News Digest: Week of July 6

July 6

Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 204,083 cases, including 11,731 deaths from COVID-19. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that 191,487 Iranians had recovered from the virus.

Health: Iran banned the export of face masks amid an uptick in COVID-19 infections. "Producers are expected to provide distribution networks with standard masks at already approved prices." Jamshid Golpour, head of the Industry and Trade Ministry’s Center for Guilds and Businesspeople, said. He also called on vendors to increase online sales of masks to Iranians.


Politics: Some 200 out of 290 members of parliament signed a motion to summon President Hassan Rouhani for questioning. The motion was passed to parliament’s presiding board for a final decision. “The lawmakers have various questions for the president, including the reasons behind the foreign exchange market crisis as well as the high prices of basic goods and basic necessities of the people today,” said Tehran lawmaker Eqbal Shakeri.

Military: Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and nine other people in January was a violation of international law. Callamard said that the United States failed to provide the United Nations with evidence of an imminent attack that would have justified the operation. “The world is at a critical time, and possible tipping point, when it comes to the use of drones. ... The Security Council is missing in action; the international community, willingly or not, stands largely silent,” Callamard said.


July 7

Health: Iran recorded a new daily high for COVID-19 fatalities. The Ministry of Health reported 200 new deaths, exceeding the previous record of 163 deaths on July 5. "I repeatedly said to our people that it’s extremely dangerous to understate the situation," Health Minister Namaki said on state television. "Unfortunately, our pleas fell on deaf ears until we were gripped by a new wave [of infections]."


July 8

Health: Iran reported 248,379 infections and 12,084 deaths from COVID-19. Health Ministry spokeswoman Lari said that Khuzestan, West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Khorasan Razavi, Kurdistan, Ilam, Bushehr, Hormozgan, and Kermanshah provinces had experienced a rise in cases and were considered “red zones.”

Diplomacy: Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was preparing to ink a 25-year partnership with China, according to Iran Wire, which claimed to have seen the 18-page proposal. The comprehensive agreement reportedly includes cooperation on trade, security, military endeavors and tourism. China would invest billions of dollars in Iran’s infrastructure and the energy industry. In return, Iran would commit to selling crude oil to China for 25 years.

Military: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that U.S. “partner forces” seized a boat carrying Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen in June. The weapons included 200 rocket-propelled grenades, more than 1,700 assault rifles, 21 surface-to-air and land-attack missiles and several anti-tank missiles. “The Security Council must extend the arms embargo on Iran to prevent further conflict in the region,” Pompeo told said during a press conference. “No serious person can possibly believe Iran will use any weapon it receives for peaceful ends.”