Iran’s official coronavirus figure is only five percent of the real number of cases in the country, an Iranian health official said Sunday, adding that the government “concealed” the outbreak for a month.
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Iran’s official figures are “engineered,” cannot be trusted, and are only one-twentieth (five percent) of the true figures, Mohammadreza Mahboubfar, an epidemiologist and member of Iran’s anti-coronavirus task force, told the Jahan-e Sanat daily newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
The daily newspaper was suspended shortly after the publication of the interview, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.
The Iranian government “concealed” the coronavirus outbreak for a month for “political and security” reasons and decided to announce the outbreak after the anniversary of the 1979 revolution and the parliamentary elections in February, Mahboubfar said.
Regime critics had also previously accused Iran of covering up the coronavirus outbreak to ensure maximum turnout at the rallies celebrating its 41st anniversary in power and the parliamentary elections. Tehran has dismissed these allegations.
Several other officials in Iran have also cast doubt on the official coronavirus figures in the country and have accused the health ministry of lack of transparency.
There is also scepticism abroad about Iran’s official figures, with concerns the real toll could be much higher.
A BBC report published last week alleged that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran was almost triple that of the official death toll by the second half of July.
As of Monday, 18,616 people have reportedly died in Iran from the coronavirus, while the number of confirmed cases is 328,844, according to the health ministry.
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