26 March 2020 :
Exclusive: Estimates Show 60,000 Coronavirus Cases In Iran, 3,000 Deaths. Data gathered by Radio Farda from various national and local media in Iran, as well as comments made by regional authorities and Health Ministry officials, indicate that as to March 26, 3,036 people have fallen victim to the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, the data show that 59,120 persons have tested positive and hospitalized for contracting the deadly virus in the country's 31 provinces since February 19. This is more than double the official numbers. However, the Islamic Republic authorities are still reluctant to publish the number of Covid-19 victims in the provinces of Tehran and Qom. The reason is apparently the high number of the victims in the two neighboring regions. The province of Qom, the largest center of Shiite seminaries in the world, is the epicenter of the deadly virus in Iran. Many experts have blamed Chinese Shiite students in Qom for the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Furthermore, the authorities have also refused so far to publish the breakdown of the number of victims for each province. The latest official figures put the number of deaths slightly above 2,000 and those tested positive at 27,000. The Health Ministry officials insist that their data is based on the final test of coronavirus on patients, and they exclude the number of persons who have had clinical symptoms of the Covid-19 but were not tested for the virus. In the meantime, several members of Majles (Iran's Islamic parliament) have repeatedly announced that the data provided by the Ministry of Health is much lower than the real figures. Although President Hassan Rouhani recently ordered the Ministry of Health to review its approach and count in the people with clinical symptoms, the officials at the Ministry have so far refused to do so. The data collected by Radio Farda is also a very conservative estimate, and the real number of the victims could be much higher. The data show that most of the novel coronavirus victims belong to the provinces of Isfahan, Gilan, Mazandaran, Golestan, Khorasan Razavi, Tehran and Qom. In the province of Tehran, 527 persons have died so far from Covid-19, based on the available information collected by Radio Farda.