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President Mohammad Khatami is ready to pay the price to clean up Tehran, a newspaper reported Tuesday, as more of the capital's residents donned masks against thick smog.

The Hamshahri newspaper reported that Khatami had allocated funds to combat the problem but did not say how much. Tehran's mayor had earlier pegged the cleanup cost at $2.2 billion.

Tens of thousands of Tehran's residents are wearing masks to protect themselves from the heavy smog -- much of it blamed on cars -- that has hung over the capital for a month. State radio has warned that the pollution is expected to get worse over the next few days.

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