Hardline Guards make gains in Iran election Iranian mayor tests positive for coronavirus

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DUBAI Candidates affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards looked on course to win a parliamentary majority on Saturday, reportedly leading in the race in Tehran and towns and villages elsewhere, after a vote stacked in favour of the anti-American hard-liners. An Interior Ministry official said a list of candidates affiliated with the Guards led in the capital, and lists linked to hard-liners captured 55 seats in towns and villages across the country following Friday’s vote. A clean sweep for hardliners would confirm the political demise of the country’s pragmatist politicians, weakened by Washington’s decision to quit a 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions in a move that stifled rapprochement with the West. However, Iranian authorities have yet to announce the turnout in the race for the 290-seat legislature — a litmus test of the popularity of hard-liners closely associated with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei. Iran’s rulers, under intense US pressure over the country’s nuclear programme, need a high turnout to boost their legitimacy, damaged after nationwide protests in November. In the latest challenge for Khamenei, Iran announced 10 new cases of coronavirus were detected, one of whom has died. The new infections bring the total cases of new coronavirus in the country to 28, with five of the total having died. Meanwhile, Morteza Rahmanzadeh, the mayor of district 13 of the capital Tehran has tested positive for coronavirus, state TV reported on Saturday. He was hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms on Friday. Iran on Saturday reported one more death among 10 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the Islamic republic to five and infections to 28. “We have 10 new confirmed cases of COVID19,” health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on state television.—Reuters