News

World

Iran to Sentence Citizens Who “Spreads Rumors” about Coronavirus to Flogging, Three Years in Prison

A woman wearing a mask to prevent contracting the coronavirus reacts as employees from a disinfection service company sanitize a traditional market in Seoul, South Korea, February 26, 2020. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

An Iranian parliament spokesman on Wednesday announced that anyone found to be “spreading rumors” about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak will be sentenced to one-to-three years in prison and flogging, Iran state news agency IRNA reported.

“Spreading fake news over coronavirus outbreak will people panic. It also will pave the ground for the country’s shutdown,” said Hassan Norouzi, spokesman for the parliament’s legal and judicial committee, in comments translated by the Tehran Times.

Norouzi said the prison sentence and flogging is based on “on the Islamic penal code,” and 24 people have been arrested already on suspicion of “spreading rumors” about the illness.

Iran has reported 139 cases of coronavirus infections throughout the country, with an epicenter in the city of Qom, a destination for Shi’ite Muslim religious pilgrims. Nineteen Iranians have died from the illness so far, and the country has the highest number of cases in the Middle East. While officials have recommended that citizens not visit Qom, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that the government does not plan to quarantine entire cities, only infected individuals.

“Coronavirus must not be turned into a weapon for our enemies to halt work and production in our country,” Rouhani said.

On Tuesday Iranian deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi announced that he had contracted coronavirus. In a video taken at his home, Harirchi attempted to reassure viewers, saying “I will certainly defeat corona.”

Harirchi was filmed a day earlier on state television to announce that the country’s outbreak was under control, visibly sweating and wiping his face with a handkerchief.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More