Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 18, 2019—The town of Lordegan in Charmahal Bakhtiari province, southern Iran, erupted in protests in early October after 300 locals became inflicted with HIV following the use of contaminated needles and the negligence of the Iranian regime’s Health Ministry officials. A crowd of residents, mostly women, held a protest gathering outside the governor’s office and the Health Ministry’s office in Lordegan.
In response, senior regime officials had the audacity to even blame the residents themselves, saying an HIV crisis in this area has a long history.
“The people of Chenar Mahmoud are scared,” one villager said. “Many refrain from taking blood tests out of fear of finding out they have been infected. Every family of two or three has become inflicted with the virus. Anyone who has taken the test has turned out to be positive. And no one asks this regime, why do you need to test a nine-year-old kid for cholesterol and blood sugar and inflict them with AIDS.”
Regarding the incident, one of the residents said, “The health ministry came to our village for free blood sugar and insulin tests. The syringes they employed had already been used and were infected with the virus. Anyone who was tested became inflicted with an unknown virus. Some people say it’s HIV. Some say it’s a similar virus. Now, after a few weeks, they’ve brought in a doctor from Tehran to test the residents and figure out which virus it is.”
Angry at regime officials and their refusal to take responsibility or any action, Lordegan locals took to the streets and launched a massive anti-regime uprising that rattled the regime to the core.
This rally was held outside the local Health Department branch and regime officials dispatched oppressive security forces who opened fire on the peaceful demonstrators, aiming to disperse the crowd. In response, the locals attacked the mayor’s office and the Health Department branch, setting both buildings on fire.
The brave protesters have been chanting, “No fear! We’re all together!”
The situation remained to be tenuous in Lordegan as the regime’s security forces continued their heavy presence in the city, strictly controlling all commuting.
The regime’s suppressive forces were seen arresting anyone they deemed suspicious and establishing an environment of fear across the city. According to the locals, security forces arrested between 150 to 200 people, transferring all of them to Shahrekord, the province's capital.
Regime officials attempted to downplay the circumstances by laying the blame on the residents themselves. However, these measures resulted in an escalation of outrage and further fueled the protests. The regime dispatched security forces to control the situation, clashes ensued and the protests turned into anti-government demonstrations. Outraged Lordegan citizens began storming and torching several government buildings, including the offices of the local Friday prayer imam, known as the representative of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Regime forces opened fire on protesters, killing one citizen and injuring several others.
The regime has gone as far as laying the blame on the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) for inciting protests in Lordegan.
“What we’re facing these days is a very important and bitter incident… The enemy wants to take advantage of the situation to cause dissent. It is the enemy that is chanting anti-regime slogans and destroys the properties of the government,” said Mohammad Ali Nekounam, the representative of the supreme leader in Charmahal & Bakhtiary province.
Meanwhile, many videos posted on social media clearly display the angry citizens of Lordegan and Chenar Mahmoudi protesting and holding the regime’s incompetent officials and the corrupt health apparatus responsible for not taking the very obvious and necessary precautions to protect the citizens. A regime delegation visiting the area was “welcomed” by angry citizens attacking the convoy and broking the windows of their cars.
Locals of Lordegan, southern #Iran, attacking the convoy of Chaharmahal & Bakhtiary governor & a senior IRGC official.— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) October 7, 2019
Several regime officials visited the village where health authorities' negligence resulted in nearly 300 people being infected with HIV.pic.twitter.com/hUVJHHcjJW
“Death to dictator” and “No to Gaza! No to Lebanon! My life for Iran!” were some of the slogans chanted by the angry crowd. This is a reference to the regime’s costly foreign ambitions into neighboring countries, taking a massive toll on the Iranian economy and the lives of its citizens as millions are desperately attempting to make ends meet.
Since protest erupted due to the Lordegan AIDs outbreak, the regime launched measures to establish an undeclared martial law in the city. Security forces dispatched to Lordegan included units of the terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the Basij paramilitary and plainclothes agents, according to reports from inside Iran. Regime forces also began night raids targeting homes of citizens and arresting dozens.
Authorities also blocked the road to the Chenar Mahmoudi and expanded its already massive security presence to neighboring villages and towns. All the while, officials never took any concrete action to tend to the needs of Lordegan citizens who now have to cope with the devastating aftermath of being infected with the HIV virus and later suffering from AIDS.