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.
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.