Who’s to blame for Iran’s coronavirus outbreak?

It is now common knowledge that the regime in Iran is concealing the truth about the coronavirus epidemic engulfing this country. Criticism is escalating over the mullahs’ refusal to impose quarantine measures similar to those adopted by governments across the globe.
As a result, Iran is the source of around nine out of ten COVID-19 cases throughout the Middle East. As of Monday, April 5, Iran is reporting around 60,500 cases 3,739 deaths as concerns grow that officials are deliberately under-reporting the truth.
COVID-19 was discovered in Iran on January 30, according to a report published by the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily.
Weeks of denials provided this dangerous virus ample time to spread throughout Iran as the regime could not afford any element leading to low turnout for its marking of the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 11.
To make matters worse, the mullahs desperately needed a mandate with a large voter participation during the February 21 Majlis (parliamentary) election in which regime authorities urgently sought to claim high popularity and a ratification from the Iranian public.

My theory:–#Iran knew of #Covid_19 on Jan 30-remained silent to ensure large turnout in 1979 revolution anniversary event & Feb 21 elex-now hoarding hygiene products & claiming shortage to seek financial aid (use $ for terror)-demand sanctions be lifted to “fight” coronavirus pic.twitter.com/PDj6qFXWnn
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) March 12, 2020

To this day criticism continues as reports show Iranian authorities were aware of coronavirus symptoms in the country in early February. Other reports indicate an employee of the Ilam Medical Sciences University died of COVID-19 symptoms in Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital on February 2 after being hospitalized for a few days. Lung specialists informed the individual’s loved ones that he/she died of coronavirus. This indicates that the individual could have been infected with COVID-19 as early as January 20.
Hospitals across Iran are overwhelmed with patients being placed in hallways. While regime officials are requesting a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and aid such as 172 million masks from abroad, concerns exist over such aid being allocated for malign objectives, such as supporting terrorist groups checkered throughout the region. The regime is also under criticism over hoarding and even exporting medical goods for revenues to be used by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
The Shokat-pour logistical base in the Mohammad Shahr district of Karaj, west of Tehran, under the command of IRGC Quds Force Colonel Kalateh Arabi, is where hygiene products used against coronavirus (masks, gloves, special gowns and …) are stored, a report indicates. These items are sent to Iraq and Syria to be used by units of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces).

Sensing the escalating pressure of such criticism, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is blaming U.S. sanctions for the regime’s failures and refusal to provide medical aid to the Iranian people. His recent tweets have rallied Iran apologists and lobbyists abroad to push Zarif’s anti-sanctions talking points in western media.
Iran apologists – lobbyists, all connected to NIAC – pushing a certain article in choir fashion
Simple questions Zarif and the apologists/lobbyists crowd dodge are as follows:
-If sanctions are truly hindering Iran’s fight against coronavirus, why did the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi say on February 4, “… medicine & food, as you know, were not on any sanctions…?”
-Did “sanctions” prevent Iran’s regime from stopping Mahan Air flights to/from China?
-Did “sanctions” prevent Iran’s regime from quarantining Qom & other COVID-19 hotspots?
-Why did Iran just spend $67 million redecorating the Zeynab Shrine in Damascus, Syria? Shouldn’t that money be used to provide for the Iranian people during the COVID19 outbreak?
– The regime ruling Iran didn’t have a problem in providing 200 million euros for the IRGC Quds Force, a terrorist-designated group. And they don’t have money for the people?
– The regime in Iran, that Zarif represents, is also asking for a $5 billion loan from the IMF. Why should the international community trust Tehran when according to your own senior official one billion euros for essential goods were “lost”?
– If Iran is requesting a $5 billion “emergency” loan from the IMF, why not first tap the vast riches controlled Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei? The regime dictator oversees an organization called Setad that has assets estimated at about $95 billion, according to Reuters. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, estimates that Khamenei owns assets worth about $200 billion, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Further reports are pointing the finger at the regime’s continued flights to and from China through the IRGC-affiliated Mahan Air airliner (sanctioned as a terrorism-facilitating entity). The regime’s Mustafa Association has actively been involved in transferring Chinese religious students to Iran despite pleas and criticism from the Iranian people to stop this practice.
Iran’s coronavirus outbreak began in Qom, a city in central Iran, located 125 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Tehran, and established as the regime’s religious center.

