Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for 1755 massachusetts earthquakeThe worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago

It happened before, and it could happen again.

By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg

Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM

The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.

According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.

The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.

A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:

“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”

The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.

The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.

The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.

“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”

The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.

“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.

The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.

There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.

According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.

“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,

that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,

the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;

O turn to God; lest by his Rod,

he cast thee down to Hell.”

Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”

There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.

Well, sort of.

In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”

It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.

In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”

If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

New York’s Complacency Will Lead to the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point (photo: the governor’s office)

Leonard Rodberg & Herschel Specter

New York’s recently-passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has been described as the boldest climate legislation in the nation. It sets demanding milestones for reducing carbon emissions, starting with the 2030 goal that New York state should, by then, derive 70% of its electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, and waterpower). By 2040, it should derive all of its electricity from “clean” sources, and it should be carbon-neutral in all its uses of energy by 2050.

These goals pose daunting challenges, but within two years the challenge will become even greater when the Indian Point nuclear plant, 36 miles up the Hudson River from New York City, is scheduled to shut down. Governor Cuomo agreed to its closure, even though it is functioning safely and economically, because of fears of a nuclear accident raised by the community around the site. When he agreed to the closure, he made a commitment it would not result in any new carbon emissions. Nevertheless, the operator of New York’s electric grid has made clear that three natural gas-powered generating plants will be fired up to replace the carbon-free electricity flowing from Indian Point. These replacement plants will release 7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases for each year thereafter. The increased greenhouse gas emissions will undermine the new climate law before it even gets started, and the smaller capacity of the gas plants may well lead to shortages of electric power in the coming years.

We have shown elsewhere that attempting to meet the new law’s 2030 goal with only renewable sources would cost more than $100 billion and is completely impractical. However, the language of the new climate law ignores the contribution that nuclear power, which emits no carbon dioxide, can make toward a carbon-free future. Indeed, if Indian Point and other nuclear plants, which already provide nearly a third of New York’s electricity, are kept running, and the governor’s planned expansion of offshore wind takes place, a 2030 goal of 70% carbon-free electricity will be met without any further expenditure. 

There is no need to shut down Indian Point. This facility, which produces a quarter of the New York City Metro region’s electricity, is safe and reliable and can keep going for decades more. The current closure agreement does allow the plant, if necessary, to continue operating through 2024 and 2025. While the current operator, the Entergy Corp., is giving up control of the plant, the New York Power Authority could take it over and continue operating it, as it did safely and efficiently for many years before Entergy came into the picture. In fact, Indian Point should remain operational until such time as new, carbon-free resources can replace it. That way, it can continue to help meet the state’s emission reduction goals.

We recognize that including nuclear energy, along with carbon-free renewable energy sources, in meeting our climate goals will require a major re-evaluation of risk by groups deeply invested in opposing nuclear power. These groups, some of which campaigned for the closure of Indian Point, are concerned that nuclear reactors will suffer accidents that could have catastrophic consequences. In fact, as one of us has explained in a brief guide, this is not possible. Nuclear reactor accidents have led to very few deaths – 28 plant workers and firefighters perished at Chernobyl, along with an estimated 60 deaths from thyroid cancer worldwide — and there were zero fatalities from the Three Mile Island and Fukushima events. Hundreds of thousands have already suffered from the effects of climate change, and millions more are likely to suffer if climate change proceeds as it is on course now.

Keeping Indian Point and other nuclear plants operating while the state builds new, even safer nuclear facilities and installs modest amounts of renewable resources offers the most practical, achievable path for New York to meet its emission goals and offer our children and grandchildren a realistic chance for a carbon-free, stable future.

***

Leonard Rodberg is a physicist who taught climate change and public policy at Queens College/CUNY until his retirement in 2017. Herschel Specter is an engineer who focused on nuclear safety issues in many positions, including at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran is Ready to Build a Nuclear Bomb

How quickly could Iran build a nuclear bomb?

Iran’s nuclear weapons programme may have ended in the early 2000s, but Joby Warrick investigates what newly discovered secret files can tell us about its threat today

Joby Warrick3 hours ago

In early 2003, a group of Iranian scientists began scouring the country on a secret quest for a place to dig an unusual tunnel. They searched Iran’s vast Lut desert until they finally found what seemed to be the right spot, a Mars-like dead zone regarded as one of the hottest and driest places on Earth.

