These days Iran has a very high Covid-19 death toll. Due to the regime’s inhuman policies, the virus has claimed over 129,900 lives, according to reports tallied by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
By reopening schools and public places, the regime has triggered a national disaster and the most innocent victims are children and young students.
Afshin Tarkarani, the governor of Selseleh county in Lorestan province, said that in one day 39 students had tested positive, and due to the spread of the virus in this area the schools of Alshotor and Firouzabad are closed. He also emphasized that the positive cases are among primary school students 7-17 years old.
While the country is suffering from a high number of casualties due to Covid-19, regime President Hassan Rouhani made bogus remarks recently in a coronavirus Task Force session. “We have 14 million students, and add to that the universities and religious schools, it increases to 20 million. For us, it was particularly important to reopen schools during the pandemic,” he claimed.
According to Rouhani’s cabinet spokesman, currently 15 provinces are in red and 11 in the state of alert.
Physicians on reopening schools
Dr. Alireza Marandi, head of the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences, expressed his concern in a letter to Rouhani regarding the Covid-19 spreading at alarming speed and urged schools and colleges to be the last centers to reopen.
Hossein Kermanpour, Secretary-General of Public Relations and International Affairs of the Medical Council and Head of Emergency at Tehran’s Sina Hospital, also weighed in on the important topic of reopening schools. “The circumstances are not ready to reopen schools. All the known figures of the medical community protested against all political factions regarding this issue,” he explained.
Dr. Abbas Aghazadeh, head of the General Assembly of the Medical Council, asked the Coronavirus Task Force to not allow the reopening of schools across the country. “Many countries that are in better conditions than in Iran and have a much lower death toll are cautious in reopening schools,” he wrote in a letter to Education Minister Mohsen Haji Mirzai.
Dr. Ali Akbar Haghdoust, chair of the Epidemiology Committee in the National Covid-19 Task Force, said the necessary conditions for reopening schools must be a reducing trend of the virus.
“Scientifically, schools and universities can be reopened when we witness a virus-reducing trend in the specific area for at least ten days. However, at the moment, the situation in our provinces is red and they are at facing the peak of the disease,” Haghdoust added.
Why did the regime suddenly reopen schools?
Before reopening schools on September 5, the regime first prepared the grounds by launching propaganda campaign for the so-called online schooling methods. However, soon people found out that a third of students across the country have no access to the internet due to poverty, and an online method for the country’s education system lacks the necessary facilities and requirements.
Despite all the advice from doctors and specialists, the regime’s Education Minister announced the decision a night before reopening schools. “All over the world, the principle method for education is face-to-face, because no other education method will replace this,” he said.
Mehdi Esmaili, a member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) and the Parliamentary Education and Research Commission, criticized the regime’s Education Ministry in remarks made to the Tasnim news agency, an outlet linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force. “The Education Ministry made a hasty decision to reopen schools and did not inform the parliament about the reopening date,” Esmaili said.
In recent months Iran has faced an escalating rise in the number of positive Covid-19 cases, patients hospitalized, and deaths.
Senior regime officials including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Rouhani refused to quarantine the country by calling it the “enemy’s will.” Also, despite warnings by many experts and regime officials, the regime proceeded with reopening public places, schools, and universities and allowed the Muharram mourning ceremonies to take place.
Mohammad Ali Mohseni, a member of the Majlis Health Committee said to the semi-official ILNA news agency that if the regime continue as they have during the past eight months, not only a fourth peak, but there will be “a fifth, sixth, seventh and … peak.”
“With 14.7 million students across the country and 2 million going to classes in Tehran, there’s concern that even if one percent of this population contracts coronavirus we will be faced with a human catastrophe,” said Shahrbanu Amani, a member of Tehran City Council on September 23, according to the state-run Arman-e Meli daily.
Despite the fact that the Covid-19 catastrophe in Iran was preventable, Khamenei has sought to use it as a tool and an opportunity to preserve his rule. With a high number of casualties, the regime sought to spread a sense of utter despair throughout Iran’s society after a major uprising that shook the foundations of the mullahs’ four-decade rule.
“Reopening schools and students physically taking part in their classrooms is a genocide,” a piece published in the state-run Resalat daily on August 6 stated.