The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday urged unity among Iranian officials in the face of “the emery’s broad front.”
“Today, the enemy front, the most vicious of which is the United States, has used all its political, economic and propaganda power to bring the strong nation of Iran to its knees. In such a situation, even in spite of differences of opinion internally, we must join hands and speak against the enemy with one voice,” Ayatollah Khamenei told Iranian lawmakers through a videoconference.
The Leader highlighted Iran’s power to overcome economic problems, saying even the enemy admits that its sanctions and pressure against Iran have ended in failure.
The Leader touched on Iran’s economic problems, likening them to a disease.
Nevertheless, “due to its strong staying power and resistance, the country is certainly capable of overcoming the disease just as the enemy today admits that it has not been able to achieve its anti-Iran goals despite its toughest sanctions and all-out pressure,” he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei said he is confident that the economic problems can be solved if national self-reliance is boosted, especially among the youth.
“Creating thousands of knowledge-based firms, implementing hundreds of infrastructural projects, the continuous use of new plans and amazing advances in the military and space industries are the result of using just a ‘part’ of the country’s vast potential. This should increase,” he emphasized.
The Leader’s speech is his first to the new Parliament which took office at the end of May, dominated by conservatives elected in February elections.
Fight against virus resurgence
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Leader called the resurgence of the novel coronavirus in Iran “truly tragic” and a “bitter reality,” and urged all citizens to help stem what has been the region’s deadliest outbreak.
“Let everyone play their part in the best way to break the chain of transmission in the short term and save the country,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Referring to the fact that the country is moving away from its initial success in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the Leader urged government institutions, aid groups, and the entire nation to “play their role in the best way so that we can break the infection chain in the short term and lead the country to the shore of safety.”
Iran has been struggling to contain the outbreak since announcing its first cases in February and has reported more than 12,800 deaths.
The Leader praised healthcare workers for “their sacrifices” but he also criticized “some people who do not even do something as simple as wearing a mask,” saying he felt “ashamed” of such behavior.
The comments came as infections have again been on the rise in Iran since early May.
According to figures announced on Sunday, 194 deaths from the COVID-19 disease and 2,186 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours.
The Health Ministry announced a record 221 deaths in a single day on Thursday.
In total, 257,303 cases have been reported in the country, including 12,829 deaths, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said Sunday in a televised press conference.
The outbreak’s rising toll has prompted authorities to make wearing masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and to allow the hardest hit provinces to reimpose restrictive measures.
Iran had closed schools, canceled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
Press TV and AFP contributed to this story.