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The criminal hypocrisy of Tehran’s coronavirus response

Iran regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejects humanitarian aid from U.S. in fight against coronavirus
Iran regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejects humanitarian aid from U.S. in fight against coronavirus

Analysis by PMOI/MEK  

Iran, March 23, 2020—The recent remarks of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime, is the latest testament to his lack of interest in the wellbeing of the Iranian people. Khamenei, who spoke on the anniversary of the first revelation of the prophet Mohammad, played down the coronavirus outbreak and dismissed international aid as conspiracy theories.

“You are accused of creating this virus,” Khamenei said in response to the United States’ offer to help Iran deal with the coronavirus epidemic. “Your medicine might be a tool to further spread the virus… We don’t trust you… Your medicine might make the virus permanent in the country.”

Khamenei even went further and suggested that COVID-19 had been specially engineered to target Iranians, a futile attempt to justify the insanely high casualty rates Iran is suffering from.

Although ridiculous and disgusting, there’s clear reasoning behind Khamenei’s arguments. The regime is under increasing pressure for its mishandling of the contagion. According to the regime’s own health officials, the first signs of coronavirus appeared long before February 19, when the regime officially declared two cases in Qom. But the regime covered up the issue, fearing it would negatively affect pro-regime rallies scheduled for February 11 and parliamentary elections on February 21.

Also, since the beginning of the outbreak, the regime has tried to downplay the situation by declaring false statistics and cracking down on anyone who provides information about coronavirus cases to international media and the opposition. The regime has made several arrests and dismissed many health workers in this regard. The official death toll declared by the regime is around 1,700. But reports obtained by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) indicate that at least 9,600 people have died of the virus in 210 cities.

Therefore, Khamenei would rather see more people die than allow any impartial observer from entering the country and seeing what’s really happening inside Iran and revealing the real scale of his regime’s crimes.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the regime has proven again that its main priority is to preserve its rule and to continue its destructive policies inside Iran and across the world. As coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire across Iran, regime officials have been trying to take advantage of the situation for financial gains.

On Monday, Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president, echoed Khamenei’s rejection of American assistance and said that the United States should lift sanctions if Washington wants to help Iran to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” Rouhani said in a televised speech. Rouhani’s talking line has been parroted by a slate of politicians and reporters who have been endorsing a policy of appeasement toward the regime.

Ironically, the sanctions target the regime’s illicit activities, including its funding of terrorist groups, the development of nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction, and its human rights abuses. Humanitarian aid such as food and medicine have been exempted from sanctions. Moreover, the U.S. has tried to make it easier for the regime to purchase or trade for medicine and hospital equipment since the pandemic started. Last month, the U.S. and Swiss governments established a humanitarian aid channel to make it easier for banks and financial institutions to underwrite such transactions with Iran.

But during this period, the regime has continued its belligerent activities. In the past few weeks alone, Iran-backed militias have conducted attacks on American targets in Iraq, killing two American soldiers and wounding several others.

There's more than ample reasons to believe that the regime's calls for sanctions relief are just another plot to use the coronavirus as an excuse to give a lifeline to its state-sponsored terrorism.

The regime’s remarks, actions, and policies prove that it has no intention to help the people of Iran. As always, it's through their community efforts that Iranians have been dealing with the coronavirus situation. And as has been proven time and again, it is only with the overthrowing of the regime that Iran and the region will see peace again.