It was only hours before the year 2020 began that China made public the emergence of a highly contagious new respiratory disease – or COVID-19. The world, which prior to the announcement, seemed more than capable of controlling and containing a potential outbreak, has since been crawling on its feet, struggling to adapt to a “new normal.” In late February, the virus found its way to Iran prompting officials to introduce sweeping measures like the closure of schools, sports clubs, and even mosques and other religious sites across the country. People were also strictly advised to stay home and practice social distancing when outdoors.
It was in late March and as Iran’s sports community was still reeling from the shock of the pandemic, the suspension of all sporting events and the postponement of the olympic games to 2021 when it received another bitter blow; the country’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, Ehsan Hadadi, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
After recovering from the malicious disease Ehsan recounted his experience battling the virus. He said: “It was really difficult to breathe but I hadn’t lost hope. Fear is your worst enemy while fighting this disease. If you are afraid, you can not overcome this. My high morale was a great help. This disease is no joke. It can infect anyone. So, whoever you are, stay home and take safety guidelines seriously.” Aside from finicalical implications, the postponement of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo has also had a ripple effect on the morale of the athletes who saw their childhood dreams put on hold and years of training extended. 52 Iranian athletes who have already qualified for 11 events now have to reset their mental preparations.
The 2020 Olympics – now the 2021 Olympics- are the first ever games to be postponed in peace-time. The event that was initially scheduled to start July 24 is now pushed all the way back to the summer of 2021.
This decision came out of a phone call between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on March 25 to make sure athletes can compete in their best condition and spectators can enjoy safe games.
The National Olympic Academy of Iran had to – naturally- suspend its activities following an order by Iran’s coronavirus control center. But the Academy continued its consultation services for athletes online or over the phone. It also started offering online courses for PE teachers in Olympics Values Education.
For a period of time, Iran was behind China with the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths. But the country soon recovered from the first wave of the outbreak and assumed the control of the situation despite US economic sanctions that have drastically constrained the ability of the country to finance humanitarian imports, including medicines and medical equipment.
Iranian athletes and champions released a video clip in solidarity with the people of the world which was warmly received by the sports community and was shared on the website of Association of National Olympic Committees.
In recent history, we Iranians have gone through years of war and sanctions. And I am only sure that we will put this new crisis behind us victoriously. So keep your spirits up and never lose hope.
Iran Olympic Review Episode 1: Iran and Coronavirus covid-19 Reporter: Farbod Khalili Cameraman: Mohsen Roushandeh Video Editor: Amirhassan Saadati Editor in chief and producer: Sadeq Hosseini Production: Public Relation Of Iran National Olympic Committee & Iran This Way www.olympic.ir www.iranthisway.com
Sadeq Hosseini, Farbod Khalili: Nowrouz, the Persian New Year, is by far the most important date in the Persian calendar. The two-week holiday that heralds the spring comes packed with a string of ancient traditions that include family visits of course. That tradition – like many other facets of our lives – was transformed by the unfolding drama of the COVID-19 global outbreak.
Nowrouz under coronavirus lockdown meant no family reunions, no gifts and no dinners, but also meant no parks, no cinemas and no concerts. So Tehran’s municipality came up with a brilliant idea to bring some musical joy to Iranian families in quarantine during these hard times; to livestream one concert every single night of the 15-day holiday.
So on Friday April 3, the NowrouzKhaneh campaign was launched. The concerts were live-streamed on 46 different websites and platforms (ipTVs, VODs – Video-on-Demand). They were also streamed live on Instagram.
Before the pandemic closed down businesses and sent everyone home self-quarantining, Milad Tower was one of the main cultural hubs of Tehran, hosting major festivals and holding various other cultural events. So, the venue was rightfully picked to host the online concerts during coronavirus lockdown.
The Milad Tower standing at 435 meters, the world’s sixth-tallest tower dominates the capital’s skyline.
