Iran’s parliament closed until further notice over coronavirus outbreak among MPs

BREAKING: Iran’s Parliament was closed until further notice as an undisclosed number of Iranian government officials and MPs have been infected with the coronavirus and sources say at least 210 people have died as a result of the outbreak.

The figure is six times higher than the official death toll of 34 given by the health ministry earlier on Friday.

Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, is the latest high-profile government official to test positive for coronavirus.

Ebtekar, one of Iran’s most high-profile female politicians, was last seen at a cabinet meeting Wednesday with President Hassan Rouhani. During the meeting, Rouhani warned about COVID-19 turning into a “weapon at the hands of our enemies” for “propaganda” purposes.

In a highly publicized case, deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi was filmed sweating profusely and wiping his face with a handkerchief at a press conference meant to update officials on the spread of coronavirus.

One of the country’s top clerics, Hadi Khosroshahi, died on Thursday after he contracted the sickness.

Four members of parliament, including the chair of the parliamentary committee for national security, have also been infected by the virus, as the rapid spread of the outbreak forced the cancellation of Friday Prayers in many mosques across the country.

A member of parliament for Qom accused the authorities of a cover-up earlier this week and the US has expressed concern that they may not be sharing information.