President Hassan Rouhani reviewing health products in Tehran. He never wears a protective mask in public. April 5, 2020. (ISNA)

June 13, 2020

Iran will reimpose restrictions to stem a surge in coronavirus cases if health regulations are not observed, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday.

After gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, Iran has seen a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent weeks.

While compliance with health protocols was as high as 80% percent a month ago, it is now down to 20%, Rouhani said in a televised speech. He blamed the surge on travellers spreading the coronavirus to previously low risk provinces.

With 2,410 new cases on Saturday, the total has reached 184,955. With the death of 71 people in the past 24 hours, total fatalities stand at 8,730, the health ministry said.

Rouhani expressed concern about mass prayers at the recently opened Imam Reza shrine, Iran’s largest Shia Muslim religious complex in the northeast of the country.

“If there is no cooperation, we will have to reimpose the restrictions,” Rouhani said, adding that adherence to the health protocols were needed “in order to keep businesses open”.

Tehran faced stiff resistance from hard line clerics before it succeeded in closing holy shrines in mid-March. The closure sparked demonstrations with angry crowds storming the shrines of Imam Reza in Mashhad and Fatemeh Massoumeh in Qom.

Shia pilgrims from all over the world visit the shrines, which may have contributed to the initial spread of the virus.


About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.