Conditions in this stretch of salty desert are so extreme that almost no animal or plant can survive there. But it was ideally suited for what Iran wanted – an underground chamber for the country’s first nuclear detonation. Photos and measurements were taken and then stashed away, to await the time when a bomb was nearly ready for testing.

The tunnel was never constructed, but 17 years later the images and surveys still exist, part of a recently unearthed trove of secret Iranian nuclear documents. The records, now being studied in major Western capitals, are drawing fresh attention as weapons experts seek to answer a suddenly timely question: how quickly could Iran build a nuclear bomb if it decided to do so?

Last week, the UN nuclear watchdog reported that Iran is accelerating its production of enriched uranium amid rising tensions over the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.The growing stockpile potentially gives Tehran a crucial ingredient for a future bomb – fissile uranium. And the long-hidden papers, stolen from Iran two years ago by Israeli spies, are offering new insight into how far Iran has already come in acquiring other critical components needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Newly released records from the document trove are testaments to the depth and scale of Iran’s past nuclear research, showing how Iranian scientists have raced to master key technical challenges. Summary reports show that Iranian officials were conducting scores of complex experiments across a network of secret laboratories while also seeking to answer practical questions, such as where in the countrythey could sink an underground shaft for a future nuclear test.

The results of that work are still available to Iran, giving it a head start in the event its leaders decide to make a dash towards becoming a nuclear-weapons state, say US and Middle Eastern weapons experts.

“In 2003, Iran had a nuclear weapon design and it was building things – doing the whole gamut of activities,” says David Albright, a nuclear-weapons analyst who has reviewed hundreds of pages of the documents while researching a book, preparing several draft analyses. “But are they truly ready to start producing a weapon? We still don’t know, but we may soon have to figure it out.”

Iran has dramatically shrunk its theoretical ‘breakout’ time – the span of months it would need to acquire a bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium – to less than four months

Since the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic republic has renounced many of the nuclear restrictions and limits it had accepted under the landmark international accord, including a 300kg cap on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. A report issued last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that Iran has blown past those restrictions, amassing more than 1,020kg of low-enriched uranium and activating new centrifuge machines so it can produce even more nuclear fuel faster. Low-enriched uranium is used in nuclear power plants, but with additional processing it can be converted into highly enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

With the bigger stockpile, Iran has dramatically shrunk its theoretical “breakout” time – the span of months it would need to acquire a bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium – to less than four months, according to some independent calculations. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran had disconnected most of its centrifuges, exported the bulk of its uranium and dismantled a nuclear reactor. US officials at the time estimated Iran’s breakout threshold at about a year. Iran also agreed to extensive international oversight to guard against cheating, and many analysts believed that a nuclear crisis had been averted until at least until 2030, when many of the provisions were due to expire.

That changed when US president Donald Trump, who repeatedly blasted the deal as shortsighted and a “disaster”, walked away from the accord and reimposed sanctions against Iran. Since then, Iran has quickly gone from having a modest stockpile of about 200kg of enriched uranium – far less than what is needed for a single nuclear device – to a large and growing mass of fuel that could soon allow it to make several bombs, if it decided to.

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Supporters of the deal have criticised Trump for trying to scuttle an accord that, whatever its flaws, appeared to be working, as the president’s own advisers acknowledged in congressional testimony. But several of them also noted in interviews that Iran’s actions so far are reversible, and Iranian leaders appear to be more interested in sending signals than building weapons.

“To date, Iran’s steps have not been irretrievable – the Iranians have been relatively calibrated in their response,” says Robert Malley, president of the International Crisis Group and an adviser on Middle East policy in the Obama and Clinton administrations. “If you’re Iran right now, the tools you have in your arsenal are an ability to expand your nuclear arsenal, roil markets or threaten regional countries and the US presence within them. And if those are the tools they have, those will be the ones they will consider using in response to US pressure they view as tantamount to economic warfare.”

A Shahab-3 missile displayed at a weapons exhibition at Tehran’s main fairground (Getty)

One of the architects of the 2015 deal, then-US energy secretary Ernest Moniz, says the Iranians have so far refrained from actions that would clearly signal an intention to make weapons, such as throwing out IAEA inspectors or withdrawing from the international Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“What’s very important is that the verification regime continues to confirm that they are not in ‘breakout mode’,” Moniz says, “which would mean going all out.”

