Iran’s Khamenei suggests mass Ramadan events may be banned over virus
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Iran’s Khamenei suggests mass Ramadan events may be banned over virus

Supreme leader talks of the ‘absence’ of public gatherings for this year’s holy fasting month

In this photo released on March 20, 2020 by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses for a portrait prior to delivering his message for the Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, in Tehran, Iran (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
In this photo released on March 20, 2020 by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses for a portrait prior to delivering his message for the Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, in Tehran, Iran (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader suggested Thursday that mass gatherings in the Islamic Republic may be barred through the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment in a televised address as Iran tries to restart its economic activity while suffering one of the world’s worst outbreaks.

“In the absence of public gatherings in the Ramadan month including praying, speeches and so on, that we are this year are deprived of them, we should create the same senses in our lonesomeness,” Khamenei said.

Ramadan is set to begin in late April and last through most of May. Public officials had not yet discussed plans for the holy month, which sees the Muslim faithful fast from dawn until sunset.

A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the new coronavirus carries her shopping in northern Tehran, Iran, Saturday, April 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The Islamic Republic is battling one of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks, which it says has killed 4,110 people and infected 66,220.

There has been speculation abroad that the real number of deaths and infections could be higher.

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