Even the regime’s own media outlets, highly supervised to control criticism targeting the mullahs, ran pieces with headlines such as: “Mysterious virus at Iran’s gates,” as China initiated a lock-down back in January. All the while, travel between China and Iran continued.
In sudden fashion, Iran’s officials announced two coronavirus deaths on February 19 without any prior reporting of cases. Both victims had died in Qom and people immediately began raising suspicions, citing the fact that it usually takes up to two weeks for COVID-19 symptoms to expand and lead to an unfortunate death. Meaning the victims were most likely infected in early February and further fueling suspicions about the regime keeping a lid on the truth since late January or early February for political reasoning.
Iran’s mullahs refused to postpone the February 21 parliamentary election, suffering the lowest voter turnout since the 1979 revolution. The regime sought a highly needed legitimacy boost following the Ukrainian passenger jet blowout disaster, killing all 176 people on-board, and the November 2019 uprising quelling that left over 1,500 dead, more than 8,000 injured and over 12,000 imprisoned.
For more than a month officials even refused to close highly visited religious sites in Qom and Mashhad, the country’s second largest city in northeast Iran. Such large gatherings provided adequate environments for COVID-19 to spread exponentially. Adding insult to injury, the regime’s religious officials actually encouraged the public to visit these shrines and went as far as claiming the sites cure illnesses.

“House of Cures”
Senior official in Qom, central #Iran”We consider this sacred shrine as the House of Cures.”
Many Iranians are criticizing officials for not closing densely crowded religious sites despite the #coronavirus outbreak.
Shrines provide huge profits for the regime pic.twitter.com/TRLR3psP5S
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) February 26, 2020

Unfortunately, the virus spread with rapid speed and hazmat-suited workers are seen burying coronavirus victims across the country. The Washington Post published a report about trenches and graves being prepared at such a scale in Qom that they could be viewed from space.
In fear of escalating public outrage over the regime’s concealment, officials are now desperate to whitewash their previous failures. “We found out a little late that the coronavirus had entered Iran because we mistook it for the flu,” said Reza Malekzadeh, a deputy health minister.

Knowing the crisis is getting out of control, the regime is resorting to desperate measures both inside the country and abroad. Signs indicate the mullahs’ military and IRGC apparatus are showing a more active presence on the streets, indicating that officials view the COVID-19 epidemic as a potential security threat to their rule. This is especially concerning as a slate of prisons across the country are witnessing riots by inmates protesting the authorities’ refusal to at least provide temporary leave during the coronavirus epidemic.

March 31—Ahvaz, SW #IranMore footage from the riot at Sheyban Prison
Reminder:Riots yesterday at another prison in Ahvaz—Sepidar Prison—led to clashes between inmates & prison guards, leaving three inmates killed & several others wounded. pic.twitter.com/ppykKG9L9G
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) March 31, 2020

In parallel fashion, Tehran apologists and lobbyists are parroting talking points in a last ditch effort to maybe turn the tide of sanctions against the U.S.
What remains certain is the fact that the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran could care less about the Iranian people and the main focus is preserving its rule at all costs.
The regime in Iran, not sanctions, is to blame for the coronavirus epidemic in this country. Joining the U.S. maximum pressure policy will in fact support the Iranian people in the long run of their struggle against the mullahs’ regime.

