Rouhani: Vehicles, Not Marches, to Mark Iran’s Annual Anti-Israel Rally

DUBAI (Reuters) -
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a Cabinet meeting, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Tehran, Iran. (Official Presidential website/Handout via Reuters)

Rallies next week in Tehran to mark the annual Quds Day against Israel will involve Iranians driving in vehicles, not marching through the streets, to avoid spreading the coronavirus, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on state media on Saturday.

The elite Revolutionary Guards would be in charge of organizing the rallies, Rouhani said, adding that those joining in could still chant slogans from their vehicles and wave flags.

Rallies to mark Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, are held in towns and cities across the country and aim to show support for the Palestinians. Typically, those marching chant “Death to Israel” and burn the Israeli flag.

Rouhani said Quds Day, held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which this year falls on May 22, would go ahead as normal in 218 other towns and cities, where the coronavirus outbreak has been less severe than the capital.

“The coronavirus danger is still there, but our situation is better than before,” he said. “”We have crossed the main peak.”

As of Saturday, Iran‘s death toll from the pandemic stood at 6,937 with 118,392 diagnosed cases, the Health Ministry said.

The ministry spokesman said the death toll in the past 24 hours was 35, the lowest in the past 70 days, while the number of new cases was 1,757.