The online concerts in Coronavirus days on Nowrouz 2020 performed by:
Azeri group of Master Vahid Asadollahi
Gil and Amard Group, Nasser Vahdati
Kurdish group Zhavana, Sadollah Nasiri
Lian Bushehr Group
Tehran municipality: Initiative aimed for concert-virgins under quarantine
Mohamad Reza Javadi Yeganeh, Deputy of cultural & social affairs of Tehran municipality said: “Since people could not leave their homes during the New Year holidays, we sat together and came up with the idea of online concerts or concerts in empty halls. The idea was to bring the concerts to people’s homes. We also had the concept of fair distribution in mind. Many people in Iran had never been to a concert both due to cultural and economic reasons. Tehran Municipality joined forces with the culture ministry, and Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) [to make this happen] via ipTVs and VODs.”
“Bands selected from pop, traditional, folklore genres to appeal to all”
We selected pop, classical and folklore music bands to appeal to all different tastes in Tehran. Given the unknown risks involved, many of the bands were unwilling to participate. The idea of ‘a concert without a crowd’ was far-fetched to some, director of cultural affairs department in Tehran municipality said.
“Tiva TV broadcast concert signals to over 40 platforms”
Majid Sahaf, channel director of Tiva IPTV about broadcasting the concerts said: “Tiva readily picked up the offer by Tehran Municipality, given its technical capacity and experience in the field. We were required to transmit the signal [of the concerts] to all various platforms and streaming services all around the country. And we made this operational. From the first night on, over 40 different platforms used our services. And this went on for 15 consecutive nights. Most of the people used the easiest mode of access which was through web streaming. Their next choice was applications, android and iOS respectively, and finally smart TVs. Many were doubtful about the internet infrastructure in the country. But we faced no issues in receiving and transmitting the signal. People also had no issues streaming at home. No complaints were recorded in these 15 nights.”
Tehran mayor: Online concerts well received by people
Tehran mayor: Online concerts well received by people
Pirouz Hanachi, Tehran Mayor said: “It’s definitely been a positive experience because the world is also following suit. Many famous musicians are performing online these days. I think we set a record [of viewers]. We exceeded the five-million mark in mid-holidays. People well received the concerts.”
Gholamhossein Mohammadi an advisor to Tehran’s mayor wrote on twitter that: “A brilliant idea enabled five million people who’d joined the StayHome campaign to fight the spread of coronavirus to watch live the first-ever online concert broadcast from Milad Tower. Tehran’s municipality feels compelled to protect the health and wellbeing of citizens.”
“Iranians, expats watched online concerts”
Javadi Yeganeh mentions that: “Level of participation was beyond our expectations. Part of this came from Tehran and the rest from outside Tehran and even overseas. The President Rouhani expressed his gratitude.”
“Over 30 million unique IPs streamed online concerts” Director of cultural affairs department in Tehran municipality informed: “According to the numbers we received daily from the association of IPTVs, over 30 million unique IPs watched the concerts in these 15 nights. The biggest achievement of the online concerts was making culture and music accessible to all walks of life in the country during the difficult quarantine days”.
But did the concerts truly attract people’s attention or was this remark an empty official rhetoric?
“The first time I watched an online concert was about 30 something days into my home quarantine. Although I had kept myself busy with different activities, I was feeling depressed and in low spirits. It was quite a surprising scene; the concert was being held in an empty hall but apart from that it was like a normal concert with the stage and props and things like that. After performing each song, the singer would call up and introduce one of the band members who then would bow to the camera. In normal circumstances, the crowd would applaud him but since the hall was empty, there was no applause, and the artists would only bow to a quiet hall. It was a strange and surreal experience. Nonetheless, the experience felt very real to me. Although I was at home in my PJs and drawing while watching the concert, every time I enjoyed a performance I would clap to it as if I’d actually been there in the concert hall. So it was a really interesting experience.” Fatemeh Tehrani, Tourism Activist
“In these monotonous and boring quarantine days, watching live an hour-long concert by Reza Yazdani was a big surprise for my wife and I. I’m sure its memory will stay with us for years to come.” Mohsen Saemi, Construction Project Manager
“I always thought going to concerts was an expensive activity, and given the inadequate infrastructure, only a few people could experience it, maybe not more than 2% of the population. But when I was watching these online concerts with my family at home, I felt that now with these concerts, many people can experience -at least to some extent- how live concerts really feel.” Seyed Milad Nazemi, Journalist
“In these times while some still haven’t grasped the gravity of the situation and think all these safety measures and home-quarantining are nothing but an unnecessary obsession, with others panicking and getting depressed from staying home for long periods, the municipality’s introduction of the initiative only shows the gravity of the situation and the halt in normal day activities. On the other hand, it shows it cares about people and has plans for their lockdown days to make them more tolerable.”
