News Digest: Week of June 1

June 1

Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 154,445 cases and 7,878 deaths from COVID-19. Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned that a second wave of infections could be worse than the first. “The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before,” Namaki said at a news conference. “If our people fail to respect the health protocols ... we must prepare ourselves for the worst situation.”


June 2

Health: Iran recorded 157,562 infections, including 7,942 deaths from coronivrus. Health Minister Namaki expressed concern that Iranians had become “completely careless” with regard to the COVID-19. “They either have total confidence in us or think the coronavirus has gone. The latter is not true at all,” Namaki said.  “If we neglect the situation we will go backwards. People, have mercy on us, let’s have mercy on ourselves, government officials are getting tired.”

Justice: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that Sirous Asgari, a scientist who had been imprisoned in the United States, was on a plane back to Iran. Dr. Asgari was indicted in 2016 on charges of stealing trade secrets related to research he had done at Case Western Reserve University in 2012 and 2013. The scientist, an engineer who specializes in metals and materials, had been working on a project for the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research to create anti-corrosive stainless steel. The charges against him were dropped in November 2019.

Economy: The Clavel reached Venezuelan waters carrying 1.53 million barrels of gasoline. It was the last of five Iranian tankers that had set out to deliver much-needed fuel to the country.


June 3

Health: Iran reported 160,696 cases of COVID-19, including 8,012 deaths. It was the highest daily increase in cases since March 30. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said that 997,009 Iranians, about one percent of the population, had been tested for the virus.

Economy: Venezuela said that it planned to import additional gasoline from Iran. "Tehran yesterday offered to supply Venezuela with more gasoline and refinery additives. President Maduro very likely will accept the offer because we need the fuel," a Venezuelan official told the media.  

Justice/Human Rights: Iranian leaders condemned the killing of George Floyd, an African American killed in police custody in Minneapolis. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. government of racism. “ The crime committed against this black man is the same thing the U.S. government has been doing against all the world,” Khamenei said in televised speech. “This is the U.S. government’s true nature and character that is being exposed today.”