The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, is being criticised for his lack of action faced with such a high level of devastation. Many say that he was very slow to respond.
The country’s government has said through state media that sufficient aid was being provided to those that lost their homes after the earthquake, but rivals to Rouhani have said that this could not be further from the truth. They showed images of entire towns and villages that have people sleeping outside, in the cold, and without any belongings.
However, Rouhani’s camp is saying that his opponents are taking advantage of this tragedy to criticise the government. One of his allies said that instead of showing unity in this very difficult time, people are criticising the president and claiming that he is incapable.
The earthquake was the worst to hit the country in more than a decade, even worse than the recent earthquake in Mexico.
As is usual following natural disasters, countries usually call on international help to deal with the aftermath. However, this is not the case with Iran which declined international assistance, claiming that the government is more than capable of managing the situation.
It was reported that there were mattresses, tents and blankets, as well as emergency food rations, sent to all the affected areas. However, this is not the case and there are still many people who have not received any government help at all.
Tasnim and Fars news agencies both reported about the role of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), saying that it has been helping the people in need. They also reported that the Basij militia force is lending a hand.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on the government to hurry its relief efforts along, and indicated that much more help was needed. He said that the earthquake was a “test for authorities to perform their duties”.
Hardliner media has strongly criticised the government, accusing it of being incompetent and for failing to learn lessons from the earthquake in 2003 in Bam where more than 30,000 people died. At the same time, it praised the IRGC for its assistance and shows images of areas that have been restored.
The deputy head of the IRGC, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, said: “Immediately after the quake, the IRGC rushed to the area to help. We set up shelters, field clinics … We will not leave until all survivors have a permanent shelter. Our commanders have been working around the clock.”
However, despite what little has been done to help the people of Iran, overall, the response by all authorities in the country has been insufficient. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime that lines its own pockets at the expense of the people is showing that nothing will ever change. The reality of the situation is that there are many people who still need help. Blaming the “other side” is helping no one.