News Digest: Week of July 20

July 20

Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 276,202 infections, including 14,405 deaths from COVID-19. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that over 240,000 Iranians had recovered from the virus.

Justice/Espionage: Iran executed Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd for allegedly providing information to the CIA and Mossad about Iran's military activities in Syria and General Soleimani's movements. Majd had moved to Syria with his family in the 1990s and was fluent in Arabic, which later helped him to become an interpreter and fixer for Iranian military units arriving in Syria to bolster the Assad regime. 


July 21

Health: Iran recorded 229 new deaths from COVID-19, the largest one-day increase in deaths since the country reported its first deaths in February. The Ministry of Health recorded 278,827 infections and 14,634 total deaths since the outbreak was first reported in February.

Diplomacy: During a visit to Moscow, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that Iran would renew a cooperation agreement with Russia, which included a series of petrochemical and weapons deals signed by the two countries in 2001. Zarif also proposed a new “long term accord” to the Kremlin.

Diplomacy: Mustafa al Kadhimi, Iraq’s newly elected prime minister, met with President Hassan Rouhani, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior leaders in Tehran. Khamenei told Kadhimi that Iran would strike back at the United States for killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, in a drone strike in Baghdad in January. “They killed your guest in your home, and they blatantly confessed to this crime. This is not a trivial matter,” Khamenei told Kadhimi. “Iran expects the decision of the Iraqi government, nation and parliament to expel the U.S. to be pursued because U.S. presence causes insecurity,” he added. Kadhimi vowed that Iraq would not allow “any aggression or challenge to Iran from its territory.”


July 22

Health: Iran reported 281,413 cases and 14,853 deaths from coronavirus. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that Mazandaran, Fars, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Khorasan Razavi, Alborz, Khuzestan, Lorestan, Golestan, Kerman, Zanjan, and Ilam provinces were designated “red zones” due to their high rates of cases and deaths.

Health: Iran unveiled the domestic production of two drugs, “Remdesivir” and “Favipiravir,” to help treat COVID-19 patients. “We will supply the first localized production of antiviral ‘Remdesivir’ medicine at the market next week ,” Health Minister Namaki said during a videoconference. “Favipiravir production has also entered the Iranian pharmaceutical market accordingly.”