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Iran's Rouhani Orders Minister To Investigate Hoarding Of Masks For Coronavirus

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran's enemies are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Cabinet meeting, February 26, 2020.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has assigned the Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi, to investigate possible hoarding of medical coveralls and protective masks used against Covid-19, publicly known as novel coronavirus.

Rouhani's Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Vaezi said on Sunday, March 1, "The President's decision is a response to the Health Minister's recent letter, complaining about the scarcity of protective masks in the heat of deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country.”

Hours earlier, in his letter to Rouhani, Saeid Namaki had insisted that local markets were full of Iranian manufactured protective masks. At the same time, the Ministry of Health had no choice other than buying overpriced medical covers from "smugglers" and middlemen.

There is an unfair and inequitable network dominating the country that is capable of offering 200 million protective masks within 24 hours anywhere in Iran, Saeid Namaki had lamented without elaboration.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, has warned the Minister of Health, asserting that disruption of the "health order" is a crime equal to "corruption on Earth," that is punishable by death.

In the meantime, the authorities claim that they have discovered millions of medical supplies being hoarded by black-market traders.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported last Monday the discovery of hoarded masks in northern Iran and vowed to prevent hoarding of masks and disinfectant products.

The Chief of Tehran Prevention Police also said at the time that half a million masks hoarded by an Iranian man and his Chinese wife had been discovered in the couple's residential garage in eastern Tehran.

Since the first two coronavirus related deaths in Qom on February 19 masks and disinfectant gels have been in high demand and disappeared from the shelves in most drugstores and pharmacies across the country.

According to some reports at some drugstores, masks, and disinfectant products have been selling at much higher prices. In many areas, drugstores are now displaying signs on their windows, saying they have run out of masks, alcohol and disinfectant products.