US Navy carrier transits Strait of Hormuz after deployment

In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, photo made available by US Navy, a helicopter lifts off of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as it transits the Strait of Hormuz. (AP)
Updated 20 November 2019

US Navy carrier transits Strait of Hormuz after deployment

DUBAI: A US aircraft carrier ordered by the White House to rapidly deploy to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran has transited the Strait of Hormuz for the first time since its deployment.
The US Navy says the USS Abraham Lincoln transited the strait on Tuesday, making its way to the Arabian Gulf. The carrier left Norfolk, VA, in April and was diverted to the Middle East in May, but it had remained in the Arabian Sea, avoiding passage through the strait that borders Iran.
American aircraft carriers have for decades sailed through the international oil shipping route in what the US describes as “defensive” operations aimed at keeping the strait open.
The Trump administration deployed the Lincoln to the Arabian Gulf amid a spike in tensions with Iran.

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Iran reopens key shrines as virus cases reach 137,724

Updated 26 May 2020

Iran reopens key shrines as virus cases reach 137,724

  • Authorities are yet to say when similar measures will be allowed in other provinces

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday reopened major shrines across the country, more than two months after they were closed.

At Tehran’s Shah Abdol-Azim shrine, worshippers had to wear a mask, walk through a disinfection tunnel and have their temperature checked as they began returning from the early morning, according to AFP reporters.

The Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad in northeast Iran and the Fatima Masumeh shrine and Jamkaran mosque in Qom also reopened.

They are allowed to open starting from an hour after dawn until an hour before dusk.

Shrines were closed alongside schools, universities and all nonvital businesses in March after Iran reported its first two coronavirus deaths in Qom in late February.

On Monday, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the total number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Iran had reached 137,724, while the overall number of death had risen to 7,451.

In the past 24 hours, Iran recorded 2,032 new cases while the number of fatalities stood at 34 — the lowest daily count recorded since March 7 — he told a news conference.

Experts inside and outside Iran have cast doubt on the country’s official figures, and say the real toll could be much higher.

Iran has allowed a phased reopening of its economy and gradual relaxation of restrictions since early April, with a further easing expected in the coming days despite a recent uptick in new cases.

“High-risk” businesses such as restaurants, cafes and wedding halls in Tehran, which were left shuttered, will reopen from Tuesday, the capital’s deputy police chief Nader Moradi told ISNA news agency.

Authorities are yet to say when similar measures will be allowed in other provinces.