Iranian officials warned their country about the coronavirus, now they're also sick
Iranian officials warned their country about coronavirus, now they’re sick
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
“After lying about the plane crash for three days they are now hiding the spread of a contagious disease,” Iranian member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted on February 20. Twelve hours earlier Iran’s Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Massoumeh Ebtekar had also warned that there was an outbreak of coronavirus. “As an immunologist I should note this is a specialized subject and political commentary can be at the expense of the public. Follow WHO guidelines, the Iranian health system is one of the most specialized in the world.”
It turns out that Sadeghi and Ebtekar knew something that millions of Iranians did not: The country was suffering a rapid spread of Covid-19, the coronavirus. Ebtekar, however was muted in her alert due to the elections on February 21 as the government tried to get turnout numbers up. She waited until February 24 to tweet again about the heroic Iranian nurses confronting the virus. She said they were on the frontline.
Sadeghi was more outspoken, tweeting on February 21 that measures to prevent the spread of the virus should be taken. He was concerned that there was nothing on the news about the virus, even as polls closed on Friday. Now Sadeghi and Ebtekar are both reported to have the virus. They are joined by deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi and a local mayor of Tehran, Morteza Rahmanzadeh. Mojtaba Zonnour, head of Iran's parliamentary security and foreign relations commission, also reported Thursday the he has tested positive. Zonnour, who also represents Qom, is now in quarantine.
Sadeghi’s tweets show the seriousness he felt the virus needed to be taken. He said that people were worried. He also criticized the flights from Iran to China and other countries. He was feeling sick by February 23 and accused the government of covering up the real numbers of those infected. He tested positive on the 25th. His tweets show in real-time how the virus spread and the concerns people had. Like other officials though he also think the US and Iran’s enemies are using this against the country. Ebetkar has tweeted a video from the deputy health minister and expressed support for people confronting the virus.
List of officials and important Iranians who may be sick:
Massoumeh Ebetkar (معصومه ابتكار) Vice President, women and family affairs Iraj Harirchi, Deputy Health Minister Mojtaba Zonnour (مجتبی ذوالنور), cleric and official from Qom, national security committee
Mohammed Reza Ghadiri (محمدرضا قدیری), Qom University
Morteza Rahmanzadeh (مرتضی رحمانزاده) local Tehran Mayor
Mahmoud Sadeghi (محمود صادقی), MP Hadi Khosroshahi (هادی خسروشاهی) Former ambassador to Vatican
Ayatollah Musa Shabiri Zanzanji (موسی شبیری زنجانی)
Ali Rabiei (علی ربیعی), politician, spokesman