News : Human rights
- Published: Tuesday, 03 March 2020
After news of the coronavirus outbreak in China broke, various airlines across the globe immediately halted their flights to the country for fear of spreading the virus and making the problem worse.
But not all airlines care enough to take this approach. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Mahan Airways continued its flights to China with no mind given to the wellbeing of the Iranian people.
Even the regime’s state-run media wrote about the continuing flights to China by Mahan Airways, something the company was forced to admit on its Instagram page following public pressure.
The IRNA news agency reported on February 9 that the airline made four cargo flights and five passenger flights to China following the ban, but had no scheduled flights to China afterward. (You won’t be surprised to learn that they did continue flights after that, even allowing travelers considered high-risk by other airlines to board.)
Bahram Parsai, a member of Iran’s Parliament, told the state-run media about these flights because of factional infighting in the regime. In his comments, Parsai said outright that the reason for the spread of the coronavirus in Iran is the continued flights to China.
Parsai said: “Unfortunately, by any inexcusable reason, the flights of an Iranian airline to China continued and even the passengers of other countries were displaced with this Iranian airline. The warnings were not taken seriously and the negligence is very clear. The profit-seeking of an internal airline or wrong policies of the Aviation Organization and also not taking seriously the World Health Organization warnings was the cause of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran. Considering that no cases were reported from neighboring countries, we can conclude that the virus entered the country through external flights.”
Iranian Aviation Organization spokesperson Reza Jafarzadeh also said on February 11 that flights to China were continuing, while Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani, Vice President of the parliament’s Health and Treatment Commission, said that the airlines had been warned to stop but that the government could not stop private companies.
This is a lie because, of course, because the government could use emergency powers to ground all flights to and from China. But they won’t because of the IRGC own Mahan. Mahan’s Director-General Arabnejad felt so confident about this that he met with the Chinese ambassador to Tehran on February 23 about ongoing cooperation with China
Mohammad Eslami, the minister of transportation and metropolitan development, said that Mahan was not responsible for the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, but it is clear that the fault lies with the IRGC and the regime as a whole who put profit before people.
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