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17 Apr, 2020 13:46

Medicine not missiles: Iran celebrates Army Day with unique parade to promote healing amid coronavirus crisis (VIDEO)

Medicine not missiles: Iran celebrates Army Day with unique parade to promote healing amid coronavirus crisis (VIDEO)

Iranian authorities opted to forego the usual display of military might befitting the country’s national Army Day, opting instead to pay tribute to the men and women fighting on the frontlines of the country’s coronavirus crisis.

Missiles, armored vehicles and fighter jet flyovers were swapped out for disinfection trucks, mobile hospitals and soldiers dressed as doctors and nurses in hazmat suits displaying lifesaving medical equipment during Friday’s demure ‘Defenders of the Homeland, Helpers of Health’ army parade. 

The normally massive crowds were nowhere to be seen, as the more restrained affair was held behind closed doors and attended only by senior military officials. 

“Due to health and social protocols, it is not possible to hold a parade of soldiers...The enemy now is hidden and doctors and nurses are instead at the frontlines of the battlefield,” President Hassan Rouhani said. 

Iran is the hardest-hit nation in the Middle East and is currently experiencing one of the world's highest death tolls from the coronavirus. At the time of writing, there are 79,494 confirmed cases in Iran, of whom 3,563 are critical. 

The official death toll stands at 4,958, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said. 

A parliamentary report released this week sounded the alarm that, due to lack of testing, the death toll might actually be twice as high as currently reported while the number of infected might be up to ten times the current official figures.

Meanwhile, ‘low-risk’ businesses across Iran, such as shops, factories and workshops, reopened on April 11 though those based in Tehran remain closed until Saturday.

Also on rt.com Iranian Navy chief considers construction of NUCLEAR-powered submarines after new flare-up in Persian Gulf

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