Iran interior minister urges health minister to conceal coronavirus info: Report

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Iran’s Interior Minister has allegedly urged the country’s Health Minister to refrain from announcing any coronavirus cases prior to Friday’s parliamentary elections to ensure maximum turnout, according to a letter circulating on social media.

Many polling station supervisors in some provinces are refusing to participate in the elections out of fear of contracting coronavirus, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli wrote to Health Minister Saeed Namaki in the letter, dated February 17.

Rahmani Fazli urged Namaki in the letter not to reveal any information to the media about the number of coronavirus cases and deaths from the virus in the country until after the elections.

Local media reported last week that a 63-year-old woman died of a suspected coronavirus infection in Tehran, but Kianush Jahanpour, a spokesman for Iran’s Health Ministry, denied the reports.

Iranian health authorities have repeatedly said there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.

Fearing a low turnout in Friday’s parliamentary elections, Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been desperately urging people to vote.

Voting in Friday’s elections is a “religious duty,” said Khamenei on Tuesday.

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