Snow closes airports, schools in Iran's capital

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's first heavy snowfall of the season has forced both international airports in the capital to close, local media reported Sunday.

The semi-official ISNA news agency says all flights in and out of the Mehrabad and Imam Khomeini airports have been cancelled. Schools closed in several parts of the country and state radio says many cars have been stranded for hours.

Iran's English-Language PressTV said a heavily used rail service between Tehran and the holy city of Mashhad was also suspended due to the snow buildup.

Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of staff of the armed forces, said they stood ready to provide any help needed to reopen the roads.

Tehran's mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi, used Twitter to call on citizens to help municipal workers shake the snow from trees to prevent falling limbs. Power outages were reported in some neighborhoods.

Despite the transport snags, many welcomed the heavy snow, which comes amid a severe drought.

Earlier his month, Tehran's Gov. Isa Farhadi said this is the driest year in last 47. He warned that if the trend continues, 52 percent of Tehran citizens will not have drinking water next year.

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