Mahsa Mousavi, Neurologist
The musicians also welcomed the municipality’s initiative:
Rastak Singer: Online concerts in coronavirus lockdown ‘innovative idea’
Farzad Moradi, Singer, Rastak Music Band Emphasized: “I think Iranians are culture and art-loving people who enjoy going to concerts; something that has been missing from their lives [as a consequence of the coronavirus lockdown]. We are glad to see the Municipality organize the events despite all limitations. It was an innovative idea. I hope artists can use this platform for as long as the disease is among us. Our performance is audience-oriented. To be honest, we have never had any such experience before, and It was really difficult. During our concerts, given our considerable experience, our main concern is not music but the emotional give and take between us, the musicians, and the audience.”
First time experiencing concert in empty hall
Also Sina Sarlak, Singer said: “This is the first time in my whole musical career that I am performing in an empty concert hall.”
It could be really disappointing to see the concert that you have been counting days for postponed or cancelled altogether. Both for fans and the artists themselves. That’s why musicians of all stripes and sizes from all around the world are taking to social and streaming platforms these days to play live for their fans from their homes or empty venues.
This might be an intuition, or a false hope. But I strongly believe we will ultimately win the fight against COVID-19. The virus, however, is likely to stay among us for quite some time. So for the time being we have to learn to adjust to this new reality of life. This might come with some complications but also with some fortunate by-products like the virtual concerts. In the meantime, keep your safe distance with others and follow health guidelines.
Tehran Review Episode 1, Online concert during coronavirus Editor in Chief and Producer: Sadeq Hosseini Reporter: Farbod Khalili Cameraman: Saeed Naeeni Edit: Amirhassan Saadati Production: Iran This Way In Cooperate: Shahr news agency and Commutation center of Tehran Municipality www.shahr.ir www.tehran.ir Iranthisway.com
‘Khoniagaran-e Mehr’ the famous Iranian women traditional music group performed online during coronavirus. The first case of Covid19 in Iran was officially announced on February 19, 2010.
“Khonyagaran-e Mehr” is a female musicians band with a brilliant background, led by Behzad Abdi,that performs various concerts in persian music. “Khonyagaran-e Mehr”, consists of twelve musicians, formed in may 2017. In August 2017 they held a successful concert at the Vahdat Hall with Mohammad Motamedi as a singer.
In October 2017, “Khonyagaran-e Mehr” performed at the “Eimehestan” festival in Armenia and received award from Culture Minister of Armenia. In February 2017, “Khonyagaran-e Mehr” performed at the Fajr Festival with Vahid Taj as a singer.This performance was appreciated by the audience. In july 2017, two music videos of Khonyagaran-e Mehr were displayed for a month in Expo of Kazakhstan. In August 2018, “Khonyagaran-e Mehr” held a concert for Iranian ladies in Niavaran Cultural Center with a singer named “Sayeh Sodeyfi”. In November 2017, the soloists of “Khonyagaran-e Mehr” held a concert with the Organizal Orchestra in Kostiol church in kiev, Ukraine. In February 2018, “Khonyagaran-e Mehr” and Vahid Taj performed in Philharmonic Hall of kiev, Ukraine.
In February 2019, they performed at the Fajr Festival with Navid Norouzi as a singer.They also performed in closing the Fajr Music Festival. In March 2019, they held successful performances in three cities of Germany : Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt. In April 2019, they performed at the “le Magie des Hirondelles du Printemps” festival in Paris,France. In April 2019, held concert in Bern,Switzerland. In October 2019 held concert in Womex festival in Tampere, Finland.
WOMEX 19 is one of the world’s largest music events which hostd publishers, independent musicians, organizers, and state organizations in music every year from over 90 countries.
