Who’s to blame for Iran’s coronavirus outbreak?

It is now common knowledge that the regime in Iran is concealing the truth about the coronavirus epidemic engulfing this country. Criticism is escalating over the mullahs’ refusal to impose quarantine measures similar to those adopted by governments across the globe.

As a result, Iran is the source of around nine out of ten COVID-19 cases throughout the Middle East. As of Monday, April 5, Iran is reporting around 60,500 cases 3,739 deaths as concerns grow that officials are deliberately under-reporting the truth.

COVID-19 was discovered in Iran on January 30, according to a report published by the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily.

Weeks of denials provided this dangerous virus ample time to spread throughout Iran as the regime could not afford any element leading to low turnout for its marking of the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 11.

To make matters worse, the mullahs desperately needed a mandate with a large voter participation during the February 21 Majlis (parliamentary) election in which regime authorities urgently sought to claim high popularity and a ratification from the Iranian public.

To this day criticism continues as reports show Iranian authorities were aware of coronavirus symptoms in the country in early February. Other reports indicate an employee of the Ilam Medical Sciences University died of COVID-19 symptoms in Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital on February 2 after being hospitalized for a few days. Lung specialists informed the individual’s loved ones that he/she died of coronavirus. This indicates that the individual could have been infected with COVID-19 as early as January 20.

Hospitals across Iran are overwhelmed with patients being placed in hallways. While regime officials are requesting a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and aid such as 172 million masks from abroad, concerns exist over such aid being allocated for malign objectives, such as supporting terrorist groups checkered throughout the region. The regime is also under criticism over hoarding and even exporting medical goods for revenues to be used by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The Shokat-pour logistical base in the Mohammad Shahr district of Karaj, west of Tehran, under the command of IRGC Quds Force Colonel Kalateh Arabi, is where hygiene products used against coronavirus (masks, gloves, special gowns and …) are stored, a report indicates. These items are sent to Iraq and Syria to be used by units of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces).

Sensing the escalating pressure of such criticism, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is blaming U.S. sanctions for the regime’s failures and refusal to provide medical aid to the Iranian people. His recent tweets have rallied Iran apologists and lobbyists abroad to push Zarif’s anti-sanctions talking points in western media.

Iran apologists - lobbyists
Iran apologists – lobbyists, all connected to NIAC – pushing a certain article in choir fashion

Simple questions Zarif and the apologists/lobbyists crowd dodge are as follows:

-If sanctions are truly hindering Iran’s fight against coronavirus, why did the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi say on February 4, “… medicine & food, as you know, were not on any sanctions…?”

-Did “sanctions” prevent Iran’s regime from stopping Mahan Air flights to/from China?

-Did “sanctions” prevent Iran’s regime from quarantining Qom & other COVID-19 hotspots?

-Why did Iran just spend $67 million redecorating the Zeynab Shrine in Damascus, Syria? Shouldn’t that money be used to provide for the Iranian people during the COVID19 outbreak?

– The regime ruling Iran didn’t have a problem in providing 200 million euros for the IRGC Quds Force, a terrorist-designated group. And they don’t have money for the people?

– The regime in Iran, that Zarif represents, is also asking for a $5 billion loan from the IMF. Why should the international community trust Tehran when according to your own senior official one billion euros for essential goods were “lost”?

If Iran is requesting a $5 billion “emergency” loan from the IMF, why not first tap the vast riches controlled Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei? The regime dictator oversees an organization called Setad that has assets estimated at about $95 billion, according to Reuters. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, estimates that Khamenei owns assets worth about $200 billion, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Further reports are pointing the finger at the regime’s continued flights to and from China through the IRGC-affiliated Mahan Air airliner (sanctioned as a terrorism-facilitating entity). The regime’s Mustafa Association has actively been involved in transferring Chinese religious students to Iran despite pleas and criticism from the Iranian people to stop this practice.

Iran’s coronavirus outbreak began in Qom, a city in central Iran, located 125 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Tehran, and established as the regime’s religious center.

Even the regime’s own media outlets, highly supervised to control criticism targeting the mullahs, ran pieces with headlines such as: “Mysterious virus at Iran’s gates,” as China initiated a lock-down back in January. All the while, travel between China and Iran continued.

