Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded to criticism of his government’s lingering handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic calling it a “political war,” on Sunday. He said that he had to weigh protecting the country’s fragile economy while tackling the outbreak.
“In the past 24 hours we had 123 deaths and 2,901 people have been infected, bringing the total number of infected people to 38,309,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran’s health minister tweeted on Sunday.
Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus has climbed to 2,640.
Rouhani said the government had to weigh the effect of lockdown on Iran’s economy, which is already struggling under US sanctions.
“Health is a principle for us, but the production and security of society is also a principle for us,” Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting. “We must put these principles together to reach a final decision.”
“This is not the time to gather followers,” he added. “This is not a time for political war.”