It is generally assumed that severe dust events in western Iran could be responsible for elevated levels of toxic and radioactive elements in the region. Over a period of 5 months, from January 2013 to May 2013, dust particles in the size range PM10 (i.e. <10 µm) were collected at Abadan, a site beside the Persian Gulf. The research aim was to compare chemical compositions of dust and aerosol samples collected during the non-dusty periods and during two severe dust events. Results of ICP-MS analysis of components indicate that during dust events the concentrations of major elements such as Ca, Mg, Al and K increase relative to ambient conditions when Fe and trace elements such as Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb and Zn are in higher proportions. Toxic trace elements that are generally ascribed to human activities including industrial and urban pollution are thus proportionately more abundant in the dust under calm conditions than during dust events, when their concentration is diluted by more abundant mineral particles of quartz, calcite and clay. The variability of chemical species during two dust events, noted by tracking the dust plumes in satellite images, was also assessed and the results relate to two different source areas, namely northern Iraq and northwestern Syria.