By Richard Walker
The anti-Iran lobby views the spread of the coronavirus and its death toll in Iran as yet another weapon in their efforts to overthrow that nation’s leadership.
Even as aerial surveillance showed the construction of mass graves to handle a fast-rising death toll in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo introduced new sanctions against the regime. In response, Russia, China, and many other nations asked Washington to relax tough sanctions already in place. The UN Human Rights commission pointed out that sanctions were worsening an already deteriorating health situation, preventing Iran from getting much-needed medical supplies. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the U.S. sanctions as “anti-human.”
“The global pandemic is not a time for settling geopolitical accounts, especially those that have no basis, invented in Washington for the purpose of satisfying their own ambitions,” it said.
The vindictive move by neoconservative Pompeo, who has shown that he is just as tough as former National Security Adviser John Bolton on destroying the Iranian regime, exposed behind-the-scenes pressure from Zionist elements in Washington and Israel’s Benyamin Netanyahu to ignore Iran’s pleas for help.
Pompeo, who has shown an ability to lie about many situations across the Middle East, accused Iran of spreading the virus yet he provided no credible evidence to support his claim. Worse still, his move collided with a decision by Iran to release thousands of political prisoners and several British and American citizens whose cases had been raised in the past by London and Washington. As Simon Tisdall pointed out in the Guardian, Pompeo’s move was reflective of his “unthinking bellicosity” during his stint as secretary of state. In Tisdall’s opinion, Pompeo had ended the possibility of the release of the British and American citizens, and it was an example of Pompeo “pouring petrol on a burning building and waiting to see how big an explosion ensues.”
Tisdall and other commentators across the globe blasted Pompeo’s move as unusually cruel because it would cause more deaths in Iran and alienate the Iranian people. It would also depict the United States as a callous aggressor, taking advantage of a country in the middle of a pandemic.
“The Intercept,” while condemning Pompeo as callous, pointed out that the spread of the virus in Iran was in many respects due to the country’s leaders denying its existence until the death toll began to rise. At the outset, they accused enemies of the country of lying that the virus was spreading throughout Iran.
As Iran cried out for pharmaceutical supplies from the rest of the world, groups with links to Israel called on the big pharma companies to deny Iran help. One of those groups was UANI—United Against a Nuclear Iran—which hired hawkish Bolton as its foreign policy adviser after he left his job as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor. UANI, Pompeo, Bolton, and Rudy Giuliani have ties to MEK, an anti-Iran group that was once designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Its members were used by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to carry out attacks within Iran. Many figures like Giuliani have been paid to deliver speeches at MEK rallies in foreign cities like Paris. Bolton was linked to MEK when he was part of the Bush-Cheney team seeking to force regime change across the Middle East. He viewed MEK as a replacement Iranian government and maintained his ties to it when he joined the Trump White House.
Iran’s ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, accused MEK and similar groups outside the country of orchestrating a propaganda campaign targeted at the Iranian people. Some of the propaganda included the spread of bogus stories inside Iran that the testing kits bought and being used by the government were contaminated. The aim was to create division between the government and the Iranian people, who were being battered by the pandemic.
Like other hawks within the neoconservative family, Bolton, while advising Trump on Iran, was also providing UANI with his advice on how to destroy Iran. He is admired by UANI’s biggest donors, including mega-rich Zionists like casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who has had considerable influence in the Trump administration’s Middle East policies as they relate to Israel. Adelson and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, are close friends of Israeli leader Netanyahu, who remains under indictment for criminal offenses. His trial will not happen for another year, if ever, and while he is in power many rightly fear he will use every opportunity to deflect from his personal woes by goading Iran into a war. Few doubt that he was encouraging Pompeo behind the scenes to plan further sanctions against Iran and to let the nation suffer in the hope it will be weakened by the coronavirus.
By March 24, Human Rights Watch (HRW) had confirmed that 1,800 people, 50 of them doctors, were among Iran’s mounting death toll. HRW recognized that allowing Iran’s health system to collapse could lead to the further spread of the virus across the region. It is believed that Iran’s death toll may be twice as high as the HRW estimate. China and Russia have sent health experts and medical supplies to Iran to help the country contain the virus. The U.S. remains aloof.
Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former New York mainstream news producer who grew tired of seeing his articles censored by his bosses.