Public buildings in several Iranian provinces were closed Tuesday due to pollution unleashed by a sandstorm, local media said. The closures applied to the southwestern province of Khuzestan, the central province of Isfahan, North Khorasan in the northeast and Kerman in the southeast, state television said. State news agency IRNA reported that state offices continued to function in at least three other provinces that were also hit by the heavy pollution. Authorities on Monday had announced a 24-hour closure of government offices in Tehran and Alborz provinces, along with the judiciary and schools, owing to the effects of the sandstorm. Such weather events, which can lead to hospitalisations due to respiratory complaints, have long hit the region but have become more frequent in recent years. They have been especially prevalent this year in neighbouring Iraq, where at least 10,000 people were hospitalised with breathing problems caused by sandstorms in May alone.