Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, December 21, 2020—Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei shed crocodile tears for the hardworking doctors, nurses, and health care workers in a televised address on Sunday, trying to erase a year of destructive policies and mismanagement with shallow words of praise.
But Khamenei’s ridiculous show of affection does not change the critical and tragic situation the country’s health care system has been facing since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. A look at remarks made by officials and state-run media sheds light on the truth.
The conditions of Iran’s nurses
On December 20, the state-run Hamdeli described the situation as such: “Very few nurses in hospitals are faced with an increasing number of Covid-19 patients and they are in a war of attrition… Until now, more 60,000 nurses have contracted Covid-19 and more than 100 have lost their lives.
Hamdeli further quotes, Mohammad Sharifi Moghadam, the secretary of Home of Nurses, as saying, “These years, nothing has been done for the nurses. All the promises and support are on paper. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, we were lagging in terms of the number of nurses. During the Covid-19 outbreak, this shortage of nurses became worse.”
In an interview with Farhikhtegan on December 20, another state-controlled media outlet, a nurse said, “Which problem should I speak of? We have many problems? You mean to tell me the country’s officials don’t’ know the troubles nurses face?… We face discrimination… we are struggling with our livelihoods and we can’t manage with 20-30 million (rials). We don’t have job security… with have much bigger problems, but who is listening?”
The state-run television aired a report on December 17, in which it admitted that nurses have to “work at two or three hospitals” to earn their living.
Khamenei’s hasty remarks
The outrage of the nurses’ community at the government’s mismanagement of the outbreak has gotten regime officials worried, especially since there’s a strong emotional bond between nurses and the people, and their rage will quickly spread across the society.
This explains why Khamenei suddenly gave the live televised speech without prior notice and futilely tried to show affection toward the country’s nurses.
But why the haste?
It is clear that if Khamenei was really resolute in containing the coronavirus outbreak, he had many options to prevent such disastrous outcomes. Like the leaders of many other country’s Khamenei could have used the financial resources of the government and his own huge fortune to save lives and prevent the spread of the virus. But his only measure was a one-billion-euro budget allocated to the Covid-19 response. Even this half-measure was not carried out in full.
As regime health minister Saied Namaki said in October, “From the 1 billion euro that was agreed that we take from the development fund, we have only received a small portion. I don’t know what other more important task it has been allocated to.” Namaki rhetorically asked, “Where is the 1 billion euros from the development fund that was supposed to be allocated to the coronavirus response?”
It is of course clear what happened to this money. Like all the other assets and resources of the Iranian people, it has been spend on the regimes security apparatus or its terrorist ambitions abroad, or has been gobbled up by the many corrupt officials and institutions who are running the country.
On December 19, Hamdeli wrote that corruption among officials has created a “deep rift between the poor and the rich” and warned that the patience of the impoverished segments of the Iranian society is wearing thin.
Iranian health care workers
Understanding this situation, Khamenei has found no other solution than to give a televised speech of praise for nurses and try to lay the blame on other officials. “Three or four years ago, I said that we need to hire 30,000 nurses, but officials did not comply,” Khamenei said in his speech.
But even Khamenei knows that such remarks are too little too late. His regime has had ample time and resources to address the needs of nurses, workers, teachers, farmers, and all other hard-working communities of the Iranian society. While Khamenei’s remarks will not translate to improvements in the situation of nurses, they highlight one reality: With every passing day, the regime becomes more isolated and alienated among the people, and it is only a matter of time before the outrage of the masses will explode.