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Iran: Security Measures Under Pretense of National Covid-19 Task Force

While the novel coronavirus claims many lives every day, authorities pursue to contain public ire under the excuse of security.
While the novel coronavirus claims many lives every day, authorities pursue to contain public ire under the excuse of security.

Today, the novel coronavirus has swept Iran and there is no telling when this health crisis will end, particularly in metropolitan areas such as Tehran. Furthermore, the number of the daily death toll has drastically increased and has been above 450 deaths per day for five consecutive days.

In such circumstances, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed that citizens’ health is the government’s priority. However, his government has done nothing but issue some statements and conceal the truth.

In this respect, the Rouhani administration has yet to pay the salaries of millions of selfless physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers who have been fighting on the Covid-19 frontiers for over eight months.

“People’s health is the most important issue. However, the people’s livelihood and the society’s culture are affected, and we need to fulfill a chain of observations, which means that observing one protocol would not bring us to the destination,” Rouhani said in an interview with the TV News Channel on November 7.

“Wearing the face mask is very important and is an important protocol. However, just relying on the mask cannot bring us to the destination. We need to observe social distancing to decrease crowded gatherings and expand physical distance. We would not succeed with only rules and regulations. Our dear people must aid us in this context,” he added.

The Mullahs Preserve Their Rule at the Expense of Iranians’ Lives

All the while, Rouhani himself is the main opponent of practical measures to contain the virus. In this respect, health experts revealed that the National Covid-19 Task Force led by Rouhani is the major barrier to conduct a two-week shutdown in Tehran.

“Just two nights ago, in a joint letter to the Health Minister, 65 deans of Medical Science Universities urged a two-week lockdown across the country—not just Tehran—to delay the transmission chain of the infectious disease,” said Payam Tabarsi, head of the epidemiology section of Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari hospital, in an interview with the TV News Channel on November 10.

“This is the demand of those who are working in the country’s hospitals and hygiene sector for nine months. They are the university deans and have a complete view of what happens in their jurisdictions. They urged this issue but there are some people saying, ‘A lockdown is fruitless.’ Flawed measures like changing the shops’ shutdown time from 10 pm to 6 pm would not be able to control the disease,” Tabarsi added.

Moreover, health officials are also forecasting human calamity. In its November 11 edition, Hamdeli daily quoted Minoo Mohraz, member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, as saying, “Not shutting down Tehran is a preparation for a human disaster.”

“In such circumstances, while we expected the imposition of Tehran’s two-week lockdown, we faced news about implementing a fruitless and unsupported decision about shutting down of several businesses from 6 pm instead of a complete lockdown,” wrote Setareh-e Sobh daily on November 11.

“The order prompted the people’s sense of humor, who are now speaking about evolved and smart viruses whose contagion abilities will run after 6 pm,” the daily added.

The country’s dire conditions provoked health officials to sound alarm bells. Mohammad Reza Mahboub-Far, member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, affirmed the imperative of quarantine and lockdown as a sole instrument to contain the virus. He also predicted that the death count would reach over 1,000 cases per day if the current condition continues.

“I believe that most of the Task Force’s decisions are political rather than national… The government has sufficient resources to cover people’s livelihoods. However, it adopted its policies to prevent economic disadvantage. On the other hand, the so-called National Covid-19 Task Force stifle the voice of independent, obligated, and non-government health professionals and experts. Today, the Task Force is full of politicians instead of experts,” he said in an interview with Hamdali on November 11.

“The shutdown of risky or high-risk businesses from 6 pm looks like the imposition a martial law. This raises the suspicion that the Covid-19 Task Force and security bodies pursue other purposes,” Mahboub-Far added.

Furthermore, authorities, particularly judicial officials, frequently appear in different televised programs, emphasizing the importance of “security.” “What we believe in and belongs to our policies, ‘the people’s security’ is our red line,” said Gholamhossein Esmaili in a televised program on November 10.

In this respect, Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi explicitly announced that “security is our red line” while the people not only endure the coronavirus’ impacts but must also deal with numerous economic dilemmas produced by the government’s mismanagement.

“It is impossible to make the security issues unimportant under any excuse and it is our red line. Any kind of unrest is intolerable,” he said in an interview with the TV News Channel on November 12.

In conclusion, Tehran’s Covid-19 Task Force is more of a political body to ensure the government’s security rather than make necessary and effective decisions to contain the coronavirus.

In this respect, the Task Force not only has done nothing to secure the people’s lives and health but is also deserves to be prosecuted for spreading the deadly virus. Of course, this institution like many other government-linked organs has the blood of many innocent people and is complicit in the Islamic Republic’s crimes against the Iranian people.