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Iran Evacuates Students, Iraqis, Syrians From Coronavirus Epicenter

Iranian students repatriated from Wuhan arrived in Tehran on February 5.
Iranian students repatriated from Wuhan arrived in Tehran on February 5.

Iranian news agencies Wednesday morning reported that 56 Iranian nationals living in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, have arrived in Iran and will be quarantined for two weeks. According to some reports tens of Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese nationals were also on the flight.

Iranian and other nationals were flown to Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport onboard a chartered airbus belonging to Mahan Air.

In a video published by Rokna, an Iranian news agency, on Wednesday an Iranian student who has returned from Wuhan sends a message to Iranians in which he says everyone is fine and the rumors that they have been sent to their families straight away are not true.

"We arrived in Tehran at 8:00 AM and we are going to be quarantined for two weeks before joining our families".

In its reports Rokna also said 59 Iraqis, 24 Syrians and one Lebanese national were also on the flight.

The Islamic Republic News Agency later reported that with Chinese cooperation Iran has helped to repatriate 59 Iraqi students and quoted an Iraqi official as saying that the students evacuated from Wuhan have already arrived in Baghdad.

Curiously, Rokna also claimed that the Mahan airbus carrying the Iranian and other nationals evacuated from Wuhan was not trackable on Flightradar, a real-time flight tracker.

Mahan airline was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2011 for supporting the Revolutionary Guard's Qods Force. On December 11, 2019 the Treasury Department designated three of Mahan Air's general sales agents based in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong for "facilitating the Iranian regime's support to proxy militias".