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A Glance at Iran’s State Media: COVID-19 Crisis and People’s Possible Backlash

Iranian regime's state media wrote about the COVID-19 crisis
Iranian regime’s state media wrote about the COVID-19 crisis

A glance at Iran’s state media sheds light on the reality of society and the crises both Iran’s people and the regime face.

COVID-19 crisis

The Iranian opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) reported on Thursday that the COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 124,000 across Iran. Despite their initial cover-up of the crisis, now state media outlets acknowledge how the mullahs’ inaction and cover-up, or long-delayed measures, have worsened the crisis. “Many experts consider long-delayed reaction to the COVID-19 crisis as one of the most important reasons for the spread of the coronavirus. On the other hand, it seems that inconsistencies between officials and lack of focus in crisis management are other factors in this issue,” wrote the state-run Siasat-e Rouz, or Today’s Politics, on Thursday. “The government’s behavior, which at first downplayed the coronavirus outbreak and which now links the reasons for the failure of controlling the disease to marginal issues, has created a kind of mistrust among the people. This has made the coronavirus outbreak even more complicated in Iran,” the article adds.

Similarly, Vatan-e Emrooz daily, in an article titled “Late, Necessary, and Insufficient,” on Thursday wrote: “Restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are unrealistic and are merely a matter of government negligence from accepting the responsibility.” While quoting the regime’s member of parliament, Ahmad Naderi, Vatan-e Emrooz wrote: “Of course, the President himself follows the health protocols well and does not show himself in fear of contracting the virus, but he is indifferent to the restrictive regulations for breaking the chain of the coronavirus.”

Ridiculous way of blaming people for COVID-19 crisis

In line with the criminal policy of the regime to blame people for the coronavirus outbreak, Kazem Sedighi, the Friday prayers leader of Tehran, ridiculously claimed: “The reason for the emergence of coronavirus is people’s sins.” These remarks, although bogus and foolish, confirm the regime’s intention of using COVID-19 mass casualties to quell the restive society. Sedighi’s remarks, as someone being directly chosen by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, is a testament to the mullahs’ intention of using COVID-19 to oppress people.

In this regard, fearing people’s backlash, some state-run media attacked Sedighi. The state-run Jomhuri-e Eslami in its editorial on October 13 wrote: “There is no doubt that sin is one of the factors contributing to the successes and downfalls of some disasters, but this kind of analysis, which has been developed in recent years, in which some people try to blame their inefficiencies and setbacks on people and their actions, is one of the most ridiculous words ever heard.” The article continued: “If according to the law of cause and effect, misfortunes and calamities are to be considered as punishments for actions, we must say that what is happening to the people now is the result of the actions of officials, not the actions of the people themselves.”

“All [regime’s] officials blame people for their own inefficiencies. They consider the coronavirus outbreak as the result of people’s sin, blame its second wave on the people’s negligence to stay home, and blame the third wave on people for not wearing masks. In the meantime, they do not blame themselves for their shortcomings and not making decisions about the implementation and oversight of their own approved procedures such as travel, gatherings, the state of air travel, trains, subways, buses, passages, parks, and tours,” Jomhuri Eslami continued.

Fearing people’s backlash, Jomhuri Eslami warned the regime’s officials that “people understand” the situation. “The big problem for [regime’s officials] is that they think that people do not understand and that they can, with these unjustified and baseless justifications, continue [their rule] as much as they want and continue their unpopular life. The reality is quite the opposite. People understand everything,” read the article.

The state-run Mostaghel daily, quoting Khosrow Seif, head of the regime’s Nation Party of Iran, warned the officials on Thursday that “people’s dissatisfaction will be troubling and costly” for the regime.

“Some 90% of people are dissatisfied with the current situation due to the circumstances and the restrictions they have endured. However, especially in the past three years, unbearable conditions have been imposed on different sections of society. So that the essential items became more expensive day by day and as a result, the people’s table became smaller daily. In such a situation, it is perfectly normal for people’s dissatisfaction to peak and public trust to be severely diminished,” the article read.

Seif’s warning about the costly nature of people’s dissatisfaction demonstrates the mullahs’ utter fear that economic and social crises would lead to an uprising. The major Iran protests of 2019 which rattled the regime’s foundation started due to the economic and social hardships. Thus, the mullahs’ regime knows that people’s uprising this time will result in the regime’s downfall.