Iran: Coronavirus outbreak, April, 2020

News from Iran indicates that the regime’s officials have prosecuted another physician who warned people about the spread of the coronavirus. Dr. Rahim Yousefpour from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan Province was summoned by the regime’s judicial authorities. He had to report in on Sunday, April 5, 2020. 

“I warned about Covid-19 a month ago. For this reason, the authorities summoned me eight times. I have to appear in court for telling the truth… If you don’t see me again, it’s not because of being infected with coronavirus or a road accident,” he said in a video published online.  

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the regime’s officials, while trying to cover up and downplay the extent of this crisis, have been arresting those citizens and medical staff who warn or speak the truth about this deadly virus. The regime’s inaction and criminal cover-up has resulted in a rapid spread of the virus across Iran, with nearly 19,000 victims. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) announced on Sunday that the virus has spread to at least 242 cities across Iran with 18,600 fatalities.  

Iranian nurses and physicians have been tirelessly helping those diagnosed with the coronavirus, despite a lack of medical and preventative equipment. They have not hesitated in helping the victims, even at the cost of their own lives. According to the state-run Hamshahri daily, quoting the regime’s head of the Medical Council Mohammadreza Zafarghandi: “So far, about 170 doctors and nurses in Qom have been infected with COVID19, and 37 doctors and nurses have died.” Yet independent sources of the Iranian Resistance and rights groups such as the Iran Human Rights Monitor report that at least 78 healthcare workers were confirmed to have died in Iran’s coronavirus crisis. Iranian people have been praising the medical staff’s selfless efforts by calling them angels and thanking them on social media by using the #Iranangels hashtag. 

The increasing death of the medical staff in Iran elucidates the shortage of medication in Iran. In other words, the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the preexisting shortage of medical facilities, equipment, and medicine in Iran.  

In an exclusive report, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “The Iranian regime has resorted to a systematic campaign to depict US sanctions as the leading cause of those shortages and thus of Iran’s national calamity. Tehran’s lobbies and apologists have echoed this notion.” 

This is shortage of medication is due to the regime’s institutionalized corruption and plundering of the national wealth for domestic oppression and terrorism abroad. Corruption has spread through Iran’s medicine and pharmaceutical sector with the involvement of the regime’s most senior officials. In this regard, on July 15, 2019, Health Minister Saied Namaki said: “1.3 billion dollars for the purchase of medical equipment has gone out, and no one knows who exactly has taken them and what has been brought in and to whom they were handed over.” 

Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, the Minister of Health during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second presidential term, said the following in a TV interview in 2014: “In 2012, at the height of sanctions, I told friends in the government’s special measures committee that you should do everything to obtain foreign currency for medicine. We needed some $2.5 billion worth of foreign currency to import medicine and some medical essentials such as equipment for heart conditions and other necessary items… but only $41 million of foreign currency were given to the Ministry. Some of the money was given to women’s cosmetics and other things… state currency is being used to import Porche cars… our medical equipment and necessary items took only the eighth place in the priority list. Dog food, shovels, and saddles were fourth, fifth and so on.” 

“Imports and the market for medicine are in the hands of specific individuals with unique connections in the regime. These monopolies actively control the market and safeguard the interests of institutions operating behind the curtain,” read the NCRI’s report.  

The NCRI’s report further added: “The regime also imports off-the-market medicine with low prices, and offers them to the internal markets, seriously endangering the lives of patients.” 

Iran in its entirety is ravaged by an institutionalized corruption involving the regime’s top officials. Alongside widespread theft, medical shortages and high prices are caused by monopolies hoarding medicine with the backing of senior officials. The crisis in the making over the years has been highlighted during the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Amid the regime’s hoarding of medical equipment, Iranian physicians and medical staff continue their tireless, yet dangerous efforts in helping those diagnosed with COVID-19.  

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s president-elect, has offered her condolences on the loss of lives and hailed the nation’s doctors and nurses for their sacrifices despite all limitations imposed by the ruling religious fascism. “They are symbols of pride for the Iranian nation,” she said.