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Fake news MSM supporting the regime in Iran

By Heshmat Alavi
March 26, 2020—You know the regime in Iran is desperate when a variety of MSM outlets, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today rush to the mullahs’ support with articles by their editorial boards calling on the Trump administration to lift sanctions. USA TODAY falls as low as providing a platform for Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, while describing him as an “Opinion contributor.”
Let’s begin by taking a look at The New York Times piece.
“Demonstrating compassion in times of crisis is good foreign policy,” NYT argues. When correctly translated into plain English, this means let’s return to the Obama-style full-throttle appeasement of this regime and provide it with financial incentives with the knowledge that the money will never be used to support the Iranian people.
NYT says: “Iran has appealed to the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion in emergency funding and a long list of essential equipment…”
Of course, NYT will not tell its readers that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sits on a vast economic empire worth at least $95 billion dollars, according to Reuters. Back in April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad estimated that Khamenei owns assets worth about $200 billion.
If Iran needs “emergency funding” to provide for “a long list of essential equipment,” why does it not simply tap into Khamenei’s own billions? And where is the guarantee that Tehran will not be spending this money to fuel its malign purposes?
Iran’s regime has been known to prop the murders Assad killing machine in Syria along with numerous other terrorist militia extremist groups checkered across the Middle East (Credit: FDD)
Back in 2016 former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry said they realized after the 2015 nuclear deal that some of the generated money would be used by Iran’s mullahs to fuel their terrorist groups. Of course, if Kerry were to honest, he would have said all of that money would be used to fuel Iran’s malign objectives, such as boosting its domestic crackdown machine, supporting terrorism, further developing ballistic missiles, and continuing its clandestine drive to obtain nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, back in July 2019, the chief of staff of Iran’s president himself wrote a letter saying that one billion euros ($1.12 billion) in hard currency allocated for importing medicines and essential goods “has disappeared.” And NYT expect us to trust this regime with a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund?
It is also worth noting that Iranian regime officials stole more than $1 billion in humanitarian funds meant to be used to help the country’s people fight the spread of coronavirus, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Furthermore, despite the coronavirus crisis in Iran, Tehran-backed militia groups in Iraq are continuing their attacks against U.S. forces. Of course, NYT would never mention that and would never call on the mullahs’ regime to allocate the funds used by these terrorist groups to provide for the Iranian people.
NYT goes on to cite an October 2019 report by the Human Rights Watch to further its argument about U.S. sanctions constraining the Iranian regime’s ability “to finance humanitarian imports, including medicines.” What NYT will not tell you is that the HRW report was a parroting of Tehran’s lies and talking points already easily debunked.

LONG THREAD
1)Let’s talk about a recent @hrw report parroting the lies of #Iran’s regime & its apologists/lobbyists about the Iranian people being deprived of medicine due to U.S. sanctions.
This thread digs into what HRW will not tell you. pic.twitter.com/W9oq3MvOLQ
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) October 29, 2019

Furthermore, the report was compiled by Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, who has recently joined the Quincy Institute, a think tank co-founded by Trita Parsi, the founder of NIAC, Iran’s DC-based lobby group. Parsi has always been fond of Whitson’s work as she runs Tehran’s talking points and diverts attention away from the mullahs’ atrocious human rights violations. Whitson’s recent controversial remarks also caused quite a stir that forced her into an embarrassing apology.
NYT argues that “the United States should be at the forefront of offering what help it can.” What NYT will not tell its readers that the U.S. did offer help and Tehran has ruled out help from “foreign forces” in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. Tehran even kicked out a team of Médecins Sans Frontières, but NYT won’t tell you that either.
Why would Tehran kick out a team of foreign doctors seeking to provide help to its COVID-19 crisis?
Simple. The mullahs cannot risk foreign doctors inside Iran seeing the truth of the Iranian people left without adequate support and realizing the astronomical death toll and number of cases. It would reveal to the world that Tehran is lying about its death toll, the number of cases and how it is not providing any decent support for the 80+ millions of Iranians during this crisis.
NYT further argues “American generosity might be the best way of persuading Iran to release American and other foreign detainees.” Such a measure would justify Iran’s illegal apprehension and hostage taking of American and other foreign nationals, encouraging the mullahs to continue with this practice to gain further incentives in the future.
But of course, there is nothing wrong with that the in the eyes of the NYT editorial board. Iran should be held accountable for taking American and other foreign nationals as hostages and using them as foreign policy bargaining chips. The NYT editorial board should be ashamed of such hideous remarks.
In its argument, NYT cites a Foreign Policy magazine piece by Robert Malley and Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group. Malley is a former Obama administration official pushing for a return to appeasing the mullahs’ regime. Vaez is a known Iranian regime apologist parroting Tehran’s talking points whenever possible.
NYT will not tell you that Vaez has very close ties to senior Iranian regime leadership. This is him with former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who was very close to the mullahs’ regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini.
Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group with former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (now dead)
There is good reason why NYT will continue pushing the Iranian regime’s talking points. This thread sheds light on NYT’s direct ties to Tehran and a state-run outlet of the mullahs.

