TEHRAN: Iran has temporarily freed thousands of additional prisoners, including political prisoners, in an attempt to reduce pressure on its prisons system as the country struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Moreover, Iran has issued its most dire warning about coronavirus, suggesting ‘millions’ could die in the Islamic Republic if the public keeps ignoring health guidance.
Many Iranians have ignored calls by the health authorities to stay at home, but the establishment has closed the country’s holy Shia Muslim sites and shrines in Tehran and Qom, the epicentre of Iran’s coronavirus outbreak.
Iran has struggled so far to reduce the number of infections and has blamed US sanctions for hampering its capacity in the fight against the virus.
A state television journalist who is also a medical doctor gave the warning after Shiite faithful pushed their way into the courtyards of two major shrines that had just been closed over fears of the virus.
Notably, the prisoners who were released most recently are likely to be protesters who were arrested during anti-government demonstrations in November and all prisoners are expected to be taken back into custody on April 3.