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New reports appear to indicate that Iran, the US and Iranian proxies are all preparing for a conflict in Iraq after a year of rising tensions, rocket attacks and airstrikes.
The US-led Coalition has been re-positioning forces in the last weeks, handing over several key posts, and training of Iraqi forces is temporarily wrapping up. Several European powers that contributed to the Coalition seem to be bringing forces home due to the pandemic. What is left in Iraq amid the tensions look like two boxers in the ring waiting to see what happens next.

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Even according to official figures, the coronavirus epidemic has killed over 1,800 people in Iran, prompting unprecedented measures that have included closing holy Shiite shrines.
But could the authorities in the Islamic republic be underplaying the severity of the COVID-19 epidemic and the challenge in fighting it?
The crisis has come as the country faces one of its most troubled periods since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, with Iran increasingly estranged from the international community and its economy battered by American sanctions.
Going by official data, Iran is the fourth-worst hit country after Italy, China and Spain. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour has described an uptick of 50 new cases per hour and a new death every 10 minutes.
But Persian language media outside Iran, citing figures from regional sources, claim even this grim toll is a lowball.
On Saturday, the Prague-based, US-funded Radio Farda said at least 660 more people have died than the official tally.
And the exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), outlawed in Iran, has claimed the real death toll could be as high as 8,800.

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Iranian media reports that at least 44 people have died from alcohol poisoning and hundreds have been hospitalized after consuming bootleg alcohol in an effort to treat the coronavirus.
The Middle Eastern country, which has been especially hit hard by the coronavirus – with 8,042 confirmed cases and at least 291 deaths as of Tuesday – has struggled to prevent the spread of the virus.
The majority of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the Middle East are in Iran.
A false rumor has circulated throughout the country that drinking alcohol can cure or prevent the coronavirus. Drinking alcohol is prohibited in the country.
Some citizens, according to Iran Health Ministry official Ali Ehsanpour, drank alcohol that substituted toxic methanol for ethanol, using bleach to mask the color. Seven bootleggers have been arrested.

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The coronavirus has shattered any hope of the Iranian economy clawing out from under two years of deep recession. To the ruling regime’s chagrin, the virus has begun to adversely affect precisely those sectors that seemed poised for growth after weathering the return of US sanctions.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the Iranian economy contracted 4.8 percent in 2018 and 9.5 percent in 2019. The closest thing to good news was that both the IMF and the World Bank forecasted zero growth in 2020. That would be abysmal for most economies, but the Islamist regime in Tehran considered it a ray of light. No more.
By sacrificing public health to politics, the clerical regime turned Iran into a coronavirus bomb exploding across the Middle East. When the epidemic broke out, Tehran failed to cut, limit or even supervise contacts with China. As always, ordinary Iranians have been the main victim of the Islamist regime’s incompetence and psychopathic indifference toward its own citizens.

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Kourosh Ziabari, ‘Iran’s Caspian Sea retreat turns coronavirus hub’, Asia Times
In the provincial capital Rasht, which is home to about 750,000 people, only one hospital has been designated for patients to consult in case they experience coronavirus symptoms, and need to be hospitalized under quarantine conditions. Local sources tell that the designated hospital, Razi, is old and underprepared. Businessmen involved in importing and exporting medical equipment and medicine, meanwhile, complain that constraints caused by the US sanctions against the Islamic Republic are an obstacle to importing ICU beds, medical respiratory equipment, mechanical ventilators and non-invasive ventilators, as well as other paraphernalia urgently needed in these taxing days.
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Hospitals in Tehran, Iran’s capital, have been reporting a recent rise in alcohol-poisoning cases, as the public tries to deal with the  coronavirus spread within the country.
Although spirits, wine and beer have been banned in Iran since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, many Iranians have been attempting to safeguard themselves from contracting the novel coronavirus by way of alcohol consumption, based on a circulating rumor.
The rumor, that drinking alcohol can prevent contraction of the virus, has been the culprit behind this urban legend – and has many people believing that drinking alcohol can actually prevent spread of the disease, according to Radio Farda.
Considering the ban on alcohol within the country, many Iranians resort to drinking smuggled spirits or home-distilled moonshine. Since these products are unregulated, they may contain methanol and higher than normal amounts of alcohol. This makes consumption of them possibly dangerous, and therefore it is unclear how much is safe to drink.
During commercial distillation, almost all of the methanol is removed before the spirits are bottled. But since there are no commercial distilleries in Iran, having a glass of home-distilled alcohol is like a crap shoot.

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Iran on Saturday said the Ukrainian passenger plane which crashed outside Tehran earlier this week had flown close to a sensitive military site and been brought down due to human error “at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism”.

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In a statement issued on Saturday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran said that at the time of the accident on Wednesday, the forces had been on the highest alert, reports the Tehran-based Press TV.

Iranian state TV said that the plane flew close to a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, adding that those responsible would be held accountable, the BBC reported.

It further said that the Iranian armed forces mistook the US-made Boeing 737-800 for a hostile plane.

