- Published: Thursday, 27 February 2020
The Iranian regime massively messed up its response to the coronavirus outbreak, something that became even more apparent on Tuesday, just one day after officials denied that the situation was any worse than they had reported.
Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, the Member of Parliament from Qom refused to retract his comments that 50 people died from coronavirus in his city alone, even though the regime’s official statements only acknowledge 12 deaths in the whole country.
After Farahani made headlines, the regime began to adjust its figures to 16 deaths and 95 known infections, but to be clear that doesn’t line up with the global mortality rate, which suggests that the regime is still hiding (or perhaps misidentifying) infections in order to make the mullahs look like they’re in control. It’s straight out of the mullahs’ playbook; hide, deny, and silence people who speak out.
That was certainly the intention behind a press conference given by Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi on Monday. This backfired though because Harirchi, who coughed, blew his nose, and wiped his brow throughout the conference, was later diagnosed with the coronavirus and had no doubt infected dozens of journalists during the conference. (He was quarantined, the journalists haven’t been.)
There are many reasons to doubt the regime’s account, from reports on the ground to the mortality rate, but perhaps the most damning is their refusal to record a case in Mashhad, the country’s second-most populous city, even though many travelers who brought the coronavirus from Iran to their own country, were in Mashhad. Several neighboring countries (and some not so neighboring) reported travelers from Iran bringing the virus in and have therefore shut down all flights.
With the regime’s policy of secrecy, it might be hard to tell if the situation improves in Iran and the problem may get much worse. In fact, it may be the case that international pressure (i.e. sanctions and isolationism) would help compel Iranian authorities to tell the truth about the disease and actually save the lives of the people.
She tweeted: “I emphatically urge the UN Secretary-General and the World Health Organization to prevent any delay in sending a delegation to Iran to investigate the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the number of affected patients COVID19.”
I emphatically urge the UN Secretary General and the World Health Organization to prevent any delay in sending a delegation to #Iran to investigate the outbreak of the #Coronavirus and the number of affected patients #COVID19— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) February 25, 2020