Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 14, 2019—The spread of HIV virus by government agencies in one of the southern villages in Iran and the protests that ensued has caused much fear among regime officials. In the Friday Prayer ceremony, Rasoul Falahati, the Friday Prayer leader of the city of Rasht, Gilan province, expressed concern at the uprisings of the people of Lordegan and called on repressive forces to suppress any similar protests before they spread.
"... the regime's security forces murdered one of the protesters in Lordegan, manifesting their regime's lack of will and intention to respond to the needs and problems of the people."#Iranhttps://t.co/rLZMonBei3— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) October 8, 2019
“In the past week, you heard of an incident in the Chenar Mahmoudi village in Lordegan county, where people had been infected with HIV,” Falahati said. “[Anti-regime] media took advantage of the situation and we didn’t take preventive measures. They quickly portrayed a small incident in the Chenar Mahmoudi village as a big issue. This shows that the enemy is not asleep. Across the country, where officials are hearing me, security authorities should monitor the situation and don’t allow such incidents from happening. Why should we sit down and let the enemy take advantage of the situation?”
Falahati explicitly called on repressive forces to crack down on protests. “Wherever they want to come, suffocate them,” Falahati said.
The “small incident” that Falahati was referring to was the infection of more than 300 people in Chenar Mahmoudi. Iranian Health Ministry workers had visited the village to conduct blood tests, but they had used contaminated syringes, which led to the infection of the villagers.
When news broke of the spread of the HIV virus, protests erupted in Chenar Mahmoudi and Lordegan. Regime officials tried to downplay the situation and lay the blame on the villagers themselves, which only intensified the outrage and protests. The regime dispatched security forces to quell the protests, which resulted in confrontation and clashes between protesters and security forces.
The angry protesters set fire to the offices of the Friday Prayer leader of Lordegan, as well as several government buildings. Security forces opened fire on protesters, killing one and injuring dozens.
But the protests continued, and the angry citizens attacked a convoy of the government that subsequently visited the village to create a pretense of handling the situation, breaking their cars' windows and calling for the resignation of the health minister. The people also chanted anti-regime protests, including "death to dictator."
To control the situation, security forces established an undeclared martial law and resorted to the mass arrest of the citizens of Lordegan. They also restrict access to the village by strictly controlling the roads to Chenar Mahmoudi and other villages of Lordegan.
Locals of Lordegan, southern #Iran, attacking the convoy of Chaharmahal & Bakhtiary governor & a senior IRGC official.— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) October 7, 2019
Several regime officials visited the village where health authorities' negligence resulted in nearly 300 people being infected with HIV.pic.twitter.com/hUVJHHcjJW
The situation in Lordegan symbolizes the explosive state of the Iranian society. Economic woes, government corruption, and suppression of fundamental rights have caused resent and hatred among the Iranian population. “Small incidents,” as the Friday Prayer leader of Rasht described the Lordegan AIDS crisis, quickly turn into anti-regime protests, and the first targets of the people’s anger are regime officials such as Friday Prayer leaders, who directly represent the regime’s supreme leader.