NEWS / Coronavirus
Iran's official death toll passes 3,000
Iran's official death toll from the coronavirus disease has passed 3,000.
Health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpour reported 138 fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,036. The number of confirmed cases also rose by 2,987 to 47,593, he added.
There are concerns that the actual figures are much higher.
Mr Jahanpour also said Iranians had mostly heeded a request not to leave their homes for a traditional picnic on the last day of the Nowruz holiday.
The authorities closed all parks and public gardens on Wednesday and deployed police to stop people entering them in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
"People have co-operated with us and those who have violated laws and regulations will be penalised and we are happy that people have stayed at home," Mr Jahanpour told reporters.
Iran's leaders have resisted imposing lockdowns despite it being one of the world's worst-hit countries. They have insisted all necessary measures are being taken.
He also asserted that Iran had been "much more successful than many other countries in the fight against this disease" despite facing US sanctions.
Mr Rouhani said Americans had nevertheless missed a "historic opportunity" to show goodwill by lifting the sanctions at the start of the outbreak in Iran.
"It is a good time now for them to apologise for their wrongdoing. It is humanitarian issue and nobody would rebuke them and ask why they retreated."
"This was the best historic opportunity for the Americans to turn away from their wrong path and for once to say to the Iranian nation that they are not an anti-Iranian people," he added.