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Alá, la verdad ha sido pervertida en beneficio y poder entre estos pueblos durante demasiado tiempo, incluso por muchos de tus colegas. Devuélvanos uno de tus diversos testigos, de la casta de hombres y mujeres justos que usted y otro han seleccionado personalmente, para presenciar cómo un país que cometió un crimen contra civiles en días pasados ​​no es el único país que ha cometido este crimen, incluso un transporte civil aereo que pertenece a un pueblo que te sigue fervientemente fue destruido, por el error de uno de sus llamados enemigos.

El más poderoso entre ellos, de hecho, en décadas pasadas debido a su arrogancia al colocar a un hombre imprudente al mando de la máquina de guerra naval tecnológica mas avanzada de su tiempo. Contra los deseos de sus compañeros, disparó contra una nave de transporte civil de un pueblo bajo tu nombre, después de observar los signos de sus sensores, y cegado por su ego, viendo lo que deseaba ver.

Juzguen ante todo, y sean sinceros, si el acto se cometió, en venganza o por negligencia verdadera, y comprendan que la estupidez también debe juzgarse, pero la estupidez se castiga a través de la educación y la violencia excesiva destruye la capacidad de educación y hace que uno busque escapar de la horrible verdad, en caso de que se convierta en abuso o violación de la verdad. Y acepten la penitencia, pero que el mundo reconozca que ni usted ni los que dice ser su mayor enemigo están solos en haber cometido ese horrible acto, como muchos otros lo han hecho en años aún más recientes.

Y, por lo tanto, cometer el crimen cósmico de matar a viajeros civiles que no están involucrados en los asuntos de ninguno de sus estados, ya que creían que viajaban de manera segura por sus tierras.

Pero entiende, el crimen cósmico no justifica, otro crimen cósmico, cuando se hace contra civiles, mira dentro de tus corazones y descifra la verdadera naturaleza de tu crimen, y serás mejor, incluso si el mundo de hombres y mujeres juzga demasiado duro. Pero, al igual que el tío y el hijo de uno de sus testigos, discutieron por el control de su voz, fijate entre sus tierras y observa cómo, un pueblo del juez tuvo que valerse por sí mismos, regresó a las tierras ahora ajenos a ellos, en ese tiempo, con armas provistas por otro estado, forzados a defenderse en tierras hostiles por la gente ahora nativa de esas tierras, después de haber sufrido tanto, tan rápidamente. Porque las últimas herramientas de la época permitieron tanto sufrimiento, que anteriormente hubiera sido posible solo a lo largo de por lo minimo decadas enteras, ahora comprometido y condensado, en solo unos pocos años. Tal vez, y me equivoco, pero opino que ambos pueblos actuaron con justicia, hasta cierto punto, pero la prueba de fuego, puede que se haya extendido por demasiado tiempo.

Y que la verdad se diga libremente, sin un motivo que la oculte por poder, ganancia u odio para torcerla y mentir.

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Allah, truth has been perverted for profit and power among these peoples for far too long even by many of your colleagues. Return to us one of your many witnesses, from the caste of just men and women whom you and another have personally selected, to witness, how a country who has committed a crime against civilians in days past, is not the only country who has done so, that even one such civilian aircraft belonging to a people who fervently follow you was destroyed, by the mistake of one of their so called enemies.

The most powerful among them, in decades past due to their arrogance in placing an unwise man at the controls of the latest technological naval war machine of its time. Against the desires of his peers, he fired upon a civilian transport craft of a people beneath your name, after looking into the signs of his crafts sensors, and blinded by his ego, seeing, what he wished to see.

Judge yourselves first and foremost, and be truthful, of whether the act was committed, in vengeance, or true negligence, and understand, that stupidity is also to be judged, but stupidity is punished through education, and excessive violence, destroys the capacity for education and causes one to seek to escape the horrific truth, should it turn to abuse or violate the truth. And accept penitence, but may the world recognize, neither you, nor the ones you claim to be your biggest enemy, are alone in having committed that horrific act, for many others have in even more recent years.

And thus committing the cosmic crime of the killing of civilian travelers uninvolved in the affairs of any of your states, as they believed to be traveling safely through your lands.

But understand, cosmic crime, does not justify, another cosmic crime, when it is done against civilians, look into your hearts, and decipher the true nature of your crime, and you shall be better, even if the world of men and women judges harshly. But, just as, the uncle, and the son, of one of your witnesses, bickered for control over his voice, look among their lands, and see how, a people of the judge were left to fend for themselves, returned to lands now foreign to them, at the time, with weapons provided by another state, forced to defend themselves in hostile lands by the people now native to those lands, after having already suffered so much, so quickly. As the latest tools of the time, allowed so much suffering, which previously would have been committed in decades, at the very least, to be committed and condensed, to but a few years. That perhaps, and I may be wrong, both peoples acted justly, to a certain point, but the trial-by-fire, may have been extended, for too long.

And let the truth be spoken freely, with no ulterior motive of power, profit, or hate to twist it to lie.

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