Iran is probably the site of the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, according to data from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), with over 13,000 deaths and a projected one million people infected.
This is corroborated by Western media reports that quote Iranian medical professionals as saying that dozens are dying every day in hundreds of hospitals across the country. It is also backed up by satellite images and eyewitness testimony that mass graves are being dug in at least two Iranian cemeteries to hold tens of thousands of bodies.
It’s hard and dangerous for ordinary Iranians, including medical staff, to communicate with the international community on their own because of harsh punishments doled out by the regime for “rumour-mongering”, which is why the people communicate through the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Of course, even this carries a risk as the regime punishes support for the MEK with the death penalty, which is how the regime has consolidated power for 41 years.
According to the regime, their outbreak is on par with France in terms of confirmed cases, but this is the result of a major cover-up that has seen dozens arrested for revealing the actual figures and has slowed the international response.
The regime isn’t just hiding the spread of the disease, but using their own statistics to reject aid. (Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed the pandemic was the result of an American bioweapon designed to kill Iranians and rejected all US aid, saying that it would worsen the catastrophe. The mullahs also expelled Doctors Without Borders, saying that Iran didn’t need foreign intervention.) It is clear this is just about preventing the true virus numbers from being confirmed by international agencies.
The regime just wants sanctions lifted, which, to be clear, will not help the Iranian people, but just enrich the mullahs. The world should not give in.
The NCRI said: “They must not entertain the idea that relief can be facilitated by simply handing money to the mullahs in the form of sanctions relief. That strategy has never worked before, and it will not work now.”
With a lack of support from the regime, the Iranian people are forced to confront the coronavirus on its own, whilst fighting the regime’s paramilitaries, who are tasked with protecting the regime’s economic interests at any cost. Therefore, any government or NGO that wants to fight the coronavirus in Iran should do so by providing direct help to the Iranian people.