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The Coronavirus Death Toll Increases in Iran, so Do Regime Officials’ Contradictory Remarks

The coronavirus death toll increases in Iran, so do regime officials’ contradictory remarks
The regime’s National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce meeting – April 2020

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) announced on Sunday that due to the Iranian regime’s inaction, nearly 36,000 people have lost their lives across Iran as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The regime has tried to downplay the crisis and show it has control over the situation, yet its officials’ contradictory remarks reject this notion.  

“In early-May or mid-Ramadan, mosques, religious sites, holy shrines and Friday prayers will reopen per specific protocols in 127 clear (virus-free) areas, said the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani on Sunday.   

Meanwhile, the regime’s National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce (NCCT) “epidemiologic committee” stated in its latest report published in the state-run daily, Hamshahri, “Semnan, Yazd, Qom, Qazvin, Markazi, East Azerbaijan, Tehran, Alborz, Isfahan, and Zanjan are among the provinces with a rising trend of the outbreak. The same group of Semnan, Markazi, and Qom provinces have experienced an upward trend.” 

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a regime MP, who is close to the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, defended the officially announced Coronavirus statistics in the April 21 session of the parliament and told state-run Radio Farhang: “The statistics are officially published. The head of Tehran’s City Council Health Commission announced, ‘the Health Ministry engineers the statistics every day and, in this way, it’s playing with the people’s lives.’ This is none of the city council’s business. Ms. Zahra Sadre-Azam, a member of Tehran’s City Council, says that the death toll is much higher than the officially announced figures. I think such remarks are irresponsible. I regret what has been said, and Tehran City Council must take responsibility for these.”  

Massoud Younesian, a faculty member at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, told the state-run newspaper “Setareh Sobh” (Morning Star) on April 24, 2020: “I believe that the official statistics are systematically much lower than the reality. Coronavirus statistics in Iran are reported with a process that subconsciously shows the reported cases much less than the reality, because the test used is not very sensitive and reports only half of the cases. 

On Friday Alireza Zali, the NCCT chief in Tehran, told state TV: “The number of new patients in Tehran is on the rise. Regrettably, opening parks sent the wrong message to the people such that they assumed the situation of the epidemic has changed in Tehran. The extent of the virus in Tehran has not ended or even lowered. Yesterday, we had 247 cases of new infection and hospitalization in the city of Tehran, and 68 were hospitalized directly in ICU.” 

On April 23, a regime Member of Parliament from Dezful told the state-run IRNA news agency: “During the New Year period, even though Khuzestan received fewer guests and travelers, today, it has entered a peak of Coronavirus outbreak. The number of those infected is regrettably increasing.” 

On April 22, Rouhani angrily said: “Why do we have to search for some (flaws) and constantly magnify it? There are already plenty of satellite channels to do so, no need for insiders.” Rouhani added: “A small minority get their instructions from abroad, and unfortunately these (insiders) repeat whatever they are told and act as a mouthpiece for foreigners. They are skeptical about statistics, treatment, and the country’s progress, as well as the efficiency of the system, and day and night, they are ‌tempting others.” 

In another development, Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of the Tehran City Council, on April 19 in an open session of the Tehran City Council called the official statistics of the Ministry of Health about the prevalence of Corona in Iran unrealistic and said: “City council members are concerned that this statistic will create the impression that the situation will return to normal and that the groundwork will be laid for resolving restrictions.”  

Contradictory remarks made by the regime’s top officials once again confirm that the regime has no intention of helping people. Since the beginning of the outbreak the regime has been conducting a criminal cover-up and inaction. The mullahs intend to use this virus as a lever of oppression of the Iranian people and lever of pressure on the international community to lift sanctions, by depicting sanctions as the reason for the high mortality rate. Remarks by the regime’s officials reject the latter bogus claim.  

The regime’s infighting has increased. Both factions know that this continuous inaction and cover-up will turn into a social turmoil. Therefore, each faction and person try to frame other ones for this crisis.  

The Iranian people’s slogans during the Iran protests in November and January – “Reformists, Hardliners, the game is over” – suggests that these tactics are no longer working, and the regime should await another nationwide uprising and embrace its downfall.