A senior Iranian official Tuesday ruled out “foreign” help on the ground to deal with the coronavirus epidemic after an offer from a France-based medical charity, as the country’s death toll from the illness neared 2,000. “Due to Iran’s national mobilisation against the virus and the full use of the medical capacity of the armed forces, it is not necessary for now for hospital beds to be set up by foreign forces, and their presence is ruled out,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, advisor to Iran’s health minister, said on Twitter. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour earlier said a record 1,762 new cases have been confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people are now known to have been infected with the new coronavirus.
Iran has granted a medical furlough to a U.S. Navy veteran who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday. Michael White of Imperial Beach, California, is now in the custody of the Swiss Embassy and must remain in Iran as a condition of his furlough, which was granted as Iran works to curb the spread of coronavirus. The U.S. government will seek his full release, Pompeo said, and he called on Iran to free other Americans who remain jailed there.
Iran will recognize doctors and nurses who die combating the new coronavirus as “martyrs” like slain soldiers, the country’s supreme leader announced Tuesday as the outbreak killed 54 more people and pushed the nation’s death toll to 291. The decision by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei comes amid a propaganda campaign already trying to link the fight against the virus to Iran’s long, bloody 1980s war with Iraq. The rising casualty figures each day in Iran suggest the fight against the new coronavirus is far from over, even as more people die from drinking methanol in the false belief it kills the virus.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced intense criticism Friday from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who questioned him on the Trump administration's response to the growing coronavirus threat, as well as the persistent threat from foes like Iran.
According to reports, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad — where Soleimani was killed — has been hit in a rocket attack. It’s said to have been the second such attack in days. No word yet on any American casualties, but civilian casualties have been…