Amid the worsening coronavirus crisis in Iran and as people are grappling with poverty, the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) unveiled a new ballistic missile system.
The state-run Mashreq news on Wednesday reported: “At the presence of Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s Commander in Chief, today, the IRGC Aerospace automatic and intelligent system of long-range ballistic missile launches was unveiled.”
Unveiling new missiles, particularly amid the coronavirus outbreak and on the eve of the November 2019 uprising lights up two issues:
First, despite the regime’s efforts to blame international sanctions for not being able to control the coronavirus and the economic crisis, the production of new ballistic missiles shows the regime has the ability and resources to help people, but it refuses to do so.
In Iran nurses and health professionals, who are on the front line of the fight against Covid-19, unlike other countries, are being harshly treated. The regime’s own Health Ministry officials have acknowledged that many nurses have not received their salaries for months. Nurses’ salaries in Iran are less than $150 a month.
The IRGC unveiled the new missile on Wednesday, while according to Said Namaki, the regime’s Health Minister, his ministry has received only 27 percent of the $1 billion supposedly allocated for combating Covid-19.
Second, this new show of power also indicates the regime’s fear of the restive society, amid its rising international isolation.
On Tuesday, the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, in his remarks spoke of the regime’s security and the need to preserve it. Yet, as the country’s highest authority, he refused to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To ensure external security and not to covet the enemies, defense tools such as missiles, drones, and aircraft must be strengthened. To ensure internal security, the relevant organizations [such as the IRGC] must be vigilant about infiltration,” Khamenei said on Tuesday.
By infiltration of the enemy, Khamenei meant the growing influence of the Iranian Resistance among people. Later during his speech, Khamenei complained about the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) playing a leading role in the struggle for freedom.
Khamenei and his regime, considered as the leading sponsor of terrorism, attacked France for sheltering so-called “terrorists,” or rather Iranian Resistance members.
The nationwide Iran protests in November 2019 were sparked after a sudden fuel price-hike. Protests soon became political with people unanimously demanding regime change and targeting the regime’s centers of repression. The major Iran protests rattled the regime’s foundation, and although the regime was able to oppress protests by killing over 1500 protesters, the nightmare of another uprising has never left the regime.
Producing new missiles and refusing to address the Covid-19 crisis, so it would have high fatalities are desperate attempts by the regime to control the restive society.
All the while, allowing the leading state-sponsor of terrorism to produce ballistic missiles also endangers peace and security in the region. So, the international community should take firm action against both the regime’s domestic and external adventurism and malign activities.