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Iran arrests thousands for ‘spreading rumors’ about coronavirus

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Iran has arrested 3,600 individuals for “spreading rumors” about coronavirus in the country, the spokesman for the armed forces Abolfazl Shekarchi told state TV on Tuesday.

“The Basij and the police have arrested 3,600 individuals who spread rumours about coronavirus online,” said Shekarchi. The Basij is the paramilitary arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“Know that the people behind these rumours will be identified and arrested, and many of them have already been arrested,” he said.

Shekarchi did not specify the nature of the rumours.

He called on Iranians to ignore the “enemies’ psychological war” against Iran.

Officials in Iran, including several members of parliament, have cast doubt on the official coronavirus figures in the country and have accused the health ministry of lack of transparency.

As of Wednesday, 5,957 in Iran have died from the virus and there are 93,657 confirmed cases, according to the health ministry.

The coronavirus outbreak has strengthened the defensive capabilities of the Iranian armed forces, said Shekarchi.

No Iranian soldiers have died from coronavirus, he said, adding that only a number of retirees from the armed forces with injuries from the Iran-Iraq war have died of the disease.

IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif had said in March that five members of the IRGC had died of coronavirus.

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