A better comprehension of atmospheric iron dissolution in seawater would be a key advance in understanding the atmospheric supply of iron to the ocean and its role on marine biogeochemistry. So far, different studies have demonstrated that dissolution of atmospheric iron depends on physical and chemical properties of the particles, which can be modified during their transport from the source. Here, based on a one-year time-series in the Western Mediterranean Sea, we show that dissolution of iron from a Saharan desert dust sample in seawater follows the seasonal trend of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) variability in the surface layer. As part of the DOC pool, the role of iron binding ligands, probably derived from bacteria activity, has also been investigated. The dust iron dissolution rates are found to be linearly dependent on iron binding ligands and dissolved organic carbon concentrations (r2 > 0.65, p < 0.01, n = 9).