Coronavirus: Ayatollah Khamenei Urges Iranians to Stay Home for Ramadan

Some Iranians said a speech by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday sought to downplay their grievances with the government of the Islamic Republic
© KHAMENEI.IR/AFP HO

Iran’s Supreme Leader encouraged Iranians to pray at home during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as the country continues to battle one of the worst Wuhan coronavirus outbreaks in the world.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranians to avoid mass gatherings, such as collective prayers, during Ramadan, which starts in late April and lasts for most of May.

“In the absence of public gatherings during Ramadan, such as prayers, speeches … which we are deprived of this year, we should not neglect worship, invocation, and humility in our loneliness,” he said in a televised speech. “We need to create humility and supplication in our families and in our rooms,” Khamenei added.

At press time on Friday, Iran had officially recorded 68,192 infections and 4,232 deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus. However, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a dissident group, more than 19,500 people had died across Iran as of April 6.

Many doubt Iran’s official coronavirus numbers, including members of its own government. Kianush Jahanpur, the spokesman for Iran’s health ministry, has repeatedly cast doubt on Iran’s virus numbers.

On March 19, Jahanpur said that Iran was recording a new coronavirus death every ten minutes.

“Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran,” Jahanpur admitted in a statement on Twitter.

The next week, on March 23, Jahanpur openly criticized a public funeral held for the Iranian terrorist leader Hossein Assadollahi because thousands of people ignored coronavirus social distancing measures to gather.

An ally of China, many suspect Iran downplayed its initial Wuhan coronavirus outbreak out of loyalty to the communist nation, from whom it enjoys political and economic support.

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