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A view of closed stores in Tehran Grand Bazaar after Iran imposed tougher restrictions nationwide to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran on Saturday imposed tougher restrictions to slow the accelerated spread of COVID-19 in the country, closing businesses and limiting travel between its major cities, but stopping short of a complete shutdown.

By the numbers: The nation, which has topped 840,000 confirmed cases, also recorded a daily death toll above 430 for the past five consecutive days, hitting 479 deaths on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

What they're saying: “If the current trend continues, we will have a winter much more difficult than the fall,” Health Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said, according to Al Jazeera.

  • “We hope that through an increase in people refraining from risky behaviors, improving management, and better cooperation of different entities we can witness a halt to the outbreaks in the country.”

Details: The new lockdown measures include shuttering most businesses, shops, malls and restaurants in Iran’s largest cities of Mashhad, Isfahan and Shiraz, per AP.

  • Iranian authorities designated hundreds of towns and cities as hotspots because these urban centers have the highest daily positive coronavirus test results.
    • Officials encouraged people to "avoid gatherings and reduce traffic" to successfully implement these restrictions, adding there would be a 9 p.m. daily curfew.
  • Schools and universities will shift to virtual learning.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the government plans to give 30 million people subsidies through the end of the year "[s]ince businesses and economic activities will be closed for two weeks."
  • He also announced that 100,000 tests will be performed daily.

The big picture: Iran initially downplayed the outbreak, but last week, the Rouhani declared a "nationwide mobilization" to confront the pandemic.

  • The government implemented a lockdown on Tehran last month, but has previously resisted extensive restrictions beyond the capital, hoping not to worsen the financial crisis in the country, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
14 hours ago - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.

7 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.