Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, was pale and drenched in sweat during a press conference on Monday as he told reporters that the Islamic Republic had “almost stabilized” the country’s outbreak of coronavirus. He mopped his brow so often that an aide scurried to the lectern with a box of tissues. Harirchi dismissed as hype an Iranian lawmaker’s claim that fifty people had already died from COVID-19. “I will resign if the numbers are even half or a quarter of this,” he said, adding that Iran had only sixty-one confirmed cases, with twelve deaths. Iran opposed quarantines, he said, because they belonged to an era before the First World War—“to the plague, cholera, stuff like that.” The next day, Harirchi confirmed in a video—from quarantine—that he had contracted coronavirus.
Le 12 août dernier, l’Iranienne Maryam Mirzakhani a reçu la prestigieuse médaille Fields. Elle est ainsi la première femme à se voir décerner cette récompense que beaucoup considèrent comme le prix Nobel de mathématiques. Clin d’œil de l’Histoire, sans doute, c’est non loin de sa Téhéran natale, dans une Bagdad où les savants d’origine perse avaient souvent la part belle, qu’est née, au IXe siècle, la formidable aventure des mathématiques arabes. Une aventure qui se prolongera sur sept siècles, jusqu’à la Renaissance, jusqu’à ce que l’Occident prenne à son tour le flambeau, créant au fil des siècles un monde toujours plus technique.
Although Iran receives attention these days for a number of things, including the nuclear deal it reached with the U.S. and other nations, there are other aspects to the nation and its history that have remained elusive. Take, for instance, the history of Africans in Iran. Slavery had existed in the country for hundreds of years, and yet Iranians have not come to terms with their past, if they understand it at all.