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Iran's Rohani Calls For Temporary Ban On Weddings, Funerals As Coronavirus Cases Rise

Iranians shop near Tehran's grand bazaar July 7.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani called for large public gatherings such as weddings and funerals to be temporarily banned to slow a rise in coronavirus infections, but he shied away from recommending another round of curbs on economic activity.

Shortly after his announcement on July 11, police in Tehran, the nation’s capital, announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice.

Iran, one of the nation’s most impacted by the coronavirus, has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, but a sharp increase in new infections has prompted some to call on the government to reverse course.

The country's Health Ministry recorded more than 180 new fatalities and almost 2,400 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 255,117, with 12,635 dead.

Rohani has blamed the rise on public gatherings like weddings and funerals and said that university entrance exams may have to be suspended.

However, he rejected the idea of curbing economic activity, saying that shutting the economy has a negative impact on people’s lives as well.

"In the long term, paralyzing the economy would be unacceptable to the people," Rohani said in comments published on his office's website on July 11.

He has called for normal life to resume under strict hygienic conditions.

The economic lockdown that began in February has cost Iranians millions of jobs and sent the national currency, the rial, plummeting by more than half.

The economic crisis has prompted debate in Iran's parliament about Rowhani's political future, with some parties even openly calling for his resignation.

With reporting by dpa and Reuters
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