Iran: Mullahs' Priority Is to Cover up Dimensions of Disaster and Prevent Popular Protests in Earthquake Areas
The clerical regime and its criminal officials, without paying attention to the pain of the poor and homeless people, have tried to cover up the dimensions of the disaster, and, on the other hand, to suppress the formation of social protests and popular anger and disgust through suppressive measures. Immediately after the earthquake, Khamenei sent the IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari and deputy commander of the Basij Ali Fazli to the earthquake areas. Instead of sending aid convoys and deploying forces to help people, the Revolutionary Guards and the repressive forces have sent a column of vehicles of anti-insurgency units and IRGC motorcycles to the area, which sparked outrage and disgust among the people. According to eyewitnesses, the IRGC has played no role in helping the people, and its only mission is to prevent popular protests.
Contradictions in reports by regime’s various media shows clearly how the regime is covering the facts. While the regime's authorities report 60 to 100 percent of many towns and villages have been destroyed in the area (Tasneem-Nov. 14) and 100 percent of the 12,000 residential units have been destroyed, government sources have reported the number of deaths to be 530. This figure does not match the extent of destructions at all. Reports provided by the people from the cities and villages of the area show that the number of deaths is much higher. While the media outlets have reported that 60 percent of the city of Sar-e-Pul Zahab is buried to the ground and its residents are trapped under debris, the head of Rescue Organization of Red Crescent Society says, "It is unlikely that anyone is left under the debris."
Pointing to the scale of the disaster, the state-run daily ‘Jame’e Farda’ wrote, "The first line of the PR department's instructions is to reduce the degree of crisis in giving out information…we hide the result of the anger of nature in the same way as we distract public opinion from political failures."
According to the regime's news media, "Most of the villages of Salas Babajani have been destroyed 100 percent; in a village with 35 families, 18 have died and in other villages with 50 families, just two families have survived."
On the other hand, while government aid for rescuing those trapped under debris was negligible, the regime announced on the second day after the earthquake that the rescue operation had ended. This is while people are still trying with no means to rescue those who are under the rubble. Instead of calling for more help, the regime's TV, in fear of social protests, has announced, "the situation has returned to normal, and officials have advised people to go to their homes!" The Crisis Headquarters in Kermanshah has asked the people to "avoid any congestion and gathering," whereas the mayor of Azgaleh (the earthquake center) said on Nov. 14, "One-year-olds and two-year-olds have been sleeping in the cold for two nights. No tent has ever sent to us yet. "
Rouhani, who traveled to the earthquake area after a 40-hour delay, announced that the people themselves should rebuild their homes with government loans. After the November 15 cabinet meeting, it was announced that those whose houses are destroyed would receive about $ 6,000 to $ 8,000 in loans with interest of 4 or 5 percent. This amount by no means covers the minimum needs. Of course, the bulk of this amount is stolen and will not be given to the people. This brutal behavior is taking place while billions of dollars of the Iranian people's wealth are spend on waging war in the region and giving salaries to non-Iranian mercenaries. For example, the clerical regime paid 12,000 dollars in cash without any formalities to Hezbollah members whose houses were bombed in Lebanon.
After the earthquake, underscoring the regime's criminal record in negligence before the lives of people, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, called on all youths, especially in the western provinces, to help the earthquake victims, and provide their aids directly to the victims and injured. She added that now is a time of solidarity and helping the victims, and saving them is a sacred national duty.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 15, 2017