Tehran calls on Britain to prevent fake news on coronavirus outbreak in Iran

March 11, 2020 - 18:53

TEHRAN — The Foreign Ministry has called on London to prevent certain London-based Farsi language news channels from spreading fake news about the coronavirus outbreak and its death toll in Iran.

The UK government on Monday announced that it had assembled a counter-disinformation unit that would work with social-media companies to “identify and respond” to these and other conspiracy theories spread by foreign powers.

“Defending the country from misinformation and digital interference is a top priority,” said Oliver Dowden, the UK secretary of state for digital, culture, media, and sport, according to Business Insider.

“As part of our ongoing work to tackle these threats we have brought together expert teams to make sure we can respond effectively should these threats be identified in relation to the spread of COVID-19.

“This work includes regular engagement with the social-media companies, which are well placed to monitor interference and limit the spread of disinformation, and will make sure we are on the front foot to act if required.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi welcomed the formation of the counter-disinformation unity, saying Iran believes that Britain, in addition to forming that unit, should prevent certain London-based Farsi language news channels from publishing disinformation and fake news which dishearten the Iranian people.

However, Mousavi said, Iran has no hope that London would take any measure in that regard.

Foreign Ministry voices concern about health condition of Iranian inmates in U.S.

Mousavi also said that the way the U.S. government is facing the outbreak of coronavirus has worried Tehran.

“We hope that the U.S. pay attention to the health situation of inmates. We are worried about health of some Iranian nationals who are taken hostage (by the U.S.).”

The U.S. death toll due to coronavirus has risen to 28 as infections spread to all but a handful of states. The global death toll topped 4,200 and the number of confirmed cases approached 120,000.

New Jersey reported its first death, a 69-year-old Bergen County man with several underlying health complications including emphysema, diabetes and hypertension. 

The number of U.S. confirmed cases rose to 1,025 early Wednesday, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announcing the state's first two cases and declaring a state of emergency.

MJ/MH

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