Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, March 21, 2020—The solution to Iran’s coronavirus outbreak, poverty, and oppression is overthrowing the mullahs’ religious dictatorship in its entirety, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said in her annual Nowruz address, marking the beginning of the Persian New Year.
In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi discussed key events that took place in the past year, including the Spring floods, the November uprisings, the downing of a passenger plane by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and the coronavirus outbreak, which has now taken the lives of more than 8,200 people. In all cases, the regime has proven that it neither has the will nor the capacity to address the desires and needs of the people, and its sole purpose is to extend its rule.
There is a single solution for #Coronavirus, for poverty, for oppression and tyranny. That solution is overthrowing the mullahs’ religious dictatorship in its entirety. #FreeIran2020 #Nowruz https://t.co/4tTkRpPdwH pic.twitter.com/OftoxSNywh— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 20, 2020
“The people of Iran pay a heavy price as they have always done, but this time, the Coronavirus will doom the mullahs,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
Mrs. Rajavi also discussed the key setbacks for the regime, including the elimination of Qassem Soleimani, its chief terrorist, the terrorist-designation of the IRGC by the United States, and the extension of sanctions against its terror-funding apparatus. The regime also experience the lowest turnout in its parliamentary elections since its founding in 1979 despite widespread propaganda efforts and the cover-up of the festering contagion of the COVID-19.
“Throughout the past year (1398), not a single week went by without Khamenei and his regime not experiencing mortal tensions,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
The full text of Mrs. Rajavi’s speech, originally published on her website, follows:
At the outset of (the Persian New Year) 1399, and before all else, we pray that God Almighty protect the people of Iran from Coronavirus. The ruling mullahs are directly responsible for the spread of the virus.
We pray for God’s mercy on the innocent people who lost their lives.
We pray for the speedy recovery of our fellow citizens across the country, low income sectors and those whose livelihood has been plundered by the mullahs and the IRGC.
We pray that Coronavirus and a worse calamity, the mullahs’ religious dictatorship, are uprooted in Iran, and that this bitter era, which has made our hearts bleed, comes to pass.
Wherever I walked, and wherever I looked
I saw only ashes and blood, and ruins upon ruins
On behalf of the Iranian Resistance, its members and all Mojahedin at Ashraf-3, I extend our sincere condolences and sympathies to families who have lost their loved ones on the eve of the New Year. But…
But in anticipation of the arrival of Spring of freedom, heralding health and well-being across Iran, in all cities, villages, and to our people, we salute Nowruz. May such a day arrive as soon as possible despite all the pain, agony and loss of life, in defiance of the mullahs who have brought only sorrow, grief and calamity for our people.
To our nation’s resistant and invincible women and men one must say:
Be strong and proud, and rise up a hundred times more determined and spirited and challenge the ruling monsters who embody repression, poverty and illness.
The mullahs sow the seeds of hopelessness and passivity. We must rebel against it.
Iran and Iranians will never give in; they will never surrender, be defeated or forced into submission. We will resist and fight the virus and the ruling theocracy. This is our raison d’être. Victory is ours; tomorrow is ours.
So, congratulations on the beginning of 1399, Nowruz, in tribute to the martyrs of the November 2019 uprising. And we congratulate the Resistance Units and selfless women and men who have risen up against this pandemic disease amid the Iranian nation’s fateful struggle against the ruling theocracy.
Coronavirus will doom the mullahs
Through many events, moments, hours and days, the year that passed laid bare its purpose and direction. I would like to address three special events, three critical moments that will never escape our memories.
In the beginning of the year, devastating flashfloods anguished our people;
The blood-soaked and blazing uprising in November 2019 marked a spectacular moment in Iran’s history; and
Ominous Coronavirus spread across nation, taking many lives and tearing apart many families.
What do these three particular developments signify?
They signify that the mullahs do not want Iran, and Iran and all Iranians do not want the mullahs; the mullahs are incapable of running this country, and they cannot and must not rule Iran any longer; and the people of Iran will no longer tolerate this regime.
So, the time has come to rise up, to rebel, to revolt, and to tear asunder the chains and open the prisons…
The mullahs must go.
The people of Iran pay a heavy price as they have always done, but this time, the Coronavirus will doom the mullahs.
