Tens of thousands of Iranians were left without gas needed to heat their homes on Saturday as unusually cold weather sweeps across the country, the state broadcaster reported.
Gas deliveries were cut to at least 90,000 residential users in the northeastern Razavi Khorasan province by Saturday night, provincial governor Yaghoub-Ali Nazari said on national television.
Supplies were also disrupted in at least four other northern provinces and several districts at the tail end of the national gas pipeline network near the country’s eastern borders, according to reports by state TV.
Officials say most of the country has been blanketed by freezing temperatures unseen in the last decade, which have driven demand for the heating fuel to record highs.
Authorities ordered the closure of schools, state-run offices and even privately owned businesses across Tehran province on Sunday and called on people to avoid travel to the city of Mashhad, home to Iran’s holiest pilgrimage shrine that attracts millions every year.
Iran’s oil minister, Javad Owji, said supply shortages were exacerbated after Turkmenistan on Thursday halted gas exports to meet its domestic demand. Iran relies on the deliveries to supply its northern regions.
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