We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

Middle East

Iran pollution and 'acid rain' sees at least 50 hospitalised

Spate of heavy rain and lightening is believed to have caused breathing problems for some in the heavily polluted city of Ahvaz

An Iranian newspaper has claimed at least 50 people were hospitalised in a southern city after air pollution levels spiked this week following a spate of heavy rain and lightning strikes on Sunday.

Tuesday's report by the pro-reform Arman daily quotes the head of provincial health department, Mohammad Hossein Sarmast, as saying that many rushed to the city hospitals in Ahvaz seeking medical assistance.

Avhaz, which has a population of approximately 1.2m people, is recognised by the World Health Organisation as one of the most polluted cities in the world.

The Iranian Students' News Agency said over 3,000 people had reported respiratory problems following the rainfall at the weekend.

The paper also reports acid rain may have caused symptoms such as shortness of breath among those admitted to hospitals, citing another health official, Mohammad Alavi.