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Iran: Shrines remain closed, only access to floodplains | message

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TEHERAN (dpa-AFX) – The shrines and larger mosques in the Islamic Republic of Iran remain closed due to the corona crisis; access to the floodplains could be allowed again until the end of May. “After the month of fasting Ramadan (in Iran on May 23) there are considerations to open the muzzle of the mausoleums in compliance with certain hygiene regulations,” said Health Minister Saeid Namaki. Because of the high risk of infection, the shrines themselves remain closed, the minister said on Sunday, according to the web portal of the state broadcaster IRIB.

In the four important mausoleums as well as in larger mosques in the country there are floodplains where the pilgrims are before or after visiting the shrine. The closure of the mausoleums and mosques in Iran had led to heated discussions between the clergy and the scientists in the Ministry of Health. For the clergy, the opening of the holy places is much more important than that of shopping arcades and beauty salons.

Minister Namaki and his team believed, however, that the urgently needed restrictions on contacts were impossible in the shrines and that their opening could lead to a new wave of contagion. Therefore, only smaller mosques in small towns, which the Ministry classified as a “white zone” – corona-free – were reopened.

Namaki spoke of partial success in the fight against the corona virus. Careless relaxation in places such as the holy cities, which led to larger gatherings, could result in “bitter goals in injury time”. With this reasoning, Namaki and his vice ministers have so far prevailed in the corona crisis team and against the clergy.

The corona virus has hit Iran particularly hard in the past 111 days. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 6500 people have died as a result of the corona infection. The number of infected is over 105,000, of which over 85,000 are cured. In addition, the pandemic is said to have paralyzed about 70 percent of the Iranian economy./str/DP/zb



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