Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, March 24, 2020—The mullahs’ regime has called on the Médecins Sans Frontières, who entered Isfahan with physicians, medicine and equipment, to leave Iran. Alireza Vahabzadeh, deputy Health Minister in Iran, tweeted on Monday, March 23: “There is no need for foreigners to establish hospital beds and their presence is cancelled.”
According to Arash Najmi, spokesperson of the Isfahan Medical Sciences University, the Médecins Sans Frontières team was launching a 48-bed field hospital adjacent to Isfahan’s Amin Hospital. This field hospital was transferred from France and arrangements were made for nine MSF physicians and specialists to begin their work confronting coronavirus.
In an interview covered by the Fars news agency on Monday, March 23, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Kayhan daily, known as the mouthpiece of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, described the regime’s reason behind the expulsion of MSF team from Iran as the mullahs’ mistrust in this organization despite the COVID-19 epidemic in Iran.
“Dispatching the MSF delegation to our country may be viewed in negative fashion. However, if this negative perspective comes from a necessity of being careful, not is it quite called for but also considered very logical,” Shariatmadari said in his remarks to Fars news agency, an outlet known to be affiliated directly to the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Shariatmadari explained his reasoning of mistrust, saying France is the “main base” for the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). He went on to question and threaten those officials who are allowing the PMOI/MEK to continue their presence in France.
The measure goes against the regime’s claims that it is shorthanded in its efforts to contain the spread of the virus due to U.S. sanctions. On Sunday and Monday, Khamenei and regime president Hassan Rouhani rejected humanitarian aid from the U.S., blaming the U.S. for manufacturing the virus and using it as a biological weapon against Iran. Rouhani also said that the only way the U.S. can help Iran is by lifting sanctions.
The regime’s hysterical opposition to the presence of international aid workers on Iranian soil further strengthens the argument that Iranian officials are hiding the real scale of the coronavirus outbreak and are concealing the real figures of death toll and infections across the country.
On the other hand, the regime is holding the people of Iran hostage and rejecting any aid to force the U.S. to life sanctions and the EU to provide it with cash, money that will undoubtedly be spent on fueling terrorism and fundamentalism across the Middle East.
UPDATE 7:00 PM CET
More than 10,900 people have died to coronavirus in 219 cities across all of Iran’s 31 provinces as of Tuesday afternoon local time, March 24, according to the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The number of victims in various provinces include: at least 1,050 in Gilan; over 900 in Khorasan Razavi; 820 in Mazandaran; 570 in Golestan; 152 in Yazd; and 28 in North Khorasan, among others.
“The number of COVID-19 deaths and cases are beyond our previous estimates. We need to rewrite our scenario on this matter,” said Alireza Zali, head of the Counter Coronavirus Department in Tehran, on Monday, March 23.
Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh, a member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament), wrote in a letter to the speaker: “Iran is only a few steps away from historic and humanitarian catastrophe. Majlis members like myself are tired of begging for quarantine or other necessary measures, and we have lost hope in firm and effective measures… We need to adopt an emergency plan aimed at shutting down the entire country for a month before it’s too late and protect the lives of our compatriots against the deadly coronavirus.”
Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), condemned these measures. “The expulsion of Médecines sans Frontières is yet another indication that the main problem in Iran is the existence of a corrupt dictatorship that only thinks of preserving its rule. Human lives are not of any value to them. The regime seeks only the aids which could be placed at the disposal of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the regime’s leaders without any supervision.”
The expulsion of Médecines sans Frontières is yet another indication that the main problem in #Iran is the existence of a corrupt dictatorship that only thinks of preserving its rule. Human lives are not of any value to them #COVID19— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 24, 2020
There has been a 13-percent increase in coronavirus cases in the Iranian capital of Tehran, according to Kianush Jahanpur, spokesperson for the regime’s Health Ministry. An individual dies of COVID-19 every 12 minutes in Iran, he added.
Deputy Dean of Ardabil Medical Sciences University says the coronavirus epidemic is spreading like clusters in this province located in northwest Iran, meaning when one individual is infected, all members of his/her family are considered to be involved.
Despite the speedy spread of COVID-19 and especially in the city of Tehran, Mohammad Imami Amin, deputy of economic affairs in the Tehran governorate said instructions were issued to have all administrative offices and banks open on Tuesday.
A senior official in Tehran Province indicated that the Combat Coronavirus Department are calling on Tehran International Exhibition authorities to provide the space in this center to launch a rehabilitation center for COVID-19 patients. This further indicates the scope of this crisis in Iran despite regime officials constantly downplaying the entire issue.
In Tabriz, head of the local Medical Science University says at least 63 hospital staff members in East Azerbaijan Province have contracted coronavirus. If this virus continues to spread, the medical staff and equipment/supplies in this province will not be able to respond to the locals’ demands.
In other news, Mohsen Sharifi, a COVID-19 patient seen in a video shared extensively on social media where a mullah claims to be treating him using “Islamic medical practices,” has unfortunately died on Monday, March 23. There is a high volume of criticism circulating and describing this as second-degree murder by the mullah who rubbed a lotion on Sharifi’s face under his nose.
A Health Ministry deputy in Iran says the speed of coronavirus spreading in various provinces of Iran, such as Qom and Gilan, is decreasing. In other provinces, however, such as Isfahan, Khorasan, Mazandaran, and East Azerbaijan, the velocity of its expansion is higher than the country’s average speed.
