While numerous reports and videos from Iran indicate severe shortage of medical supplies, the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is stockpiling masks and disinfectants and is selling them at 20 times their price to the public.
On March 2, the Iranian regime’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said in a letter to the Minister of Industry, “The problem of health masks is still not resolved and an intertwined network of hoarding masks is selling its products at ten times the price,” as reported ISNA news agency.
Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the judiciary and one the key players of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, said on March 1 in an interview with state-run television: “I recommend the prosecutors across the country to show no mercy to those who stockpile.” But the regime has taken no measure to prevent the IRGC’s hoarding of health material, and instead authorities are cracking down on local retailers to create the impression of serving justice.
According to state-run media, presently in Kerman, a health mask that used to cost 2,000 rials is now sold at 60,000 rials, 30 times its original price. The situation in Tehran and other cities is the same and some reports indicate that in some places, masks are being sold at 150,000 rials.
Meanwhile the judiciary and other institutions intimidate those who due to lack of health facilities create self-made masks.
The website Khabar Fori (Urgent News) reported on March 2 that the Iranian regime has arrested dozens for manually making face masks and competing with state-run companies.
Numerous videos shared on social media in recent days show people in long lines waiting to buy masks and sanitizers amid a severe shortage of such items in stores and pharmacies.
Long line of people queuing up to buy face masks from a pharmacy in Bandar Anzali, northern #Iran. The IRGC is said to have hoarded face masks and other medical resources amid #CoronvirusOutbreak #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/XYGDNKKGf0
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) March 5, 2020
Social media reports say that IRGC has labeled air freshers as disinfectant spray and sells them to the people amid Iran’s COVID-19 crisis.
Reports indicate #Iran's IRGC has labeled air freshers as disinfectant spray &sells them to the people amid #COVID19 crisis.
The man who purchased a disinfectant spray says, " When I tore off the label, I saw it is an air freshener… They are toying with our lives." #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/2aQiYKNInI
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) March 2, 2020
Social media users have also reported that the regime is selling the supplies sent by European countries to Iran for humanitarian support during its COVID-19 crisis, instead of giving it to Iranians in their time of need.
In another video shared online, a man says he bought a German alcohol-based disinfectant from the black market.
"Regarding the €5 mn from Europe & WHO aid, the items are being sold… This was among the products provided by Germany to Iran," the man says. #Iran's regime is selling foreign humanitarian aid for profits while people are in dire need.#COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/l1gaR08LXd
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) March 6, 2020
Meanwhile, people and health workers of Iran are lacking the most basic needs to protect themselves against the deadly coronavirus that is spreading across the country. To date, many health workers have contracted the COVID-19 virus while tending to patients because the government refrains from providing them with proper equipment.
As Iran’s COVID-19 crisis continues to become exacerbated by the hour, the latest death toll, according to reports obtained by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has surpassed the 1,800 mark and has spread to 74 cities and 28 provinces.
The number of victims in Qom, known as Iran’s COVID-19 epicenter, has exceeded 400, and in Gilan, at least 154 have died, according to a statement by the NCRI. The catastrophe has reached such proportions that Abdolkarim Hossein-Zadeh, a member of regime’s parliament acknowledged, “The pile of dead bodies in Qom and the helplessness of the people of Rasht are evidence of failures in notifying and alerting the people about the virus outbreak in a timely manner.”