The Washington Post also published an editorial piece calling on the U.S. to lift its sanctions on Iran. The post claims the United States is being blamed by ordinary Iranians for making it more difficult for authorities to combat the epidemic. Yet the Post provides no source for such a claim.
The Post goes on to cite an NYT piece written by Narges Bajoghli of Johns Hopkins University and Mahsa Rouhi of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, two known Iran apologists/lobbyists that have been criticized for pushing Tehran’s talking points. Of course, WaPo will not mention anything about Bajoghli and Rouhi’s ties to Tehran’s lobby.
WaPo argues for the U.S. to greenlight the IMF providing a $5 billion loan to Iran, citing the fact that the “regime has already paroled one of the U.S. citizens it had been holding in its prisons.” Following NYT’s footsteps, WaPo is also justifying Tehran’s practice of taking American and foreign nationals hostage. This is truly shameful for any media outlet.
In another low even for WaPo, the article claims U.S. President Trump launched a confrontation with the Iranian regime, and never mentions the fact that Tehran declared war on the U.S. over 40 years ago, ever since its paramilitary forces climbed up the U.S. Embassy walls in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days back in 1979.

As mentioned before, the USA TODAY actually provided a platform for Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, while describing him as an “Opinion contributor.” Ravanchi used this opportunity to push Tehran’s lies, claiming “Iran’s ability to deal with [coronavirus] in an effective manner is limited due to the unjust U.S. sanctions imposed on the Iranian people.”
Ravanchi also claims: “The U.S. maintains that humanitarian goods are exempt from its extra-territorial sanctions. However, that is not the reality. The financial channel required for facilitating transactions, even for humanitarian commodities, is not available…”
This is a lie. The U.S. Treasury Department specifically indicates: “The United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran by U.S. and non-U.S. persons, provided such transactions do not involve persons designated in connection with Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), or Iran’s support for international terrorism.”
Ravanchi claims Iran “is actually less equipped to contain Covid-19 than others.”
This is also a lie. Iran’s own state-run English media outlets are claiming “Iran exports medical equipment to Europe” and “Iran exports medical equipment to 55 countries worldwide.”
Some 105 medical equipment produced by 23 Iranian companies are exported to 55 countries across the world, Reza Masaeli, an advisor to the health minister said.
“Currently, a total of 280,000 medical equipment is produced in the country,” Fars quoted Masaeli as saying.
While the pro-appeasement MSM outlets seek a soft approach vis-à-vis Tehran and a return to the Obama years of full-throttle appeasement of the mullahs, this is exactly the time to further pressures on the regime and break its back for good. As an Iranian, I know for certain that such a policy would weaken the mullahs’ regime and be in favor of the Iranian people.
Iran’s mullahs are obviously desperate. The very fact that such a choir of MSM articles are calling for sanctions to be lifted under the bogus pretexts of providing medical supplies is a clear sign that Mr. Trump’s maximum pressure campaign is working. Even a small fracture in this initiative, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said three years of hard work have gone into, would be a desperately needed propaganda victory for Tehran. And as always, MSM is ready to pounce on anything anti-Trump and willing to publish anything of any nature, without providing their readers the truth.

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