By Pooya Stone
This week, Iran’s ayatollahs engaged in new adventurism while the country is still reeling under the strain of the novel coronavirus and doesn’t need additional stress. Iranian rulers spend national resources on unnecessary programs while begging for a $5-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Commander Hossein Salami acknowledged on April 22 that the IRGC Aerospace Force had successfully launched a satellite. According to SpaceX, the total cost of a project to design, build, and deploy a satellite into space is estimated about $10 billion.
Previously, on April 16, Hossein Khanzadi, the Commander of the Navy, announced the start of the production of a nuclear destroyer. Officials claimed that building an atomic submarine called the Fateh (Conqueror) is a sign of the country’s “progress and growth.” “The Islamic Republic’s position toward nuclear energy is clear and transparent and the supreme leader Ali Khamenei frequently insisted on it. The nuclear programs’ officials and the authorities all know the framework and take steps in this framework,” Khanzadi said.
In this respect, the Iranian government’s contradictory moves raise serious questions about the real intentions of the ayatollahs.
Additionally, before the emergence of the coronavirus in Iran, heartbreaking social phenomena like homeless people living under bridges, in tunnels, and even graves have sunk the society in the grief and compassion. However, the ayatollahs never thought about these impoverished citizens.
In reality, the IRGC destroyed the hopes of millions of people for prosperity and welfare by launching a multi-billion-dollar satellite project. In return, the corrupt system kept citizens in poverty and misery. Many coronavirus patients collapse on pavements and hospitals’ yards due to their inability to pay for the costs of hospitalization and treatment.
The regime holds billions of dollars in cash and assets in financial and economic institutions controlled by its supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Yet it still refrains from spending its vast resources to control the spread of the virus. On the other hand, it has shown time and again that it is no shortage of cash to fund weapons-building projects and providing support to its terrorist proxies across the region.
On April 22, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remarked about launching a satellite by Iran in a press conference. “[Iranian authorities said,] ‘We need resources in order to take care of the virus at home. And all the while they are launching satellites, driving ships around the Arabian Gulf, coming and harassing U.S. naval vessels. They continue to underwrite Shia militias; they’re working to support Hizballah. Yesterday my Iranian counterpart – or the day before – was in Syria talking to the butcher in Damascus,’” Pompeo said.
Why the Iranian Government Has to Perform These Saber-Rattling?
Salami, who previously embarrassed himself in the unveiling of a “virus detector,” made another scandal. However, he implicitly revealed that his government has created a “multipurpose” device and a valuable weapon for intelligence warfare.
“After this significant achievement, we obtained a spike in the expansion of our territory and capability in intelligence sectors. [The satellite] managed to benefit and empower us in both Information Technology (IT) and intelligence competitions,” Tabnak website quoted Salami as saying on April 22.
Obviously, the Iranian government is crippled in managing massive crises in the country. It resorted to a hollow show of power instead of solving the people’s socioeconomic obstacles. Authorities attempt to divert the public opinion from their failure in containing the greatest health crisis with these ironic maneuvers, as they recently tried to threaten U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, followed by a severe response on behalf of U.S. President Donald Trump.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
Notably, the ayatollahs’ archenemy, Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/ PMOI), has had an essential role in exposing the government’s secrecy over the coronavirus disaster. The MEK provided precious details about the IRGC’s role in transferring the infectious disease from China to Iran in addition to hoarding hygienic equipment by institutions affiliated to the supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
On April 23, the MEK declared that over 34,200 people have died of the novel coronavirus in around 300 cities across all of Iran’s 31 provinces. The tally has provided by the domestic network of the group while the official figure is near 5,400, less than a sixth of the actual figure.