In sudden fashion, Iran’s officials announced two coronavirus deaths on February 19 without any prior reporting of cases. Both victims had died in Qom and people immediately began raising suspicions, citing the fact that it usually takes up to two weeks for COVID-19 symptoms to expand and lead to an unfortunate death. Meaning the victims were most likely infected in early February and further fueling suspicions about the regime keeping a lid on the truth since late January or early February for political reasoning.

Iran’s mullahs refused to postpone the February 21 parliamentary election, suffering the lowest voter turnout since the 1979 revolution. The regime sought a highly needed legitimacy boost following the Ukrainian passenger jet blowout disaster, killing all 176 people on-board, and the November 2019 uprising quelling that left over 1,500 dead, more than 8,000 injured and over 12,000 imprisoned.

For more than a month officials even refused to close highly visited religious sites in Qom and Mashhad, the country’s second largest city in northeast Iran. Such large gatherings provided adequate environments for COVID-19 to spread exponentially. Adding insult to injury, the regime’s religious officials actually encouraged the public to visit these shrines and went as far as claiming the sites cure illnesses.

Unfortunately, the virus spread with rapid speed and hazmat-suited workers are seen burying coronavirus victims across the country. The Washington Post published a report about trenches and graves being prepared at such a scale in Qom that they could be viewed from space.

In fear of escalating public outrage over the regime’s concealment, officials are now desperate to whitewash their previous failures. “We found out a little late that the coronavirus had entered Iran because we mistook it for the flu,” said Reza Malekzadeh, a deputy health minister.

Knowing the crisis is getting out of control, the regime is resorting to desperate measures both inside the country and abroad. Signs indicate the mullahs’ military and IRGC apparatus are showing a more active presence on the streets, indicating that officials view the COVID-19 epidemic as a potential security threat to their rule. This is especially concerning as a slate of prisons across the country are witnessing riots by inmates protesting the authorities’ refusal to at least provide temporary leave during the coronavirus epidemic.

In parallel fashion, Tehran apologists and lobbyists are parroting talking points in a last ditch effort to maybe turn the tide of sanctions against the U.S.

What remains certain is the fact that the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran could care less about the Iranian people and the main focus is preserving its rule at all costs.

The regime in Iran, not sanctions, is to blame for the coronavirus epidemic in this country. Joining the U.S. maximum pressure policy will in fact support the Iranian people in the long run of their struggle against the mullahs’ regime.

 

Fake news MSM supporting the regime in Iran

By Heshmat Alavi

March 26, 2020—You know the regime in Iran is desperate when a variety of MSM outlets, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today rush to the mullahs’ support with articles by their editorial boards calling on the Trump administration to lift sanctions. USA TODAY falls as low as providing a platform for Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, while describing him as an “Opinion contributor.”

Let’s begin by taking a look at The New York Times piece.

“Demonstrating compassion in times of crisis is good foreign policy,” NYT argues. When correctly translated into plain English, this means let’s return to the Obama-style full-throttle appeasement of this regime and provide it with financial incentives with the knowledge that the money will never be used to support the Iranian people.

NYT says: “Iran has appealed to the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion in emergency funding and a long list of essential equipment…”

Of course, NYT will not tell its readers that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sits on a vast economic empire worth at least $95 billion dollars, according to Reuters. Back in April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad estimated that Khamenei owns assets worth about $200 billion.

If Iran needs “emergency funding” to provide for “a long list of essential equipment,” why does it not simply tap into Khamenei’s own billions? And where is the guarantee that Tehran will not be spending this money to fuel its malign purposes?

FDD
Iran’s regime has been known to prop the murders Assad killing machine in Syria along with numerous other terrorist militia extremist groups checkered across the Middle East (Credit: FDD)

Back in 2016 former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry said they realized after the 2015 nuclear deal that some of the generated money would be used by Iran’s mullahs to fuel their terrorist groups. Of course, if Kerry were to honest, he would have said all of that money would be used to fuel Iran’s malign objectives, such as boosting its domestic crackdown machine, supporting terrorism, further developing ballistic missiles, and continuing its clandestine drive to obtain nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, back in July 2019, the chief of staff of Iran’s president himself wrote a letter saying that one billion euros ($1.12 billion) in hard currency allocated for importing medicines and essential goods “has disappeared.” And NYT expect us to trust this regime with a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund?

