“The fifth coronavirus peak in Iran; Tehran has registered as the red zone; south is going to be black zone; what is the outcome for producing seven different domestic vaccines?” titled Aftab News website on June 3, blaming officials for imprudence and mismanagement toward the pandemic.

“Advanced countries across the globe have maximumly produced two or three vaccines, and of course, they have begun vaccination process a long while ago. Furthermore, they have exported their vaccines to other countries. However, it is unclear why do we pursue seven different domestic vaccines and repeatedly devoted a significant amount of expenses, energies, and facilities to such vaccines?” the website wrote.

“If the purpose was to serve the people and spare their lives, it was possible to focus all facilities, energies, and expenses on one or two institutes to take advantages faster and with more power and quality,” Aftab News added.

Around 15 months ago, officials in Iran formally announced the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. However, both health officials and the National Covid-19 Task Force are confused about how to counter the virus.

These days, health apparatuses and professionals have officially declared that the fifth Covid-19 peak has started in different provinces. The capital has registered as a red zone. The southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan is in a critical circumstance, and the delta variant is transferring from this province to other areas.

“Health Ministry Saeed Namaki, who is renowned by his ’promises,’ had already announced the past June as the time for mass production of domestic coronavirus vaccines. Now, we have approached the mid-July, but old people are still awaiting—sometimes for more than 15 hours—in long queues for vaccines,” wrote the official Jomhouri-e Eslami [Islamic Republic] daily in early July.

“Coronavirus’s victims are once again on the rise, and the number of new Covid-19 cases are also breaking records. Such an intolerable condition is due to several factors,” the paper added.

State-run media point out profiteering policies adopted by influential bodies, particularly those that run the medication mafia. In this respect, there is a silent power struggle for monopolizing vaccine production. Notably, all these bodies are affiliated with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Indeed, there is competition for further advantages at the expense of people’s health and lives.

On the other hand, contrary to the government’s hygienic protocols, Presidential candidates staged crowded rallies in different provinces. For instance, the rally of Ebrahim Raisi in the southwestern province of Khuzestan led to more hospitalized patients for Covid-19 symptoms and death count. However, no one was held responsible for that death-heralding gathering.

Furthermore, outgoing President Hassan Rouhani played a crucial role in spreading the coronavirus across Iran. With his misguided messages, he is personally responsible for the death of thousands of Iranians during recent months. Instead of admitting his failure to perform health and hygienic protocols, Rouhani frequently laid blame on people and ‘foreigners’ for the spread of the pandemic.

His government’s refusal to pay overdue salaries, pensions, insurance rights, and to provide essential services for the people left no way for millions of citizens except to take to the streets and vent their anger over the government’s mismanagement through rallies and marches. In other words, officials’ economic failures have had the lion’s share in the increase of Covid-19 victims.

However, the Islamic Republic still downplays the actual number of victims in accordance with a deceitful policy, which can be seen in the past 42 years. On July 7, the official fatalities declared by the Health Ministry stands at 85,261, while the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) stated the genuine death toll is four times more than the official statistics.

“Over 324,500 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 547 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to reports tallied by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as of Wednesday afternoon local time, July 7,” MEK official website reported.