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April 5, 2020 9:50 pm

Iran Regime Public Relations Campaign Claims Terror Proxies Are Helping Fight Against Coronavirus

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Firefighters wear protective face masks, amid fear of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as they disinfect the streets, ahead of the Iranian New Year Nowruz, March 20, in Tehran, Iran March 18, 2020. Picture taken March 18, 2020. Photo: WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS.

As the Iranian regime staggers under the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc in the country, its propaganda outlets are touting the efforts of the various terror entities under its control to halt the spread of the disease.

Iran’s semi-official state news agency Tasnim ran photographs over the weekend of members of the Islamic Republic’s Iraqi militia proxy Hashd al-Shaabi disinfecting the streets of Qom, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran. Opposition media outlet Iran News Wire noted, “Reminder: the regime threw out Doctors Without Borders and has refused US aid.”

Last Tuesday, Iran’s Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah regaled journalists with the unveiling of testing centers, ambulances, and a re-purposed hospital.

“The goal is to reduce the pressure on the ministry (of health), hospitals, and the state,” Hezbollah official Hussein Fadlallah said. “We have a volunteer team of over 25,000.”

He added that “the level of preparation” is the same as for a war.

Mohamed Hage Ali, a fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center, told Reuters, “Hezbollah and the rest of the political establishment … see the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to provide services and present themselves as the parties protecting their communities.”

“Hezbollah is in the lead,” he added.

Michael Doran, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and former National Security Council member, tweeted, “The Islamic Republic is running a propaganda campaign to argue that the investment in terrorist militias around the Arab world did not reduce Tehran’s ability to look after welfare of ordinary Iranians.”

The regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, designated as a terrorist organization by the US, were also touted as leading the charge.

Tasnim reported that Dr. Alireza Zali, head of Tehran’s Coronavirus Combat Headquarters, said the IRGC had built a “fully-equipped hospital” in “less than 24 hours.”

The report also claimed the IRGC had opened three field hospitals in various parts of the country.

Another report said that the IRGC had developed a new “digital scanning system” that detects the body temperature of possible coronavirus victims in crowded areas.

In one report by the official Fars news agency, Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki claimed all medical services were being provided free of charge to patients. Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said 3,000 beds for patients were ready with “ventilators and monitors.”

“Fortunately, for the past month and so, we were not in circumstances like the advanced European and American countries, who claim to lead the world and are members of G-7, to say that we won’t hospitalize plus-70 patients; rather in our country, patients aged 94 and 100 have recovered at intensive care units,” he claimed.

The regime has also actively engaged in spreading conspiracy theories blaming the US for the outbreak.

Over the weekend, Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the chief of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, told Iranian media, “In fact, the US has been always accused of having a role, either intentionally or accidentally, in the biological events, like the (outbreak of) Ebola, and the US is believed to have taken a deliberate measure (in creating coronavirus) with the highest probability.”

He said “a fact-finding committee must be formed by the countries that are independent of the influence exerted by the other states, such as the US, in order to study the aspects of the subject.”

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