It is also worth noting that Iranian regime officials stole more than $1 billion in humanitarian funds meant to be used to help the country’s people fight the spread of coronavirus, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Furthermore, despite the coronavirus crisis in Iran, Tehran-backed militia groups in Iraq are continuing their attacks against U.S. forces. Of course, NYT would never mention that and would never call on the mullahs’ regime to allocate the funds used by these terrorist groups to provide for the Iranian people.

NYT goes on to cite an October 2019 report by the Human Rights Watch to further its argument about U.S. sanctions constraining the Iranian regime’s ability “to finance humanitarian imports, including medicines.” What NYT will not tell you is that the HRW report was a parroting of Tehran’s lies and talking points already easily debunked.

Furthermore, the report was compiled by Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, who has recently joined the Quincy Institute, a think tank co-founded by Trita Parsi, the founder of NIAC, Iran’s DC-based lobby group. Parsi has always been fond of Whitson’s work as she runs Tehran’s talking points and diverts attention away from the mullahs’ atrocious human rights violations. Whitson’s recent controversial remarks also caused quite a stir that forced her into an embarrassing apology.

NYT argues that “the United States should be at the forefront of offering what help it can.” What NYT will not tell its readers that the U.S. did offer help and Tehran has ruled out help from “foreign forces” in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. Tehran even kicked out a team of Médecins Sans Frontières, but NYT won’t tell you that either.

Why would Tehran kick out a team of foreign doctors seeking to provide help to its COVID-19 crisis?

Simple. The mullahs cannot risk foreign doctors inside Iran seeing the truth of the Iranian people left without adequate support and realizing the astronomical death toll and number of cases. It would reveal to the world that Tehran is lying about its death toll, the number of cases and how it is not providing any decent support for the 80+ millions of Iranians during this crisis.

NYT further argues “American generosity might be the best way of persuading Iran to release American and other foreign detainees.” Such a measure would justify Iran’s illegal apprehension and hostage taking of American and other foreign nationals, encouraging the mullahs to continue with this practice to gain further incentives in the future.

But of course, there is nothing wrong with that the in the eyes of the NYT editorial board. Iran should be held accountable for taking American and other foreign nationals as hostages and using them as foreign policy bargaining chips. The NYT editorial board should be ashamed of such hideous remarks.

In its argument, NYT cites a Foreign Policy magazine piece by Robert Malley and Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group. Malley is a former Obama administration official pushing for a return to appeasing the mullahs’ regime. Vaez is a known Iranian regime apologist parroting Tehran’s talking points whenever possible.

NYT will not tell you that Vaez has very close ties to senior Iranian regime leadership. This is him with former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who was very close to the mullahs’ regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini.

Ali Vaez with Rafsanjani
Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group with former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (now dead)

There is good reason why NYT will continue pushing the Iranian regime’s talking points. This thread sheds light on NYT’s direct ties to Tehran and a state-run outlet of the mullahs.

WaPo

The Washington Post also published an editorial piece calling on the U.S. to lift its sanctions on Iran. The post claims the United States is being blamed by ordinary Iranians for making it more difficult for authorities to combat the epidemic. Yet the Post provides no source for such a claim.

The Post goes on to cite an NYT piece written by Narges Bajoghli of Johns Hopkins University and Mahsa Rouhi of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, two known Iran apologists/lobbyists that have been criticized for pushing Tehran’s talking points. Of course, WaPo will not mention anything about Bajoghli and Rouhi’s ties to Tehran’s lobby.

WaPo argues for the U.S. to greenlight the IMF providing a $5 billion loan to Iran, citing the fact that the “regime has already paroled one of the U.S. citizens it had been holding in its prisons.” Following NYT’s footsteps, WaPo is also justifying Tehran’s practice of taking American and foreign nationals hostage. This is truly shameful for any media outlet.

In another low even for WaPo, the article claims U.S. President Trump launched a confrontation with the Iranian regime, and never mentions the fact that Tehran declared war on the U.S. over 40 years ago, ever since its paramilitary forces climbed up the U.S. Embassy walls in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days back in 1979.

