Half of Iran government employees to work remotely

A mostly empty street is seen in a commercial district in downtown Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 25 March 2020

Half of Iran government employees to work remotely

  • Another measure to contain the outbreak, the temporary release of prisoners, will be extended until the end of the current Iranian month of Farvardin

DUBAI: President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday about half of all Iranian government employees were staying at home as part of measures to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the Middle East’s worst-affected country, state television reported.
“Many government employees will continue to work from home but civil servants with sensitive jobs that are vital for the public will be allowed to work from the office,” said Rouhani. “The aim is to keep more people at home.”
The death toll from the respiratory pandemic in Iran increased by 122 to 1,934 on Tuesday, among a total of 24,811 infections, according to Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur.
Rouhani added that to curb the spread of coronavirus, a temporary release of prisoners announced earlier this month would be extended by 15 days to April 19.
On March 17, the Iranian judiciary said it had temporarily freed about 85,000 people from jail, including political prisoners, in response to the spread of coronavirus.
The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said on March 9 that he had asked Tehran to free all political prisoners temporarily from the country’s overcrowded and disease-ridden jails amid the outbreak.
According to a report Rehman submitted to the Human Rights Council in January, Iran said it had 189,500 people in prison.
Meanwhile, the UN rights chief called on Tuesday for any sanctions imposed on countries like Iran facing the new coronavirus pandemic to be “urgently re-evaluated” to avoid pushing strained medical systems into collapse.
“At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended,” Michelle Bachelet said.


Iran Guards warn US after receiving new combat vessels

Updated 56 sec ago

Iran Guards warn US after receiving new combat vessels

TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday warned the United States against its naval presence in the Gulf as they received 110 new combat vessels.
The vessels included Ashura-class speedboats, Zolfaghar coastal patrol boats and Taregh submarines, state television reported.
“We announce today that wherever the Americans are, we are right next to them, and they will feel our presence even more in the near future,” the Guards’ navy chief Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said during a ceremony in southern Iran.
Iran and the United States have appeared to be on the brink of an all-out confrontation twice in the past year.
The latest confrontation between the arch-foes came after the United States accused the Guards of harassing its ships in the Gulf in mid-April.
“Advancing while remaining defensive is the nature of our work,” said Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami.
“But this does not equal passivity against the enemy,” he added, noting that Iran “will not bow down to any foe.”
According to Salami, the Guards’ navy had been instructed to expand Iran’s naval power until it can adequately defend “territorial independence and integrity, protect naval interests and pursue and destroy the enemy.”
Decades-old acrimony between the two worsened in 2018 when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Tensions escalated further in January when a US air strike killed Qasem Soleimani, the top Iranian general who headed the Guards’ foreign arm, the Quds Force.