The November uprising dealt devastating blows to the mullahs’ decadent regime
Every year, the spring of nature rekindle the yearning for the spring of hope and freedom in the hearts and minds of the oppressed people, especially among the vanguard and rebellious women and men.
In their quest for the spring of freedom, the people of Iran sent their vanguards to the battle field in November. In the blazing November, our people welcomed the spring by sacrificing more than 1,500 red roses.
The freshness and blossoming of the spring of freedom was on the move with uprisings in rebellious cities, from Mahshahr, to Sadra in Shiraz, to Behbahan, Marivan, Kermanshah, Islamshahr, Shahriar, Ghal’eh Hassan Khan, and elsewhere.
Although Khamenei resorted to crime against humanity, not sparing even the 13 and 14-year-olds, ruthlessly shedding blood in many cities by deploying tanks, helicopters, heavy and medium caliber weapons, the blazing November proved that the season of rising up to overthrow the regime continues and the mullahs’ extensive plans to contain it are doomed to fail.
The November 2019 uprising delivered devastating blows to the mullahs’ decadent regime. Mojtaba Zolnouri, Chair of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the mullahs’ parliament, acknowledged that the regime faced 147 clashes on Sunday, November 17, in Tehran, alone, and in 800 locations throughout the country just in one day, which included IRGC and Bassij bases, police stations, governorates and seminary schools which rebellious people and youth had overtaken.
The regime officials’ explicit admissions therefore prove that they faced a nationwide anti-regime fighting force during the November uprising which they can never eliminate.
The hollow invincibility of the Revolutionary Guards crumbled and people believed in their own power. The strategy that relied on Resistance Units and rebellious cities was vindicated. Everyone saw with their own eyes that Resistance Units offer a breakthrough and are a beacon for uprising and freedom, and for the rebellious and defiant generation.
Highest death toll due to Coronavirus is Iran
At the advent of the New Year, it is so painful to be speaking about calamities such as Coronavirus, poverty and unemployment which the mullahs have inflicted upon the people of our nation instead of talking about their happiness.
If it were not for our profound faith in a hopeful future and the victory of our people’s resistance and uprisings, as I pointed out in the beginning, we would have shed bloody tears for all the disasters that have afflicted our people. But we intend to reap abundant good from this rampant evil. We want to break through the winter of disease and death towards the spring of health and freedom.
First, let us see what has been the impact of this spreading disease on the lives of our people?
The figures, the disaster, and the number of victims our people see every day across the country clearly indicate that no country in the world, not even China with its population in the billions, have had as many cases and as many deaths as in Iran.
The death toll in Iran has so far exceeded 8,000. Down with the mullahs’ tyrannical rule.
The large number of the poor and low income families have aggravated the scale of the crisis. Villagers, the huge population of slum dwellers, peddlers, child laborers, scavengers, workers, and others face great risk due to their unsanitary and overcrowded living and working environment.
Many of them have been either laid off or relieved of their duties without pay, a month ago.
Many who need to go to work to earn a living are also vulnerable to the virus. They are neither covered by preventive measures nor do they have access to medical resources. Their life and living conditions have made them powerless in fighting the disease.
The virus caused a new wave of unemployment on the eve of the New Year. Many workers, peddlers, teachers working in private centers, as well as employees and clerks working in shops and stores, have lost their jobs and their only source of income.
Profound class differences are having a tremendous and painful impact in this regard. The deprived and the voiceless, and marginalized sectors have the smallest share of preventive measures and treatment, but the largest share of the illness and death.
Coronavirus outbreak in prisons coupled with the regime’s inhuman treatment of prisoners have exposed many prisoners, and particularly political prisoners, to death. Prison environments, already severely contaminated, have turned into the epicenter for spreading the virus. In most prisons, including Evin, Qezel-Hessar, Gohardasht, Ardabil, Urmia, Quchan, Zahedan, Kermanshah, and Sanandaj the numbers of Corona cases are on the rise while there is no adequate medical treatment. All prisoners are at risk.
Now, even hospitals are defenseless. Nurses and physicians risk their own lives to save the lives of others, but are deprived of adequate protective equipment. Regime officials have not done anything to protect them against the disease. For this reason, a considerable number of nurses and physicians have lost their lives since the beginning of the crisis, particularly in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. Our people will never forget the nurses and doctors who are on the frontline of this battle. They work hard with the greatest sense of responsibility to save the patients. These men and women are the source of pride for all of us.
