Iranian vice president contracts coronavirus

Ebtekar received the nickname “Screaming Mary” when she served as the English-speaking voice for the Islamic regime in 1979.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

One of Iran’s seven vice presidents has contracted the coronavirus, state news agency IRNA reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Iranian Vice President Massoumeh Ebtekar’s condition is considered to be mild and she has not yet been admitted to a hospital.

Ebtekar received the nickname of  “Screaming Mary” when she served as the English-speaking voice for the regime in 1979 when dozens of American’s were taken hostage by radicals in Tehran’s U.S. Embassy.

During the 444 day crisis, Ebtekar would speak to the U.S. media on behalf of the hostage-takers and threatened on numerous occasions that the American hostages could be executed.

According to a report by The Atlantic, Ebtekar would walk through the captured embassy with a camera crew and “urge” the hostages to describe their treatment in positive terms.

Outside of China, where the coronavirus first broke out, Iran has suffered the highest death toll from the virus with 22 dead out of 141 confirmed cases.

On Wednesday, Iran’s Health ministry placed restrictions on worshipers with confirmed or suspected infections of the deadly virus to pray at the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad and the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Qom.

Visitors will only be allowed to enter the shrines if they are provided “with hand-washing liquids, proper (health) information, masks” and “not gather together in groups” said Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki in a statement.

“All of these decisions are temporary and if the situation changes, we might intensify or ease them,” he added.

In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia on Thursday banned travel to Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca just a few months ahead of the annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage.