory, traveled eastward to Iran. Once the dust arrived, Tehran officials closed government offices and schools for two days, canceled numerous domestic flights, and warned the elderly, children, and individuals in poor health to stay indoors, according to news reports. Iranian state television reported that this storm brought the worst dust levels to the country in three decades.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of northwestern Iran on July 7, 2009. A thick cloud of dust hovers over most of the region, including the capital city of Tehran, as well as the cities of Qom and Esfahan. Thick dust also hovered over the Persian Gulf (shown in the large image) the same day.