USA TODAY

As mentioned before, the USA TODAY actually provided a platform for Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, while describing him as an “Opinion contributor.” Ravanchi used this opportunity to push Tehran’s lies, claiming “Iran’s ability to deal with [coronavirus] in an effective manner is limited due to the unjust U.S. sanctions imposed on the Iranian people.”

Ravanchi also claims: “The U.S. maintains that humanitarian goods are exempt from its extra-territorial sanctions. However, that is not the reality. The financial channel required for facilitating transactions, even for humanitarian commodities, is not available…”

This is a lie. The U.S. Treasury Department specifically indicates: “The United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran by U.S. and non-U.S. persons, provided such transactions do not involve persons designated in connection with Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), or Iran’s support for international terrorism.”

Ravanchi claims Iran “is actually less equipped to contain Covid-19 than others.”

This is also a lie. Iran’s own state-run English media outlets are claiming “Iran exports medical equipment to Europe” and “Iran exports medical equipment to 55 countries worldwide.”

Some 105 medical equipment produced by 23 Iranian companies are exported to 55 countries across the world, Reza Masaeli, an advisor to the health minister said.

“Currently, a total of 280,000 medical equipment is produced in the country,” Fars quoted Masaeli as saying.

While the pro-appeasement MSM outlets seek a soft approach vis-à-vis Tehran and a return to the Obama years of full-throttle appeasement of the mullahs, this is exactly the time to further pressures on the regime and break its back for good. As an Iranian, I know for certain that such a policy would weaken the mullahs’ regime and be in favor of the Iranian people.

Iran’s mullahs are obviously desperate. The very fact that such a choir of MSM articles are calling for sanctions to be lifted under the bogus pretexts of providing medical supplies is a clear sign that Mr. Trump’s maximum pressure campaign is working. Even a small fracture in this initiative, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said three years of hard work have gone into, would be a desperately needed propaganda victory for Tehran. And as always, MSM is ready to pounce on anything anti-Trump and willing to publish anything of any nature, without providing their readers the truth.

Iran, fake news and U.S. sanctions – The truth of “medicine shortages”

A very common talking point parroted repeatedly by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and his network of apologists/lobbyists across the United Sanctions and Europe is that U.S. sanctions are to blame for a shortage of medicine in Iran.

Mohammad Nasiri of the Associated Press has recently published a piece in this regard, joining Tehran’s chorus of running fake news in mainstream media.

Nasiri claims, “… many are blaming President Donald Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign for the staggering prices and shortages.” Of course, as common practice by all Tehran apologists/lobbyist, he fails to provide any source to back his usage of the word “many.”

Nasiri writes, “The nuclear deal had raised expectations of a better life for many Iranians, free of the chokehold of international sanctions.” And yet, one wonders why he refuses to explain the reasons behind Iran’s regime being the target of international sanctions. The same regime that is known as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism – and suffering from sanctions as a result – is also the main enemy of the Iranian people themselves. Nevertheless, Nasiri could care less and his main objective is to portray a dove image of Tehran’s mullahs.

Nasiri goes on to quote an Iranian minister (very reliable source!).

“Last week, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said budget cuts because of the drop in crude exports have dramatically affected his department. The U.S. sanctions have targeted all classes of Iranians, he added.”

What Nasiri refuses to report are interesting comments made recently by a senior Hamas official visiting Iran, emphasizing how Iran’s regime, despite the sanctions, is ready to provide any aid to this terrorist group. Saleh al-Aruri described the recent Hamas delegation’s visit to Tehran as strategic and historic.

As Nasiri continues to parrot Zarif’s talking points, he also refuses to address the subject of vast and institutionalized corruption in Iran’s regime.

Just recently, the chief of staff of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in letter that one billion euros ($1.12 billion) in hard currency, allocated for importing medicines & essential goods, is unaccounted for, or has literally “disappeared.”

Again, Nasiri could care less.

The writer of this Associated Press piece further shows his loyalty to Zarif’s talking points by saying “the state provides health care for all.” If that is actually the case, why don’t Nasiri and AP address the subject of so many signs across the walls of Iran’s major cities put up by people offering to sell their kidneys and other body parts to pay off debts, many being medical debts?

iran-offers to sell kidneys and other body parts
Signs of people offering to sell their kidneys and other body parts are becoming quite normal in cities across Iran

Medicine is “out of reach for many in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to about $450,” Nasiri writes. Of course, the issue that he refuses to touch on is the question that why should a country of 80 million, with the world’s second largest natural gas and fourth largest crude oil reserves, be doing so poorly?

