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Parliament Remains Shut As 23 Iranian Lawmakers Tested Positive For Coronavirus


Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (L), wearing a face mask.

The Spokesman of the Iranian Parliament's Presidium on Tuesday confirmed that 23 out of the 290 lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) out of the 100 that have been tested.

The Iranian Parliament (Majles) has not held any sessions after two lawmakers from Qom contracted coronavirus more than a month ago and two lawmakers elected for the next parliament in the February elections passed away from COVID-19.

On Monday in a letter to Speaker Ali Larijani 42 lawmakers of the reformist Omid (Hope) faction criticized the closure of the parliament and demanded that it immediately resume its normal sessions with full observance of hygienic protocols.

However, in an interview with the state-run TV on Tuesday, the Deputy Speaker of parliament who is a surgeon said if all of the lawmakers had been tested the number of infected cases could potentially be around 60.

According to Dr. Masoud Pezeshkian, shutting down the parliament could not be avoided due to the high number of infected representatives. Pezeshkian is a member of the reformist faction of the parliament but has not signed the lawmaker's letter for the re-opening of the Majles.

On 12 March the Presidium said parliament was considering holding its sessions by video-conferencing. The first online test-run session of the Majles was held on March 17 with 70 lawmakers. Several sessions have been held since then.

The forty-two reformist lawmakers who want parliament to resume its normal sessions say the decision to convene by video-conference has not been successful so far despite technical efforts.

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