The new disclosures from Iran’s nuclear archives are a portrait of what “all out” looks like. Since at least 2007, US intelligence agencies have known that Iran launched a covert programme called Project 110 – part of a bigger initiative known as the Amad plan – in the late 1990s with the goal of quickly building up to five nuclear bombs.

US officials believe that Iranian leaders suspended the programme shortly after the US invasion of neighbouring Iraq in 2003. But the trove of nuclear documents, stolen from a Tehran warehouse by Israeli operatives in 2018, have provided an enormous amount of new details about the abandoned nuclear project, showing how Iranian agencies and laboratories worked feverishly to master critical technologies and skills on a highly compressed schedule.

The documents, consisting of tens of thousands of printed pages and computer disks, were shared with the Vienna-based IAEA, the United States and several other governments. IAEA officials confirmed in interviews that they are continuing to dig through the records and that they have confronted Iranian officials about several alleged research programmes and facilities that were previously unknown.

The forbidding climate means the desert is reliably empty – and thus ideal as a nuclear test site

“We take information very seriously, but we don’t take it at face value,” Rafael Grossi, the newly appointed IAEA chief, said last month. Grossi cited a “very painstaking, meticulous effort” to verify the credibility of the information.

The documents show how Iranian nuclear researchers worked in tandem to try to solve several complex technical challenges in building a weapon. One of Albright’s summaries shows how Iran conducted nearly 200 tests over a span of seven months, mostly aimed at mastering physics problems related to constructing an array of explosive charges around a core of uranium metal. With precision timing, the explosions cause the uranium core to implode, triggering a nuclear chain reaction.

According to a spreadsheet prepared by Project 110 supervisors, an average of 32 tests were conducted each month, a surprising figure indicating “more tests than previously known publicly,” Albright and coauthor Sarah Burkhard wrote in one of the analyses.

Other documents show Iranians researching uranium metallurgy and warhead designs and also conducting computer simulations of nuclear explosions – systematically tackling each of the “key bottlenecks” on the difficult path towards a weapon, Albright says.

A separate batch of records details Iran’s efforts to find a prospective site for the underground test chamber. It was known that Iran had looked at five potential sites, but new documents suggest that Iran’s scientists had settled on a likely location – the Dasht-e Lut in southeastern Iran, near the Afghan border.

The Bushehr nuclear plant on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf (STR/AFP via Getty)

The documents show that Iranian officials were gathering geological and water-table data and taking photos of sites in the desert where they could potentially sink a shaft deep into the ground for weapons testing.

The hellish Lut desert is one of the hottest places on the planet. Satellites passing overhead have recorded temperatures on the sandy surface of up to 70C, or hotter than a well-cooked steak. The forbidding climate means the desert is reliably empty – and thus ideal as a nuclear test site.

It’s unclear from the documents how much of the testing equipment and components Iran managed to preserve after the programme was shelved. At least some of the nearly two-decade-old materials and facilities would have to be recreated or reengineered, but Albright says other aspects of Project 110 almost certainly survived intact and are probably warehoused somewhere in the country.

“Any valuable equipment – explosives chambers, [ultra-high-speed] cameras – they would have been preserved and probably moved someplace else,” Albright says. “Whether they’re ready to move [into new tests] is something that now has to be factored in. It enriches the discussion of how quickly they could take weapons-grade uranium and turn it into a nuclear weapon.”

Obtaining answers from Tehran appears unlikely. Iran has never acknowledged its previous efforts to build a bomb, and in recent months it has blocked IAEA inspectors from visiting three sites identified in the document trove, according to an agency report this week. Olli Heinonen, a former top IAEA official who led inspections of Iran’s facilities in the early 2000s, says Tehran must open up its facilities and fully explain its past work if it wants to avoid suspicions that it is doing more than adding to its uranium stockpile.

“After 17 years, the IAEA has not been able to conclude that Iran is in compliance with its safeguards agreement,” Heinonen says. “This is not good news.”

India-US Defence Deal Threatens the Pakistani Nuclear Horn (Revelation 8 )

India-US Defence Deal 2020: Security Implications for Pakistan

By Sher BanoMarch 14, 2020

During recent Trump’s visit to India, both the countries signed US 3 billion dollars defence deal involving various sophisticated weapons. The deal consists of the sale of six Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the Indian Army and 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Sea Hawk multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy. Pakistan has already shown concerns that this deal would result in further destabilizing the already volatile region. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui stated that “the sale of such sophisticated weapons to India will disturb the strategic balance in South Asia with security implications for Pakistan and the region.” She also stated that the region could not afford an arms race or conflict and urged the international community to prevent the destabilization of the region.

