20 September 2020,   08:56
Iran shuts down newspaper that claimed COVID-19 toll was vastly underreported

Iran shut down a newspaper after it published remarks by an expert who said the official figures on coronavirus cases and deaths in the country account for only 5% of the real toll, allegations rejected by the Health Ministry.

Mohammad Reza Sadi, the editor-in-chief of Jahane Sanat, said that authorities closed his newspaper, which began publishing in 2004 and was mainly focused on business news.

On Sunday, the daily quoted Mohammad Reza Mahboobfar, an epidemiologist the paper said had worked on the government’s anti-coronavirus campaign, as saying the true number of cases and deaths in Iran could be 20 times the number reported by the Health Ministry. He added that the virus was detected in Iran a month earlier than February, 19.


Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari rejected the allegations and said Mahboobfar had no role in the government’s anti-coronavirus campaign. She added that the ministry has provided figures in a “transparent” way: “The Health Ministry is not a political body and health of people is its main priority”.