Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday asked officials to prioritize public health above any economic or safety concerns amid the worst outbreak of coronovirus.
Iran’s death from the global epidemic this week was the highest at 32,000. The government has opposed a total lockdown, fearing that it will worsen its economy already weakened by unprecedented US sanctions.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told officials during a meeting with the country’s top counter-coronavirus committee that “the main priority in decision-making is the health of the people.”
Khamenei urged “all organizations” to strictly follow the Ministry of Health guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus, “regardless of other considerations.”
Some staunch MPs criticized Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s handling of the epidemic and demanded his resignation. Rouhani is a reformist politician and also championed Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which collapsed after the US’s unilateral withdrawal.
Legalist Mojtaba Zolnoury, head of the Parliament’s influential committee for national security and foreign policy, called on Rouhani’s Twitter account to be hanged a thousand times until the hearts of the people were satisfied.
Khamenei indirectly condemned such inflammatory statements at the meeting, calling it “wrong”. He said that there is a difference between criticism and insult.
Iran broke its one-day death toll record on Monday, and consistently recorded high daily infections on Tuesday and Wednesday – again on Friday.
A top health official insisted this week that the exact number of deaths from the outbreak was 2.5 times more likely.
On Saturday, the Iranian Ministry of Health put the official death toll from Kovid-19 at 32,320, causing 335 casualties in the last twenty-four hours.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Saadat Lari increased the total confirmed cases to 562,705.
Khamenei said that government management of the epidemic is very important.
“In some countries, such as the United States, the worst management has been implemented. But we should try to pass this incident, which is related to the life and health of the people and their safety and economy, with the best management, ”he said.
Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said in the meeting that the epidemic can only be controlled by implementing strict restrictions.
“We should curb the disease by enforcing regulations and tightening legal restrictions,” he said.
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