Tzvi Yechezkeli, a leading Arab affairs correspondent in Israel and head of the Arab desk at Channel 13 News, spoke on Israel’s Radio 103FM on Friday about the severe outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran.
“Every hour, three Iranians die from the coronavirus and more than 40 are infected. The Iranian regime fears its own fate.”
“This pandemic is a threat to the regime,” Yechezkeli asserted. “I don’t know if it’s a critical threat but certainly a strategic one. If they don’t wake up and try to take control of the situation, they ultimately won’t be able to disregard this factor.”
“Iran’s death toll is one of the highest in the world and this is only the data that the Iranians are publicizing [which is likely false and far below the actual numbers].”
“Do the Iranians really have the capability in terms of infrastructure, discipline, order and control to defeat this pandemic? The answer is no. The same Iranians that constantly repeat ‘Death to America and death to Israel’ are now requesting help. Apparently the situation is completely out of control.”
“I heard about a Shiite cleric who said: ‘What a blow Allah brought to strike the West,” Yechezkeli added. “[The cleric] is no longer alive, he’s already buried.”
Yechezkeli also explained why so many of the Iranian elite have been infected and/or died, explaining that the virus originally was brought to Iran “from students who were studying in China and were evacuated from there, from the first city where the epidemic broke out.”
Yechezkeli explained that in Iran, only the children of government officials can afford to study abroad. “This could be why all the government meetings, the Supreme Council and city councils are all carried out in isolation or with masks. Because the senior officials in Iran and their families and relatives go abroad. They were the first to be harmed and they were the first ones to spread it.”
“I think that the Iranian public now understands that there’s a regime here that doesn’t exactly worry about their plight. There are entire areas in Iran where the citizens themselves are enforcing quarantine there. They are overseeing the closure of their neighborhood themselves and managing some type of procedure to determine who is sick. They don’t even have the ability to diagnose it.”
Yechezkeli compared the situation in Iran to that of Egypt which has a similarly sized population. “In Egypt, there are 275 people infected with the coronavirus and seven fatalities. This is not a country with [great] capabilities and infrastructure but with an organized government that is ready to take care of its citizens, [the coronavirus] can be defeated. This doesn’t exist in Iran. This shows us the huge governmental vacuum in Iran and the lack of capability of this government – aside from making external threats – to mange the country internally.”
“They’re releasing prisoners now. There are mass pardons because they’re not succeeding in managing the prisons. What’s more, there are satellite photographs of mass graves that have already been dug for coronavirus victims. The opposition is talking about numbers of 6,000 and even 10,000. Apparently we’re only at the beginning of this story.”
Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejected Washington’s offer of humanitarian assistance on Sunday and a Jerusalem Post report on Monday said that Iran also lied to its people about its claim that they lack coronavirus test kits due to sanctions.
The Post article quoted the website Iran International which said that it “received documents that disprove the claims made by Iranian officials about the lack of coronavirus test kits In Iran due to sanctions. The documents seen by Iran International show that Iranian officials received the first offer to import test kits on January 25.“
Iran has been permitted to receive humanitarian and medical aid through Switzerland since February and through a European Union channel since last year.
Iran International said that it has documents in its possession that attest that “several Iranian companies received orders to import coronavirus test kits from December 24 until late February. Arina Life Science, Fardad Azma Rad, Pishgam Biotechnology, and Viragene are among the companies that have been importing test kits into Iran.”
The website also says that: “Recent evidence that Iran International has previously published also disproves the claims made by President Hassan Rouhani about Islamic Republic officials being unaware of the coronavirus outbreak before February 19, and shows that in fact, they were aware of it weeks earlier.”
The latest deaths bring Iran’s overall toll to 1,812 amid 23,049 confirmed cases.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)