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.
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.