Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the opening ceremony of Iran’s 11th Parliament, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread [Official Presidential website/Reuters]

Iran has held the opening session of its new Parliament under strict health protocols, more than three months after an election in February was swept by conservative candidates.

During the first session of the 290-member body on Wednesday, the new MPs were sitting at a secure distance, with some wearing face masks in line with physical distancing rules imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus in one of the Middle Eastern countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

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President Hassan Rouhani, who is in the final year of his second and final term, called on MPs to place the

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