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Final countdown

Iran’s doomsday clock for Israel’s end halts amid power cuts

Public timer, which is set to mark destruction of Jewish state in 2040 as predicted by Khamenei, reportedly stops working amid rolling blackouts that are crippling Iranian life

Iranian clock counting down to "destruction of Israel."(Screenshot/Channel 12)
Iranian clock counting down to "destruction of Israel."(Screenshot/Channel 12)

A clock in Iran that counts down to the destruction of Israel has reportedly ceased working as power cuts sweep through the nation.

According to former Al-Monitor journalist Asaad Hanna in a tweet on Monday, the “countdown to Israel’s annihilation clock” stopped displaying following a power outage.

The clock was unveiled in 2017, counting down to 2040, which is when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicts there will no longer be a State of Israel.

In recent days, the regular blackouts in Iran have spread chaos and confusion on the streets of the capital, Tehran, and other cities, knocking out traffic lights, shutting factories, disrupting telecommunications and affecting metro systems.

Repeaters — devices around cities that enhance cellphone signals — have failed, along with electronic cash registers.

Some towns in Iran’s north reported limited access to water because the power cuts affected the piped supply. Traffic police in the capital have said the sudden power cuts have caught officials completely by surprise.

Iran’s outgoing president apologized Tuesday for the blackouts that have crippled businesses and darkened homes for hours a day.

In a government meeting broadcast live on state TV, President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that chronic power outages over the past week have caused Iranians “plenty of pain” and expressed contrition in an unusually personal speech.

“My apologies to dear people who have faced these problems and pain,” he said.

Officials have blamed the outages on the country’s stifling heat, escalating electricity demand and deepening drought that has threatened to snuff out hydroelectric generation.

Power demand has peaked in recent days at 66,000 megawatts, surpassing the country’s practical generating capacity of 65,000 megawatts. Companies can actually provide people with even less electricity, closer to 55,000 megawatts — in large part because the aging, sanctions-hit electrical infrastructure leaves power plants prone to repeated technical failures.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a video conference with a group of university students, in Tehran, Iran, on May 11, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Former US president Donald Trump in 2018 pulled out a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, then reimposed tough sanctions on the Islamic Republic that have ravaged the Iranian economy. Talks in Vienna in recent months sponsored by European partners to the 2015 nuclear pact have been focused on getting the US to return to the deal and Iran to recommit to limitations on its nuclear program.

Last month, Iran’s sole nuclear power plant underwent an unprecedented emergency shutdown. The facility in the southern port city of Bushehr returned online over the weekend after engineers said they repaired a broken generator.

Electricity facilities have not been properly maintained, and a lack of spare parts has complicated the construction of new plants to keep up with the country’s runaway growth. Over the last two decades, modest apartment blocks and local markets have become high-rises, residential complexes and colossal shopping malls all humming with air-conditioners.

While power cuts during the sweltering summer heat happen sporadically in Iran, the lack of recent rainfall has compounded the country’s electrical problems. Rouhani said precipitation had decreased by almost 50% in the last year, leaving dams with dwindling water supplies to fuel the country. Hydroelectric power generation has plummeted to 7,000 megawatts, Rouhani said, down from an estimated average of 12,000 megawatts in recent years.

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