Late to tackle coronavirus spread, Iran pushes anti-Zionist conspiracies

Iran has accused Israel and the U.S. of being behind the coronavirus outbreak.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

In an apparent effort to distract its citizens from its failure to confront the virus last month, the Iranian regime is pointing the finger at foreign enemies.

“Zionist elements developed deadlier strain of coronavirus against Iran: Academic,” read a headline on March 5 on Iran’s state-funded PressTV.

Another headline the same day on the site said, “Coronavirus is US psychological warfare operation: Ex-US military officer.”

Also on March 5, Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, addressed a crowd in Kerman, saying “We will prevail in the fight against this virus, which might be the product of an American biological [attack] that first spread in China and then to the rest of the world.”

On March 6, a headline blared “Coronavirus was produced in a laboratory: Former CIA intel officer.”

On March 7, another said “US, Israel waging biological warfare on massive scale.” The article was written by notorious U.S. Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett.

Barrett wrote, “And now they’re trying to amplify the plague of coronavirus in Iran, which one suspects that they themselves may have actually engineered, because otherwise how could an Israeli company claim that they’ll have a vaccine against coronavirus in less than two weeks when all scientists say that if there’s a novel outbreak like this, it would take at least a year to have a vaccine.”

He was referring to Israel’s MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, which is working develop a coronavirus vaccine adapted from a vaccine they developed for a similar virus affecting poultry.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had downplayed the virus when it first appeared, claiming that like U.S. sanctions it looked worse than it was.

However, the coronavirus outbreak in Iran has grown into one of the worst outside of China. The virus has infected dozens of government officials and caused the death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader.

According to the official numbers reported by Iran’s health ministry on Sunday, 194 have died from the infection since February 19. There have been 6,566 confirmed cases, out of whom 2,134 people have recovered.

The Iranian regime has responded with emergency measures such as mobilizing soldiers, cancelling events, and blaming Israel and the U.S.