Islamic Republic’s Responsibility of Coronavirus

By:Omar Balaki

For more than a few weeks, a deadly epidemic illness has affected many countries, including Iran, a country most affected by the virus. The data indicate that due to the negligence of Islamic Republic officials, the country will not be able to prevent further spread of the virus soon.

Public health is one of the most basic yet universal and essential elements of human rights and international legislation has given a particular importance to the issue of public health. Paragraph 1, of the Article 25, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right to public health and access to health and medical care for all. Also, as a part of Article 12 of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Convention, adopted in 1966, one of the primary tasks of governments is to prevent epidemics, locally or internationally, and fighting and finding solutions to these diseases should be the primary mission of governments.
As the virus commence to spread, the Chinese government used its entire financial and human resources to battle the virus. To this purpose, they blocked access to the epicenters of the disease, prevented unnecessary traffic within the cities, and also urged people to abide by the rules to protect themselves and others not to face legal consequences. Confronting the virus, The UK government has passed a law giving hospitals and medical centers full authority to prevent patients infected with the virus from leaving the medical center without permission.
The Islamic Republic’s response to the epidemy has been in contradiction with international law and customs. For example, on February 25, the BultanNews website, run by the Revolutionary Guards, published a news story with the headline of  "The ridiculous rumor  about the Corona outbreak in the Kurdistan province by the counter-revolutionary". The story quoted the  head of Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences saying "All the news about the widespread of coronavirus in the province is false and untrue." In early March, two people were reported dead in Qom due to the virus, the public heakth authorities and numerous social and cultural activists,politicians, and artists called for the city of Qom to be quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus. But in his speech on March 3, Mohammad Saeedi, the Iranian supreme leader representative in Qom, said "Trump is an enemy of the Islamic Republic and in order to revenge Qom he is spreading the news to denounce. He also added that Trump wants to show that the city is insecure and hazardous, but this dream will be buried with him. In this regard  Khamenei in a speech said that the news about the spread of coronavirus was a joke, and indicated that  it was an "enemy effort" to scare people away from voting. The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, called COVID19 propaganda by enemies, as well. 
Due to the negligence of the Iranian authorities, in a short period, the coronavirus spread in Iran and so far it has killed more than 750 people and affecting more than 15,000 people (as of March 25), according to the reports. The virus has created a great deal of fear and frustration in the Iranian society; and it has revealed the incompetence and inefficiency of the government authorities.
While it is very difficult to stop the spread of the virus, setting taugh health and social measures can effectively protect the community from the COVID-19. It is essential for  governments to be at the forefront of maintaining public health. The reports indicate that during this period, the Iranian authorities tried  to put the responsibility on the alleged enemy of theirs to conceal their weakness in controlling and fighting the virus It is evident that the Islamic Rrpublic has killed and sacrificed a large number of its citizens for the last 41 years, and has suppressed the opposition and any dissenter protesters in harshest way. If the Islamic Republic's system had acted as a responsible system, it would have put the following points into action while dealing with this hard situation: 
First, the role of a responsible government is to confront the crisis as soon as they find it, and they should alert the public immidiately and endeavors to help public overcome the crisis by adopting relevant and scientific solutions. But we saw that Islamic Republich authorities like they have done during the previous crisis, sacrificing the poor people, they want to cover  tings up and hide the truth from the people this time too because the truth will uncover this regime’s incompetence.    
Second, the government should have halted all air, sea, and land travels to China, and  appropriately isolate any passenger originating or passing through China into Iran. On the contrary, of the total number of Iranian flights for passenger and cargo transportation, after the spread of the coronavirus was publicized, 34 flights from Iran to China transported passengers and cargo. 
Fourth, a responsible government, in the face of such a crisis, would have used all its financial and human resources to overcome the crisis with the least amount of toll. But on the contrary, instead of the allocation of the required resources, the IRGC controlled all the resources needed to deal with the infection and has the monopoly of the market. 
Third, to prevent the widespread of the virus, Qom and the religious centres in Iran should have been quarantined for a specified period of time.
Finally, the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in dealing with the coronavirus, as in many other respects in the course of last 41 years, is based on a security and religious outlook, while it should be scientific and proactive. 

Translated By:Houshyar Honar Pajooh