The Week in Review: May 29th – June 5th

In a rare show of cooperation, Iran and the U.S both freed prisoners, leading to the release of U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, and Iranian-American scientist Sirous Asgari who was held in the United States. Washington has denied that the exchanges were part of a deal involving a prisoner swap.

Iran and the U.S. also mutually agreed to release respective prisoners in December. Under the arrangement, Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani and Chinese-American researcher Xiyue Wang were freed.

A second wave of COVID-19 hit Iran, leading to a record high in the number of cases inside the country. Data released by Iran’s Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed at least 3,574 new infections in 24 hours.

Experts fear the rise in cases is due to Iranians failing to follow social distancing regulations. Thousands of people traveled to Northern Iran — which is considered to be a “high risk” area — for the Eid al-Fitr holidays. The journeys currently fall foul of government advice as the country starts to ease its lockdown rules.

The Israeli government was inundated with requests for help by Iranians looking to leave Iran.Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said that its Persian social media channels had seen a sharp increase in messages from Iranians seeking asylum and medical assistance for coronavirus cases.

And Huawei Technologies, a Chinese company specializing in the provision of communications infrastructures and smart devices, hid its relationship with an Iranian affiliate company, according to a report published by Reuters. The technology firm was widely reported on last year after it was accused of violating U.S. trade sanctions on Iran.

Documents seen by Reuters outline Huawei and Skycom Iran-related business, including memos, letters and contractual agreements. We dedicate this news brief to George Floyd and all Black, Asian and Middle Eastern people around the world who have lost their lives to persecution and prejudice.