The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/ MEK) announced that the Covid-19 fatalities had passed 70,300. This is indeed a humanitarian catastrophe and a direct result of Iranian regime’s inaction and cover-up.
While other governments described COVID-19 as a “threat,” the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, called it a “test.” In fact, Khamenei and his regime saw the COVID-19 as an opportunity. Riddled with domestic, regional, and international crises, the regime seized the moment and with its criminal policy of cover-up, then herd immunity, it has been desperately trying to use this pandemic as a tool of oppression.
The regime’s management of the COVID-19 crisis in a glance shows how the regime has been using the COVID-19:
- The regime covered up the existence of virus in Iran to have a larger turnout in its sham parliamentary elections and marches marking the anniversary of the revolution.
- When forced to admit to COVID-19‘s existence, the regime ordered a national quarantine. This was not accompanied by taking serious restrictive measures and financially supporting people in quarantine. This incomplete quarantine was only meant to spread fear and helplessness among the people.
- This policy failed when the regime saw how rapidly people, who lacked financial support from the government during the pandemic, were joining the army of starving people. This could have started a new series of protests. Unable to handle another round of uprisings, the regime forced people back to work.
- The regime’s policy of “herd immunity,” or sending people to the COVID-19 killing zone, was meant to oppress the society and prevent its possible explosion. In this regard, the state-run Mostaghel daily wrote: “While people are just trying to survive, this instrumental use of the COVID-19 to silence and control the anger of uncategorized starving people was so ruthlessly done that after six months, they not only have not achieved any success in controlling the virus, but according to the official statistics, the situation is out of control. Thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths per day confirm this. What other than this crisis could have diverted attention from people’s immersed anger and unfulfilled demands?”
The Iranian people’s nationwide uprisings in November 2019 and January 2020, their unprecedented boycott of the regime’s sham parliamentary elections in February, and ongoing protests by people from all walks of life laid this truth bare before the mullahs’ regime and the whole world: The Iranian people do not want this regime. These incidents also demonstrated the Iranian society’s restiveness.
The regime’s malign activities in the region have created a united international front against this belligerent regime. International sanctions on the regime’s illicit ways of funding terrorism and its other evil projects have paralyzed the regime’s funding of terrorism.
In such a situation, and in fear of another uprising the regime has opted to use COVID-19 to control the restive Iranian society, which is the regime’s main threat. But it has failed. Khamenei’s words about this issue are notable. During his recent meeting with his new parliament, he said: “The bitter truth is that the country has far passed its first success in fighting the novel coronavirus.” The regime’s first success was its cover-up of the crisis, bogusly claiming Iran under their rule is far more advanced in fighting the virus than the entire world.
Now the regime’s own authorities warn of the post coronavirus situation. The regime’s Health Minister Saeid Namaki last Wednesday said: “According to security reports, the fact that people resort to protests due to poverty and not being able to make ends meet is a serious matter. The President and the security forces must think about the economy and preventing protests.”
In addition, Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), said: “With the novel coronavirus peaking once again, in various parts of the country we have once again concluded that the sensitivity level regarding this phenomenon must be increased.”
The state-run daily Jahan-e San’at wrote on Monday: “The officials encourage the people to wear masks. But so far, the Government has not even provided five masks to the poor sector. Because of the economic cycle, the Government has abandoned the people, and then it is afraid of an uprising by the hungry. The lower classes have no other way to express their discontent over major and irremediable difficulties than to stage protests on the streets. With the COVID-19 crisis, a new crisis has emerged for different sectors of society these days. The middle class no longer exists. All sectors do not have bread to eat. The situation for the people in cities is far worse than in Tehran because they feel the officials do not hear their voices. They have greater momentum in these regards. If the officials do not think of a solution, protests will erupt that cannot be contained.”
The Mostaghel daily also wrote: “This nation will not forget how it was abandoned during these bitter days. This will affect the upcoming incidents. Soon, people will come to their table for eating, and their despair of an empty table will lead them to protest on busy streets.”