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Iran’s supreme leader rules out negotiations with U.S.

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“Iran does not trust the U.S.,’’ Khamenei said in Tehran. “We have already had the bitter experience with the Americans over the nuclear deal and do not want to repeat this experience.’’

The U.S. unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran agreement, which was aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal.

Washington’s decision to begin implementing oil and banking sanctions has crippled Iran’s economy and placed the deal’s European signatories under pressure.

No country in its right mind would negotiate under such circumstances, said Khamenei, who has the final say on all strategic policy in the Islamic Republic under Iran’s constitution.

Abe has offered to serve as an intermediary, as Japan has amicable relations with Iran.

Tokyo had long relied on Tehran for oil imports until the Trump administration ended its sanctions waivers granted to buyers of Iran’s crude oil.

Khamenei commended Japan’s efforts. “But I don’t regard U.S. President Donald Trump as worthy of sending a message or an answer,’’ he said.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

Abigael Joshua: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Politics

Edo guber: Aspirant says APC `progressives’ to produce consensus flag-bearer

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A leading governorship aspirant in the upcoming Edo gubernatorial elections announced on Tuesday that his faction of the APC had rolled out ground rules and processes to produce a consensus candidate to fly the party’s flag.

Retired Gen. Charles Airhiavbere told the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin that transparency would be the hallmark of the selection process of a candidate to be fielded by the APC in the governorship elections, slated for Sept. 19.

The APC is currently having two factions in Edo with the Airhiavbere faction, which calls itself the “progressive faction’’, having a crowded field of eight aspirants, one of whom dropped out of the race on May 25.

The other aspirants, including Airhiavbere are Dr Pius Odubu, the immediate past Deputy Governor of Edo, Mr Chris Ogiemwonyi, Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Mr Saturday Uwelekhue.

Also in the race are Prof. Frederick Amadasu, Mr Ehiozuwa Agbonayima and Mr Solomon Edebiri, who has withdrawn.

Airhiavbere said that adopting transparency model would produce a consensus candidate that would be acceptable to everyone.

According to him, all the `progressive’ aspirants have agreed on a common ground to produce a consensus candidate and that a process for the candidate to emerge has been put in place.

The stalwart said that the acceptable candidate would be someone, who would have the endorsement of everyone across the length and breadth of the state.

He said that the process agreed to by the aspirants include, proper screening of aspirants, to avoid rancor as well as ensuring transparency to forestall litigations after the emergence of the candidate.

The APC chieftain said that the process would be articulated so well to ensure that the candidate became a winning material in the election.

According to him, weather the person joined yesterday or today is no issue as long as the person can agree to cooperate and join the progressives movement of the party.

“The leaders will decide,” he said asserted, stressing the need for every member of the APC to be patient until a consensus candidate emerges among the aspirants.

Airhiavbere, who contested the 2015 governorship primaries against incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki said, however, that any aspirant who would follow the footsteps of Obaseki would not be elected as a governorship candidate of the progressives.

He debunk media reports that the faction already had a consensus candidate, saying that only one aspirant had dropped out.

“I contested against Obaseki in 2016, so whoever is in our team today and wants others to step down for him should be able to convince others why and give them assurances that he will carry them along.

“This is because there already is a sitting governor, who we want to replace because we have seen that we cannot allow him to carry on for another four years.

“What we are doing is that we are contributing money to pay for a ticket for one person and so far so good we are carrying it out.

“One person cannot just assume to have the upper hand. For now, we are preparing for the screening process. We have not been screened. So who then will step down?”

Airhiavbere said that other progressives and himself were working on a process that would work for the Edo people.

“We are not just sitting down or sleeping because we know Obaseki is not sleeping and PDP too is not sleeping.

“So we just must have a win-win situation by presenting a candidate that everybody will queue behind and respect.”

Analysts believe that the upcoming Edo governorship election would be characterized by rancour, bad blood and betrayals. 

Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Iran’s COVID-19 cases near 140,000

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Iran on Tuesday registered 1,787 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 139,511, according to an update by the Iranian Health Ministry.

The data showed 57 new death cases over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 7,508.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the ministry, said that a total of 109,437 patients have recovered from the infectious disease.

He added that 2,567 are still in critical condition and under treatment.

So far, 837,090 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in the country, he noted.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Iran allows reopening of restaurants, cafes after 2 months of closure over COVID-19

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Restaurants and cafes reopened in Iran on Tuesday after over two months of closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mohsen Farhadi, an Iranian deputy health minister, on Tuesday said that all the restaurants will restart their activities observing certain health protocols.

Besides, the cafes will begin their services without offering tobacco, said Farhadi in a video press conference. The use of Hukka is very popular in the Iranian tea houses and cafes.

