Visitors from Iran take pictures as they feed pigeons during a sandstorm in Najaf, Iraq, on Monday. AFP
The report said the air quality was very poor and that the pollution from the dust was high. It was the third severe sandstorm in Iran since mid-April.
Last week, authorities also shuttered schools in Tehran and other provinces because of a similar sandstorm but Tuesday marks the first time government offices closed in Tehran due to a sandstorm.
Tehran is among the most polluted cities in the world. The country’s west, along the border with Iraq, has seen frequent closures of schools and offices due to sandstorms. On Monday, airports in western Iran saw dozens of flights canceled or delayed.
In neighbouring Iraq, sandstorms — at least eight since April — have landed thousands in hospitals with severe respiratory problems and killed at least one person. In Syria, at least three people died along the border with Iraq because of the storm.
Experts blame poor government policies, desertification and low water levels as well as climate change for the frequency and intensity of recent sandstorms.
The closure plan in the Iranian capital came after Alireza Zali, head of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, called for the shutdown to help control the epidemic.
Tehran fire department spokesman Jalal Maleki said a fuel tanker was unloading at the station at Pirouzi Street when it caught fire.
The blast at Sina At'har health centre caused damage to buildings in the vicinity and sent a plume of thick black smoke into the night sky, state television reported.
The Kremlin is expected to move immediately to absorb the regions once the voting is over, with President Vlaidmir Putin expected to declare their incorporation into Russia later this week.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said earlier that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an investigation into the audio leaks allegedly from PM House that features government officials.
Blinken's comments came after India's defence and foreign ministers opposed a US decision to provide a support package of about $450 million for Pakistan's fleet of US-made F-16 fighter jets.
The ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. (0500 GMT), with Abe's ashes carried into the Nippon Budokan Hall in central Tokyo by his widow, Akie, to music from a military band and the booms of the honour-guard salute, which echoed inside the hall.