The answer is simple and Nasiri will not elaborate at all. Iran’s regime is known to spend billions of dollars propping the Assad war machine in Syria, Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, extremist militia groups in Iraq, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and the Houthis proxy forces in Yemen, among other such bad actors across the region and beyond.

FDD
Iran’s regime is known as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and described as the international central bank of terrorism.

Furthermore, Iran has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in pursuit of a completely unnecessary nuclear program – claiming to be civilian in nature – and constantly developing and proliferating ballistic missiles. Again, why would Iran’s mullahs, while rich in such vast amounts of energy deposits, go through all this hardship of international isolation for a “civilian” nuclear program? And leave the Iranian people deprived and now in lack of medicine, as Nasiri claims?

The answer again is simple. The regime ruling Iran cares nothing about the Iranian people and it is clearly seeking to obtain nuclear weapons. It is absolutely childish to claim Tehran’s regime does not seek nuclear weapons based on the a supposed fatwa (decree) issued by the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banning nuclear weapons. This regime has lied for forty years and not seeking nuclear weapons is among its utmost preposterous claims to this day.

Nasiri’s claims are pushed further by Iran’s main lobbyists in the U.S. This specifically includes Trita Parsi, founder of NIAC, the disgraced Tehran lobby group based in Washington, DC, and current NIAC President Jamal Abdi.

4

Saman Tabasinejad of the Iranian Canadian Congress, NIAC’s sister lobby group in Canada, is another Tehran lobbyist retweeting Abdi’s tweet in this regard.

While Iran’s regime and its apologists/lobbyists claim US sanctions prevent the import of medicine into Iran, the mullahs’ own state-run outlets boast about the regime’s readiness to send medicine/medical equipment to Venezuela.

“The head of Food and Drug Administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FDA) says that Iran is ready to export medicine to Venezuela… Mehdi Pirsali expressed Iran’s readiness to export medicine, medical equipment, and transfer knowledge and technology to Venezuela within the framework of the previously signed memorandum of understanding,” according to Mehr news agency, known to be affiliated to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

In October, an Iranian official said, “200 tons of medicine & medical supplies will be sent to [Iraq], including 400 types of medicine and 80 types of medical equipment,” according to the regime’s officials IRNA news agency.

In August 2018, three months after the U.S. exited the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran’s apologists/lobbyists claim now prevents the import of medicine into Iran, the regime’s state-run ILNA news agency reported, “Iran exports $25 million of medicine & equipment to Iraq each year and has the capacity of up to $200 million.”

Iran’s Red Crescent has also it is “necessary” to provide Iranian Red Crescent aid to the people in Yemen. Therefore, Iran does have enough money for its own people’s medical needs. It just chooses to spend it elsewhere.

To make things even more interesting, Iran’s regime is allowing Shabnam Nematzadeh, the daughter of a regime insider, run an import/export pharmaceutical company. One report says, “… Shabnam Nematzadeh, the daughter of the former Mines and Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, was found to be hoarding a stock of medication worth 50 billion rials (approx. $500,000).”

5

Iran’s regime is also ready and quite capable in providing medicine to Hezbollah terrorists.

“Let me be clear. For years, all of our necessities, from medicine to our missiles, all have been provided by Iran. Iran helps Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, resistance groups. Iran helped in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain …,” says Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

To conclude, such lies that U.S. sanctions are depriving the Iranian people access to medicine is nothing but fabrications of Tehran’s fake news/propaganda apparatus.

Moreover, why do reporters such as Mohammad Nasiri of AP resort to printing such lies? The answer is quite simple. If AP fails to publish such reports favorable of the mullahs ruling Iran, their man in Tehran, Nasiri, will be kicked out.

This is another reason why Fake News is the enemy of the people. The Associated Press is willing to publish lies and fake news to please the murderous mullahs’ regime in Tehran in order to have their “reporter” remain in Tehran.

Shame.

The list that says a lot about ‘suspicious suicides’ in Iran

Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say.

Suspicious suicides in Iran’s prisons are recently gaining attention inside the country and abroad, resulting in a wave of criticism targeting Tehran’s rulers.

