- Published: Thursday, 26 March 2020
As the world struggles to contain the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, Iran, which has become one of the hotbeds of the virus, is of special concern, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) declared in a webinar on Thursday.
“As of the afternoon of March 25, according to the information by the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran or PMOI inside Iran, Coronavirus has taken the lives of more than 11,500 in 222 cities across Iran,” said Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, referring to figures provided by one of NCRI’s main constituents.
The PMOI/MEK has been tapping into its vast network across Iran to obtain and publish authentic reports of the coronavirus outbreak in the past weeks. The official figure declared by the Iranian regime is less than a fifth of the real death toll discovered by the MEK.
Mohaddessin also stressed that the regime is going to great lengths to hide the scale of the disaster, which has been exacerbated by its secrecy and dismal management of the situation. According to information and evidence obtained by the MEK, since the coronavirus outbreak began, more than 300 corpses are buried every day in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. A contract to dig 10,000 extra graves in the cemetery has recently been signed.
“To cover up the actual death toll, security officials have ordered the cemetery’s management to scatter the dead in different sections,” Mohaddessin said, adding that a large number of coronavirus victims have been buried ostensibly under other causes. According to eyewitness reports, several workers at the mortuary, including five women, who worked in sections not designated for Coronavirus victims, were infected with the virus.
The NCRI official also drew attention to the situation of medical staff in Iran, who are trained to respond to the outbreak as the regime denies them access to their most basic needs. So far, more than 100 doctors, nurses and other medical staff have lost their lives while treating coronavirus patients.
The regime is going to great lengths to cover up its crimes and is severely punishing anyone who publishes or reveals information about the coronavirus outbreak in Iran. “Iran is perhaps the only country where the regime has gone out of its way to cover up the real scope of the crisis and to use the security forces, specifically the IRGC, to punish anyone going public about the real scope of the crisis,” Mohaddessin said.
According to MEK reports, The IRGC has ordered all its provincial divisions and headquarters to be present at hospitals, medical and health centers to control reporting on the number of patients infected or dead due to the virus.
There is also evidence that the regime knew of coronavirus cases long before it publicly admitted but refrained from informing the public about it. “Because of the February 11 anniversary of the revolution and the sham parliamentary elections on February 21, [regime supreme leader Ali] Khamenei explicitly prohibited officials from making the announcement,” Mohadessin said.
The regime also continued flights to and from China while all other countries canceled travels and borders with the southeast Asian country where the coronavirus pandemic began.
“While the regime has made a concerted effort to depict the sanctions as the real reason for the catastrophic situation, in reality, no one but the regime is responsible for the crisis,” Mohaddessin stressed in his remarks.
The regime recently expelled a team from the France-based NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which had traveled to Iran to install a field hospital in Isfahan to treat COVID-19 patients. The regime claimed it has all it needs to deal with the virus.
“While outside of Iran the regime claims that it lacks the basic needs due to the sanctions, inside Iran it boasts that it is in total control and has extra means,” Mohaddessin said, exposing the regime’s hypocrisy.
Mohaddessin stressed that the regime is trying to exploit the catastrophe politically and blame the crisis on other issues including the US sanctions. “The regime is using the lives of defenseless Iranians as a tool for political expediency and trying to undermine the sanctions. The world should not allow the mullahs to use lives of thousands of Iranians as pawns for their ominous political objectives,” he said.