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Iran COVID-19 Crisis – Sanctions and Tehran’s Response to the Pandemic

Coronavirus Webinar NCRI has held webinar/press briefing on Wednesday, 8 April on the COVID-19 crisis in Iran

A webinar/press briefing was held on Wednesday, 8 April on the Iran COVID-19 Crisis, touching on the topic of sanctions and Tehran’s response to the pandemic. In this webinar, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) pointed out that the number of the coronavirus fatalities in Iran has exceeded 20,400, according to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) sources from inside Iran.

The speakers of this webinar/press briefing were Dr. Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the representative office of the NCRI in the US, and Professor Firouz Daneshgari, a senior physician at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, who is also the honorary chairman of the International Medical Committee.

The speakers: Dr. Ali Safavi, Alireza Jafarzadeh and Professor Firouz Daneshgari

A 84-page report produced by NCRI, entitled, “Iran’s duplicitous Diplomacy, How the regime is exploiting the Iran COVID-19 tragedy to lift the sanctions”, was presented by NCRI representatives in this webinar.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the representative office of the NCRI in the US

Dr. Ali Safavi said that there is reliable evidence that the Iranian regime knew about the spread of the virus as early as late January, and most likely earlier, but didn’t inform the public or the world about it. In fact, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian regime’s President, insisted that they learned about the spread of the virus to Iran on 19 February.

Dr. Safavi stated that documents obtained by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from the Iranian National Emergency Organization clearly show that several coronavirus patients in Tehran had been hospitalized as early as 25 January 2020. These relate to 11 specific cases. Three of them, dated 28 January, are about three local staff of Chinese embassy in Tehran who were taken to hospital. One explicitly acknowledges that he spent 12 days in China and was back three days prior to that date. In all those cases the first respondents reported they victims had clear signs of COVID-19.

Dr. Ali Safavi

Dr. Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI

Dr Safavi said the criminal cover-up was a key factor in the rapid outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran. Two days after those undeniable documents were published, Hassan Rouhani, in a startling retreat said: “The disease may have been introduced as early as the third week of January 2020 in Iran, but we found out about it in the third week of February. It took us a while to know. All over the world was like this! It took some time to realize they were facing the disease.”

Regarding the MEK’s information based on reports from hospitals, physicians, medical staff, morgues, and mortuaries from all over Iran and the regime’s internal documents, Iran has the highest number of fatalities in the world.

Dr. Safavi said that the regime refuses to provide accurate information about the number of the fatalities, which stand at 20,400 in 245 cities as of today, nearly five times the official figures. because they fear the domestic and international backlash.
He said that the Iranian regime pursues a two-pronged strategy. At home, it is trying to cover up the number of the fatalities, and its incompetence and failure, prompted by political and economic considerations, to adopt necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr. Safavi pointed out that for more than four decades the mullahs devoted all of Iran’s resources to suppression, terrorism, belligerence and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That has devastated the basis of social welfare in Iran as it has become evident during the pandemic.

He continued saying that at the international level, the regime is using the services of its talking heads, lobbyists and appeasement advocates, to claim that the sanctions are hampering its efforts to effectively manage the crisis. Facts on the ground, however, are contrary to such claims and demonstrate that it is the regime, and only the regime, that is responsible for the disastrous spread of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 crisis.

This report will be updated.

About Siavosh Hosseini (351 Articles)
My background is in the visual arts, particularly in photojournalism. I have had the opportunity to cover scores of international artistic and news events in the US and across Europe since the mid-1980s. I was active in television newsrooms and production as a graphic designer and producer for more than 12 years in different television and news outfits in Europe.

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