Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 7, 2019—On Saturday, anti-government protests erupted in Iran’s Charmahal & Bakhtiary province after it became evident that polluted syringes used by the regime’s health ministry had infected hundreds of people in the Lordegan county with HIV.
Angry youth and citizens of Lordegan set fire to the office of the Friday Prayer leader (the mullah acting as the local spokesperson of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei) as well as a number of other government buildings.
Interestingly, while the protests erupted over the AIDS crisis in Lordegan, the protesters quickly started targeting the regime in its entirety, chanting slogans such as “Death to the dictator,” “Don’t be afraid, we’re all together,” and “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon. My Life for Iran.” The protesters also called for the regime’s health minister to resign.
The repressive security forces of the Iranian regime responded by firing tear gas and opened fire on the protesters. Several people were injured in the clashes. But the people continued their protests unabated.
On Sunday, a delegation of regime officials entered Chenar Mahmoudi, the village whose inhabitants had been infected with HIV. The officials were met with angry protesters who encircled their vehicle and broke its windows with bricks and stones.
Following the Lordegan AIDS crisis and the ensuing protests, communities across Iran expressed their solidarity with and support for the people of Chenar Mahmoudi and the victims of the HIV virus infection. In Isfahan, a group of people staged a demonstration and held banners in support of the victims of the Lordegan AIDS crisis. In some cities across Iran, including Kazerun, Masjid Suleiman and Urmia, different groups of people showed their support for the people of Lordegan in various ways, including by issuing statements and sending messages on social media and holding gatherings.
Oct 5 - Chenar Mahmoud village, Lordegan, southern #Iran— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) October 5, 2019
"Not Gaza, Not Lebanon; My life for Iran"
Locals rallying outside the local Health Dept., protesting the infection of 300 residents to AIDS due to the use of infected syringes.
State police attacks.pic.twitter.com/UQqpoiFT9i
The Iranian regime’s propaganda against the HIV-stricken people of Lordegan
In a futile effort to contain the situation, the regime resorted to a widespread propaganda campaign against the people of Lordegan. In an interview with state TV, Iranian health minister Saeid Namaki tried to downplay and reject the role his regime has played in the infecting the people of Lordegan with HIV.
In a report, a state-run TV station tried to justify the catastrophe and described the situation as “social media hype” and quoted health ministry officials as saying, “The infection of a people with HIV is different from the AIDS syndrome.”
In the same report, the health minister claimed, “We had reports of HIV infections since 40 days ago… We were taken care of the issue in a controlled and silent manner. But two days ago, news spread pertaining to the use of polluted syringes. This news is not true.”
The controversial remarks of regime officials are further testament to the scandal that the Iranian regime has caused. The health ministry knew about this disaster since 40 days ago and was trying to keep a lid on it. But the people found out and protests ensued.
The bigger truth about the Lordegan AIDS crisis
In the same report, Eghbal Abbasi, the governor of Charmahal Bakhtiary province, claimed that the protesters were not from Lordegan and were opponents of the regime who had come from other places. “They were armed and they attacked the office of the Friday Prayer Imam and the building of the health ministry,” he said, adding that they had been arrested.
The regime’s failed efforts to portray a different picture from the Lordegan AIDS crisis and the ensuing protests not only didn’t hide the truth of the situation but made it more evident. If the Lordegan AIDS crisis was, as the regime’s health minister claimed, not very serious, then why did it result in such protests and national solidarity against the regime?
The answer to this question came from Ali Mohammad Akbari, the commander of the terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Charmahal Bakhtiary, who said, “The [PMOI/MEK] were present in the unrests in Lordegan.”
Akbari, who went to Chenar Mahmoudi on Saturday night, stressed that he was speaking on behalf of the province’s high council, and said, “The enemy is trying to incite hatred against the sacred Islamic Republic in the name of the people of Chenar Mahmoudi… The [MEK] were present in the unrests that happened in Lordegan today.”
This again shows inconsistency in the regime. On the one hand, the regime’s leaders and senior officials constantly claim that the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is a fringe group that has no support inside the country, while on the other hand, they lay the blame for every single protest and unrest in the country on the MEK. What the regime doesn’t answer is how the MEK could reach the village of Chenar Mahmoud in such large numbers and in such short notice, and bring along weapons, set fire to government buildings, and chant anti-regime slogans, all of that while being a fringe group with no influence and support inside Iran!
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
The explosive state of Iranian society
Following the Lordegan AIDS crisis, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said in a statement, “This corrupt and criminal regime has squandered Iran’s national wealth by pursuing nuclear and missile projects and engaging in foreign warmongering, which has destroyed all aspects of life for the people of Iran, including health and well-being.”
As Mrs. Rajavi rightly observes, in its corrupt 40-year rule, this regime has left Iran and the lives of its citizens in ruins. This has created a deeply rooted hatred among the people for the regime, a fact that Iranian regime officials are finding harder to deny.
Anti-regime protest by thousands of residents of Lordegan, south #Iran They put offices of governor, representative of Khamenei & several other government buildings on fire.— Shahin Gobadi (@gobadi) October 5, 2019
Security forces charged at protesters using teargas and live ammunition. #MEK #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/4Zjo3Mq4e0
Even considering the observations of the Iranian regime’s health minister was true and the people of Lordegan had used an unimportant issue such as the AIDS crisis to express their outrage at the regime, then this is the acknowledgment of the current explosive state of the Iranian society. The protests of Lordegan are just the latest manifestation of the deep hatred of the Iranian people toward the regime, who are fed up with 40 years of corruption, mismanagement, and repression.
Iranian regime VP Eshaq Jahangiri recently compared the Iranian society to a gas chamber ready to explode with a single spark.
Indeed, this is the stark truth that the regime can no longer deny through its lies and deceit. During the 2009 nationwide uprisings, Iranian regime officials described the protesters as a bunch of rich people who are seeking western-style freedoms. In the 2018 uprisings, the regime blamed the U.S. and Israel for nationwide protests.
But how will they dismiss the protests of the HIV-stricken people of Chenar Mahmoudi? Of course, regime officials will continue to ridicule themselves by compiling a bunch of lies and blaming protests on outside elements and factors.
But as the national solidarity with the people of Chenar Mahmoudi and Lordegan shows, with every passing day, it is becoming harder for Iranian officials to hide the corruption of their regime on the one hand and the hatred of the Iranian people against their tyrannical rule on the other.