Simultaneously, the state-run website Iran Online announced that between eight and 14 percent of MPs had been infected by COVID-19.
Moreover, in recent weeks, a significant number of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders have succumbed to the coronavirus. On March 26, the Iranian opposition acknowledged that at least 100 official and IRGC commanders had died of the deadly virus. On the morning of April 2, Mirza Mohammad Shalgi, an IRGC veteran commander and chief of staff for Ansar al-Hossein army, died of the coronavirus, according to Mehr news agency.
Notably, the Iranian regime allocated several advanced hospitals like Tehran’s Baghatallah and Masih Daneshvari hospitals to its loyalists. However, the high infection and death rates among the regime’s officials reveal the real magnitude of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. They also expose how official figures are untrue.
Fabricated stats, non-quarantining of cities, along with hoarding necessary health items by the government-linked organizations like Execution of “Imam” Khomeini’s Order (EIKO) and exporting millions of face masks to other countries, have prompted public ire against the mullahs. In this context, they feel these conditions better than anyone else. Therefore, all the regime’s officials severely attempt to fend off the people’s anger and highlight artificial reasons for this health crisis.
“You are in charge of producing this virus. I don’t know how much this accusation is true. However, no wise person can trust you to bring medicine for him under this accusation. You may send a medicine that makes this virus permanent,” said the Iranian regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei addressing the U.S. on March 22. He also blamed “demons” for collaborating with the regime’s foes against the country.
Iran: Containing COVID-19 Depends on Political Change Before International Aid
On the other hand, the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif make efforts to insinuate that the U.S. sanctions are disturbing Iran’s operations against the coronavirus. However, there is a flagrant contradiction between their talks with the people through the state-run media, and their claims addressed foreign officials.
Also, the regime concurrently suffers from a lack of legitimacy. Iranian citizens face economic pressures while officials generously contribute the national wealth to their mercenaries across the region as well as their lobbies in the West. In mid-November, the government increased fuel prices leading to nationwide protests. The mullahs intended to compensate for their massive budget deficit at the expense of impoverished segments of the society. However, they dealt an unprecedented uprising that immediately engulfed more than 190 cities across the country.
Khamenei openly ordered the IRGC and security forces to quell protests at all costs. As a result, more than 1,500 demonstrators were killed, thousands were injured, and at least 12,000 others were detained according to the Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI or MEK), the main opposition group to the religious fascism.
The people poured onto the streets in January once again. The IRGC’s admission to downing a Ukrainian airliner with 176 people on board spiked a new round of revolt against the mullahs’ rule. “The IRGC, you are murdering us,” and “Chief-in-command [Khamenei], resign,” chanted by outraged protesters. They also ended the myth of Qassem Soleimani as a “hero” by tramping and torching his portrays.
These events showed a part of public wrath against the rulers, who monopolized the medical items and took hostage the people’s lives and health for their economic, political interests. The regime’s terrible function prompted denounces even among its advocates. “[Coronavirus] has challenged the Iranian system’s performance,” a pro-Rouhani figure, Abbas Abdi said on March 26. Additionally, another Rouhani’s ally Taghi Azad Barmaki noted that “Iran’s political system has been fallen,” according to Hamshahri Online on March 29.
On March 27, Deputy of Parliament Massoud Pezeshkian also expressed his concerns about upcoming protests and the regime’s fate, saying, “Today, we witness a decrease in public trust.” He counted officials’ “incompetence” and “weakness in management” as reasons for people’s distrust toward the regime.
“Incompetence, mismanagements, economic corruption, and rentals have disturbed trust [of the people toward the regime],” the pro-Rouhani website Bahar News quoted the former chief of security forces Morteza Talaei on March 23.
These remarks show well the Iranian authorities’ concerns about the society’s state on the one hand and the people’s readiness for upheaval against the religious fascism on the other hand. In such circumstances, precautionary measures like “staying at home” seem to cease the people’s emotions for toppling rulers. However, the regime’s mismanagement and criminal secrecy would ignite a new round of protests sooner or later. Definitely, no bullet can stop the outraged demonstrators who lost many of their loved ones on that day.