WASHINGTON, DC- The coronavirus outbreak has reached 105 cities in all 31 provinces of Iran. Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Iran, particularly the families of the 2,000 people who have thus far lost their lives to this otherwise preventable infectious disease. The cases of corona virus in Iran which reportedly originated from several Chinese travelers in the city of Qom is spreading in Iran at a fast pace due in large part to:
State-sponsored plot to conceal the outbreak prior in the weeks preceding the sham parliamentary election. As early cases of infection were reported, regime officials continued their willful negligence continued to deny active cases as of late January 2020. Even today, regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei insists that the coronavirus “is not that big a deal,” signaling regime officials to continue to conceal the truth.
Even after all airlines banned flights to and from mainland China,, Iranian Airlines, particularly the IRGC owned Mahan Air, continued to fly to and from from China. Refusal by regime President Hassan Rouhani, the RGC and the other officials to establish necessary quarantine to prevent the virus from spreading.
Regime’s failure to provide the public adequate early public guidance, and warnings. Lack of public access to essential sanitary supplies and gear, such as masks, gloves, and disinfectant chemicals.
Lack of readily available public health resources such as preventive, curative, rehabilitative, palliative care; compounded by mullah’s failure to make available to medial staff, much needed protective gearand equipment..
Hoarding of supplies, medicines and equipment by the IRGC and other regime related businesses and distributors – creating a black market for the most basic preventive needs of the public.
Delayed closing of schools and large gatherings.
On March 5th, Dr. Massoud Mardani, an infectious disease specialist and member of the National Influenza Committee said in an interview with the state-owned daily that coronavirus, “is circulating at great speed, as one contaminated person can infect four others, we estimate that 30 to 40% of Tehran’s population would be infected by the virus in two weeks.”
Considering the 15 million population of Tehran metropolitan areaan, 5 to 6 million people are thought to be at high risk of acquiring the infection. The most alarming aspect of this outbreak is the situation in Iran’s prisons. Based on reports we have received from Iran, the virus is fast spreading among the prisoners, particularly political prisoners – in Urmia, Sheiban, Kashan, Evin, Karaj, Gezel Hesar and other large prisons. Intentional or not, such negligence couldlead to another silent massacre of the political prisoners in Iran.
Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) urges the United Nations and all other international human rights organizations to condemn the Iranian regime for its concealment and deceptive approach in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. More specifically, we call upon the international community to take urgent action in saving the lives of the innocent public, including the prisoners and help prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe in Iran.