Iran’s regime is trying to advance the inhumane tactic of ‘massive casualties and human shield against the threat of uprising and overthrow’.

What the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani are agreeing on has led regime leaders to ignore warnings from local experts about the growing coronavirus crisis. The insistence on holding the nationwide university entrance exams and the Muharram ceremony, despite the horrific statistics of casualties – which now the officials in the fear of exploding public anger are overtaking each other to expose.

Minu Mohrez, a member of the Coronavirus Taskforce, declared the “Muharram health instructions” as impossible and warned:

“In practice, we have seen that everything the government has ordered regarding the coronavirus restrictions has not been implemented and we have no control over its implementation. I do not know how they want to implement Muharram health instructions.”

She added: “Our scientific theory is that the worst thing at this time is accumulation. There is also the issue of crying in the Muharram mourning. We know there is the virus in the tears of carriers. This in itself is a big problem because the virus can be transmitted by contaminating a tear-soaked tissue or shedding tears on others. Accumulation is the worst thing that can be done. In mourning, we are faced with a large gathering of people, and the fact is that Hosseini’s passion and the passionate mourning of the people do not match with wearing a mask.” (Khabar Online, 21 August)

Despite encouraging the people to perform the Muharram ceremony, Khamenei refuses to attend the annual ceremony held at Khomeini’s Husseiniyah. Khamenei’s office issued a statement on 24 August, which was published on his website:

“This year, due to the observance of the health instructions and the criteria announced by the National Coronavirus Taskforce, it will not be held in public, and detailed mourning programs will be broadcast in the presence of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on Channel one.”

So far, Muharram and mourning are necessary for the people, even when it costs their lives, but when it comes to Khamenei the story is different.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in his public speech on 2 August which was broadcasted by state TV emphasized the implementation of the Muharram ceremony for the people and said:

“The last point I emphasize is the month of Muharram and our mourning. Mourning is important for us; It can be a model. It is very important for us to spend the month of Muharram passionately, and after Ashura, when a week or two passes, we will not see the new courier anywhere in these charts that you draw a new peak.”

Referring to the world he said: “Look World, we performed Muharram, we performed mourning, and thank God, all the instructions were observed and followed by us.”

Following a series of inevitable revelations made by officials in fear of an explosion of public outrage, Mohamad Javad Haghshenas, a member of the Tehran City Council, admitted in an interview with Etemad Online on 22 August that the statistics of coronavirus victims in Tehran are not real:

“In Behesht Zahra, we are burying 120-30 people daily, then the statistics that are published about the whole country equal the statistics of Behesht Zahra.”

Answering a question by a reporter, “[Is] the current coronavirus death toll being announced based on real statistics?”, he said:

“No, they are not, sorry but I am speaking Persian.”

He continued for further explanation: “I said give me statistics. [They] gave statistics, But the statistics were not written; They did not give official statistics. I realized that he was told not to say so.”

Then when the reporter asked who said, he answered: “Tough areas of power said not to give [statistics]. In short, the mayor of Tehran agreed to send an SMS of the statistics to Mr. Hashemi, and Mr. Hashemi put it to the council group and wrote under it ‘Confidential’.”

And Doctor Souri, another member of the National Coronavirus Taskforce, according to the statistics of the World Health Organization said:

“We had the second-highest rate of death today after Mexico. Well, this is very scary. Yes, we now have the average coronavirus death in our country, which is about what happened today, something about 17 times, 17 percent of the world average. While we have 1.1 percent of the world population when just this amount of population is by us, well, this shows that the situation is very bad.” (State-run TV Channel 5, 19 August)

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