History / News

Sandstorms in Iran – Now and Then

10364099_634806763279678_1700526792951620821_n iran.siIran’s capital hit by freak and deadly sandstorm yesterday, in which at least four have died and life is still massively disrupted in the capital by the 70mph winds, sand deposits and power cuts to roughly 50,000 homes.

Sandstorm particles are transported by saltation and suspension, and while Iran is no stranger to them, this one was a phenomenally large one. A similar storm was recorded in April 1980, at the time of the failed rescue operation of American hostages in Tehran by Jimmy Carter, called Operation Eagle Claw, in which the storm played a major part in the operations’ failure and even the election of opposition Republican (extreme conservative) Ronald Reagan in the same year.

In 2009 the sandstorm in Iraq on the Iran border was said to be the largest in living history and could be seen from outer space. The storm forced US Vice President Joe Biden to cancel his plan to visit Kurdistan, and sent hundreds to pop up hospitals with breathing problems.

Back in 2004 a sandstorm blocked the entrance to an entire ‘city’ in Iran, the mysterious 5,000 year old Burnt City in the southeast of Iran (Sistan-Baluchistan province) had its excavated pits filled up with the rogue sand. Archeologists were the most upset by this as huge amounts of time and money had been spent clearing the pits, where civilisation had begun at around 32000 BC until around 2000 BC,  Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported.The significance of archeology in the Burnt City is so huge that experts say it will take up to 400 years at least to identity and document the estimated four billion artifacts under the ground in the city, not to mention the 100 villages around the ancient city that have already been excavated.

One example of excavations  is a skull believed to be the first evidence of brain surgeries in prehistoric Persia.