US Anti-Iranian Sanctions ‘Made Tehran Self-Sufficient in All Areas’, Khamenei Says

Iran has temporarily freed 85,000 prisoners including political ones amid coronavirus

Iran releases 85000 prisoners amid efforts to combat spread of coronavirus

Celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, come at a grim time.

Iran is now battling the worst outbreak of the new coronavirus in the Middle East, with the death toll at 1,433 as of Friday, according to the country's Health Ministry.

In an effort to contain the disease, the Islamic Republic made a request to Azerbaijan, the rotating head of the NAM, to issue a statement on behalf of the 120 countries it represents condemning unilateral USA sanctions.

"Primarily, these acts of sacrifice were made by medical groups, physicians, nurses, assistants, managers, and the staff working in hospitals".

Mr. Rouhani assured Iranians that his administration will prioritize health in the coming year and said it had stockpiled basic supplies.

President Hassan Rouhani also marked the new year, known as Nowruz, by promising a better economy.

The government has closed schools at all levels, banned sports and cultural events, and curtailed religious activities to try and slow the spread of the virus.

According to the deputy health minister Alireza Reisi, 147 people had died over a 24-hour period, while 1,192 new cases were confirmed, as per Iran's news agency.

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In a speech to mark the Persian new year on Friday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, in particular, that the Islamic Republic had managed to capitalise on the USA anti-Iranian sanctions.

For his part, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu described the Japanese government's assistance as a sign of the friendly relations between the two countries and Japan's solidarity with the Iranian nation.

In retaliation, an Iranian ballistic missile strike on an Iraqi air base hosting Western troops left some 110 US troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

Unlike in his usual fiery speeches, the anti-U.S. hardliner Khamenei refrained from attacking Iran's longtime foe in his remarks.

There has also been speculation that Iran's actual infection and fatality numbers are much higher than is being reported. He tested positive for COVID-19 the next day.

In Jordan, which has reported 35 cases of the Covid-19 virus, the army has begun imposing restrictions on access to the capital, Amman.

"At the very time Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias in Iraq are killing Americans and Brits and others, this would be exactly the wrong time to be providing any kind of economic relief to the regime", he said, referring to last week's attack on a military camp in Iraq that killed one British and two USA personnel.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Friday that the United States policy towards the Islamic Republic would live in "infamy" and that his country "won't break".

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