According to the Iranian opposition, nearly 70,000 people have lost their lives due to the novel coronavirus pandemic in Iran. Since the beginning of this crisis, the Iranian regime resorted to cover–up and inaction to divert people’s attention from their righteous demands and control the restive Iranian society. This was because the November 2019 and January 2020 nationwide Iran protests had shaken the regime’s foundations, and the mullahs know the next uprising will end in their downfall.
While reports from Iran indicated the arrival of COVID-19, the regime denied its existence to have a larger turnout during its foundation anniversary and the sham parliamentary elections. When the Iranian Resistance’s revelations and international community pressure forced the regime to acknowledge the existence of the virus, it downplayed it. The regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani, led the campaign of deception and cover-up. On May 23 he said: “Some are trying to scare people in the country about the Coronavirus disease. We should not tolerate this.”
Earlier on May 20 he blatantly claimed: “We have been making progress step-by-step in these three months, having no relapses anywhere. Altogether, we have made good progress in the fight against this dangerous virus and have almost managed to contain the disease.”
Meanwhile, on May 24, state television reported: “The daily number of infections rose by 1.32 percent in the first ten days of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht [April and May], 1.4 percent during the second 10 days, and 1.48 percent in the third ten days, respectively.”
In other words, the regime’s 40 years of oppression, export of terrorism and corruption has turned the Iranian society into a powder keg, ready to explode. Therefore, the mullahs used the COVID-19 as a lever of oppression to control this restive society, divert people’s attention from their desire of regime change and prevent possible uprisings by sending people to the COVID-19 killing zone. Yet, the regime’s inhumane measures have increased public hatred toward the regime and the society’s explosiveness. This has become so much imminent that even state-run media are admitting to it and warning one another about an upcoming “flood of revenge.” In this regard, the state-run Mostaghel daily published an article. Below are excerpts of its translation.
How to use the coronavirus [opportunity]?
It was around midnight when we learned about the gas price hike from the TV news ticker. We were shocked. They [the government] had said nothing before, and it all happened suddenly.
People from rural districts, those living under the poverty line, took their lives in their hands and poured onto the streets. They were frustrated with crushing poverty and the government’s mismanagement in providing them with their least needs, and now being ignored about the process of the fuel price-hike. Then the internet was shut down and people’s connection with each other and the world was cut. News of unbelievable massacres in different parts of country were published by unofficial sources, adding to the protesters’ anger.
The fire, hidden under the ashes of people’s patience, was expanding and pushing the situation out of [regime’s] control. An astounding number of deaths, in the absence of fair media, was fueling this fire. Those who were indifferent were gradually coming to the scene, and this is something that no government wants to happen. Finally, the use of harsh methods [of oppression] in dealing with protesters, amid the internet blackout, temporarily had good results [for the regime]. The situation came under control without giving a practical answer to people’s demands.
Fear of bullets and pressure pushed the people, who had hopes of a better life, back. Yet, the principal players of this game know that what happened in November is a prologue to an upcoming flood from the slums, which will wash everything with it.
Now, a savior was needed to divert people’s attention from the November and January incidents. So, came the novel coronavirus. The government used people’s fear of this invisible enemy to unleash the dragon among them. Long before its public announcement, COVID-19 had come or had been brought to Iran. But to defy Trump, they held events marking the 41st anniversary of the 1979 revolution. And to slap those dissatisfied with the approbative supervision, the Parliamentary elections were held as scheduled. Then they said: we just found about the virus’ existence, so people watch yourselves.
The Coronavirus was a gift from heaven and a savior. They even put aside China’s management of COVID-19 and instead turned to preaching and giving advice to people. Although these methods have long proven to be inefficient in controlling and correcting the situation.
Thus, without any material support, they “asked” people to stay at home but did not close anywhere. Freeways were opened before the Nowruz holidays, but people were told “not to travel.” They did not control city entrances are neglected people’s carelessness in going on vacation. When the medical staff were being crushed under the heavy wave of horrible deaths, they sent violet oil so it could, along with camel urine, solve the problem.
Thus, they [the authorities] left hungry and depressed people alone in a room with a lion and waited for the work to be done. Meanwhile, without attracting any attention to the skyrocketing prices, some courts were held as though they were held in a normal situation; each session could have created a fuss, abandoning the country’s forests to burn in fire and issuing death sentences for the detainees of the November incident.
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 confirms this. What other than this crisis could have diverted attention from people’s immersed anger and unfulfilled demands?
Of course, this souvenir from China will not be left without a reward. But they should not forget that COVID-19 will end one day. Then these wounded and deprived people will have nothing else left to lose. When their anger erupts, it will fight until the [regime’s] destruction, and you would see what you do not want to see. If they had used the coronavirus situation to help people, to repair their reputation, undoubtedly, those marginalized people could have played a pivotal role in balancing the situation in the future.
This nation will not forget how it was abandoned during these bitter days. This will affect the upcoming incidents.
The Government did not contain and control the coronavirus to relevantly control the anger of defiant people. But I wish that the suffering and illness of the people were not used as a cure for obliviousness and a means of revenge of the events of November and December.
Because soon, people will come to their table for eating, and their despair of an empty table will lead them to protest on busy streets.