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Coronavirus outbreak in Iran: officials continue to cover up death toll

Corona-virus in Iran
Corona-virus in Iran

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, February 26, 2020—While the coronavirus outbreak intensifies across Iran and new cases are discovered in different cities, regime officials continue to cover up the scale of the crisis.

Iran’s Health Ministry claimed the total number of infections has risen to 61 while deaths stood at 12.

(Citing regime officials Sky News Arabia reported three new deaths in Iran. BBC Farsi reported two deaths in Saveh, southwest of Tehran.)

According to the World Health Organization, the death toll of the coronavirus stands at around 2 percent. But even if the Iranian health ministry’s figures were to be trusted, then Iran’s coronavirus casualty rate would stand at around 20 percent, which is very suspicious, to say the least.

On Monday, MP Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani was quoted by the semi-official ILNA news agency as saying that the death toll in the city of Qom alone was 50.

This figure was confirmed by an MEK activist earlier in the day.

 

 

The regime’s officials rushed to deny the claim. On the same day, Ali Rabiei, spokesperson for the government of Hassan Rouhani, and deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi, held a joint press conference in which they tried to downplay the crisis.

“I deny the claim,” Harirchi said when asked about the 50 deaths in Qom. “According to the directives of the government and the [Supreme National] Security Council, no one else is qualified to declare news like this. We have the information.”

Harirchi further added that anyone who has information in this regard should contact the government through private channels. “If the number of deaths in Qom is half or even a quarter of this figure, I will resign,” he said.

Amirabadi Farahani responded by saying he has submitted the names of 40 individuals who have died and is awaiting the deputy minister’s resignation. This further indicates the escalating crisis in Iran and how various regime factions are involved in major disputes on the topic.

Harirchi also tried to justify the government’s shortcomings in providing safety and protective equipment to the public. “We have said it clearly that ordinary people do not need face masks,” he said.

When asked about the reason for the high casualty rates in Iran compared to other countries, Harirchi responded, “Other countries have a policy of concealment and denial.” Interestingly, the first signs of the coronavirus had been seen in Iran weeks earlier, but the regime’s own officials admitted that due to the elections, they had refrained from making them public.

To this, Rabiei added, “As the spokesperson of the government, I can tell you that many countries don’t have the transparency that we have. We acted in a very transparent way in this regard.”

Meanwhile, reports from inside the country indicate that the people are outraged of the regime’s incompetence and concealment of news surrounding the spread of the coronavirus across Iran. Qom’s streets have become vacant and pharmacies are posting signs pertaining to facemasks being out of stock.

The regime, which then being worried about the health of the people is more concerned about the potential of more protests erupting across the country, has dispatched security forces to different locations. According to one report, 20 anti-riot vehicles and 10 motorcycles were transferred from Arak to Qom.

While the epicenter of the crisis is in Qom, the virus has spread to several other cities. In Rasht, one doctor was hospitalized after testing positive on coronavirus infection. In Arak, at least 18 people have been hospitalized after having shown suspicious symptoms and one doctor has died of the virus. Facemasks are very scarce in this city and are being sold in the black market at very high prices.

According to doctors in Orumiyeh, at least three people have died from coronavirus infection, but the regime refrains from declaring the figures. The doctors have requested for schools to be shut down for at least a week.

Abbas Abdi, an analyst with ties to the so-called reformist faction, admitted that the regime’s policy of concealing the truth and deceiving the public is taking its toll on the society. “After being told different accounts of events every day, the society has lost its trust,” Abdi wrote in the state-run Etemad newspaper on Sunday.

Iran’s coronavirus crisis is also being transferred abroad, indicating further failures by the mullahs’ regime to bring the status quo under control. On Tuesday, Kuwait announced the number of patients testing positive for the coronavirus has escalated to eight and they have all returned from Iran. Bahrain also reported six such cases of coronavirus positive individuals following their return from Iran.

Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), is accusing the mullahs’ regime of concealment and calling on the WHO to intervene.

“The deaths of 50 people in #Qom due to #Coronavirus infection on February 24, reveal the clerical regime’s continued concealment which has led to rapid spread of #COVID19 infection. Once again, I would like to stress the need for WHO’s urgent intervention,” Madam Rajavi tweeted.