Leader of the Islamic Ummah and Oppressed People Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei will deliver a live and direct speech to the Iranian nation Sunday, after he canceled his regular New Year speech at the Imam Reza Holy Shrine in the city of Mashhad in line with precautionary measures to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Leader will address the Iranian people at 11:30 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on the occasion of the Persian New Year and the auspicious Eid al-Mab’ath, which marks the appointment of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to his divine mission.
The office of Ayatollah Khamenei released a statement on Monday, saying the Leader has canceled his regular New Year speech at the Imam Reza Holy Shrine in line with health officials’ recommendations to prevent the virus spread.
“Hereby, the honorable Iranian nation is informed that due to the spread of coronavirus and strict recommendations given by health officials and specialists to avoid any form of gathering and refrain from traveling and getting out of cities to prevent spread of the disease, the Leader’s speech ceremony, which is held every year on the first day of the new [Iranian calendar] year at the holy shrine of Imam Reza (Peace Be Upon Him) will not be held this year, and the Leader will not travel to Mashhad,” the statement read.
Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose on Saturday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, said Kianoush Jahanpour, the head of public relations and information center of the Iranian Ministry of Health.