Iran oil spill contaminates 20km of Arabian Gulf coastline

Damage caused by oil spill is 'irreversible', says Iranian official, as storm hampers clean-up operation.

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TEHRAN // An ageing oil pipeline has ruptured in south-eastern Iran, contaminating vast patches of the coast and farmland near the town of Deylam, at the northern end of the Arabian Gulf, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

"Over 20 kilometres of Deylam coast and 500 hectares of farmland have been contaminated by the oil spill," said Behrouz Atabakzadeh, the environmental protection chief in Bushehr province.

Mr Atabakzadeh said the breakage in the pipeline between Aghajari and Deylam had happened last week and described the damage caused by the oil spill as "irreversible."

A storm has hampered clean-up operations, a senior environmental official told the Mehr news agency. "All equipment is ready to clean up the spill but the work is being slowed down by the storm," Omid Sadighi said.