Iran admits official virus toll is untrue

Residents wear face masks walk on a street after Iranian authorities made it mandatory for all to wear face masks in public following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. (West Asia News Agency via Reuters)
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Updated 20 October 2020

Iran admits official virus toll is untrue

  • Real figures are higher, health chief says
  • Record 337 COVID-19 deaths in one day

JEDDAH: Iranian authorities have admitted for the first time that their official figures for coronavirus cases do not reflect the true scale of the outbreak.
The admission came as Iran’s daily death toll from COVID-19 again set a record, with 337 fatalities on Monday. The previous high was 279, last Wednesday.
More than 30,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in Iran, and the total number of cases rose on Monday by 4,251 to 534,631.
The real numbers were higher than officially reported, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said, primarily due to “testing and reporting protocols.”
Iran was slow to respond to the initial outbreak at the beginning of the year, when clerics encouraged pilgrims to visit religious sites in Mashhad and Qom despite evidence that the virus was already spreading, and it is now the worst affected country in the Middle East.
“In recent days, we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in mortality from the disease,” Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Monday.
“The current situation is the result of neglecting to comply with health protocols, reduced use of masks and dangerous social behavior in recent weeks.”
The government has extended restrictions and closures in Tehran, where schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions have been closed since Oct. 3. Health officials have warned that daily deaths could hit 600 if Iranians fail to adhere to health protocols.
Mask-wearing has became compulsory in public in Tehran, where the infection rate has been highest, and there are fines for non-compliance. Authorities plan to impose the same restrictions in other large cities with high infection rates.


Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

Updated 01 December 2020

Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

  • “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran” minister tweeted

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday Mohammad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister, was “desperate” to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran.

“Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is desperate to blame the Kingdom for anything negative that happens in Iran. Will he blame us for the next earthquake or flood?” he tweeted.

“It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran, which has done so since the Khomeini Revolution in 1979. Ask us, and ask many other countries who have lost many of their citizens due to Iran’s criminal and illegal behavior,” he added.

Al-Jubeir's comments come after Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday.

Fakhrizadeh has been described by Western and Israeli intelligence services for years as the leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003, which Israel and the United States accuse Tehran of trying to restore in secret.

Iran has blamed external entities, including Israel and an exiled opposition group, for the killing.