Since 2007 India’s defence cooperation with the US has reached US 17 billion dollars as it aims to modernize its military to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming the global power. With the recent purchase of the sophisticated weapons, India is increasing its sphere of influence in the region which is quite alarming for its neighboring countries specifically Pakistan. The defence agreement between them clearly marks close collaboration in military, conventional and non-conventional weapons which may pose serious repercussion on geo-strategic scenarios of South Asia. US being the major power is supporting India to play a larger role of the regional policeman and fulfill its long term hegemonic designs to dominate the smaller states with the help of its military strength. Hence this defence cooperation has accelerated India’s dream of becoming the global power.

Moreover India’s obsession of buying the most sophisticated weapons is a serious concern for Pakistan as it is likely to create conventional asymmetry in the region. The recent deal consist of weapons which Pakistan doesn’t have right now, hence it will disturb the conventional balance between the two states. Maritime security cooperation between India and the US is nothing but an attempt to secure the maritime domain which can cause serious maritime conflict between India and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean and international seas as well. The Apache attack helicopters are equipped with the hellfire missiles, night vision capabilities, 70 mm rockets and an automatic gun, which makes it the most lethal machine in the world. The Apache would add greater firepower and agility to the Indian ground forces for any quick and intense operations against Pakistan.

This Indo-US deal has the potential to undermine the Pakistan’s strategy of minimum credible deterrence. Hence this cooperation can have disastrous effects on the stability of the region by tilting the strategic balance between in favor of India. Pakistan should convey to the US at the highest level, its security concerns caused by the latest Indo-US defence deal. We must emphasize upon the destabilizing consequences for South Asia caused by the open ended supply of highly advanced weapons to India, creating conventional asymmetry in the region.

Pakistan being the smaller state with a fragile economy cannot afford to indulge in an all-out arms race. However, Pakistan also should not remain oblivious to growing Indo-US cooperation as it can have strong security implications. Enhanced capacity building of Indian armed forces can threaten the deterrent value of Pakistan’s nuclear and conventional weapons. Hence a combination of expedient foreign policy along with credible conventional and nuclear deterrent could meet the desired national interest. In order to counter the conventional imbalance Pakistan has to rely on the indigenous weapon production, superior strategy and training. Pakistan needs to build anti-weapons and long-range air defense system to detect any aerial threats and reduce the pace of the Indian mechanized forces. Moreover with these capabilities Pakistan can tackle with any advantage of Indian military in the conventional domain. Pakistan should build stronger ties with China while remaining strategically relevant to the US. Pakistan must revive its economy in order to counter the negative impact of the Indo-US strategic convergence.

It cannot be reiterated enough that the Indo-US defence deal raises strong security implication for Pakistan as it further increases the conventional asymmetry between the two states which will ultimately threaten the strategic stability of South Asia.Hence Pakistan needs to improve its overall conventional capabilities in order to fill the gaps and maintain the conventional balance.

The writer is working as a Research Affiliate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, Pakistan.

More Shaking in NY Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Magnitude 3.1 quake rattles upstate NY city of Glens Falls

Posted: Wed 8:16 AM, Mar 11, 2020  |

Updated: Wed 9:26 AM, Mar 11, 2020

GLENS FALL, N.Y. (AP) A magnitude 3.1 earthquake has struck an area near the upstate New York city of Glens Falls.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake hit at 6:43 a.m. and was centered on a spot just southwest of the village of South Glens Falls.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls reports that the quake was strong enough to noticeably shake houses throughout the region.

There are no reports of injuries or damage.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Iranians Dying From Pestilence and Plague

Satellite images show Iran building burial pits, expanding cemetery for coronavirus victims

LOCAL NEWS

by: CNN Wire

Posted: Mar 13, 2020 / 06:44 AM PDT / Updated: Mar 13, 2020 / 06:44 AM PDT

Satellite image of a cemetery in Qom appears to show new burial plots that were not in images taken before the coronavirus outbreak. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

Iran has been rapidly expanding a major cemetery in Qom, the area worst hit by the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak, satellite images obtained by CNN reveal.

The country has reported at least 10,075 confirmed coronavirus cases and 429 deaths, the third-highest number of cases after mainland China and Italy.

