Tehran holds first public Friday Prayers in almost 2 years

The Iranian capital Tehran has held its main public Friday prayer service for the first time in 20 months, after it was halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic

TEHRAN, Iran -- The Iranian capital Tehran has held its main public Friday prayer service for the first time in 20 months, after it was halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Friday prayers have been underway in other cities, especially in smaller towns across the country since the summer. Individual mosques have been free to hold normal services since early October.

The move comes as Tehran hosts over 400 Muslim scholars and religious leaders for a meeting known as the International Islamic Unity Conference.

Iran has accelerated vaccination programs for its 80 million people in recent weeks. Nearly 27.6 million Iranians have received their second shots, compared to some seven million when President Ebrahim Raisi formed his administration in late August.