Iran’s coronavirus deaths have now surpassed 245,000, with over 56,000 dying in Tehran alone, so Iranian officials are beginning to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that government has “lost control” of the coronavirus outbreak. No country has remained unscathed by the pandemic, but officials mismanaged the situation to such a degree that the Iranian opposition has termed it “outright criminal”.
Not only did the country’s top officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, spend months denying how severe the situation was, even saying that the virus was not yet in Iran last February to encourage turn out at anniversary parades and the parliamentary elections, but they also bungled the response by refusing to institute proper restrictions in a workable way (i.e., paying non-essential workers to stay home) or order World Health Organisation-approved vaccines early. Then, they have the nerve to blame the fourth wave of the coronavirus on Iranians “not abiding by the health protocols” in a clear attempt to shirk responsibility, when the mullahs were the only ones with the power to quarantine cities or deliver sanitary equipment en-masse.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said: “With astonishing cruelty, Khamenei banned the import of the British and American vaccines into the country, while refusing to provide the bare minimums for workers from hundreds of billions of dollars pillaged wealth of the Iranian people amassed in institutions he controls. In doing so, he has forced them to go to the COVID-19 killing field to make ends meet.”
But why would officials not implement measures to slow the spread and protect people? Well, at the start of the pandemic, Khamenei described it as an “opportunity” and a “blessing”. He intended to demoralise a country ready for regime change with mass deaths, as well as discourage mass gatherings because of the health risks, all to prevent being overthrown.
This was successful short-term, but now the country is angry about losing loved ones, livelihoods, and life as they knew it, so it’s created a whole new pressure cooker situation and anti-government protests have already started in earnest; particularly in Kazerun, Khorramshahr, Borazjan, and Sistan and Baluchistan. These have been followed by nationwide strikes of teachers, students, truck drivers, pensioners, factory workers, power plant workers, and nurses
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “The continuing protests point to the realization by the overwhelming majority of Iranians that as long as this regime is in power, it will neither protect the people from the consequences of floods, earthquakes, and diseases nor from the growing poverty, inflation, and unemployment.”