For those unfamiliar with the sensitive topic of Iran’s suicides that mushroom at desperate times for the clerical regime, a short look at the history behind this concept is necessary.

Furthermore, interesting is how Tehran kills an individual to destroy any evidence of wrongdoing and diverts attention from one issue to another.

Saeed Imami

Saeed Imami, or Saeed Islami, was deputy Minister of Intelligence during the presidency of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He was introduced as the main suspect of Iran’s “chain murders,” a string of crimes that took the lives of a number of writers and political activists back in the 1990s.

Following his arrest, reports of Imami’s death in a Tehran hospital made headlines on June 20th, 1999. The next day an official of Iran’s Armed Forces Judiciary Organization said Imami committed suicide in the capital’s Evin Prison.

Imami took all knowledge of the chain murders to his grave and his “suicide” diverted attention completely away from those gruesome crimes.

Zahra Kazemi

During the college student protests of June 2003 and the apprehension of a number of activists, their families staged a rally on June 23rd outside Evin Prison. Zahra Kazemi, a 55-year-old Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, was doing her job at the scene.

Arrested on that day, Kazemi spent 18 days in detention and died on July 11th. Judiciary officials said she fainted, leading to her falling and suffering a brain haemorrhage, resulting in a brain stroke. Her death was officially announced on July 16th.

Iran’s parliament at the time accused the controversial judge Saeed Mortazavi as the first suspect in this case. Considering the consequences of such a judge being placed on trial and those he could take down with him, a year later a 42-year-old Intelligence Ministry employee was condemned on charges of murdering Kazemi. However, he was acquitted due to “lack of evidence.”

Kazemi’s death sent a message to anyone seeking to stage protests or cover such news in Iran, and completely cloaked the subject of why the college students were protesting at the time.

From July 16th, 2003 to this day relations between Canada and Iran have been tarnished and never fully recovered.

Zahra Bani Yaghoub

This 27-year-old woman studying medicine in Tehran University was arrested on October 12, 2007. However, 48 hours later, her family learned their daughter died in “suspicious circumstances” while held at a detention center in Hamedan, western Iran.

A report claimed Yaghoub committed suicide the very night she was apprehended. Her family has never accepted such claims.
Protests and the referral of this case to an appeals court in Tehran Province only resulted in the accused being acquitted.

Ruholamini, Kamrani and Javadifar

These three individuals all “committed suicide” in Iran’s notorious Kahrizak Prison, a detention center gaining attention following the 2009 uprising. Mohsen Ruholamini, Mohammad Kamrani and Amir Javadifar were all arrested during the unrest and transferred to Kahrizak along with many others.

Ruholamini was arrested on July 9th of that year and died six days later during his transfer to Evin Prison.

Kamrani, 18, was arrested on the same day near Tehran’s Vali Asr Square and taken to Kahrizak. Following his transfer to Evin Prison he was taken to the capital’s Loghman Hospital and lost his life on July 16th at Mehr Hospital.

Javadifar, also arrested on July 9th, died on July 14th.

Despite a court hearing on this matter, the families of these three young men sought the prosecution of the main elements involved in their sons’ murder. Once again, the name of Saeed Mortazavi and two of his colleagues, Ali Akbar Heidarifar and judge Haddad, the officials who ordered those arrested to Kahrizak, were mentioned significantly.

The “suicides” of these three, one being the son of an individual close to the regime, sent messages across the board and boosted Tehran’s efforts focusing to divert attention away from the 2009 unrest that rocked the nation.

Hoda Saber

Hoda Rezazadeh Saber, aka Hoda Saber, a journalist serving her time behind bars, launched a hunger strike on June 2nd, 2011, protesting the suspicious death of activist Hale Sahabi at the funeral ceremony of her father, Ezzatollah Sahabi.

Saber died on June 11th following her transfer to Tehran’s Modares Hospital. Authorities claimed she died of heart disorder.
Her death again diverted attention from a more important subject, being the Sahabis and the mysterious nature of deaths among their family members.

A picture taken on June 7, 2017 shows the scene outside Iranian parliament in Tehran during an attack on the complex. (AFP)

Sattar Beheshti

This 35-year-old laborer attracted the Iranian authorities’ attention through his blogs. Iran’s cyber police, FATA, arrested Beheshti on October 30, 2012, accusing him of staging “measures against national security” through Facebook. Beheshti died four days later.

