During his speech on the anniversary of Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei admitted once again to the regime’s criminal policy of using COVID-19 to control society, by comparing the situation with the time of war saying that it had been a blessing for the regime.
“War is naturally a terrible and violent phenomenon. But this violent and terrible phenomenon which lasted eight years for us had blessings for us as I counted them earlier, and there are more to be said about that. In other words, we achieved good and freshness from it.”
Khamenei compared the current situation in Iran with the time of war, thus confirming that he intends to use the deadly coronavirus to quell the restive Iranian society, like his predecessor, Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Iran-Iraq war, which Khomeini prolonged for eight years, resulted in the death of one million Iranians, injuries to two million and the displacement of two million other people across Iran. Although the Iraqi government proposed a ceasefire after months of standstill and destruction on June 17, 1982, Khomeini did not accept the offer. Khomeini welcomed the war as a boon, calling it “a divine blessing,” as he used it demagogically to bash all opposition to his regime as an Iraqi fifth column.
Khamenei also called the COVID-19 pandemic a “test and blessing” last April and said: “As for the current issue of the country – the coronavirus outbreak – well, this is an epidemic and a test. There have been greater tests, we have witnessed some in our country. This is not something extraordinary. These incidents happen in countries, although I am not trying to undermine this issue, but we should not enlarge it. This is something that has happened and will be gone. Yet the experiences we will gain from this test, people and organizations’ activities could turn into an opportunity. If we keep these opportunities this test will turn into a blessing and this threat will turn into an opportunity.”
The regime’s Ministry of Education announced on January 5, 1989, that during the war, it had sent 440,000 students to the front lines on minefields. Similarly, in 2020 the regime held the college entrance exams in August and reopened schools, despite repeated warnings by health professionals that this could further increase COVID-19 infections and the death toll among students.
Since the regime was unable to use the released potential after the 1979 revolution and feared that this potential could eventually lead to its downfall, the regime welcomed the Iran-Iraq war and prolonged it. Khomeini was able to oppress any voice of dissent or people’s legitimate demands, under the pretext of being at war with a foreign enemy.
Now, fearing a restive society that twice rattled the regime’s foundations during the major Iran protests in 2018 and 2019, Khamenei and his regime have been trying to use COVID-19 to control the society.
The regime’s initial cover-up of the existence of virus in Iran, their subsequent downplaying of the situation, and inaction are testaments to the mullahs’ policy of using COVID-19 mass casualties to prevent another uprising.
In this regard, the state-run Mostaghel daily, on July 13 wrote: “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. 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.”
Khamenei’s controversial remarks on the COVID-19 outbreak and its outcome
While forcing people back to work and holding college entrance exams, in his remarks on Monday, Khamenei said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the coronavirus. Is the fact that 150 compatriots die daily a minor issue? Imagine every two days two passenger jets fall and all their 300 passengers die? Is this a minor issue?”
He said this, while previously, he had said that people should not “enlarge” the coronavirus crisis. In addition, as Iran’s highest authority, who has a financial empire, Khamenei must answer this question: Why did he force people back to work? And why has he not helped people using his huge financial institutions like Astan-e Quds Razavi?
Khamenei and his regime have proven their intention to use the COVID-19 as a tool to oppress the Iranian people. But ongoing protests across Iran, and the Resistance’s activities, show that the regime’s strategy of using the coronavirus mass casualties to control the society has failed.
In this regard, the state-run Mostaghel daily wrote: “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.”