Iran: Two Senior Officials of Health Ministry Resign in a Day

According to Iranian media, two senior officials of the Health Ministry resigned on November 20. These simultaneous resignations crystal clear display the Iranian regime’s failure in containing the coronavirus crisis, as two former officials mentioned in their letters to the health minister.

In his letter, former Deputy Health Minister Reza Malekzadeh openly blamed Health Minister Saeed Namaki for his mismanagement of the country’s health crisis. “Extremely incorrect management and full of violations during the coronavirus pandemic, due to your refusal to consult and your neglect to recommendations and warnings issued by the country’s health experts has led to a very high death toll in Iran,” the state-run Hamshahri daily cited Malekzadeh’s resignation letter.

“In the meantime, you are claiming to provide knowledge in managing Covid-19 to other countries. You have made unscientific remarks and hasty remarks on an Iranian coronavirus vaccine, which remains in the initial stages while raising a brouhaha about the production of such a vaccine,” he added.

“Unfounded claims made by you and the Food and Drug Organization on herbal medicine being effective… and your lack of understanding of research and the neglect you have shown for all scientific and research activities by medical experts during the past seven years are among your failures,” Malekzadeh emphasized.

Notably, a day earlier, November 19, Namaki bluntly slammed his colleagues and their estimations at a conference in Isfahan province. In other words, he evaded himself of all responsibilities, laying blame on his personnel.

“What has the country’s university research apparatus done on Covid-19? What article have they presented to the sitting minister saying if you do this and that our health apparatus will be heading in better directions? Provide me one model on showing the estimates were correct,” Mehr news agency affiliated to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) quoted Namaki as saying.

“Not even one estimate was right. Name me one minister who can manage the country’s health apparatus with such failed research results. The estimates so far have not been correct and ten epidemiologic models have been provided to me, none of which were correct and none was adequate to take any measures,” the health minister added.

In his resignation letter, Malekzadeh also reminded the health ministry’s previous estimation about the infection of 30 million citizens with the , which Namaki had neglected. He also blamed the entire ruling system for not to allocate enough budget to counter the health crisis.

“Epidemiologic research in Iran has estimated 30 million Iranians contracting coronavirus to this day, most of whom have no symptoms. Warnings were issued that at least another 30 million Iranians will contract the virus if the status quo continues. A harsh reality is that still, our senior administration officials have yet to accept this reality that the threat of coronavirus is more serious and expansive than they imagined. They are still looking for a shortcut and short-term solution,” Malekzadeh wrote.

In April, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued an order allowed the government to allocate one billion euro from the National Development Fund to comparing coronavirus due to pressures exerted by public opinion. However, the health ministry did not receive the budget but less than 30 percent according to the minister.

Finally, Namaki announced that he would never pursue the budget due to the sensitive situation that the state faces. He unilaterally declared, “My personnel would work even without any paycheck but I will never demand the allocated budget.” He spoke on behalf of thousands of nurses and medical staff who had not received their meager salaries for months. Those who face heavy economic pressures in addition to overwhelming work in hospitals and medical centers for nine consecutive months.

Another resigned official is Ali Nobakht, advisor to the health minister. In his resignation letter to Namaki, Nobakht also questioned his former superior’s remarks in Isfahan against the medical staff. “After your remarks in Isfahan, where you criticized the scientists and selfless doctors of Iran, and after the response of the research department, there is unfortunately no longer any way to work with you,” he wrote.

The fact that while daily deaths have reached nearly 500 cases and Spokesperson of the National Task Force declared that “four-digit daily death numbers are not far from expectation,” health authorities see no solution but laying blame on each other.

However, none of them mention how many lives were lost due to their mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis in the past nine months. In this respect, as the fatalities have surpassed 162,800—according to the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)—, all administrative officials must be tried for their role in the regime’s silent crime against humanity.

Earlier, on July 9, Namaki openly admitted that he had ordered his ministry personnel to wrote protocols for reopening businesses and crowded sites. “Instead of telling me you go worry about health issues, we’ll support you with the economy, the Health Minister has to now worry about the economy more than the people’s health. The personnel should be told to write protocols on how to reopen and not how to close. We receive security reports, that [people] are resorting to protests due to poverty,” he added.

According to Minoo Mohraz, member of the National Task Force, and Iraj Harirchi, Deputy Health Minister, after the reopening and lifting of restrictions, the spread of the virus has become worse.

The regime’s horrible approach toward the coronavirus crisis even prompted members of the Parliament (Majlis) to explicitly slam the authorities and health officials. “Officials are blaming everything on the people. They should be reporting on what they have done and are doing?… They should get a hold of themselves! It’s as if they have sworn to kill all the people!” ICANA news agency affiliated to the Majlis quoted Amangholich Shadmehr, MP from Gonbad Kavus in Golestan province, on July 22.

Furthermore, in its August 17 edition, the state-run Mostaghel daily quoted former science minister Mostafa Moein as saying, “Who will accept responsibility for an impending human catastrophe across the country? The president? The government? The Majlis? The health and science minister?”

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