Iran announces collective prayers to restart nationwide

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced yesterday collective prayers will resume in mosques, even as confirmed new coronavirus infections rise again after a decline.

“It has been decided to open the mosques across the country… giving worshippers the chance to perform their daily prayers while respecting the required (hygiene) rules,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Iran, hit by the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the virus, began to loosen restrictions on human interaction in April, classifying areas as white, orange and red – respectively indicating low, medium and high risk for coronavirus infections.

Rouhani said yesterday that the reopening of mosques for daily prayer “would not only be in white zones,” but did not elaborate on when the eased measures would take effect.

Authorities progressively closed mosques across Iran after confirming the first coronavirus infections in February.

Mosques in areas falling into the white category were allowed to re-open their doors for prayer for the month of Ramadhan but only for individual prayer.