Iran’s coronavirus crisis is deepening, with daily death tolls in the triple digits, while daily infections and deaths in many other countries are declining.
According to a report published by the state-run Tasnim news agency on 19 May, “A periodic comparison of the statistics in the past week shows that the mutated variant of the virus is still active. In some areas, the virus has risen to the point where there is concern that the current small flames of the disease all over the country will suddenly become a worrying crisis or cause the fifth peak throughout Iran.”
In Iran, the great majority of people, including most medical personnel, have not been vaccinated, and no vaccination schedule has been established. However, Hassan Rouhani’s government has made public vaccination contingent on domestic vaccine manufacturing, and it is repeatedly delaying public immunization.
Regime officials, on the other hand, have been vaccinated with the finest vaccine, which Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei had barred from entering the country but is nonetheless being sold at high costs by government-linked dealers.
On 6 January, Khamenei imposed a ban on the acquisition of globally authorized vaccines, stating, “American and British vaccines are not allowed in the country.” This is something I’ve told officials previously, and it’s something I’m saying publicly now.”
“I honestly say to the people that as the president of the country, I have not been vaccinated yet because it is not my turn.” Rouhani declared.
“I am unaware of any high-ranking official in this country who has used or intends to use the vaccine outside of the vaccination plan.” When people ask if I’ve been vaccinated and I say no, they don’t believe me and laugh,” Rouhani told the News Network on 15 May.
Despite Rouhani’s statements, former President Mahmood Ahmadinejad asserted that all officials had been vaccinated, although he did not specify the type of vaccine used and said that it would be done in the future.
Imported vaccinations, which must be distributed to the public by the Ministry of Health, are flooding the underground market, where government dealers are selling them at exorbitant prices to the general public.
Not only has the regime immunized its leaders, but it has also immunized its repressive forces. According to a 19 May report by the Mehr news agency, Hossein Rahimi, the police chief of Greater Tehran, declared that the vaccination of State Security Forces in Greater Tehran had begun.
In this sense, it becomes evident that the mullahs are not only concerned with protecting themselves against the Covid-19, but also with preventing any protests. To avoid rallies and widespread protests, the leadership is purposefully postponing public immunization.
This harsh strategy has stoked differences inside the regime and its forces, and it is likely to lead to popular protests and upheavals against the regime’s leaders, particularly Khamenei.
This is a government that has not only kept the vaccine from the people but has also taken food from their tables, forcing the impoverished to go to work in the midst of the Covid crisis, adding up to the public’s accumulated frustration.