“Following an autopsy on November 5th the forensics said there was no reason for an unnatural death,” according to the spokesman of Iran’s judiciary in this regard.

This incident raised quite a stir inside the country and abroad. As a result, following a complaint filed by the Beheshti family, a FATA police member was sentenced to three years behind bars. The Beheshti family protested the ruling and the case was referred to a public court that denied their request, refusing to rule out the “semi-deliberate murder” ruling of the initial court.

Complicating the judicial process and ruling, and sending the family scrambling between a variety of courts were all part of the Iranian authorities’ measures to again cloak the main issue at hand of why Beheshti was murdered under torture for merely placing posts on Facebook.

Sina Ghanbari

During the recent unrest, this young man was arrested and mysteriously died on January 6th following his transfer to the quarantine section of Evin Prison’s ward 4.

“Ghanbari hanged himself early morning after going to the bathroom,” said Mostafa Mohebi, Director General of Tehran Province prisons.

Iranian MP Alireza Rahimi, among the representatives who visited Evin Prison and viewed the “Sina Ghanbari suicide” video, said the footage shows the prison bathroom hours prior to Ghanbari’s deathand there is no actual scene of his claimed suicide.

Again we see how Iranian authorities raise the issue of alleged footage to divert attention from the murder, while the entire scenario sidetracks attention from the main issue at hand, being the nationwide Iranian uprising and the people’s demands for regime change.

Kavous Seyed Emami

The latest case of such mysterious deaths is related to Iranian-Canadian environmental activist and sociology professor Kavous Seyed Emami, arrested on January 24th and announced dead February 8th in prison.

“This individual was amongst those accused of spying under the cover of environmental work,” said Tehran public prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlat Abadi.

Emami’s death was vastly covered in the media and discussed in social media. The Canadian government has twice demanded Iran explain his death.

Iranian MP Ali Mottahari says authorities showed him and other MPs footage of Imami’s prison cell. However, the claimed moment of suicide is not vividly seen in the footage, Mottahari said to the media.

Recent reports in Iranian websites are citing an official in the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence rejecting all claims of Emami’s suicide, adding he was murdered with a high dosage of sodium thiopental in ward 2A of Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Final thoughts

The very essence of suicides in Iran should sound alarm bells. All such cases are suspicious, to say the least.

Considering the fact that many more dissidents are behind bars, unfortunately it is safe to say we will hear more such “suicides“ in the future.

Concentrated efforts pressuring Tehran are needed to have all political prisoners, dissidents and protesters currently behind bars released. This type of support will boost the Iranian people’s struggle to obtain freedom from this regime and establish democracy.

What Do Iran’s People Think?

Following continuing reports of unrest in Iran, a recent opinion poll claims only 4.9 percent of the Iranian people seek regime change. Interesting is the fact that figures accused of having close relations with Tehran and Iran’s state-run media launched an orchestrated campaign to publicize this so-called survey.

What needs understanding is first the nature of this opinion poll, conducted merely through phone calls from Farsi speaking strangers, as if the Iranian people would trust such calls and express their true beliefs about the oppressive regime. Second, the background of those who claim to have gathered this information is worth a deeper look.

Why would one want to conduct a poll at a time when the state is rocked by protests across the board and slogans are targeting the ruling regime’s very existence? Unless those initiating the polls intend to depict a result contrary to public opinion, i.e., seeking to portray a rock-solid regime enjoying significant popularity.

Iran’s regime is in such desperate need to claim popular support that poll organizers don’t even take the time to portray their numbers as even slightly acceptable, making astonishing claims such as:

– Only 8.8 percent of the people believe Iran should decrease its ballistic missile program budget

– Only 11.3 percent believe the government is too involved in their personal lives

– Only 17.2 percent believe Iran’s role in Syria and Iraq is not in the country’s interests

– Only 21.5 percent believe Iran should decrease its Syria/Iraq budgets

– Only 21.7 percent believe the government should not impose seriously Islamic laws

This comes at a time that the majority of Iran’s populace lives in poverty, with disturbing images from inside the country showing the homeless living in graves, and others searching the trash for food or something to sell. People are also selling their kidneys and other body parts to help make ends meet. Moreover, one of the most prevalent chants by the protesters nationwide was, “Let go of Syria, think of us” and “We don’t want an Islamic Republic.”

