News Digest: Week of July 19

July 19

Health: Iran imposed a week-long lockdown of Tehran, its capital, to deal with the surge in the COVID-19 Delta variant. Most non-essential businesses were already on lockdown, but the new order expanded the lockdown to include all bazaars, markets and government buildings, the Associated Press reported

Migration: Turkish security forces discovered more than 1,450 migrants who were transported from Iran and arrested eleven human traffickers. The migrants were discovered in abandoned buildings near the city of Van in southeast Turkey. 

Syria: The Syrian military reported an Israeli airstrike near Aleppo, the SANA state news agency said. The strike "occurred just before midnight" on Eid al Adha, one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar, the Associated Press reported


July 20

Health: Iran reached an all-time high of new COVID-19 infections with 27,444 new cases, the health ministry reported. The previous peak was 25,582 on April 14. New deaths were at 250, still lower than the average death rate during the third and fourth waves of the pandemic in fall 2020 and spring 2021 respectively.  

Nuclear: Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) rejected a draft agreement over returning to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said. A SNSC committee "decided the draft agreement is incompatible with the law passed by parliament in December" that ordered Iran to increase enrichment levels to 20 percent and end snap nuclear inspections, he told reporters.

But a different spokesman, working directly for the SNSC, denied that any agreement existed in the first place. "Contrary to what has been said, the committee has fundamentally dealt with a number of important issues on which the Vienna talks have failed to reach an agreement due to the bullying of the [United States] and some European parties," SNSC secretariat spokesman Keyvan Khosravi said. "Saying that there was an agreement or disagreement about something which is not real isn’t relevant."

Water: Protests continued for the sixth straight day in Khuzestan province over a water shortage caused by an unprecedented drought. Videos posted online showed protesters calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic and police using teargas to disperse crowds. One policeman and two young men have been killed since the protests began on July 16. 



July 21

Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with E.U. external affairs chief Josep Borrell to discuss Afghanistan and the Iran nuclear deal, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Sports: Iranian sports officials arrived in Tokyo for the 32nd Olympic Games starting July 23. Iran's minister of sport and the head of its Olympic committee were welcomed by the Japanese ambassador, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.