This sudden decision raised skepticism over whether they really intend to fight the virus, or whether they pursue other objectives under the excuse of containing COVID-19?
Normally, each state would warmly welcome any international aid to protect its people in such a status quo. However, the Iranian regime government’s contradictory remarks beg the question: what’s the exact demand of the Iranian rulers?
On March 12, the Central Bank of Iranian regime asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion emergency funding to fight the coronavirus pandemic. In this respect, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pleaded with Mrs. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF for a “Rapid Financial Instrument.”
“Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately,” Zarif claimed on Twitter. Simultaneously, he is passionate to attribute Iran’s capacity for containing the coronavirus to political issues, particularly U.S. sanctions, saying, “IMF should adhere to Fund’s mandate, stand on right side of history and act responsibly.” However, the ayatollahs’ foreign minister didn’t clarify whether spending Iran’s national resources for supporting Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Iraq, and other extremist proxies in the Middle East is tantamount to “standing on right side of history?”
“[Lebanese] Hezbollah’s budget, salaries, expenses, food, water, weapons, and missile come directly from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah in June 2016. “We know that Iran is the principal benefactor of Hizballah. Hizballah receives – in the past has received some $700 million a year. That’s an enormous amount of money and it’s money that should properly be going to the Iranian people to address their needs and to address their priorities,” said the U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Nathan Sales in a press conference on December 12, 2018.
On March 22, 2019, the U.S. Special Representative for Iranian Affairs Brian Hook said, “The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) has its hands 80 percent of Iran’s economy.”
Additionally, on September 21, 2020, Behzad Nabavi, an advocate of the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani, told the state-run Aftab website, “Four entities control 60 percent of Iran’s national wealth. They are ‘Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order,’ ‘Mostazafan Foundation,’ ‘Astan-e Quds Razavi,’ and ‘Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters.’ None of them has any communication with neither the administration nor the Majlis.” It is worth reminding that regime’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei directly or through his appointees manages all these institutions.
On the other hand, the Iranian regime’s authorities claim that they don’t need foreign aids. According to prior agreement, the MSF team was supposed to hold an inflectable hospital with 48 beds for treating critical cases in Isfahan as the second-worst affected province in Iran. However, on March 24, regardless of the previous welcoming by the Iranian regime embassy in France for the entrance of the MSF team and equipment, the government declared this team should depart the country.
“By implementing the National Mobilization Plan against Coronavirus and the full use of the armed forces’ medical capacity, there is no need to use foreign forces,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, Iran Health Ministry’s advisor, tweeted on March 23.
Remarkably, on February 3, the regime’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Abbas Mousavi reacted about the Swiss humanitarian channel, saying, “Medicine and food have never been sanctioned.”
Additionally, on March 24, Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian regime’s Army Abdolrahim Mousavi inaugurated a 2000-bed field hospital in the permanent place of Tehran International Exhibition Center. The government-linked media Aftab News claimed, “The field hospital has the capacity to accommodate 1000 more beds.”
Furthermore, the Iranian regime’s government has received more than $40 million from Japan, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Germany, the U.K., and France, in addition to receiving many tons of face masks, gowns, test kits, gloves, and protective glasses from China, Russia, the UK, Georgia. Notably, the U.S. administration announced that the ayatollahs staunchly rejected assistance provided by this country.
Nonetheless, the Iranian regime’s officials still perpetuate false narratives through their state-run media and tribunes while they surprisingly expelled the MSF team from the country. However, the rulers’ stalemate is obviously seen in their remarks. For instance, on March 3, Khamenei described the coronavirus as a blessing for the country and claimed that we should seize this opportunity and obtain valuable achievements. On the other hand, on March 22, he attributed the COVID-19 virus to foreign enemies and named the U.S. as the producer of the lethal virus.
Khamenei also rejected admitting foreign doctors, saying, “No wise person can trust [The U.S.] to bring medicine for him under this accusation. You may send a medicine that makes this virus permanent… You may send a person under the title of physician or doctor to complete its data about the magnitude of the virus’s effectiveness.”
In conclusion, the Iranian regime’s authorities seek to exploit the coronavirus to cease economic pressures and U.S. sanctions. In this context, they criminally took the fate of the people hostage to obtain their purposes. Also, they don’t clarify “Why they canceled the MSF program to assist Iran and critical patients? Who made the decision to give this order? Was the decision-maker the Health Ministry and the Administration or another institute? If there was another institute, which institute was?” Second Deputy of the Parliament (Majlis) Ali Motahhari tweeted on March 24.
According to the Iranian regime’s government’s notorious background and concealing of truths, it seems that the ayatollahs are improving a bilateral scenario. First, despite receiving international aid and opening the way for providing medical equipment, contrary to their claims, they intentionally deprived the people of appropriate therapy and tied containing the coronavirus outbreak with the lifting of U.S. sanctions. However, both Iranian and American officials previously rejected that sanctions have targeted food and medicine. Meanwhile, banning the regime’s government from contributing multi-billion dollars to its regional allies and proxies should pave the way for stockpiling a huge wealth.
Second, the regime’s government severely tries to conceal the real number of fatalities in fear of igniting the ire of the public. In this respect, they claim that we only need monetary aid and excessively reject any supervision by international organizations. Also, regime’s rulers say they required money for countering the coronavirus while around a month earlier they bluntly showed their intention for continuing underground financial interaction and sponsoring terrorism by disapproving the parliamentary bills of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Regarding clues of the coronavirus emergence in Iran, on March 25, the regime’s Deputy of Health Minister Alireza Raisi in a video conference announced, “According to our studies, the Chinese were the origin of [COVID-19] in Qom. In February, several Chinese workers were transferring [from/to their hometown] as well as a number of students.” But the regime’s government concealed the news about reasons for the novel coronavirus in Iran so far and the IRGC’s profiteering airlines called Mahan Air continued its flights to China while many international airlines canceled their scheduled flights in fear of spreading the deadly virus across the globe.