Iran has gradually eased restrictions on economy and cultural activities since early April. The country suspended economic, sports and cultural activities since early March following the reports of first COVID-19 cases on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Roundup: Iran reopens Muslim shrines on Eid al-Fitr after 2-month closure over COVID-19 pandemic

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The Iranian authorities on Monday allowed partial reopening of the Muslim Shiite shrines across the country after more than two months of closure over the coronavirus pandemic.

During the opening hours between an hour after dawn and an hour before dusk, the worshippers, however, were still not allowed to enter the interior covered spaces where the saints’ tombs lie, according to a statement by the health authorities.

Social distancing regulations must be obeyed, the statement noted.

In most of the shrines, the worshippers were checked for their body temperatures upon entrance and were asked to wear masks, the local media reported.

The reopening coincided with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Muslim festival of breaking the fast at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Along with other holy shrines across the country, Imamzadeh Saleh, an imamzadeh mosque located at Tajrish Square in Tehran’s northern Tajrish district, opened early morning on Monday.

The courtyard of the shrine had already been disinfected and incoming people were asked by the attendants to use their own prayer mats and books.

“Life without spirituality has no meaning. Worship is central to our life,” said a middle-aged attendant of the shrine, standing inside the courtyard and instructing the worshippers with health directives.

Iran’s health authorities announced the closure of all shrines across the country on March 17 as the country was struggling to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Sitting on a stretched prayer mat at a quiet corner of the yard of Imamzadeh Saleh, a young man facing toward the saint’s tomb was citing verses from the holy Quran.

“Praise God for this moment, on this happy Eid. People should appreciate the change of situation,” said the young man, who only identified himself as Matin, a Persian Literature student at Iran’s Islamic Azad University.

The Iranian health ministry on Monday confirmed a total of 137,724 cases of the COVID-19 in the Islamic republic, including 7,451 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Iran’s confirmed COVID-19 cases hit 137,724

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The Iranian health ministry on Monday reported 2,023 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number in the country to 137,724 since the outbreak in late February, state TV reported.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said 34 patients died over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 7,451.

Jahanpur updated the number of recovered people to 107,713, adding that 2,585 are still under intense care in hospitals.

The number of lab tests administered across the country stands at 818,917 as of Monday.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Spotlight: Iran’s tankers’ cross into Venezuela waters “defies” U.S. sanctions: Iranian expert

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An Iranian expert says the arrival of Iran’s fuel tankers to the Venezuelan shores has defied U.S. sanction pressures against Tehran and Caracas.

The deal between Iran and Venezuela which came amid unprecedented U.S. sanctions on both states is primarily a “humiliation’ of U.S. policies, Foad Izadi, a professor at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, said in an interview on Sunday.

On Sunday, the first vessel of Iranian five-tanker flotilla loaded with gasoline crossed into the Venezuelan territorial waters, escorted by the the Venezuelan navy. On Monday, two other tankers entered the Caribbean Sea and are heading to the Latin American country’s refinery ports.

Squeezed under economic pressures, both Iran and Venezuela struggle to evade the impacts of embargos by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Islamic republic has a surplus of oil and gasoline, due to a significant drop in its exports pursuant to the sanctions and global economic setback caused by novel coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Venezuela is in dire need of fuel because of its aged refinery facilities and inefficient energy management, which has made it rely on its imports.

Under these circumstances, Tehran and Caracas made a “win-win deal,” according to Izadi, at the end of last year, and the Iranian-flagged vessels left the southern ports of the country in mid-March to the Caribbean shores.

Last week, the White House announced that President Nicolas Maduro was using gold from central bank reserves to pay Iran, and the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

However, Iranians warned the United States against any move which may cause trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that “if Americans create problems for our oil tankers in the Caribbean waters or in other parts of the world, we will reciprocally create problems for them.”

In the meantime, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the naval forces of the country would escort the Iranian tankers “to welcome them … and their solidarity” with Venezuela amid the U.S. sanctions.

Izadi said that “the successful measure by Iran (to supply its petrol to Venezuela) would ultimately result in the failure of U.S. sanction mechanism.”

“This also shows that the U.S. ‘maximum pressure campaign’ has been seriously challenged by the Islamic republic,” he said, adding that Tehran could maintain this “pragmatic win-win” policy.

Iran’s “successful” move will serve as an example for other countries who are under the duress of the United States, he added.

(XINHUA)

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Eid al-Fitr marked in Tehran, Iran

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Turkey, Iran presidents discuss cooperation against COVID-19 pandemic

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussed cooperation possibilities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic on the phone, local media reported on Sunday.

