Deadly virus is ripping through Iranian government as regime struggles to contain outbreak
Almost 10 percent of all lawmakers in the Iranian government now has coronavirus as Iran struggles to contain the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus, the country’s state-run media is reporting.
Several key officials in Iran’s government have already died after being infected with the coronavirus.
In recent days, the China-born virus has killed Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top adviser, and a recently elected member of parliament.
Iran is facing one of the largest outbreaks outside of China, where over 80,000 people have been infected and almost 3000 have died.
In Iran, over 2,300 cases have been confirmed as the death toll approaches 80.
Aside from struggling to contain the public outbreak, Iran’s political leadership is now faced with the coronavirus spread ripping through its government.
The virus has infected 23 members of Iran’s parliament according to Iranian state media.
“These people have a close relationship with the people and they carry different viruses from different parts of the country, which may create a new virus, so we recommend the lawmakers to cut off their relationship with the public for now,” Abdolreza Mesri, an Iranian lawmaker, said according to the New York Post.
Several of Iran’s neighboring countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, have closed their borders with Iran in an effort to stave off the virus.
Bahrain has gone as far as threatening legal prosecution against travelers who enter the country from Iran and haven’t been tested for the coronavirus after Bahrain’s cases of coronavirus were all linked back to Iran, ABC News reported.
On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s advisor died from coronavirus.
71-year-old Mohammad Mirmohammadi was an Expediency Council member who advised Khamenei and settled disputes between him and parliament.
Iran’s vice president and deputy health minister have also already been infected by COVID-19.
The deaths come as the country rejected help from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.
Pompeo announced last week the U.S. was concerned Iran may have covered up details on the spread of the virus, according to Fox News.
“We neither count on such help nor are we ready to accept verbal help,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said during a briefing on Monday.
He added the country has always been “suspicious” over American intentions, and that the U.S. government was trying to weaken Iranians’ spirits over the outbreak.
Iranian Muslims have remained defiant, however, and are demonstrating their faith by kissing and licking public shrines while boasting they are “not afraid of coronavirus,” despite the escalating outbreak across Iran.
Devout Islamic Iranians are releasing online videos showing faithful Muslims licking and kissing shrines to show they have no fear of infection.
“I’m licking this and I don’t care what happens,” one Iranian man declared.