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Khamenei Says Coronavirus Must Not Distract Authorities From 'Enemy Plots'


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation in a televised speech, in Tehran, April 9, 2020

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a speech on Thursday said the coronavirus situation should not cause distraction from "enemy plots".

"The [world] arrogance is an enemy of the principle of the Islamic Republic. What some people think – that they will not be hostile if we do not show hostility – is not a sound judgement," the Iranian Supreme Leader said in his speech.

"World arrogance" in Islamic Republic jargon is the United States and Western Europe.

In his annual speech on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the 12th Shiite Imam which was broadcast live, Khamenei also said the coronavirus pandemic was "a small problem" compared with the other misfortunes that Iran and the world have experienced before. Khamenei's previous speeches on this occasion were always delivered in the presence of a massive crowd.

"In the history of mankind there has rarely been an era when humanity needed a savior as much as today, whether consciously or subconsciously," he said. "Coronavirus has caused a pandemic and is a test for the whole world, both governments and nations," he added.

IRAN - A cleric and a woman pray behind a closed door of Masoume shrine in the city of Qom, some 80 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Monday, March 16, 2020
IRAN - A cleric and a woman pray behind a closed door of Masoume shrine in the city of Qom, some 80 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Monday, March 16, 2020

In his speech Khamenei also praised the country's healthcare workers as well as seminary students, Basij militia members and the armed forces for doing "all in their power" since late February when a coronavirus was officially acknowledged by Iranian authorities.

"Everyone should observe the guidelines of the National Committee for Combating coronavirus. Even religious gatherings are canceled in Iran, which is unprecedented in our history. But it's unavoidable," Khamenei said.

The Iranian religious establishment strongly protested to the closure of shrines and mosques in the earlier days of the outbreak. For the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic, the famous mosque of Jamkaran near Qom is closed to pilgrims this year. According to some Shiite sources Jamkaran is where the promised Imam manifested himself to a man more than a thousand years ago and ordered him to build the mosque.

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    Maryam Sinaiee

    Maryam Sinaiee is a British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National, who contributes to Radio Farda.

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