A Voice of America Farsi TV report covering a similar poll in the past raised such a stir among the Iranian-American community that VOA Farsi removed it from its website.

This latest poll was prepared by Ebrahim Mohseni, a Research Associate at Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), a Lecturer on the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran, and a Senior Analyst at the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion Research.

Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, provided the publicity campaign support.

Mohseni is described as procuring “fabricated polls” and his “connection with the University of Maryland also helps him disguise the real paymaster of his fabricated polls, i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Parsi is also labelled as an “Iran apologist” and his disturbing views about the U.S. are quite interesting, to say the least.

This poll, naturally, received wide coverage by Iranian media linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), such as the Fars news agency, and Khorasan daily.

2
Supporting the system, criticizing economic situation (Khorasan daily)

This organized “fabricated polls” effort and publishing in the U.S. dates back to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency (2005-2013), alongside Iran’s claim of having the right to a nuclear energy program and enjoying popular support for this drive.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry specifically launched this initiative in 2007. In 2009, with cooperation from Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, the Faculty of World Studies was established in Tehran University, headed by Mohammad Marandi, seen speaking in support of the Iranian regime in international media outlets. Activists have gone as far as describing him as affiliated to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC.

The Tehran University Center for Public Opinion Research was launched under Marandi’s supervision, with Mohseni in charge, to take over the role of launching and literally creating such fabricated polls. Mohseni is allegedly in collaboration with the IRGC Basij paramilitary. This is one of his speeches on the U.S. “Wall Street” movement.

Mohseni was then transferred to the U.S. and using the Iranian regime’s connections he began working at the University of Maryland. From that date forward Mohseni is said to have collaborated with Iranian officials in preparing such polls to be eventually published by the University of Maryland.

Mohseni, along with Parsi and a number of pro-Iran appeasement policy figures, published the first such “fabricated” poll, titled “Public Opinion in America and American on Key International Issues,” in January 2007. They astonishingly went as far as claiming 91 percent of the Iranian people supported the nuclear program and fuel cycle as very important.

In September 2009, as waves of Iranians were in the streets protesting the controversial re-election of Ahmadinejad and demanding their votes back, and the regime responding with a vicious crackdown, Mohseni conveniently prepared another poll claiming 81% of the people consider Ahmadinejad as Iran’s legitimate president.

The obvious question here is: Then why were so many people in the streets?

In February 2010, following months of further repression and killings in Iran’s streets, a new pollclaimed 83 percent of the Iranian populace considered the 2009 election to be free and fair.

In October 2012, an even more astounding poll published by Mohseni and his colleagues claimedthe wide majority of Iranians, already suffering in poverty, were willing to bear sanctions, war and all the leading hardships, yet unwilling to have domestic nuclear enrichment stopped.

Mohseni explained a question in a conference presenting the poll.

“Which is closer to your opinion:

1- Iran should continue its nuclear enrichment activity even if it results in war.
2- Iran should prevent war even if it means suspending nuclear enrichment activity.

“55 percent say we should continue enriching uranium while 33 percent say preventing war is of higher importance.”

When necessary, the Marandi/Mohseni team will also carry out certain campaigns inside Iran. In 2014 Iran’s hardliners sought to impose gender segregation at worksites and offices, beginning with Tehran’s municipality.

This initiative resulted in widespread protests across Iran, even inside the government and various factions of the ruling apparatus. Mohseni conveniently presented another fabricated poll actually claiming the majority of Iranians essentially support gender segregation “to render more calm among families.”

To conduct a “telephone poll” in a totalitarian state such as Iran on a subject related to the ruling system, and not on which brand of laundry detergent they prefer, is tantamount to conducting a poll in Germany under the Third Reich! Which would have undoubtedly resulted in showing outright support for Hitler.

Considering Iran’s intense crackdown and surveillance apparatus, especially when all secure means of communications are shut down, to believe one can obtain a measure of public opinion through calling Iranians on their landlines and asking them whether they support regime change borders on naiveté if not outright charlatanism.