Another Health ministry official says there is no longer a need to announce the country’s COVID-19 death toll with each province separated. This was necessary only when some provinces were not certain of having the coronavirus spreading in their areas. Currently, COVID-19 has expanded across the country, the official continued.
More than 10,500 people have died of coronavirus in 212 cities across all of Iran’s 31 provinces as of Monday afternoon local time, March 23, according to the MEK network inside Iran. Over 600 people have died of COVID-19 in the city of Isfahan and more than 500 in Kashan, adding to more than 1,262 victims in Isfahan Province. The death toll in various provinces includes: 872 in Khorasan Razavi; 536 in Golestan; 369 in Khuzestan; 160 in Ardabil; 83 in Zanjan; 41 in Kohgiluyeh & Buyer Ahmed and 40 in Semnan. This is in addition to the atrocious death toll in other provinces.
Physicians in Gilan Province, northern Iran, are reporting that many of the individuals released from hospitals have died in their homes in a matter of just one week. However, they have not been accounted for in the official coronavirus death toll.
Dr. Zali, head of the Tehran Counter Coronavirus Department says there has been a five percent increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in medical centers and a 12 percent increase in chronic cases in need of being hospitalized. The sound of ambulance sirens is heard constantly in various parts of Tehran and other cities.
All the while, the mullahs’ regime is going the distance to keep a lid on the number of COVID-19 victims and has launched a wave of arrests in various cities under the pretext of confronting people who are spreading rumors and publishing fake news about coronavirus.
On March 22, Nasser Khodayari, representative of the Ministry of Guidance, in a meeting of the Counter Coronavirus Department in West Azerbaijan Province, said that nine individuals involved in spreading rumors have been arrested.
Hossein Shahriar, head of state police in Maku, northwest Iran, said individuals who insult state officials on the internet will be arrested. Any offense against officials and publishing what the regime considers "fake news" (about COVID-19) will be considered a crime and FATA (Iran’s internet police) will be taking legal action against those involved. A number of people have been arrested in Isfahan, central Iran, under these bogus pretexts.
Houshang Hosseini, head of state police in in Ardabil Province, northwest Iran, said 11 individuals have been arrested for spreading rumors and fake news on the internet about COVID-19.
Furthermore, the classic army in Iran has received orders from the regime’s Armed Forces Headquarters to carry out biologic military drills. These orders, obviously coming directly from Khamenei, come just one day after he accused the United States of producing and exporting coronavirus. It is now obvious that those remarks were aimed at preparing the grounds for a new wave of domestic crackdown.
In other news, Majlis (parliament) speaker Ali Larijani said “a large number” of MPs have tested positive for COVID-19. This further indicates that regime officials and authorities have lost control and cannot contain the virus.
Monday, March 23 – A citizen from Karaj, west of Tehran
“… My sister showed signs of coronavirus and she was transferred to the civil hospital, known previously as Sheer-o Khorsheed Hospital. One of the hospital staff who apparently knew us told my brother-in-law to take her back home. There are many sick people here and our supplies and equipment are very low. Take her home, keep her in quarantine and carry out the doctor’s orders given to you by telephone.”
Reports from Gilan Province, northern Iran, indicate the governor’s staff are holding sessions for two days now to decide where to bury COVID-19 victims because they have no place to bury them. There are measures being taken to transfer them to other cities. They are discussing the cities of Qazvin and Karaj as options. Of course, they will be spreading the illness to other cities.
A report from Qom, one of the main coronavirus hotspots in Iran, indicates 40 physicians and 130 nurses have been infected with COVID-19. Fifteen of the infected physicians were hospitalized and one is being held in an ICU section. Furthermore, three of the 130 nurses are hospitalized.
A citizen from Karaj said, “People in the U.S., Spain or France may be receiving portions of their normal income…. That’s not the case in Iran. Ordinary workers, employees and those selling goods on the streets, they don’t receive any such paychecks… And by the way, those countries don’t demand monthly water, electricity and telephone bills. If we don’t pay these bills here, these services will be cut off… We’re out of money. Is there any work. Is there a government?... Will the government provide us with any money? ...”
One citizen from Ardabil, northwest Iran, said on Sunday, March 23, that the situation in this city is very dire due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Locals in various villages have taken matters into their own hands and closed their entrances. There are no COVID-19 test kits in Ardabil or its local villages. All the samples are sent to Tabriz, another city in northwest Iran. There have been cases that the tested patients have died before their results have returned.
A citizen from Najafabad, central Iran, said on Sunday, March 22, “My son checked around ten drug stores, and none had masks. Its interesting that all the make-up and hygiene stores have masks and have no other shortages… Locals are truly abiding by hygiene protocols. From 11 am to 3 pm I toured the entire city and I saw less than 50 people in the streets… All these reports that the people are not abiding by hygiene protocols are lies.”
Another citizen from the city of Mashhad, northeast Iran, said on Sunday, March 22, that due to coronavirus all the stores and main tourist sites are closed. This will continue until around April 21. The Imam Reza Shrine is also closed. “This is a strange year. I believe we will be witnessing many developments that will change the fate of the Iranian nation. We should prepare for a very defining year,” one individual said.
A report from the city of Amol in northern Iran, indicates that six physicians by the names of Seyed Mozzaffar Rabie, Dr. Samadi, Dr. Nirouie, Dr. Ibrahim-nezhad, Dr. Tusan and Dr. Babazadeh, along with four staff members of the Amol Medical Sciences University, have all lost their lives to COVID-19. The virus expanded to Amol due to tourists form the city of Qom.