Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, March 19, 2020—As the Iranian regime’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak continues to take its toll on the lives and health of the Iranian people, the regime’s own state-run media are inevitably confessing to the outrage that the situation has caused among the population.
“We rarely find and news that doesn’t mention coronavirus and we can find few people who are not worried about their loved ones due to this virus. But maybe what is clearer now is the gap that has formed between the system and the people,” wrote the state-run daily Etemad in an interview with one of the so-called reformist figures of the regime.
The newspaper continued: “But how come we reached this? The sayings of a social media users and media outlets in the west is bear more weight that remarks made by our own officials, or sometimes have an equal effect as the official news.”
Iranian regime has tried to downplay the figures and stats of the coronavirus outbreak. The current official death toll in Iran, declared by the government, stands at around 1,100. But the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside the country has so far recorded more than 6,400 coronavirus fatalities. Many health organizations are also questioning the figures provided by the regime.
“Meanwhile, an important question is the effect of 72 hours silence on the truth of the Ukrainian airline crash and also lack of transparency about the death toll and the arrested of the November 2019 were two important events that affected people’s trust to coronavirus statistics,” Etemad continues, referring to two recent events that have only deepened the people’s mistrust for the regime.
In January, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane as it flew from Tehran to Kiev. The regime tried to cover up the incident and claimed for three days that it was due to a technical deficiency in the plane’s engine. But officials eventually confessed that the military had downed the plane, triggering protests and outrage in many Iranian cities.
Only months earlier, the regime’s security forces had gunned down more than 1,500 protesters during the November uprisings. While these numbers have been declared by the MEK and confirmed by other states, the regime itself has yet to declare the official death toll.
“As usual, we wait for a crisis to happen and then we try to handle the situation with leaders that are not responsible even in normal situation and prefer to keep their positions,” Etemad writes.
The daily Etemad also mentioned the governmental institutions inaction and unaccountability:
“We are exactly witnessing absence of our officials in scene and even our parliament as a pillar that is not closed even in times of war is shut down today. While even in crisis times they had to disinfect the parliament and quarantined the MPs for a month to handle countries issues.”
The state-run daily Etemad also mentioned the incompetence of the regime’s institutions:
“Today people feel that various institutions were unprepared in all ways and suffered from lack of schedule in handling of the crisis. While one of the mechanisms foreseen for of various crises in the country is civil defensive, but unfortunately, they not only had no plans for a crisis situation, but were absent on the scene.”
In contrast, the regime’s security forces were actively present and had been dispatched to quell potential protests that could emerge due to the public anger at the regime’s dismal administration of the crisis.
“Unfortunately, today the problems caused by coronavirus have just started,” continued Etemand.
Etemad also acknowledged the chaos that has overtaken the entire regime in this time of crisis:
“We are seeing that there is no necessary order and no mechanism of using experiences and experienced managers and instead conflicts are continuing in various institutions. The post-coronavirus problems will be more difficult daily, and we must not forget that in upcoming days, the coronavirus crisis will result in twice more economical problems including unemployment.
“Today people ask how this disease has started. If it was Qom, why no measures were taken? By the way if Qom was the epidemic center why on February 16, the media reported just one coronavirus infected citizen in Gilan? People ask why Qom was not quarantined? Why the elections in this province was not postponed?
“The past will not return and the sequence of historical and political events are unchangeable.”