Coronavirus crisis in Iran is deeply political
In concrete terms, the mullahs have either destroyed or damaged the country’s medical, sanitary and environmental infrastructure, causing mal-nutrition and starvation among a vast portion of society.
The figures are horrific: 60 million people live under the absolute poverty line. This includes 20 million slum-dwellers, 12 million people starving, and five million addicts. These people do not enjoy any protection to defend themselves either against Coronavirus, or against floods and earthquakes, or against air pollution and other calamities.
The country’s medical system was suddenly paralyzed during the Corona crisis. Hospitals have a shortage of 105,000 beds. There are shortages of emergency rooms, laboratories, medical technology and medicines. The charlatan mullahs have been bragging for years about their nuclear program, about building satellites, and missile towns, but have been unable to provide gloves and masks for nurses and patients.
Recall that some time ago, Khamenei brazenly claimed that his regime was one of the world’s pioneers in science and scientific advancements?
He bragged about Iran being the epicenter of science? But when it comes to floods, earthquakes and diseases, such hollow claims are nowhere to be found.
When Iranian protesters in different cities chanted, “let go of Syria and think about us,” they knew that the mullahs had ruined Iran’s economy by funneling the country’s wealth and funds to the inferno of war and terrorism in Syria and Iraq, or by spending them to fund Khamenei’s ruthless Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The budget for health and medicine shrinks more every year while part of this small budget is never paid to the Ministry of Health. Internal feuding aggravated to a point where the Minister of Health resigned in 2018 because the budget for medicine and medical care had not been paid to his ministry.
For the Persian New Year 1399, tens of millions of dollars have been allotted to the purchase of weapons for the State Security Force. This money could have saved the provinces of Gilan, Qom or Mazandaran from COVID-19.
The so-called Al-Mostafa University of Qom, where foreign theology students are trained, was the epicenter of the outbreak due to the admission of Chinese students. Every year, a huge budget is allocated to this center which is stolen from the budget for health, medicine or education.
This is part of the record of a gang of criminal and backward mullahs who have deprived the society from access to medical and health services, enduring food supply, permanent access to drinkable water, and refused to create an efficient garbage collection system. They even deprived our people from clean air.
Indeed, the massacre of our political prisoners finally led to the massacre of nature and all those disasters and diseases.
Today, when we review the regime’s approach since the outbreak of the virus in Qom, it becomes clear that the current crisis is actually not a medical issue in Iran, but a profound political problem.
The epidemic could have been seriously contained at the outset with much less fatalities, provided that the regime had given priority to people’s health instead of preserving its grip on power. Yes, this crisis is political in nature because the mullahs opened the way for the deadly spread of the virus to preserve their own rule.
The regime’s policy on Coronavirus outbreak
The regime’s policy on Coronavirus outbreak could be summed up in the following points:
First, the regime had sufficient time but refrained from taking any preventive measures. Coronavirus first emerged in China in December. The regime wasted two months and then deliberately postponed taking any action until after the Revolution anniversary on February 11 and after its elections on February 21.
Second, the state-run media in Iran have admitted that Coronavirus came to Iran in late January. The Ministry of Health, Rouhani’s cabinet, and Khamenei were definitely informed of the spread of the outbreak at that time.
On February 1, the state-run media reported that two Chinese nationals in Iran had been infected. However, on Khamenei’s order, the regime concealed all information on the outbreak of Coronavirus by highly centralized and controlled measures because they sought to hold the anniversary of the revolution and the sham parliamentary elections. The regime preferred that disgraceful march and its failed elections to the nation’s health. It refused to quarantine Qom, the first epicenter of the virus, and continued Mahan Air flights back and forth to China.
Third, the regime failed to mobilize the country’s resources to cope with the crisis. The Red Crescent, the Relief Committee, the so-called Khatam al-Anbia Construction Garrison, the Martyrs Foundation, the Mostaz’afan Foundation, Astan-e Quds-e Razavi, the cooperatives belonging to the IRGC, the Bassij, the State Security Force (SSF), and the industries run by the Defense Ministry are giant cartels loaded with wealth which still remain untapped. No funds were donated to the country’s hospitals and medical clinics by the banks and the 7,000 financial and credit institutions belonging to Khamenei’s family and the IRGC which have plundered the people’s savings for years. And the regime refused to spend from the so-called National Development Fund to save the lives of the infected individuals.
