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EDITORIAL: Resuming Economic Activities or Massacring People of Iran With Coronavirus?

The Iranian regime’s supreme leader, in his remarks on April 9, regarding the announced decision of regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to resume business activities, said: “The Coronavirus is a minor issue compared to many other problems. Therefore, it shouldn’t divert our attention from the conspiracies of our enemies. The arrogant states’ problem is with the Islamic Republic in its entirety.”  

Health experts warn that a rather quick return to normal situation could lead to very serious casualties and even up to two million deaths. The situation is scritical that even Rouhani’s Health Minister, Said Namaki, warned that we have not controlled the virus: “We strongly announce that any kind of fire at will decision by any governmental, non-governmental, cultural or religious institutions which is not confirmed [by the government] will immediately affect the healthcare system and subsequently the country’s economy.” 

The mullahs’ regime pursues a dual-track policy. In its foreign relations, the regime is trying to depict U.S. sanctions as responsible for paralyzing its actions in combating the coronavirus, claiming, therefore, sanctions should be lifted. But in its domestic policy, the regime, by downplaying the issue, tries to prevent a social and economic crisis that could lead to a popular uprising and rebellion against the regime. For the regime, this is the bigger concern, compared to which, the coronavirus is a minor issue.

In other countries, there is a cooperation between people and thgovernment to confront the coronavirus, and the quarantining of people in their homes has been implemented with the governments economic assistance. But in Iran, the mullahs have done nothing in this regard. A large part of Iranian society is not able to be quarantined without receiving economic assistance. The regime is not willing to allocate some of the budgets of the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and its exterritorial activities, or Khamenei’s institutions, with a capital that reaches hundreds of billions of dollars, to resolve people’s living issues.  

Therefore, another option to prevent the frustrated and hungry people from rising up is returning to normal situation (opening up workplaces) even at the costs of heavy casualties.  

The state-run Sharq daily wrote on April 8: “The relationship between the people and government has reached a crucial point. The events of November 2019 and January 2020 (Iran Protests) and the kind of slogans used at the time and the rate of participation in the March elections, along with the international attitude of the U.S. government and targeting the Islamic system’s existence have created a situation that leaving it requires tough decisions.”  The reference to the uprisings in November and January and “death to Khamenei and Rouhani” means the people rejecting the regime in its entirety. This is the common theme in various state-run media.   

Now Rouhani and Khamenei have made a tough decision. The hardship and consequences of this decision will affect not the regime, but the people. The regime’s officials have all the facilities, so they won’t pay the price of this tough decision; it’s the impoverished section of society that would have to grapple with the coronavirus to avoid starving.  

The state-run Setarey-e Sobh in an article on April 8 wrote that such a decision will result in 70% of the population being infected by the coronavirus. In other words, if the businesses continue their activities and the government doesn’t make decision to use billions of dollars of assets belonging to the institutions affiliated with Khamenei and fully quarantine the cities, we should expect heavy casualty figures among the Iranian people.  

 In this regard, Dr. Hassan Innanloo, Alborz University of Medical Sciences Vice-Chancellor for Treatment, in an interview with the state-run Shafaqna website on April 4, said: “In the coming days, if we want to completely resume economic activity, we may face a catastrophic scenario in managing the coronavirus.” 

The expert further explained: “There are three scenarios for controlling the disease. One is to control the disease completely with strict quarantine. The other is to collectively vaccinate two-thirds of the population with the presumption of them having contracted the coronavirus. If two-thirds of the population is infected with the virus, it is estimated to have 10 to 20 percent of patients will be hospitalized, and 10 percent of those hospitalized will pass away. With this presumption, an estimated 60 million people in the country will be infected with the coronavirus, and 10 million of those 60 million people will be hospitalized. One million of these 10 million people will die, which will be a great tragedy for the country. 

In a nutshell, with this decision, Khamenei, Rouhani, and other regime officials are trying in vain to keep their ominous and disgraceful rule by sacrificing hundreds of thousands of the Iranian people. Regardless of the regime’s efforts and what goal it pursues, the undeniable truth is that the regime has reached its end, and it is unable to manage this crisis.  

In this situation, the international community should differentiate between the Iranian people and the ruling regime. In other words, yes to helping the Iranian people; but helping the regime under any excuse is against the Iranian people’s interests and it would only serve the existence of the oppressive mullahs’ dictatorship.  

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