In highly charged comments the Islamic Republic health minister barraged top Iranian officials with criticism on Wednesday, July 8, accusing them of "negligence," having no economic plan, and "losing control" over the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
The president, intelligence agents, and security forces should "think about people's livelihoods and how to prevent an "insurrection," Saeed Namaki told an emergency meeting of the Coronavirus Headquarters in Tehran.
Namaki bitterly admitted that the Islamic Republic had reached the point of no return, adding, "We cannot bring back the frustrated and exhausted people to 'stay at home' slogan."
Referring to the economic problems following the outbreak of the coronavirus, he said that under U.S. sanctions, the "treasury" of the Iranian government is "empty and destitute."
Meanwhile, he accused Iranian economists of not coming forward to assist the government and offer ways for running the country under its current situation. "Economists should have given me a solution not to have an uprising caused by hunger and poverty."
Earlier on Tuesday, Namaki had regretfully complained that "a significant number of people" did not take the official advice seriously, and a "new wave" of coronavirus hit the country's "very important" border provinces, "embarrassing us."
Implicitly blasting President Hassan Rouhani's call to "business as usual", Namaki sarcastically asserted that the Health Ministry was forced to stop opposing the reopening of businesses, "since the government is unable to provide financial support for a street vendor, a taxi driver, or a shopkeeper."
Moreover, he described the increase in the number of deaths and infections in Iran as a "penalty" for taking coronavirus and its related deadly disease, COVID-19, as a "joke."
Insisting that coronavirus is far from being a "joke'" Namaki reiterated, "This country’s president must think about the people’s livelihood. This country’s administration, the security forces, the law enforcement, and the military forces must think about the livelihood and how to prevent an insurrection."
We also receive confidential daily bulletins about the country's security, Namaki reminded, adding, the current situation is grave since people are moving from poverty and destitution towards insurrection.
The minister’s remarks echoed findings in an earlier report compiled by the Research Center of the Iranian parliament last April.
The Research Center had also warned against a possible "crisis" in the country's chain that supplies essential goods, further reduction of foreign exchange resources, unemployment, and higher inflation, as well as the financial burden imposed on pension funds.
Amid the warnings, Iran is experiencing a devastating second wave of infections and deaths. Deaths have more than tripled since early May to well over 200 a day and most hospitals are full. Official figures put the death toll to more than 12,000.
However, official coronavirus-related daily statistics in Iran are regarded with doubts over their accuracy and validity. Even some government organizations and local officials have contradicted the official COVID-19 numbers, and some have said the real toll could be several times more.