Both leaders reviewed the possible steps that would be taken in the postpandemic era, the state-run Anadolu agency said.

Erdogan and Rouhani also discussed regional issues and bilateral relations, the agency added.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Okunomo, Ondo PDP governorship aspirant, felicitate Muslims on Eld-El Fitri

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Mr Banji Okunomo, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Ondo State, has congratulated Muslim faithful on this year’s Eid-El-Fitri celebrations.
Okunomo, in his congratulatory message made available to newsmen on Sunday in Okitipupa, said that the Ramadan period as a difficult time, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
While urging the Muslims to keep hope alive, he said that their prayers against the pandemic had been answered, assuring that the difficult time would soon be a thing of the past.
Okunomo, also a former Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, urged Muslims to give thanks to God for the grace of witnessing and celebrating the Eid-El Fitri amid the pandemic.
“I felicitate Muslims in our dear state, as they join the rest of the world in celebrating the Eld-El-Fitr amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is indeed a difficult time but your prayers have been answered. So keep hope alive, because the difficult time will soon be over,” the aspirant said.
Okunomo, who sought for the cooperation of Muslims in the state, promised that their marginalisation would be over, if given the mandate as the PDP flag bearer and he eventually became governor of the state.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Foreign

Iran reports 2,180 new COVID-19 cases, 135,701 in total

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Iran on Sunday registered 2,180 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 135,701 since its outbreak in late February.

Meanwhile, 58 new fatalities were confirmed over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll from the coronavirus to 7,417, according the health ministry.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the ministry, said a total of 105,801 patients have recovered from the infectious disease, while 2,615 are still in critical condition.

So far, 800,519 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Iran, he noted.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

5.1-magnitude quake hits 3 km northwest of Do Gonbadan, Iran — USGS

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 jolted 3 km northwest of Do Gonbadan, Iran at 09:11:28 GMT on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 30.3873 degrees north latitude and 50.7777 degrees east longitude.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

People shop for Eid al-Fitr at Tajrish bazaar in Tehran, Iran

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A man sells grocery ahead of Eid al-Fitr at Tajrish bazaar in Tehran, Iran, May 23, 2020. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua)

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Foreign

Iran urges regional cooperation for security

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday urged regional countries’ cooperation for the security in the region, official IRNA news agency reported.

The security of the region, particularly for the maritime routes, is of high significance for the Islamic republic, said Rouhani in a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Iran has always expressed readiness for closer and collective cooperation with the neighboring states to ensure the security in the Middle East region, Rouhani was quoted as saying.

The Iranian officials have repeatedly announced that the presence of the non-regional powers in the Gulf is the cause of insecurity for the regional states.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Iran warns U.S. against causing trouble for Iran’s Venezuela-bound fuel vessels

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned the United States against causing trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels, official IRNA news agency reported.

“If the United States causes any problem for our oil tankers in the Caribbean Sea or any other parts of the world, it will run into trouble reciprocally,” the Iranian president said in a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

While highlighting Iran’s right to defend its national interests, Rouhani said his country will never be the initiator of any conflict with the United States.

He expressed the hope that “the Americans would not make a mistake” concerning the Iranian vessels.

The White House announced last week that the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

(XINHUA)

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Iran to reopen touristic sites, holy shrines after 3-month closure over COVID-19

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Iran’s touristic sites, including museums and historical sites, will reopen on Sunday after nearly three months of closure over the COVID-19 pandemic, Press TV reported.

The announcement was made by President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday at a meeting of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus.

Holy shrines will reopen on Monday, according to Rouhani.

The holy shrines would be open for three hours in the mornings and three hours in the afternoons, he said earlier.

Meanwhile, all workers in the country will return to work from May 30, the president noted.

Iran has implemented three stages regarding the coronavirus epidemic, according to Rouhani.

The first stage was announcing the disease and mobilizing the nation’s capacities to rein in the outbreak. The second involved controlling the disease through social distancing measures, and the third required smart distancing accompanied by gradual reopening of the country.

In the fourth stage, the authorities will aim to contain the novel coronavirus, he noted.

The growth of mortality rate over the virus in the country has begun to decline and hospitalizations are becoming shorter, Rouhani said.

On Saturday, Iran announced a total of 133,521 coronavirus infections since Feb. 19, of whom 7,359 have died.

(XINHUA)

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Iran reports 1,869 new COVID-19 cases, 59 new deaths

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Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education confirmed 1,869 novel coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 133,521, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the ministry, reported 59 new deaths, taking the total to 7,359, while 2,633 patients are under intensive care in the hospitals.

A total of 104,072 people have recovered, he said.

