Outages have been compounded by cryptocurrency mining, which uses banks of high-powered computers.

Iranian health officials have warned that high levels of pollution will exacerbate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already caused more deaths in Iran than in any other country in the Middle East [File: Majid Asgaripour/Reuters]

Cities across Iran have been cloaked in thick layers of toxic smog and darkened by blackouts, as the alleged use of low-quality fuel and power-sucking cryptocurrency mining deepen the country’s hardships.

Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, the country’s most-read daily, ran the headline, “20 Days Living in Smoke,” on Wednesday over a photo of the capital covered in smog.

Power plants have been forced to switch to burning low-grade fuel oils

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