An Iranian military leader has suggested that the coronavirus is not a naturally occurring disease, and that it is a manmade bioweapon cultivated and released against China and Iran by a ‘hostile state’.
Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, an Iranian officer in charge of the country’s Civil Defense Organization claimed Tuesday that “A study of the consequences of the virus in terms of tolls or the extent of the epidemic and the type of media propaganda over this issue that is aimed at increasing fear and panic among people strengthens the speculations that a biological attack has been launched against China and Iran with economic goals.”
Strongly hinting that the the virus is a bio-attack by the US, Jalali told Iranian Fars News Agency, state media, that he is seeking “laboratorial investigations and comparing the genome of the primary virus and the new genomes” to confirm his theory.
Iran has been accused of covering up the real extent of the outbreak within its borders. At time of writing it has officially recorded only 92 deaths from 2,922 cases, but those numbers are significantly lower than what independent reports and claims from dissident groups within the country suggest. The real number of deaths is thought to be in the high hundreds or thousands.
Videos uploaded to YouTube by the dissident groups purport to show people collapsing in the streets of Tehran from the effects of the virus, and are reminiscent of previous videos from China:
The BBC published footage that is said to be from Iran, showing hundreds of bodies in bags at a local morgue in Qom. Mideast-based correspondent Joyce Karam commented that “If these are confirmed to be from Corona as videos claim, death toll is higher than the government claims.”
Other videos show preparations for mass graves, and health workers in full Hazmat gear burying victims:
Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khamenei issued a statement Tuesday urging that the “jihad” against coronavirus is proving successful, and that the outbreak “is not such a big tragedy.”
“I don’t want to say it’s unimportant, but let’s not exaggerate it either. The Coronavirus will affect the country briefly & leave. But the experience it brings, and the actions of the people & the govt sectors, are like a public exercise that will remain as an achievement,” Khamenei said.
The idea that the virus originated in a lab has been a talking point ever since the outbreak started, with some US officials and western biological experts expressing concern that coronavirus may be a Chinese bio-weapon.