News Digest: Week of June 29

June 29

Health: Iran’s Ministry of Health reported 225,205 cases and 10,670 deaths, including 162 new fatalities, from COVID-19. It was the highest daily death toll in Iran since April 4, when the country reported 158 new deaths.

Justice: Iran asked Interpol to enforce an arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and 35 other U.S. officials over the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike outside of the Baghdad airport in January. Interpol declined to assist in the arrest of Trump or other officials involved in the operation.


June 30

Health: Iran recorded 227,662 infections and 10,817 deaths from coronavirus. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced that the provinces of Khuzestan, Kurdistan, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Khorasan Razavi, and Kermanshah were still in the red category due to an uptick in cases.

Health: Iran announced that a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine would undergo human clinical trials “in the not too distant future.” Health Minister Namaki said that the vaccine had already passed laboratory tests with animals.

Diplomacy/Nuclear: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif clashed over the future of the U.N. conventional arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire in October. The two officials spoke at a virtual meeting of the Security Council convened to debate whether to extend the embargo. Pompeo warned that lifting the ban on selling arms to Tehran would further destabilize the Middle East. Zarif countered that extending the arms embargo would erode U.N. legitimacy. 

Society: A gas leak at a medical clinic in Tehran caused an explosion that killed 19 people. Hamidreza Goudarzi, deputy Tehran governor, said that the explosion was a result of leaking oxygen tanks. Firefighters were able to rescue 20 people from the fire.

Justice: Iran sentenced Ruhollah Zam, a journalist and anti-government activist, to death for fueling uprisings against the government in late 2017. Zam, who headed Amadnews, a Telegram channel critical of the regime, was reportedly lured to Iraq by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He was detained and taken back to Iran, where he was charged with “corruption on Earth.”

Justice: An appeals court upheld a five-year prison sentence for Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian academic detained in Iran on security charges since June 2019. “We condemn this decision by the Iranian authorities, who persist in detaining Fariba Adelkhah despite the absence of serious evidence or fact, with an exclusively political objective,” said French Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll.


July 1

Health: Iran reported 230,211 cases, including 10,958 deaths from coronavirus. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari warned that hospitalizations were rising in Tehran province. She added that 191,487 patients had recovered from the virus.