This replacement takes place while Jahanpour was the most well-known official who announced the regime’s fabricated figures about coronavirus victims.
As the country has been battered with the second wave of the coronavirus, the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani pursue to escape themselves from the consequences of resuming financial activities and reopening crowded sites.
However, authorities had rejected quarantine measures as an “outdated method.” “We do not agree with the quarantine, quarantine belongs to pre-World War I and belongs to plague…,” Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said in early February.
Later, Rouhani announced, “We have no such thing as quarantine at all. It is rumored that in Tehran or some cities are some stores and some jobs quarantined. There is no such thing at all.”
However, citizens eventually compelled the mullahs to restrict commutes between cities and employ the temporary shutdown of several businesses.
Additionally, the massive magnitude of the COVID-19 victims forced the regime to confess to a part of the truth about the real dimension of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran. In this respect, state-run media sounded alarms about the second wave of the disease on June 4.
Following this inevitable admission, global media shed light on Iran’s special situation and its risk to the Middle East and across the globe.
On June 6, Mail Online reported that Iran “was the first country in the world to report the second wave of infections on Wednesday last week, logging 3,574 cases, beating its previous worst day of 3,186 cases logged over two months earlier.”
“Iran began easing lockdown restrictions – which were imposed in February as the virus ran rampant – in mid-April as the disease declined. Cases began picking up again in early May and have now been above 3,000 for three days running,” Mail Online added.
Also, on June 8, the Wall Street Journal wrote, “In Iran, coronavirus circumstances have returned to peak levels after Tehran rolled again many lockdown restrictions to revive its sanctions-battered financial system.”
Firing the health ministry spokesperson is a sign of amplification of infighting among different factions. Iranian officials had previously raised dismissal of the health minister but Ali Rabiei, the Rouhani administration spokesman, finally denied it. However, this event flagrantly shows the defeat of the regime’s strategy to mislead society over the COVID-19 crisis with fake news.
In his appointment order to Sima Sadat Lari on June 9, Saeed Namaki warned the new ministry spokesperson, writing, “Given all spokesperson’s remarks are considered as the minister’s official view, it is important that you coordinate any statement with me before raising on media and social media… There is hope that you will be able to carry out your duties with care and avoid any politicking.”
Notably, Namaki warned the new spokeswoman while himself has a history of contradictory statements with Rouhani’s claims.
On the other hand, ex-commander of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) Mohsen Rezaei described the replacement as “ambiguous.”
“It is a strange event that a part of the Ministry Public Relations manager [Kianoush Jahanpour] is allocated to another one. Also, Jahanpour’s activities have been in an aura of ambiguity in the public relations,” Rezaei wrote in his affiliated website Tabnak on June 9.
“This situation was probably affected by the announcement of the coronavirus outbreak in the country by Jahanpour on his Twitter account on February 9, and his subsequent dispute with the Chinese ambassador,” Tabnak added.
Since early February, the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), revealed the mullahs’ secrecy over the country’s health crisis. Furthermore, the group provided daily stats about the coronavirus victims in all of Iran’s 31 provinces. According to the PMOI/MEK, the actual number of the COVID-19 casualties has exceeded 55,500 as of Tuesday afternoon, June 9, while the official death count stood at 8,425.