‘Khoniagaran-e Mehr’ founded and led by Behzad Abdi.
Saman Kojuri, Press TV: This year Iranians are observing Ramadan under the corona virus lockdown with bans on mass prayers.
Each year many practicing Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for the whole of the lunar month either 29 or 30 days depending on the moon sighting as part of the ritual of dedicating oneself to contemplation and prayer.
This year because of the deadly cornavirus, almost all Muslim-majority countries including Iran have closed mosques and asked people to pray at home to limit the spread of the disease.
In Ramadan, Muslims try to spend more time praying, reciting the Quran, and doing other religious social activities like helping the poor. Fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.
Unlike previous years this year Muslims in Iran cannot mark the “Nights of Glory” at mosques and religious sites as religious leaders have called on people to hold praying ceremony at home to stay safe. Muslims believe the holy book of Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad almost 1400 years ago on the Nights of Glory.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast as an effective way of practicing self-discipline. They are also expected to strengthen their character through self-restraint charitable donations and introspection.
Mayor of London Sadiq Aman Khan has said that many of the measures taken in London to counter coronavirus are similar to those taken in Tehran, and Tehran is even ahead.
Khan made the remarks in an online meeting with Tehran mayor Pirouz Hanachi on Friday.
Referring to the conditions imposed on Iran by U.S. sanctions, Khan
said: “In meetings with the British government officials, I would tell
them about the problems of Tehran in relation to sanctions and I hope
that this problem will be solved soon.”
Hanachi for his part noted that Iran is fighting coronavirus and sanctions at the same time, adding “Despite the pandemic, start-up businesses have been activated in Iran and many services were provided in person before the outbreak, are now done online and on virtual networks.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Hanachi said that in the global crisis,
countries usually put aside their differences and problems and try to
help each other so that the situation does not get worse.
To many of us urban administrators in Iran, the onslaught of coronavirus has underscored an important fact of life: no town, city or nation can be indifferent to global crises, even in far-flung corners of our world, Hanachi told The Guardian on April 4.
Indeed, while the mantra of good governance over the past century has
been to “think global, act local”, we must today think and act both
locally and globally.
“I would tell British government officials about the problems of Tehran in relation to sanctions and I hope that this problem will be solved soon.”/Mayor of London
Doubtless, there are things that we could do differently, like every country in the world. But we are operating against the backdrop of the most extreme sanctions regime in history.
The US embargo not only prohibits American companies and individuals from conducting lawful trade with Iranian counterparts, but given that the sanctions are extra-territorial, all other countries and companies are also bullied into refraining from doing legitimate business with Iranians, even the selling of medicines.
This unjust treatment of Iran has come about via the policies of one
country – the United States – whose ruling administration does not seem
to prioritize even its own national interests, but instead the narrow
interests of a governing party. The outcome of such irresponsible
policies and behavior is not limited to Iran; they have also inflicted
harm on the American public.
In order to better confront these new global crises, there is a need
for politicians to realize that the path to pursuing national interests
is not separate or contrary to that of global interests and
The world cannot go on like this. If global leaders fail to seize the
opportunity to embrace change, we will all continue to remain highly
vulnerable to communicable diseases, environmental catastrophes, global
warming, terrorism, violent extremism and other shared threats.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki has said that the daily death toll and
positive cases of coronavirus in Iran have dropped respectively to one
third over the course of three weeks, which is a source of honor for the
country amid the tough sanctions.
Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi in an online video conference with Muscat and Istanbul counterparts reiterated that the only way for countering coronavirus pandemic is the international consensus.
“No vaccine has indeed been developed for #Corona yet, but l’m sure that there’s only one way to deal with global crises: international interaction,” Hanachi wrote on his Twitter account.
“I talked to Hamdoon Al Harthi and @imamoglu_int today, distinguished mayors of Muscat and Istanbul. We’ll be always together,” he added.
The head of Iran’s Health Ministry’s Public Relations Office said earlier on Tuesday that a total of 84,802 have been infected with COVID-19 in Iran, from whom 5,297 have lost their lives to the virus.