The number of lab tests administered across the country stands at 781,286 as of Saturday.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Roundup: Turkey’s COVID-19 cases surpass 154,000 as Iran’s tally exceeds 131,000

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Turkey’s COVID-19 cases on Friday exceeded 154,000 as the daily number of new infections continued to drop below 1,000. Meanwhile, Iran’s tally of confirmed cases surpassed 131,000.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, climbed to 154,500 after 952 new infections were reported, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

This was the third day that Turkey’s daily infections with the novel coronavirus fell below 1,000.

Turkey’s death toll surged to 4,276 after 27 more deaths were added, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

Turkey has launched a financial support package to protect exporters from the impact of coronavirus, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan announced on Friday.

The package, called the Stock Financing Support Package, has come into use through Turkey’s Eximbank, according to a press release issued by the ministry.

The Iranian health ministry on Friday reported 51 new deaths of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 7,300 since the outbreak of the disease in late February.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said 2,311 people contracted the virus over the past 24 hours, taking the number of infections to 131,652.

Saudi Arabia continued to be the country in the Middle East with the fastest rise in daily COVID-19 cases, with 2,642 new ones reported on Friday, pushing up the total number to 67,719.

The kingdom also reported 13 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 364. The number of recoveries increased to 39,003 after 2,963 new ones were added.

Qatar’s health ministry on Friday announced 1,830 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 40,481.

Kuwait reported 955 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 19,564 and the death toll to 138, the health ministry said in a statement.

Kuwait also announced the recovery of 310 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 5,515.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 994 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 27,892.

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention said 1,043 more patients fully recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries to 13,798. Four more deaths were recorded, raising the country’s death toll to 241.

Egypt recorded 783 new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours, the highest daily rise since the pandemic outbreak in February, bringing the total cases to 15,786, Egypt’s health ministry said on Friday.

Egypt also confirmed 11 new coronavirus-related deaths, taking the death toll from the disease to 707, said Khaled Megahed, the health ministry’s spokesman, in a statement.

On Thursday, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang said Chinese companies in the North African country take strict precautionary measures to maintain their work momentum in different projects amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Omani Ministry of Health announced 424 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 6,794.

The Iraqi Health Ministry on Friday recorded 87 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 3,964 in the country.

Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections increased on Friday by 62 cases to 1,086 while death toll remained at 26.

A total of 121 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Morocco on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 7,332.

The number of people cured has increased to 4,377 with 97 new recoveries, director of epidemiology at the Ministry of Health Mohamed El Youbi said in his daily briefing.

Libya’s National Center for Disease Control on Friday announced one new COVID-19 case and three recoveries.

The number of confirmed cases in Libya so far is 72, including 38 recoveries and three deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Iran’s armed forces to respond to U.S. military threats: top commander

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Iran’s top military commander said Friday that Iranian armed forces monitor U.S. military movements in and far beyond the region and will respond to their threats against Iran’s interests, Press TV reported.

Iran’s armed forces have “a thorough intelligence command of the status, location, tactics, and movements of enemies, including America, … in the region and remote territories,” Mohammad Baqeri, chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said in a statement on Friday.

Iran’s armed forces are ready to “give an appropriate response to any miscalculated move by those forces against … Iran’s national interests anywhere in the world,” Baqeri was quoted as saying.

The remarks by the Iranian top commander came after the White House announced last week that the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to the crisis-stricken Venezuela.

Iran’s defense minister on Wednesday said that moves causing any insecurity to the oil tankers and maritime trade routes is in violation of the international law and would draw reaction of international institutions and countries.

(XINHUA)

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Iran reports 51 new COVID-19 deaths, 7,300 in total

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The Iranian health ministry on Friday reported 51 new deaths of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 7,300 since the outbreak of the disease in late February, state TV reported.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said 2,311 people contracted the virus over the past 24 hours, taking the number of infections to 131,652.

Jahanpur updated the number of recovered people to 102,276, adding that 2,659 are still under intensive care in hospitals.

The number of lab tests conducted across the country stands at 763,913 as of Friday.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

(XINHUA)

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Iran’s top leader calls for “resistance” against Israel’s pressure on occupied Palestinian territories

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called for “resistance” against Israeli pressures on occupied Palestinian territories, according to the leader’s official website.

“My main advice is to continue this struggle” against occupation and to better organize the resistant groups inside Palestinian territories, Khamenei said on the occasion of the International Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

He added Iran will not hesitate in its duty to assist the Palestinians.

Quds Day rallies were held in the capital Tehran on Friday in a symbolic way with motorists driving in convoy to avoid COVID-19 risks.

The day is an annual event observed on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Iran and several Muslim countries to support the Palestinian cause.

(XINHUA)

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