On December 12, reports came in from Iranian state-media outlets that the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has met with several nurses and family members of medical personnel who had died during the Covid-19 outbreak in Iran despite the regime’s poor COVID-19 response.
During the meeting, rather than offering solutions to address some of the nurses’ dilemmas and the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Khamenei downplayed the problems, speaking an ‘enemy’ who was trying to ‘change the place of the oppressor and the oppressed.’
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Khamenei’s blatant remarks come when the death toll due to coronavirus has surpassed 488,100. Iranian people, particularly nurses, blame Khamenei for the high death toll due to his order to ban the import of American and European vaccines.”
During the pandemic in Iran, it was estimated by Iranian officials that hundreds of Iranian nurses have died as a result of the virus, and dozens of others have committed suicide as they struggled under poor working conditions. Many more have fled the country to work abroad.
Abbas Ebadi, the Deputy Minister of Nursing at the Ministry of Health, stated on December 10 that around 1250 nurses applied for immigration last year. However, estimates seem to suggest that this figure is much higher.
In the last few weeks, dozens of protests have taken place by Iranian nurses who are frustrated with their poor working conditions and lack of support by the government. Unlike their international counterparts, the nurses in Iran are deprived of their fundamental rights as they worked throughout the pandemic last year and into this year.
The NCRI said, “Nurses in Iran do not receive their salaries for months on. The situation is worse for nurses who have temporary contracts. They are on the front line of the fight against Covid-19, but many of them do not have insurances.”
Those with temporary contracts are ineligible for benefits, bonuses, or incentives, and their monthly incomes are around 40 million rials (roughly $134). Even nurses on official contracts only earn 70 million rials (around $235), which is still significantly lower than nurses’ wages in other countries worldwide. In the United States, registered nurses earn almost $6,000 per month, equating to over $77,000 a year.
The Iranian regime has more than enough assets to pay their nurses better, but they would instead use that money to fund their terrorist proxy groups. In an exclusive report published by the Iranian Resistance in April 2020, it was discovered that the salaries of these proxy groups range from $800 to $1,500.
“Khamenei has refused to spend a single dollar on Iran’s collapsing healthcare system. Since the first day of the Covid-19 outbreak, Khamenei and his regime called this deadly virus a ‘test’ and ‘blessing.’ He explicitly banned certified American and British vaccines in January,” the report read.
Regarding the #Coronavirus, the import of U.S. and British #CovidVaccine into Iran is forbidden. I've said this to officials and now, I say it publicly. If the Americans could produce vaccines, this Corona fiasco didn't happen—Supreme Leader Ali Khameneipic.twitter.com/V6dcafU7iu
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) January 8, 2021
After banning the import of reputable foreign vaccines, Khamenei insisted on producing domestic ‘vaccines’ through the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), a large financial institution he controls.
Iran’s mortality and infection rates could have been significantly decreased if certified vaccines had been allowed to enter Iran or if the regime had allocated enough funds to the Iranian healthcare system. Still, Khamenei only cared about lining his own pockets.
“The recent strike by Iranian teachers and ongoing protests in Iran by people from all walks of life are signs of a restive society. Khamenei tries to whitewash himself from Iran’s Covid-19 catastrophe with over 488,100 deaths and an increasing public hatred toward the regime by shedding crocodile tears for people,” the NCRI concluded.