The Islamic revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) has cancelled the annual Qods (Quds) day marches and gathering because of the coronavirus pandemic raging in Iran.
Ramezan Sharif, the spokesperson of the IRGC announced the traditional march “to support Palestine”, which takes place on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan in Iran and some Muslim countries will not take place in Tehran this year.
Sharif added that if the event is cancelled in Tehran, it should also be cancelled in other cities, because “foreign media” will misrepresent the watered-down event and its damage would be more than its benefit.
The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged Iran, which was the epicenter of the virus and its disease COVID-19 in the Middle East. According to official figures, which are regarded as an underestimation, more than 6,000 people have died and close to 100,000 infected.
Sharif also downplayed the cancellation saying that “given the current situation” not holding Qods Day public events will not do any harm and “we should not be concerned about how enemies will judge” the decision.
The Islamic Republic announced its first coronavirus case on February 19, but many critics say the contagion started weeks earlier and the government covered it up to insure a large turnout for the anniversary of the Islamic Republic in early February and parliamentary elections on February 21.
The ensuing accusations that by delaying the acknowledgment of the epidemic the government put more lives in danger might be a reason why Qods Day events are being cancelled.