Iran Temporarily Frees Tens of Thousands of Prisoners Due to Health Crisis
Iran has temporarily freed some 85,000 prisoners in a bid to stem one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus. The death toll from COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic has reached 853, and 15,000 cases have been confirmed. In response, Iranian allies such as China have called on the US to ease economic sanctions imposed over Tehran’s nuclear program, although the appeal has been met with silence in Washington. Last week, Iran asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5 billion emergency loan to combat the spread of the disease. On Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates sent two planes to the country with 32 tons of medical supplies to the help alleviate the crisis. Regarding the Gulf, Bahrain on Monday reported the region’s first coronavirus death, as the number of infections across the Middle East surpassed 17,000. Tehran has thus far refrained from ordering a nationwide lockdown. However, after initially being accused of covering up the scope of the epidemic, strict measures have been implemented, including the shuttering of holy sites in Qom, the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.