On April 4, a high-priority plan supported by 80 MPs was presented to the governing board of the Iranian regime’s Parliament [Majlis]. The plan called for the shutdown of all government public and private centers except the cabinet. Iranian MPs touted the plan as a gesture of prioritizing the society’s health over economic interests. However, the plan was suddenly ruled out from the Majlis’ schedule and the government banned lawmakers from interfering and taking a position.
There’s precedence for this. In November 2019, when the country witnessed the largest protests in the Islamic Republic’s history, MPs tried to ease tensions by rolling back the government’s order and reducing the gasoline prices. However, the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei bluntly rejected the Majlis’ motion and announced his support for the price hikes. Khamenei’s announcement resulted in a vicious crackdown on the people who had protested the gasoline price hikes. Security forces killed more than 1,500 protesters, according to reports obtained by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
#Iran opposition MEK:
At least 1,500 civilians killed by mullahs’ security forces.
Death toll from provinces:
504 names published from 56 cities
All numbers subject to rise.#IranProtests pic.twitter.com/q4MGaME1ya
— People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) December 15, 2019
The incidents proved that the parliament is only a showcase for the mullahs to fool their international counterparts. Furthermore, it reveals that so-called people’s representatives have no authority and power to raise a bill, let alone make policies. In this respect, on April 8, the state-run Aftab-e Yazd daily published a piece titled, “Failure in the Final Exam.”
“It’s not the first time that [the Parliament’s] high-priority plan is raised. [Following the November protests,] the Majlis declared a high-priority plan for reducing gasoline prices. However, it did nothing in practice,” Aftab-e Yazd wrote.
The Decision to Cancel Quarantines Was Made Behind the Curtain
Khamenei’s silence toward the cancellation of quarantines reveals that this measure is a joint decision made by the entire regime. The regime’s president Hassan Rouhani justified this criminal adoption by a fabricated claim named “smart distancing.” Like his previous plays with words, Rouhani merely invented this phrase to reopen government offices, resume economic activities and all businesses without employing precautionary measures.
Indeed, the mullahs prioritize the country’s economy instead of protecting the people’s lives and making efforts to restrict the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. They realize that the regime cannot supply citizens’ needs if it extends the quarantines and staying people at their homes. However, the mullahs are really neither willing nor are able to cover the people’s livelihoods in such circumstances.
In this context, the mullahs prefer to put the people at the risk of infection with the COVID-19 to resume their bankrupt economy. Simultaneously, they sacrifice people’s lives and health to temporarily dampen the public ire and the possibility of a new round of protests.
“Succumbing to the coronavirus and admission to the ‘herd immunization’ strategy will end at the expense of the lives of tens of thousands of compatriots and economic, social, cultural, and even political collapse for the country,” the state-run Setareh Sobh daily wrote on April 8.
Resuming Activities or Pushing Iran’s Society into A Greater Coronavirus Crisis
In response to the rejection of the high-priority plan, one of its sponsors Abdulkarim Hosseinzadeh, MP from West Azerbaijan, said, “How long do we want to be afraid of the quarantine? We repeatedly say that hostile countries want to shut down the country. Why do you have this wrong view of this issue? We impose casualties on the people by allowing social interactions.”
“[Saving the people’s health] is possible with quarantine if we can provide the people’s needs. [We can tell] the people ‘stay at home.’ However, how they can stay at home and pay for water, electricity, and gas without an income? The government should provide these services for free because they are national wealth… Why do we insist on normalizing the situation while we can supply the people?… According to the repetition of mistakes, I believe that there is no difference between existing and non-existing of this kind of Majlis,” the state-run Hamshahri Online website quoted Hosseinzadeh on April 8.
Coronavirus Is the Mullahs’ Means for Suppression
Notably, Rouhani’s order to cancel quarantines and resume economic activities isn’t based on his ignorance and not being familiar with scientific issues. Given his security background and his long history in the regime’s security apparatus, he realizes the depth of public hatred and wrath against the regime as well as anyone.
In this respect, under the pressure of society’s grievances and the regime’s inability to resolve the people’s problems, he prefers to reopen businesses and financial interactions. In such circumstances, he implements a bilateral policy in the country. First, Rouhani continues lying and giving hollow promises to preserve the status quo and control public anger. Second, he puts the people’s lives at risk by canceling quarantines.
On April 6, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), slammed the Iranian regime’s decision for endangering the lives of millions of people by canceling the quarantine measures, saying, “Khamenei and Rouhani have left millions of helpless Iranians without protection in the face of coronavirus outbreak, while the wealth of the country controlled by the IRGC and its affiliates, the Mostazafan Foundation, the HQ to Execute Khomeini’s Order, Khomeini’s Relief Committee, the Martyrs Foundation, Astan-e Quds Razavi Fund, and other major economic organizations can easily pay the wages of workers, office employees and unemployed so that they can be quarantined.”
“This wealth usurped by Khamenei and his corrupt mullahs must immediately be put at the disposal of the Iranian people,” Mrs. Rajavi concluded.
Iran’s Regime: Coronavirus Quarantine an Impossible Option for the Economy