On the anniversary of the 2019 protest in Iran, state-run media have acknowledged that the government is using COVID-19 as a way to prevent the restive society from another nationwide anti-establishment protest.
However, President Hassan Rouhani has refused the two-week national lockdown that medical experts and local politicians have been calling for, citing the economy. Someone should tell him that dead people don’t spend money.
“Experts’ proposal to close crisis centers for two weeks was not approved yesterday at a meeting of the National Combatting Covid-19 Task Force chaired by Hassan Rouhani. So, who is responsible for the rising death toll?” Vatan-e Emrooz daily wrote Sunday, November 15.
While Resalat daily questioned how anyone could believe that the state was concerned about the economy when they “ruined the economy within the last seven years”. This is an important point because the government has long tried to blame sanctions for the economic decline, even though the real cause is the ayatollahs’ missile building, terrorism funding, and institutionalized corruption. They also asked what the economic cost is of thousands of deaths per day.
“We would certainly see severe consequences and pay a heavy price with so many people losing their lives. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that the methodology of preventing and spreading the coronavirus has been completely wrong from the beginning. So far, the government has made no effort to control the virus,” Jahan-e Sanat daily wrote.
We should note that Rouhani is not alone in weaponizing COVID-19 against the people; after all, it was Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who called it a “blessing” and many other officials have refused to come out in opposition to it.
Hamdeli daily asked on Saturday how many people would have to die every day for the government to make a COVID-19 plan.
“If the government cuts the budgets of institutions that have no interest in the present and the future of the country, yet have a budget line, or cuts the salaries of tens of millions of government officials, it may be able to alleviate some of its financial problems. The government could also then help people amid the coronavirus crisis,” Hamdali wrote on November 14.
This suggests that the ayatollahs’ plan to use COVID-19 and the rising death toll to prevent another protest has failed.