TEHRAN: The drought in southern Iran is part of a "soft war" launched against the Islamic republic by the West, the Fars news agency quoted an Iranian vice president as saying Monday.
"I am suspicious about the drought in the southern part of the country," Hassan Mousavi, who also heads Iran's cultural heritage and tourism organisation, said at a ceremony to introdue the nation's new chief of meteorological department.
"The world arrogance and colonist (term used by Iranian authorities to label the West) are influencing Iran's climate conditions using technology... The drought is an acute issue and soft war is completely evident... This level of drought is not normal."
Iran has experienced several droughts in recent years, especially in the south where it was hit in recent weeks by violent sand storms that engulfed several cities.
Sand storms particularly enter Iran from neighbouring Iraq where desertification has increased over the last two decades due to wars.
Last year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western countries of devising plans to "cause drought" in Iran, adding that "European countries are using special equipment to force clouds to dump" their water on their continent.
Iranian leaders claim on a daily basis that Western countries, led by arch-foe the United States, devise "plots" in many forms to undermine the Islamic republic and to impede its economic and scientific development.
They also accuse world powers of colluding against Iran's national unity, independence, political establishment, culture as well as international relations.