Does Iran's COVID catastrophe signal the fall of the regime? - opinion

As the pandemic ravages Iran, many citizens claim that in the eyes of the current regime, human life has little value.

Nurses attend to a patient suffering from COVID at a hospital in Tehran last month. (photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
Nurses attend to a patient suffering from COVID at a hospital in Tehran last month.
(photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

It is not an exaggeration to claim that over 95% of the Iranian population is convinced today that the 1979 Shi’ite Islamic Revolution in Iran was an absolute mistake, with horrible consequences for themselves as well as for people in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

In view of what is happening today in Iran – as a result of the regime’s inaction and absence of preventive measures to arrest and combat the alarming spread of corona – nobody can predict what might be the consequences of this state of affairs. But thousands of Iranians, perhaps even millions, may die.

A high percentage of the 90 million Iranians, in Iran and throughout the world, are increasingly convinced that the end of the corona epidemic will also signal the end of the current regime. There are two reasons why a coup d’etat led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps against the National Army of Iran is not possible to contemplate: they have been in control of the national power and the economy etc., ever since the beginning of the Revolution, and secondly, because of their loss of national dignity and legitimacy, the result of which is that the great majority of Iranians do not trust them. They hate them.

For example, Qasem Soleimani – who was killed in January 2020 and who headed the al-Quds Division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps – was responsible for the deaths of millions of Syrian, Lebanese, Yemenite, Iraqi, Afghan and Iranian people, and was a symbol of terror and terrorism in the eyes of the vast majority of the Iranian freedom-seekers.

The general population in Iran has come to the conclusion that Imam Khomeini and his current successor, Imam Khamenei, are basically identical with the 12 historical Imams who preceded them in Shi’ite Islamic religious belief.

 Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi receives the endorsement decree for his presidency from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran August 3, 2021. (credit: OFFICIAL KHAMENEI WEBSITE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi receives the endorsement decree for his presidency from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran August 3, 2021. (credit: OFFICIAL KHAMENEI WEBSITE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

According to the history of Islam, the first Imam, Ali, the cousin of Prophet Mohammed, was reputed to have killed 700 Jews with his sword in one day because they refused to accept Mohammed’s message. This is why the great majority of the Iranian people will in the foreseeable future unanimously get rid of the Shi’ite version of Islam, and become the first Islamic nation to reject Shi’ite Islam as being incompatible with the general culture of Iran.

As opposed to the first 39 years of the Shi’ite Islamic Revolution, the past two years have indeed proved to be decisive in terms of the opposition to the regime. The discovery two years ago of the mummified remains of Reza Shah Pahlavi, the father of the Shah, has accelerated the general desire – and understanding amid the general Iranian population – of the urgent need to transform the political and national system and return it to what it was in the days of the Shah’s monarchy.

From the very beginning, while still a law student in Paris, I followed Khomeini’s arrival in Paris, and was the first to openly and officially express opposition and distress against his revolution, one of the small minority at that time who opposed him and his revolutionary message. Only later did the general population in Iran realize how right I had been from the very beginning, and only gradually come to see how wrong they had been in their favorable assessment of Khomeini and his Shi’ite Islamic Revolution. Today they increasingly recognize that the regime practiced a system of total corruption and misuse of public funds in order to finance terror and dissent in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Due to the loss of respect for Iran throughout the world – including the lack of respect for the Iranian passport, the association of Iran with terror, as well as the decline in the Iranian currency and the losses of the Iranian banks – no fewer than 10 million Iranians have left Iran over the years to settle elsewhere.

It is also clear that in Middle Eastern nations such as Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, there is increasing understanding that the impact of the Shi’ite Islamic Revolution on them has been a largely negative one. In recent years in Saudi Arabia for example, there has been a clear movement to minimize the impact of Shi’ite Islam in national life.

It is safe to say that there has never been in Iran an outpouring of love and respect and admiration for the State of Israel, as the only democracy in the region, and for the Western culture and mentality in general among the many underground anti-regime groups existing in Iran today.

The terrorist regime in Iran obviously wishes to remain in power and will do anything to keep the masses from demonstrating or openly expressing dissatisfaction. Therefore it regards the corona epidemic as simply a convenient means to keep the population quiet and unable to openly express opposition, quietly causing death and fear, whereas only a few months ago 1,500 Iranians were killed in the streets for openly demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the regime.

People shouted in the streets “No Islam, No Koran,” and “Our enemy is here, not in Israel or the USA or elsewhere.” Many young Iranians believe that many Westerners entertained the wrong view of Iran over the past 41 years of the regime, and that the end of the corona epidemic will also inevitably mean the end of a regime that proved itself to be in effect anti-Iranian.

Statistically, we understand that while corona has caused the deaths of less than 2% of those infected by COVID in China and elsewhere, in Iran this is likely to amount to as much as 30% of those infected because the regime is purposely not doing as other countries are doing to combat the disease.

Abbas Mousavi, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said that “we do not accept any offer of help with the basic needs from the United States in fighting the coronavirus.” The officials claim that because of the US financial embargo on Iran, they are unable to purchase the basic materials for fighting against corona despite US officials repeatedly stating that food and medicines are not included in the embargo.

The anti-democratic leaders of the revolution claimed at the time that the Iran-Iraq War was a “gift from Allah,” and today they are also claiming that the corona epidemic is equally “a gift from Allah.”

Many doctors and nurses who are risking their lives in hospitals in Iran to save people claim that in the eyes of the current regime, human life has little value.

The medical services of the regime have apparently falsely attributed the deaths of hundreds of Iranian citizens in different cities to other diseases, and did not give the real reason of their death as being from COVID. The result of this policy is that the virus is deliberately contaminating the public when family and friends of the dead gather for the funeral. In the coming days the regime will be unable to control the epidemic in Iran, and a catastrophic epidemic may ensue that will not only devastate Iran, but could well imperil international health.

Many Iranian intellectuals regard the epidemic as a symbol of the shame of the regime. They urgently request the World Health Organization to intervene to stop a corona catastrophe of holocaust proportions in the near future, with thousands or perhaps millions of dead bodies in Iranian streets.

The writer is founder of the Peace and Love Movement for Iranian expatriates in Israel and throughout the world.