The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), on April 19, 2021, reported that the regime officials announced that Iranians would now have to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine if they wanted to be protected from the virus anytime soon.
Iranians frustrated and angry
The news comes on the heels of a failed vaccine rollout that has left Iranians frustrated and angry at the government for not doing more to protect them during the pandemic.
Earlier this year, President Hassan Rouhani publicly declared that 15 percent of the population would be vaccinated by May 22. But when that date came, only three million doses were available for the country’s 83 million people; many had not been distributed; and some had made their way to the black market with price tags of up to 2,800 dollars, thanks to the distribution being taken out of the Health Ministry’s hands and entrusted to “private” entities with close ties to the Revolutionary Guards.
Blame the problems on US sanctions
At every turn, Tehran has been eager to blame these problems on US sanctions, but at every turn, that narrative has been undermined by (PMOI / MEK Iran) reporting, details of those sanctions themselves, and the regime’s own conduct.
The still-low number of available vaccines is attributable in large part to the fact that Supreme Leader Khamenei formally banned the import of American- and British-made vaccines – a move that the (PMOI / MEK Iran) suggested might have been motivated by the fear that a timely end to the health crisis would lead to the resumption of mass demonstrations that had become more scarce at the height of the pandemic.
Increase in protest actions
But if forestalling protests were in fact Khamenei’s plan, it appears doomed to fail. In recent weeks, there has been a steady increase in protest actions led by various different groups, in service of various different causes.
Increasingly, though, these causes dovetail with Resistance Units’ efforts to promote another electoral boycott on June 18, when the country’s presidential election is scheduled to take place.
The mullahs regime officials and state-run media outlets have recognized that movement’s momentum and predicted that turnout at the election will plumb new depths, and may then lead to renewed civil unrest.
Nationwide uprising waiting in the wings
In a press conference on Wednesday by Mohammad Mohaddessin, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the National Council of Resistance of Iran said: “The regime will become more vulnerable in the face of the looming nationwide uprising waiting in the wings. And when that happens, it will be far more intense and widespread than in previous years,”.
If this prediction proves true, there will have been many factors contributing to the people’s escalation of their conflict with the Iranian regime. Many of these factors go back years, and many derive from recent boosts to the organizational strength of the Resistance movement.
Preventable deaths of more than 300,000 Iranians
But it is probably difficult to overestimate the impact of public outrage over the largely preventable deaths of 300,000 Iranians, as well as the fact that regime authorities have remained so focused on their self-serving priorities that there is little chance of the mortality rate declining any time soon.