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Iran’s regime’s resorts to suppressive measures under pretext of coronavirus

Iran’s regime’s resorts to suppressive measures under pretext of coronavirus
Iran’s regime’s resorts to suppressive measures under pretext of coronavirus

Reporting by PMOI/MEK 

Iran, March 17, 2020—While the Iranian regime has taken no serious measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is using the outbreak as a pretext to implement its suppressive policies. This fact is evident in the statements made by regime officials.

The Iranian regime’s president Hassan Rouhani emphasized on Monday March 16: “It is very good they have set up an armed forces base.” Rouhani, who was speaking at the meeting Coronavirus Response Staff, said: “On social media, we must deal with the people based on necessities. We have taken decisions in terms of publicity and control of cyberspace and in this regard, the FATA (cyberspace police) police are very active.”

Rouhani commended the suppressive police that tries to create fear in regard to the annual Fire Festival and added: “I thank the police forces who were very active these days and were present overall in the streets.”

Rouhani claimed that Iran has overcome the virus and has passed the “tipping point.” He quoted Health Minister Saeid Namaki and said that “when necessary” the government will explain it to the people.

However, Ali Asgari, the head of regime’s National Radio and Television has said that Namaki had reported to the Supreme National Security Council that the coronavirus in Iran will reach its climax on April 9 and its effects will last for two months after that.

Ironically, Rouhani had claimed a few weeks ago that the coronavirus outbreak was under control and things would return to normal within the week only to retrace his steps a few days later and acknowledging that the virus had spread to all provinces.

What is clear is that the regime is extremely terrified of the social implications of the coronavirus outbreak and the potential for the re-emergence of popular protests.

“Coronavirus is the new pretext to encourage commotion and conflicts”, wrote state-run media Raja News on March 15.

“Among those who try to say that Iran is an exceptional country that is incapable of handling the coronavirus crisis and is lying, some internal and external currents try to blame us for the outbreak in Iran and other parts of the world. Some British media and the MEK (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) spoke about their wishes and eventual plans for street riots and encouraging people for norm-breaking movements,” Raja News wrote.

On March 2, the same source had complained about the figures and statistics obtained and published by the MEK: “The course of anti-system media on the number of coronavirus victims: Maryam Rajavi is in front comparable to other competitors,” Raja News wrote.

At the same time, the regime is trying to downplay the situation and deny any claims that the heavy presence of security forces is to repress the public. In this regard, the state-run ISNA news agency wrote: “An informed source, some Twitter accounts and Telegram channels affiliated to the MEK claimed that the IRGC will establish martial law during annual Fire Festival, but when we studied the news it became clear that it was fake news and no plan for martial law is on the agenda of the armed forces.”