In a scene reminiscent of a dark satire but unfortunately, no joke, Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy minister of health, appeared at a televised news conference to assure the Iranian public that the Iranian government had the coronavirus outbreak under control. He was sweating profusely and obviously unwell. Later, the Iranian government acknowledged he had caught the coronavirus and entered quarantine.
Iran already has the highest death toll outside of China, and that is just with the numbers the Iranian government acknowledges. There is no reason for the widespread outbreak in Iran other than regime incompetence and venality. As with the Chinese government, the Iranian regime’s first approach was to deny and cover-up. It is the knee-jerk reaction for the Iranian regime and was also on full display in Tehran’s initial reaction to its downing of a Ukrainian jetliner. There is an irony, here, in that in the wake of the 1978 Tabas earthquake, it was the incompetence of the shah’s regime juxtaposed with the efficiency of clerical charities that catalyzed the Islamic revolution.