During the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic, Iran reported its first confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections on 19 February 2020 in Qom. The virus may have been brought to the country by a businessman from Qom who had traveled to China. In response to the coronavirus the Iran’s government cancelled public events and Friday prayers; closed schools, universities, shopping centers, bazaars, and holy shrines; and banned festival celebrations.
Iran coronavirus fatalities drop to double figures for first time in month
Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki says the number of fatalities from the novel coronavirus pandemic has dropped to double figures for the first time in one month.
Speaking to the Iranian people on Instagram live on Tuesday 14 April 2020, Namaki hailed the country’s “proper” fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that 98 deaths from the disease were registered in the past 24 hours.
“We are implementing smart distancing and have announced protocols for it. We want to say that we are currently at a more appropriate situation,” he said.
Namaki, however, warned that the country will face new challenges if health protocols and smart distancing are not observed properly.
Meanwhile, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the new deaths brought the total number of fatalities to 4,683 since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran in late February.
Jahanpour added 1,574 new infections had been recorded over the past 24 hours, taking the overall number of confirmed cases to 74,877.
He noted that 48,129 of hospitalized patients had recovered and been discharged, and that 3,691 people are in critical conditions.
Iran health minister hailed the country’s “proper” fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that 98 deaths from the disease were registered in the past 24 hours.
Iran’s successful response to the virus comes despite the illegal US sanctions, which are hampering the country’s efforts to rein in the virus.
Iran has been employing strict precautionary measures since the virus surfaced in the country. It has heavily ramped up the required health services, including by increasing the number of hospital beds, and shot up the production of disinfectants and relevant sanitary items.
The Health Ministry reported Monday that new cases of coronavirus infections and deaths from the viral outbreak had been declining across most of the country’s 31 provinces.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran has handled the novel
coronavirus outbreak better than Europe and the United States, assuring
that the country’s stocks of basic commodities are replenished better
than ever, unlike the scenario unfolding in the US and many other
All the refineries processing South Pars gas output are operating normally and there is no drop in their output despite the coronavirus outbreak, an official with the South Pars Gas Complex said.
Ali Ahmadi, the complex’s caretaker of coordination and production control, said, “With the operation of South Pars Gas Complex refineries, in order to achieve sustainable and maximum production in the special conditions of the coronavirus outbreak, appropriate measures at the level of refinery operation management have been done.”
He added, “According to the health instructions of the Ministry of Petroleum, the necessary equipment have been procured for the presence of colleagues, and gas production is constantly being monitored to achieve maximum production and sustainability.”
The official also underlined the importance of gas condensate production and continuous delivery of the item to consumers, adding, “The production situation of this product is always monitored and sent to the relevant bases.”
Mohammad Reza Shanesaz, the head of Food and Drug Administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FDA) announced on Friday that three local companies are ready to produce the antiviral drug Favipiravir, which is said to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19, Mehr News Agency reported.
He said that production of Favipiravir in Iran is in the phase of clinical trials and as planned the primary substance of its will be domestically produced in the near future.
Shanehsaz added that in case of any deficiency, Iran has imports of anti-coronavirus medicine on agenda, as well.
On April 8, the Iranian version of antiviral drug Favipiravir, which is said to be effective in treating the coronavirus, begun clinical trials through efforts of researchers at Shahid Beheshti Medical University.
Researchers at Shahid Beheshti Medical University launched small trials of the antiviral drug Favipiravir at Masih Daneshvari Hospital, which is one of the leading medical centers treating patients with the new coronavirus infection in the Iranian capital.
On April 5, the head of Iran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital, Ali Akbar Velayati, said Iran has produced Favipiravir for the first time.
“Fortunately, Favipiravir was produced for the first time at Shahid Beheshti Medical University’s School of Pharmacy and has been made available to Masih Daneshvari Hospital to be used for the treatment of coronavirus patients,” Velayati said.
The new development came as US sanctions hinder the country’s access to drugs and medical equipment.
The flu drug was hailed by Chinese health officials as “clearly effective” when used on 340 patients in trials there that showed reduced recovery time and improved lung function.