Iranian gov't to compensate for flood damage to agriculture Iran 09:17

Rising floodwaters force more evacuations in Iran

"The scale of this crisis means that more help is needed", he told the New York Times, which said that more rain was forecast in coming days. Floodgates of dangerously full dams were opened to ease water build-up, reported BBC News on Saturday.

Young men were asked to remain behind to help with rescue operations.

"Rescue teams are transferring locals to nearby shelters, including three military installations", Governor Gholamreza Shariati said.

Terming the situation as critical, he said despite the fears of renewed flooding the floodgates at the Karkheh dam were opened to ease build-up.

Around 70 villages in the province have already been evacuated in the past week. On Saturday, Iraq officially closed the Chazabeh border crossing after Iranian authorities banned travelling and trade through the border amid flood warnings in the south Iranian province of Khuzestan.

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Exceptionally heavy rains since March 19 have flooded some 1,900 cities and villages across Iran, claiming 56 lives, according to Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli, and causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to Iranian agriculture. "During the floods, 200 bridges and 400 kilometres of roads were 100 percent destroyed", Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) quoted Hassannia as saying. Of this, 1,000 were airlifted to safety.

Iran's state budget is already stretched under U.S. sanctions on energy and banking sectors that have halved its oil exports and restricted access to some revenues overseas.

But Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter, said the USA sanctions are "economic terrorism" and US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have "tried to obstruct efforts by expatriate Iranians to make donations to the accounts of the Iranian Red Crescent".

The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said the armed forces were "using all their power" to minimise damage.

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