Fourth, under the pretext of combating the disease, Khamenei formally tasked the General Staff of Armed Forces to set up a military and intelligence base to handle some of the duties of Rouhani’s despondent and failing government. In fact, he set up a military government to control the situation and counter any popular protests.
In recent days, the regime’s expert institutes have openly warned that the Coronavirus crisis could pose “a multitude of threats to the country’s security and stability and lead to dangerous rebellions.” They have reiterated that “although Coronavirus outbreak exists in other countries, in Iran, it will be joined by past incidents, including the November 2019, and could lead to rebellions.”
Amid all this, Khamenei ordered the Guardian Council to consider the national budget, without allowing the parliament to deliberate on it. Now, Khamenei has concentrated the command of all matter in his own corrupt office and practically monopolized the power in his own hands.
In this way, he has closed ranks against the popular uprisings and protests. Obviously, this is the regime’s weakest and most fragile state in recent years.
During a demoralized cabinet session on the eve of Nowruz, Rouhani urged the people of Iran to compare Tehran with London, Berlin, and Paris to see that their store shelves are empty, as if the abundance of goods in Iran had exhausted the people.
Addressing the crisis of shortage of hospital beds, he said, “20 percent of hospital beds in Gilan are empty.”
Shame on this deceptive regime. This charlatanism is unique to the mullahs’ rule and is, of course, another sign that the mullahs do not have the slightest intention of fighting the Coronavirus.
Freedom and democracy and protecting people’s health in Iran require regime change
The most significant consequences of this situation are the following:
For years, Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards portrayed their crimes and terrorism in the Middle East as a sign of their power. But the Coronavirus crisis, which has spread in Iran more than any other country in the region, proved the incapability, decadence and fundamental weakness of the religious tyranny. So far, none of the countries in the region has been so disastrously affected by the COVID-19 as has Iran.
There was a time when the regime’s spin doctors, accomplices and agents claimed that Iran would become insecure, chaotic and ruined if the mullahs were overthrown. Today, everyone can see that it is the mullahs’ rule that has made Iran insecure and chaotic. The mullahs have destroyed Iran.
For years, the mullahs have been cracking down on any form of dissent and protests by labeling them acting against national security. Now, it has been proven that the main enemy of Iran’s national security is this regime.
The mullahs’ approach to set up a garrison to cope with the Coronavirus and to send an armored division to the city of Rasht showed that the problem is not the regime being repressive, but that it knows of no solution other than repression, terror, and suppression.
Besides, today, regime change in Iran is indispensable not only to freedom and democracy in Iran but also to the health of each and every individual in Iran and to the protection of their houses, cities and villages against natural disasters.
What must be done?
But, what must be done?
First, the regime must be pressured through protests and international pressure to put the medical resources presently monopolized by the IRGC at the disposal of physicians, hospitals and the public. It must immediately release all prisoners, and particularly political prisoners. The regime must provide physicians and nurses with adequate preventive and medical equipment. It must distribute free preventive and medical equipment to infected patients. It must pay the salaries of workers and employees who do not go to work to stay away from the infection.
Secondly, it is imperative that international bodies stand up to the regime’s criminal policies. We urge supervisory and medical care delegations from the World Health Organization to visit Iran. We urge the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to not delay taking action to save the lives and health of prisoners in Iran.
The UN Security Council should condemn the Iranian regime’s criminal cover-up, costing the lives of people in Iran and other countries.
We call for sending international aid to the people of our country. But that aid must be given to hospitals and the public directly and without any interference on the part of the regime.
The main answer is to rise up and resist against the regime
But the main answer to “what must be done?” is a decisive action which would reap great good from this immense evil. And that is to rise up and struggle, and to resist against the clerical regime.
There is a single solution for Coronavirus, for poverty, for oppression and tyranny. That solution is overthrowing the mullahs’ religious dictatorship in its entirety.
