The Iranian regime has been blaming the US and its allies, particularly Israel, for the country’s coronavirus crisis, according to evidence presented in a report from IranWire written by Shaya Lerner and David Andrew Weinberg.
As of Sunday, 3,603 in Iran have died from coronavirus, and there are 58,226 confirmed cases. The Iranian regime has been accused of mishandling its response to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, including deliberately covering up details of the outbreak to maximize turnout in parliamentary elections.
The Islamic Republic’s highest authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had initially said that the coronavirus outbreak is “not that big of a deal.” However, as the outbreak has worsened in the country, high-ranking officials regime officials have since shifted their narrative to blame the US and Israel.
Khamenei blames US for virus
The latest IranWire report highlights the Iranian regime’s various attempts to divert the blame for the outbreak of COVID-19 to the US or Israel.
On March 22, Khamenei said in a speech that Iran will not accept any US aid against coronavirus given it is “accused of producing the virus.”
Khamenei also spoke of “demons” conspiring against Iran on live TV. This part of his speech was omitted from state news agencies.
“There are enemies who are demons, and there are enemies who are humans, and they help one another. The intelligence services of many countries cooperate with one another against us,” Khamenei said.
“This calamity is not that big of a deal in our view. There have been bigger ones in the past and we have had such cases in this country,” #Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says on the #coronavirus outbreak as Tehran says its death toll jumps to 77.https://t.co/YQkpQeaA5P pic.twitter.com/2LcGreZAKw— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 3, 2020
Blaming Jews for COVID-19
Khamenei’s website hosted mid-ranking cleric Ahmad Abedi a few days after the speech to elaborate on what the Supreme Leader meant.
“There is no doubt that the Jews, especially the Zionists, are very much after such supernatural affairs, and are after demon and devil related affairs. Even their spy agencies, like the Mossad, are involved. There is plenty of evidence,” said Abedi as quoted in IranWire.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, accused the US and Israel of being behind the coronavirus outbreak “for profit” on the same day as Khamenei’s speech.
“It is possible that the Zionist lobby spread a pandemic and created a vaccine for treatment in exchange of immense profit,” the Houthi leader said.
“Some American companies are known to have created a pandemic after preparing a vaccine for it to sell it in very large amounts,” he added.
Newly uncovered documents reveal that #Iran’s regime, in its desperation to achieve a bigger voter turnout in the parliamentary elections, covered up news of the #coronavirus outbreak for at least three days. Here are the details: https://t.co/UNZmdzIy4m pic.twitter.com/FmQqcjgVsc— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 26, 2020
Suggesting coronavirus was a ‘biological attack’
The IranWire report also suggested that “the regime’s propaganda” had spread the “baseless allegation” that coronavirus was the result of a biological attack against Iran.
Iranian lawmaker Gholamali Jafarzadeh Imenabadi was one of the first regime officials to link the coronavirus outbreak to the US and Israel, tweeting: “I consider the coronavirus outbreak a type of biological attack from America and the Zionist regime.”
Hossein Salami, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said in early March that the outbreak may be due to a US “biological attack” on Iran.
Iranian state news agencies and media outlets have also been running dozens of pieces suggesting the US and the “Zionists” are behind the coronavirus outbreak.
At the same time, however, the same media outlets have enthusiastically reported about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Israeli economy and the number of coronavirus cases in the country.