The fact that COVID-19 has hit Iran hard is no secret! Many have lost their lives and many lost their livelihood. The government has not even done the bare minimum of helping with aid packages or any meaningful monetary help. The most Rouhani’s administration has done is a $65 loan with 6 months breathing period and then 30 months repayment taking out of families’ cash subsidies. A “promise” that hasn’t materialized yet but for sure it’s in the news every single day. It may seem like a fair amount for some people which could be used for necessities, but those same people are the ones who can’t register for it. This is how the government paints the “helpful” picture in the minds of ordinary people buying legitimacy without spending a penny so far!
Poverty hasn’t been that much kinder than Coronavirus to Iranian citizens while the officials, their friends and families live their luxurious lives. Regime’s proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen receive their monthly paychecks without any issue but nurses and physicians in private hospitals in Iran have been fired because of no cash flow! Millions of people were unemployed and the situation has gotten much worse in the past 56 days since the “official” announcement of the first Coronavirus case.
Khamenei has access to billions of dollars in his hedge funds, billions in Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, and much more in Mostazafan Foundation! However, it took him 11 days from the day Rouhani asked him for 1 billion Euro withdrawal from National Development Fund! This account was created to save Iran’s income from oil sells for rainy days. Between 2005 and 2012, Iran had more than $618billion from this source, and in 2015, officials claim there is more than $80billion saved up in NDF.
Khamenei “permitted” 1 billion Euro withdrawal of people’s money to be used for the people! A fraction of what the country needs just to make up for the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on the economy. However, this “act of mercy” from the “world’s Muslims’ leader” was all over the news, even in western media. Rouhani wrote an official letter to thank him for his kindness, so did Minister of Health, Saeid Namaki! It was the headlines of every newspaper the next day, it was aired on IRIB TV and radio every hour for days. The scale of arrogance, adulation, audacity and bureaucracy of the Islamic Republic regime is mind boggling.
Now it’s time for the second stage of buying legitimacy for Khamenei and his regime! The news was short, yet familiar. The “Supreme Leader” is leading the “good deed” of helping Corona impacted people. How you may ask! By “activating” a payment option on his website, asking people to “help”! What is fascinating is what’s categorized there as “help” BEFORE any mention of Coronavirus, people have been suffering from it for months now! Another interesting fact, this page doesn’t exist in any other language of the “leader.ir” website.
Helping “Palestine Intifada”, “oppressed people of Gaza”, “Lebanon resistance fighters”, “Shrine defense fighters” (in Iraq and Syria), “oppressed people of Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Iraq, Myanmar” are some of the options on that page. The scenario is already in motion and history has shown us how it will unfold.
This “act of kindness” from the “leader of Muslim world” will be all over the news. After a few days, it will be announced billions have been entrusted with the only person Iranians value the most. More legitimacy, more news cycles, more propaganda and more lies, the money that nobody would see a cent of it. Everybody would be thanking him and praising his “leadership”!!! Poor Iranians would think, because so many people were in need, the money didn’t reach them!
If there’s any money raised, it will be funneled to the “oppressed people of” other countries and not Iranians. The same Iranians who are oppressed every day by this “leader” and his thugs, November 2019 was just an example. But who would use “leader.ir” website? Just to show off, the IRGC’s vast network of companies, basijis, and officials will each “donate” an iota of what they have stolen from people, to help the “people” and nobody would see a cent of it anyway!
Did this confuse you? Now imagine a poor old Iranian who has lost everything to the mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and ideology of the regime, see all this in the news for a few days, what do you think goes on his mind?! What do you think the western media would broadcast about “the kindest person in the world”?!
A hallowed “leader” is all Iran needs right now, right?
Cover: Chronis Yan