For years, Iran’s economy has been spiralling out of control. In August, the rate of inflation was 42.5 percent, with bread prices reportedly rising by 50 percent.
Failed government policy
These figures were directly publicised in state-run media, which would ordinarily be expected to hide indicators of failed government policy.
However, as the crisis has deepened, many official media outlets have found it increasingly difficult to hide the seriousness of the problem or even toe the regime’s line by blaming the problem on foreign reasons such as US sanctions.
The tsunami of poverty
“Today, the scale of these problems has reached such a level that even if all US economic and banking sanctions on Iran were lifted tomorrow, this action will have little effect on solving the roots of the country’s economic problems and rescuing people from the tsunami of poverty,” according to a recent report in the Jahan-e Sanat daily newspaper.
Such comments, coming from such ostensibly loyal sources, undercuts efforts by the regime and its defenders throughout the world to blame not only US sanctions, but also other external reasons like the pandemic, for the regime’s difficulties.
The public health crisis
While it is reasonable to conclude that the public health crisis has had a negative impact on the economy in Iran, as it has in most other countries, it is important to note that this impact has been exacerbated by Tehran’s failure to manage the crisis and, in fact, has made it worse in various ways since the beginning.
Essentially, the regime’s strategy for dealing with the health crisis consists of blatant denial of the virus’s presence in the country for more than a month, followed by dramatic under-reporting of infection rates and death tolls once the virus’s presence was confirmed.
Coronavirus crisis in Iran
Of course, the state-controlled media continues to fail to provide an objective evaluation of the issue. If true death tolls were reported, individual outlets would almost certainly be shut down by government authorities.
However, even mild criticisms might prompt more ordinary Iranian citizens and interested parties from around the world to seek out alternative sources of information about the coronavirus in Iran.
Iranian coronavirus illnesses
Since before Iranian coronavirus illnesses were officially reported, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), has been a primary source of that information. In early January 2020, the MEK network got records from the National Emergency Organization showing that such diseases had been diagnosed but brushed under the rug.
The MEK’s statistics depict an even more bleak image, naming Iran as one of the world’s worst-affected countries, with an overall death toll of roughly 408,800 and daily death tolls in excess of 2,000.
This is approximately four times the total death toll stated by the Iranian regime, but even the lower figure has prompted a rare outpouring of criticism from state media outlets and outgoing Iranian Health Ministry employees.
Khamenei barred vaccination imports
Dr. Alireza Zali, one of these officials, gave interviews last month in which he accused regime officials of avoiding the acquisition of successful foreign vaccines not because of any safety issues, but merely because of their cost. Meanwhile, in January, the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei barred vaccination imports from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.
The Covid-19 crisis in Iran may have been avoided by now if the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, had not banned vaccines in early 2021 and kept the public in the dark about the situation. Officials from the dictatorship refused to declare a nationwide lockdown, and when they did, they refused to provide financial support, pushing people back to work.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said that with the most conservative estimates, the Coronavirus death toll has exceeded 408,800, the largest per capita death toll anywhere in the world. Mrs. Rajavi expressed her condolences to the general public, especially the victims’ relatives, and wished the patients a speedy recovery.