The satellite images from March 1 and March 8, put out by Maxar Technologies, appear to show an increase in activity inside the Behesht-e Masoumeh cemetery in Qom. The images show what looks like two fresh trenches of graves on March 1, with more excavation after that.

According to Islamic tradition, bodies are supposed to be buried quickly after death. But Behesht-e Masoumeh morgue director Ali Ramezani told Iranian state TV earlier this month that burials were being delayed as testing for the virus takes time. And while corpses are traditionally washed with soap and water before burial in Iran, two medical workers in Qom told CNN that in some cases precautions related to the outbreak are preventing staff from observing traditional Islamic guidelines for burial.

A video from the morgue showed dozens of bodies sheathed in black bags on the floor of an Iranian morgue, while workers in protective suits and masks busily walk among them.

The Persian New Year, or Nowruz, falls next Friday, March 20. Many Iranian families visit cemeteries before the end of the Persian year as part of the annual tradition. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called off his annual speech for Nowruz, state news agency IRNA reported Monday. Khamenei will not travel to the city of Mashhad, the site of the Imam Reza shrine, where the speech is usually delivered.

“Due to the spread of coronavirus and strict recommendations given by health officials and specialists to avoid any form of gathering and refrain from traveling and getting out of cities to prevent spread of the disease, the Leader’s speech ceremony … will not be held this year,” the statement cited by IRNA said.

Iran took drastic measures last week to stop the spread of the virus. The government banned Friday prayers in the centers of all provinces across the country. Schools and universities have been shut. Concerts and sports events have been canceled.

All of Iran’s 31 provinces have been hit by the virus, with a number of high-profile officials becoming sick.

Iran’s former foreign minister and current adviser to Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, tested positive for the virus and was quarantined at his home in Tehran, Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported Tuesday.

Another Khamenei adviser, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, died last week, and one of the country’s top clerics, Hadi Khosroshahi, succumbed to the sickness last month.

Earlier, Iranian officials confirmed that 23 members of the country’s 290-member parliament had tested positive. Two members are known to have died. Several vice presidents, of whom Iran has many, also tested positive.

Meanwhile, Iran on Friday rejected an apparent offer from US President Donald Trump to help Iran fight the virus. Trump said: “We have the greatest doctors in the world. We offer Iran assistance.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the offer as “hypocritical” and “repulsive,” and accused the US of “economic and medical terrorism,” according to state-run Press TV.

“Instead of hypocritical displays of compassion and repulsive bragging, you should end your economic and medical terrorism so that medicine and medical supplies can reach medical staff and the Iranian people,” Mousavi said.

“We do not need American doctors,” Mousavi said, adding that Iran has “the best, bravest and most component medical staff in the world.”

The Ayatollah-ship Cursed by the Coronavirus

Top Foreign Policy Advisor To Iran’s Khamenei Quarantined With Coronavirus

Radio Farda

The top advisor of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati has tested positive for novel coronavirus, Iranian news outlets reported on March 12.

Before joining Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s corps of advisors as top foreign policy advisor, Velayati had set a record by presiding over the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for sixteen consecutive years (1981 97).

Seventy-five-year-old Velayati, a pediatrician, is currently the President of Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital, the country’s center for treating people infected by the novel coronavirus. Almost all senior officials infected by coronavirus are hospitalized there.

However, according to the hospital’s spokesman, Velayati has preferred to be quarantined at his home “after having experienced mild symptoms of coronavirus.”

Describing Velayati’s condition as “improving,” hospital officials have claimed that he was infected with coronavirus while working with the hospital staff, discussing the best ways to contain coronavirus.

Earlier, on February 24, Velayati had told the state-run national TV network that a coronavirus epidemic was not more life-threatening than an influenza outbreak.

“Thank God, the Islamic Republic, its Ministry of Health and medical and educational centers have succeeded to defeat coronavirus,” he had insisted, adding, “Inshallah (God willing), coronavirus’ curve will soon flatten, and it will be totally contained.”

However, when Velayati was sounding upbeat the virus was spreading fast, infecting thousands in thirty out of 31 provinces of Iran.

An ultraconservative politician, Velayati experienced a stint of jail for anti-government activities when he was seventeen, during the monarchy. Nonetheless, after finishing his studies in pediatrics, he was helped by the Royal Government of Iran to secure a fellowship in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University.

Dozens of Islamic Republic politicians and influential people, including VP Eshaq Jahangiri, deputy President Massoumeh Ebtekar have contracted the disease and several have died.