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While Pollution Is Killing, Mullahs' Merely Issue "Warnings"

TEHRAN, Iran, December 14, 1998 (AFP) -- Dozens of heart and respiratory patients have died as a result of the high levels of air pollution in the Iranian capital, Etelaat newspaper reported Monday.

"The level of dangerous pollutants has reached six times the permitted level and even gone beyond the danger level," it said.

The education ministry ordered all elementary schools closed on Monday, while the traffic control office tightened travel rules for downtown Tehran.

Pollution has been on the rise in many Iranian cities, where vehicles are often old and not equipped with smog-control devices.

Newspapers have pressured the authorities to come up with a solution to the worsening pollution.

"The only thing the authorities do is merely to issue warnings or advice, and they have not come up with a way to reduce circulation," Etelaat daily charged.