(TEHRAN, Iran) — While the headlines are dominated by stories of Iran’s apparent race to go nuclear, there’s another arms race under way in Tehran: the war against “mutant” rats, some weighing as much as 11 pounds.
Abu Dhabi’s newspaper The National reports the Iranian government’s attempts to poison the rodents apparently failed to bear fruit, so officials have deployed 40 teams of snipers to blast the rats.
“…[S]harpshooters armed with rifles equipped with infra-red sights have bagged more than 2,000 of the brutish rodents in recent weeks,” a city official told the paper. It’s estimated that like many major cities, Tehran’s rat population is many times that of its human counterparts. Iran’s rat population easily outnumbers the sprawling capital’s 12 million inhabitants, city officials told state media.
The city council is now boosting the number of sniper squads to 40, officials said. “It’s become a 24/7 war,” said Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, of Tehran municipality’s environmental agency.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Carma Hassan and Lynn Franco, CNN Newswire
Junko Ogura, Madison Park, Yoko Wakatsuki and Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire