Iran's Khamenei urges fight against the resurgence of 'tragic' virus

The Supreme Leader of Iran on Sunday called the revival of the coronavirus novel in the country "truly tragic" and urged all citizens to help prevent the deadly spread of the region.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a video conference with his office, "Everyone has a role to play in breaking the chain of broadcasting and saving the country in the shortest possible time."

Iran has been working hard to stop the spread since the first cases were announced in February, and more than 12,800 deaths have occurred since then.

Khamenei's first speech to MPs since the new parliament took office in late May, dominated by conservatives and ultra-conservatives elected in late February.

According to its official site, Khamenei praised health workers for "their sacrifice."

But he was severely criticized for saying, "Some people, wearing masks do nothing so simple," saying they were ashamed of such behavior.

The transition began in early May with Khamenei's remarks reviving in Iran.

According to figures released Sunday, there have been 194 deaths and 2,186 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

The health ministry announced on Thursday that 221 people had died in a single day.

There are 257,303 cases reported in the country, Health Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Larry said on Sunday.

The rising toll has prompted authorities to make masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and allow critical provinces to re-enforce other measures against the virus.

Iran closed schools, canceled public events, and banned the movement between 31 provinces in March, but the government lifted the ban from April to reopen its frozen-damaged economy.

On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said the closure of the economy was unbearable as the country spread.

"Economic, social and cultural activities must continue," Rouhani said at the Television Virus Task Force meeting.

But he reminded Iranians that sanctions, such as bans on public and private ceremonies, were in place.

"Whether it's a funeral, a wedding, a party, a seminar, or a festival, it's harmful to everyone," Rouhani said.

Authorities have previously reported that the virus is spreading in areas where such restrictions have been ignored.

On Sunday, Khamenei told MPs that "parliament has the right to question ... but not to insult or slander government officials."

He was speaking after MPs briefed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on their key role in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The deal relieved the Islamic Republic of International sanctions of its nuclear program instead, but Iranian conservatives vehemently opposed the multilateral agreement, arguing that the United States could never be trusted.

The U.S. unilaterally gave up in 2018 as a prelude to re-imposing sanctions.

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