News Digest: Week of April 13

April 13

Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 73,303 cases, including 4,585 deaths from COVID-19. “In six provinces, the trend of coronavirus infections has had an upward movement and in some provinces, including Isfahan, it has not increased or decreased significantly and has almost flattened,” said Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi.

Health/Human Rights: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the United States missed an opportunity to reverse its “addiction” to sanctions during the global COVID-19 pandemic. “Instead, it will now live in infamy in the memory of our people,” Zarif tweeted.


April 14

Health: Iran recorded 74,877 cases and 4,683 deaths from coronavirus. The Ministry of Health reported less than 100 new deaths for the first time in 30 days.

Health/Military: The Revolutionary Guards announced that it had set up an operating base with charity groups to provide aid packages to 3.5 million under-privileged households. 


April 15

Health: Iran recorded 76,389 cases, including 4,777 deaths from COVID-19. It was the second day in a row that new fatalities were under 100.

Health: Foreign Minister Zarif continued to condemn the United States for not lifting sanctions on Tehran. “The world is learning what Iran has known & experienced all along: US regime's bullying, threatening & vainglorious blathering isn’t just an addiction: it kills people,” he tweeted.

Military: The United States accused Iranian military vessels of conducting “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers close to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf. A group of 11 speedboats belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Navy repeatedly approached six U.S. military vessels at close range and at high speeds, coming within 10 yards of one ship, the Pentagon said. The United States issued several warnings, including bridge-to-bridge radio communications, blasts from the ships’ horns, and soundwaves from long-range acoustic devices. The Iranian vessels left after an hour.


April 16

Health: Iran’s Health Ministry reported 77,995 cases and 4,869 deaths from coronavirus. It was the lowest number of daily deaths in 30 days. Health Ministry Spokesperson Kianoosh Jahanpoor said that 310,340 people had been tested for COVID-19 in Iran.

Health/Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Zarif praised China’s humanitarian efforts amid Iran’s COVID-19 pandemic. “I thank China for providing Iran with anti-epidemic materials and sending medical experts, condemning the continued illegal sanctions by the United States that seriously hindered Iran’s efforts to fight the epidemic,” Zarif said.


April 17

Health: Iran recorded 79,494 infections, including 4,958 deaths, from the COVID-19 virus. Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi warned people to stay home despite efforts to reopen the country. “We are expecting the epidemic to pick up in autumn,” he said.

Human Rights/Justice: U.N. experts urged Iran to extend furloughs to all “prisoners of conscience” and dual and foreign nationals. The United Nations also called on Iran to improve the conditions in prisons. “Iran's prisons have long-standing hygiene, overcrowding and healthcare problems,” the experts said. “We urge the Iranian authorities to implement measures consistent with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right of persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity, and the right to life.”