The main Friday prayers service has been held Tehran for the first time in 20 months after being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemicThe move comes despite warnings earlier in the week by Health Minister Bahram Einolaahi that Iran is on the brink of a sixth major wave of Covid-19 cases. 

Organisers of the ceremony at Tehran University said that health protocols would be observed to protect the hundreds of worshippers expected to attend. These included “deodorization with rose”, the “distribution of disposable plastic bags for shoes” and “special” spacing for prayer mats. 

Iran’s National Coronavirus Taskforce had first cancelled the ceremony but later re-authorised its going ahead. The decision coincided with to the International Islamic Unity Conference being hosted in Tehran, with hundreds of Muslim scholars due to attend. 

Friday prayers have taken place in smaller towns and cities across Iran since the summer, while individual mosques have held normal services from October. 

More than 124,700 people are known to have died from Covid-19 in Iran since the pandemic began. The true death toll is likely to be significantly higher.

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