The recent remarks by the Leader of the Iranian Resistance, Massoud Rajavi, in his messages on the Coronavirus crisis show the way to carry out this struggle:
“The Iranian people’s fight against Coronavirus is part of their fateful resistance against Khamenei and the inhuman clerical regime.
“Rebellion in the fateful war against the mullahs.
“Cry out in protest in every street and alley. Iran is blazing. Let the world see and hear that the people of Iran want neither Coronavirus nor the mullahs.
“One has to earn one’s right. One must rebel and pluck it away from the mullahs’ throat.
“The warehouses of the IRGC, the Bassij, the State Security Force, the Army, and all governmental directorates and institutions must be identified and seized in the interests of the people.
Yes, “the prerequisite for victory is rebellion and fierce resistance.”
Solidarity is sprouting everywhere
Is it not true that the essence of Nowruz and spring is to revive life devoid of all despondency and captivity?
Is it not true that Nowruz heralds the auspicious and true destiny of mankind?
Although we are engaged in a ferocious battle against disease, poverty and repression in all our provinces, amid this battle, we are seeking to reach a free society devoid of all forms of oppression and tyranny.
This is why we can see that solidarity is spreading everywhere despite the policy of promoting despair and fear. People distribute free masks; inform and educate each other about health issues, and, in some cities, help child laborers and the youth who sift through the garbage. Spontaneously, they get together to disinfect public places; block the roads to quarantine their cities; and nurses and doctors give their own lives to save the lives of their patients.
Yes, it is our own responsibility, the people of Iran, to protect the people and their health and security through national solidarity and assistance by relying on popular and resistance councils. It is our responsibility to take control of our own destiny.
This is the great Nowruz of the people of Iran, the Nowruz of freedom and popular sovereignty. This is the mission that the Resistance Units and the great Army of Liberation have undertaken.
1398 was the year of deadly crises for the clerical regime
Throughout the past year (1398), not a single week went by without Khamenei and his regime not experiencing mortal tensions.
The regime was beset by tremendous discontent during the uprisings in November 2019 and January 2020. Next, Khamenei held his sham elections which turned into an embarrassing political defeat for the regime. The elimination of Qassem Soleimani upended the regime’s balance, and the uprisings of the people of Lebanon and Iraq undermined the regime’s so-called strategic depth.
The IRGC was placed on the U.S. terror list. Iran’s petrochemical industry, one of the main sources of income for Khamenei’s office, was sanctioned. The IRGC’s missile attack on a Ukrainian airplane and killing its innocent passengers and crew created an irreparable scandal for the mullahs. The regime was blacklisted for money laundering which chocked its financial lifeline even more. Its oil exports plunged to the minimum, and the mullahs ended up with 50% budget deficit. And the regime’s claims of so-called resistance economy fell apart.
The spring of Iran’s freedom is realized by us
On the other hand, the past year was the most brilliant and triumphant era of the Iranian Resistance’s struggle and resistance in recent years, as it pertained to greater popular support, organizational cohesion, political and international achievements, and strategic advancements. Inside Iran, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) expanded its organized network despite massive repression and arrests. Resistance Units multiplied rapidly, carrying out hundreds of activities and operations against repressive institutes, and spearheading the uprisings.
The Iranian Resistance Leader Massoud Rajavi said, “The spring of Iran’s freedom will be realized by us and by our own hands. It will never come for free. If we want it, we can and must achieve it. This is the test, the duty and the responsibility of each and every one of us.”
So, we must congratulate Massoud Rajavi for the advent of nature’s spring as a sign of the inevitable spring of freedom. He has guided the Iranian Resistance towards the realization of Iran’s social and political spring. We also congratulate members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and the Mojahedin as well as Resistance Units and supporters of the Resistance in and out of Iran.
The year which we will begin today is the last year of the 14th Solar Hijri century. This century was marked with the reign of four murderous kings and mullahs. On the other hand, it marked the greatest and longest lasting relentless resistance in the history of Iran, offering a democratic alternative from amid a bloody struggle filled with suffering, executions and massacres.
May victory, people’s sovereignty, and lasting freedom culminate in the new history of Iran in the start of the 15th century.
Let us forge ahead on this path with all our might and everything in our power.
May God bless the people of Iran with health, goodness and prosperity.