During the Iranian regime’s Majlis (parliament) session on Tuesday, a report from the health commission was delivered which outlined the poor performance of the Covid-19 Task Force who worked under the former regime president Hassan Rouhani’s administration.
The report highlighted a series of disastrous policies and decisions that were made by the Task Force which allowed the virus to spread rapidly across Iran.
While the report must be viewed in the broader context of political rivalries between different regime factions, it nonetheless sheds light on some of the realities that have made Iran the center of one of the worst global Covid-19 outbreaks across the globe.
The health commission’s report indicated a number of errors made by Rouhani and his task force in regards to dealing with the outbreak in Iran. Among these were that: the warnings from health experts and inspectors were completely disregarded; the outbreak situation was normalized too early at the beginning of this year; there was great opposition to imposing quarantines to prevent the spread of the virus and a failure to implement lockdowns in the worst affected areas; false claims were made that Iran had passed the peak of the virus; and, the production and import of much-needed vaccines were dealt with in an abysmal manner.
Concluding the report was this excerpt, “Since the controversial and unprofessional decisions and actions—or lack thereof—of [Rouhani] has resulted in the death of many compatriots and damage to their lives, finances, and mental health… it is necessary that he is dealt with legally.”
As the report was approved by the members of the Majlis with a majority vote, this means that they were in complete acknowledgment that the regime has committed crimes with their failure to act appropriately throughout the pandemic.
What the report and the Majlis did not mention, however, is that Rouhani is just one part of the equation. The regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei is the real culprit, and Rouhani was just a pawn who was carrying out his commands.
The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has played a huge role in allowing the Covid-19 pandemic to completely ravage Iran without a care as to how much it is affecting the Iranian people. At the start of the pandemic, Khamenei was quoted as referring to the virus outbreak as a ‘blessing’, an ‘achievement’ and an ‘opportunity’. He completely dismissed the seriousness of the situation and claimed that it was a ‘temporary issue’ and nothing serious to worry about.
In February of this year, he declared that imports of reputable American and British vaccines would be banned, as he preferred to support domestic vaccines instead, which ultimately were found to be unreliable and dangerous.
Through the release of the health commission’s report, the blame has been squarely put on Rouhani’s head, using him as a scapegoat for Khamenei’s own misdeeds and failure to acknowledge the truth and severity of the pandemic.
Khamenei hopes that, by laying all the blame on the previous president, he can keep himself away from the outrage of the Iranian people. But in effect, the report is only a confession to just a fraction of the crimes that all trace back to Khamenei himself with undeniable evidence.