As Iran scrambles to contain the coronavirus, it has added another high official to the death toll.
A top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died from the coronavirus pandemic. Iran confirmed the death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a senior adviser to the ayatollah on March 2.
The Iranian Health Ministry recorded 523 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours—bringing the total number of people infected in Iran to 1,501, Fox News reported. Other high ranking officials that have become infected include Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, and one of Iran’s seven vice presidents, Massoumeh Ebtekar.
The death toll of 66 in Iran is the highest outside of mainland China.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously expressed concern that Iran was hiding the true number of people from the virus, “The United States is deeply concerned by information indicating that the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country,” Pompeo said.
“All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations,” he added.
Iran has refused offers of help from the United States to deal with the outbreak, with Iran’s Foreign Ministry issuing a statement, “We neither count on such help nor are we ready to accept verbal help.”
One Iranian activist has taken to Twitter to expose what might be responsible for the surge in infections in the country, reports BPR.
Heshmat Alavi tweeted: “For those unfamiliar with the filthy-minded and reactionary regime ruling Iran. The Mullahs’ solution for the coronavirus:
.Take a bottle of water to a mullah
.Ask him to spit inside it for “blessings”
For those unfamiliar with the filthy-minded & reactionary regime ruling #Iran
Mullahs’ solution for the #coronavirus
-Take a bottle of water to a mullah
-Ask him to spit inside it for “blessings”
(Apologies in advance for the disturbing footage.)pic.twitter.com/EDs28kWMWu
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) February 29, 2020
Another issue is the number of pilgrims who visit holy shrines, kissing and touching them. All the while the government has refused to close them down, so people are encouraged to continue their practices.
Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad tweeted, “Iran’s authorities are endangering the lives of Iranians and the world.”
She explained, “Authorities refuse to close down religious shrines there. These pro-regime people are licking the shrines and encouraging people to visit them.”
While the city of Qom is the epicenter of #CoronaVirus in Iran, authorities refuse to close down religious shrines there.
These pro-regime people are licking the shrines & encouraging people to visit them.
Iran’s authorities are endangering lives of Iranians & the world pic.twitter.com/s9o6zYhzNQ
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 29, 2020
President Trump has come under fire from Democrats for his handling of the outbreak, however, after the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China, in late December, the president wasted no time in declaring it a public emergency, and by early January had put into place travel restrictions into the United States from China.
By comparison, during the Obama administration in 2009, when the swine flu infected millions in the United States and killed 1,000, it took President Obama six long months to declare it a public health emergency.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 1, 2020