#KhameneiVirus That’s the most popular hashtag trending on twitter among Farsi social media
By MECRA STAFF
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader recently refused the US offer to help Iran fight coronavirus. Nevertheless, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the incompetence of the regime in managing the crisis, the number of infected ones rises hourly. Iran's official numbers put the infections at more than 24,000 by March 24.
In his televised speech to mark the festival of Newroz, Khamenei called the American offer to Iran a "strange thing," while noting the Americans themselves have shortages and asked which wise man would accept their aid while the Americans themselves are accused of creating the virus. This was a conspiracy theory the regime has pushed over the first weeks of March 2020. He also called the US Iran's first enemy whose "terrorists leaders are liars and charlatans."
Iran's Health Ministry spokesperson announced on Tuesday morning March 24 that the number of those infected has risen to 24,811. And in last 24 hours, 211 infected people lost their lives. In total the death toll is 1,934. "Based on our information every 10 minutes one person dies of the coronavirus and 50 people get infected every hour in Iran." Kianush Jahanpur tweeted.
While Iran is amongst the hardest hit by coronavirus and many Iranians self-isolated themselves and their families, three days ago in Tehran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) held a street funeral for Hossein Assadollahi, an IRGC senior commander that fought alongside Qasem Soleimani in Syria. He's famous for being a top commander that never said no to Qasem Soleimani's orders in Syria. Iran announced that he was martyred due to chemical injuries remaining from the Iran-Iraq war. But it has been widely reported that he died from the coronavirus.
Photos of the street funeral went viral and infuriated Iranians. They set up a twitter storm hashtag #khameneiVirus to condemn the regime and called Khamenei, more of a killer than the pandemic. The IRGC immediately responded to calm the situation and announced the funeral was spontaneous and that they had no plan for it. They claimed all those who attended wore masks and gloves.
Iran's Health ministry spokesperson tweeted photos of hundreds of IRGC and other officials attending the funeral and wrote "It's obvious, no need for explanation." Iranians responded that if it was spontaneous, then how was it that all IRGC media stations were there to provide coverage.
"If you want to get rid of us, put us all in airplanes and target it with your missiles" one Iranian user tweeted, referring to the Ukrainian airplane that was shot down by an IRGC anti-aircraft missile in January. Another Iranian twitter user wrote "corona in 40 days Killed 1,556 Iranian, Khamenei killed 1,500 Iranian in TWO DAYS, referring to Iran's suppression of November 2019 protests. Tell me who is the virus?" Another wrote: "Not Only Khamenei is the virus, the whole Islamic Republic of Iran is a Virus." In addition another noted: "He's not our leader, he's an International terrorist."
"We, Iranians condemn the recent speech from Khamenei. These statements only come from the sick mind of a dictator who is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic in his own country."
Pro-regime users noted: "Ayatollah Khamenei isn't the first leader to announce that COVID-19 was created by the US. But the impact of his remarks is that strong that it scared the Americans and made them hastily respond."
"Each of us who die, 45 hezar toman will go back to them per month. Our death make them happy," a social media user said (every month Iran bank transfer 45 Hezar toman ( less than 5 USD) to all Iranians in the country).
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani in a Twitter message wrote: "Only US politicians see coronavirus as an opportunity for continued hostility, like Wilbur Ross are happy about the outbreak in China and its positive effects for the US or Mike Pompeo's propose for military invasion of Iran. Which sick and criminal brain is the source of CoronaVirus?"
So far 16 regime senior figures are reported to have died of the virus. For instance Ayatollah Bathaee, representative of Tehran in the Assembly of Experts was one of the most influential regime members that died due to infection with coronavirus. Former Ambassador to Syria Hossein Sheikholeslam is also among the major figures that lost their lives to Covid-19.
Sources in Tehran, Qom and some other cities describe a shortage of medications, and even the most basic needs, such as masks and gloves in hospitals. A family member of an infected person said in a phone call from a hospital in Tehran that they asked her to find some pills and bring it to the hospital for her mother. She finally found the pills in Naser Khosro Street (a famous black market street in Tehran where you can find everything). For each tablet she had to pay about 350 USD. Because of having no space in the hospitals, they told the rest of her family to quarantine themselves at home. They didn't have test kits to examine them.
Photos published on Iranian social media show that in Tehran and Mashhad's hospitals, beds have been placed in car park areas, such as multi-level garages.