We would hardly be surprised if Iran is exploiting the worldwide diversion of attention from everything but the coronavirus to advance its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. However, if ever there were a time when such a pursuit would be sheer folly, it would be now.
Iran, with Italy, Spain and China, is one of the four countries hit worst by the coronavirus. Iran, like China, is hit for the same reason: suppression of news and treatment of the virus. Iran, like China, is a totalitarian country. Iran’s citizenry, well before the outbreak of the coronavirus, was fed up with the malfeasance of its government, which placed the pursuit of nuclear weapons above the provision of basic services to its citizens.
How so? Iran’s drastic reduction in its standard of living — again, we refer to the pre-coronavirus period — is a consequence of the punishing economic sanctions imposed actively by the US and complicitly by most other countries, due to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile pursuits. These sanctions posed a fundamental question to Iran’s leadership: What comes first? Nuclear weapons, conquest of Iraq, and hatred of Israel? Or the welfare of the citizens of Iran? The theocratic leadership of Iran answered loud and clear: Not you, dear citizens. You, Iranians, are not our priority. Protests swept Iran last December.
If our characterization of the sheerindifference of Iran’s leadership sounds hyperbolic, consider: When Iran learned of the coronavirus in its country, it suppressed the news. It did not attempt treatment, following the lead (if you can call it that) of China. With suppression of news of the coronavirus, and the consequent unchecked spread of the disease in Iran, its citizens became all the more outraged. Will a rebellion from below topple the cruel regime?
At a minimum, we hope we are wrong about a surreptitious pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran’s leadership. We hope that Iran hasmore than enough on its hands taking care of the citizenry, and does indeed prioritize the fight against coronavirus. Color us skeptical, however, as Iran keeps sending millions of dollars that it could use to protect its citizenry to the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.
If the central function of government — the safety of its citizens — were not already crystal clear at this terrible time, we hope that this pandemic’s unveiling of major deficiencies in procedures of governments around the world leads to a radical change in Iran, the would be conqueror of the Middle East.
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