ISSN 2330-717X

State Absence Prevails In Iran – OpEd


The last two uprisings held in November and January, as well as the failed election that proved the illegitimacy of the regime, and finally the outbreak of Coronavirus have exposed the real decay and threat of disintegration within the Iranian regime. Meanwhile, corruption has been institutionalized putting public health at serious risk. 

Even with the Coronavirus killing many Iranians, the Revolutionary Guards and other organizations under the dependency of the Supreme Leader are hoarding necessary medical supplies and selling them in the black market to gain profit. Although the decline had started two years ago, the regime is now entering a new decaying phase. “Iranian society has been infected by unskilled and incompetent executives, a virus that is thousands of times more deadly and devastating than Coronavirus. The virus of ineffective governance and the inability to manage crises have also added pain to the honorable citizens of Iran”, published the pro-government newspaper Hamdeli.

Both the closest to the regime media and social media are criticizing the state of anarchy and the chaotic government’s administration. ‘If this situation continues for another 20 days, regardless of the destruction of public confidence and growing mistrust of officers, we should also wait for the most unprecedented casualty figures”, was published at the Farhikhtegan website.

Why did the regime not declare the state of emergency in the country? How are they advising citizens to stay at home when they did not close any governmental organizations and other institutions? Why are hygienic items not available to the people? Are hygiene items unavailable for the population? Where are all the so-called seized and captured sanitary items? Alongside these questions, it is undeniable that the series of events that took place during the last year, from floods and earthquakes to the popular uprisings as well as the parliamentary elections that at the same time fueled the dissatisfaction, have all contributed to the decline of the Iranians’ resilience. This means that society has reached a point where it can no longer tolerate the regime.

Masoud Pezeshkian, Vice-Chief of the Parliament, said that the ministry of health admitted hiring 2,500 personnel in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, with no authorization from the government. A former commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a private meeting that the crisis within the overall governance has reached its climax. He highlighted that their business has been overrun and the system of governance has become extremely incompetent and that under this critical condition at the highest spheres of power, the regime has lost dominance. All this can be defined as a state of Anarchy.

Another example of this chaotic situation is the decision whether or not to close some routes and the implementation of quarantine remains an unsolved dichotomy in the COVID-19 confrontation national committee. As a result, one day the northern roads of the country are closed and the next day are open, one day Gilan is declared in quarantine and the next day it is denied. This is the exact definition of anarchy and chaos.

Only on March 10, 54 people died, meaning two-person per hour. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is doing its best to hide the real figures and immediately arresting anyone who tries to spread the real numbers, no matter they are doctors or government officials. However, either relying on official or unofficial statistics, it is possible to understand the scale that this whole tragedy has taken. People’s Mujahedin of Iran, the largest opposition force today, supported by its sources inside the country, cautiously estimates a death toll of 15 people per hour, indicating that the regime is unable to resolve the crisis.

Pezeshkian pointed out that 22 out of 100 MPs have tested positive and if we consider the lower strata of society, the rate is much higher than 22%. Hassan Zohouri wrote in the Asr-e Iran website: “45 person per hour, which means that one person is dying by the Coronavirus every 2 minutes. This figure, registered on March 7, reflects the rapid growth of the virus in Iran, bringing the number of infected up to 1,000 in one day. Numbers indicate that the government has not been able to cope well with the outbreak.

A political activist from Rouhani’s faction said that the situation “is worse than the war, very difficult and overwhelming”. He referred to people’s livelihood issues and other problems which are out of imagination and added: “May God help”. And in the middle of this desperate situation, the president of Iran is refusing to accept the command of the COVID-19 confrontation national committee. In a letter to Hassan Rouhani, Head of Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy of the parliament, Mojtaba Zolnouri wrote: “Mr. President, given the current situation and the outbreak of Coronavirus, which is a threat to the Iranian people, there is nothing more important than fighting. Coronavirus is now the most important threat and has shut down the whole country, but it seems that you have more important issues to deal with and do not have time for that”. 

The Revolutionary Guards and other Khamenei’s dependent institutions have 60% of the Iranian economy under their control but they refuse to spend anything in this crisis. Moreover, these autonomous institutions do not report to the president as another proof of the state of anarchy.

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Hamid Enayat

Hamid Enayat is an Iranian human rights activist and analyst based in Europe.

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